I have become quite accustomed to locals regularly commenting on my weight and that of others. It is actually more of a compliment on this side of the world, to say to someone: ‘you’re growing fat’ means you are healthy, a good size and your spouse is looking after you well. The word ‘fat’ is just like any other adjective here in Uganda, like tall, short, young, old. However what I witnessed in P7 (year 6) this week was a teaching explanation I will never forget.
Scene: I am team-teaching with a very good colleague of mine. My colleague is going over exam corrections and wants to explain the comparatives and superlatives: fatter and fattest. After a brief explanation she then proceeds to ask three specific children to stand up, let me call them Brenda, David and Sam (real identities disclosed). The teaching went something like this: Who is fatter, Brenda or Sam? (pupils respond). That’s right, Brenda is fatter than Sam. We are comparing two. What about David or Sam, who is fatter? Yes, David is fatter. What about between the three? Who is the fattest? David, Sam or Brenda? David is the fattest. This was reiterated quite a few times – yep, I think the pupils have got it!