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Alumni blog: What Pestalozzi means to me

Tim in national dress with fellow Pestalozzi Ugandan scholars. 

Tim and Indian alumnus Aravind, suited and booted ready to impress. 

Tim with classmates Prashant and Nkole, enjoying Holi festival.

Tim graduated from Pestalozzi earlier this year (2014).
30 September 2014

Ugandan alumnus, Timothy Ogolla, expresses what Pestalozzi means to him, in this reflective piece.

To attempt to explain what Pestalozzi means to me, I’ll have to go back three years, to the time when I had just completed my final O-levels (GCSE equivalent) in Uganda. 

Once upon a time there was a young, skinny and exam-stressed boy. He had given his best in his final exams because to him, those exams appeared to be the first indicator of the end to his education which was quite foreseeable. In his mind, the only plan at the moment was to go back to his village and help as many relatives (on their farms) as possible, so that maybe out of gratitude, or pity, or both, they would contribute to his tuition for the remaining two A-level years. The young man had braced himself for the worst, to say the least. 

It is in this bleak moment that this boy hears of the Pestalozzi International Village Trust UK scholarship. At first, even the fact that this is to study in the UK daunts him and he almost refuses to apply; he thought he was the least worthy of it. 

Well, to save us all the time, I’ll skip to the time when Pestalozzi adopted the boy. Almost everything the boy does thereafter is for the first time - from going to the airport, travelling out of his country, meeting people from all over the world to learning to play a musical instrument. You name it and the probability is that it was a first time deed. In his new, contrastingly different home, the boy thrives. He finds love and care from his new family. He discovers the horizon is both limitless and seamless and that for those who keep on moving forward no matter the circumstances, the future is as boundless as it is continuous. 

That’s what I like to think Pestalozzi means; A beacon of hope, a pillar of love and an edifice for nurturing intellectual curiosities and pursuits. Pestalozzi was my first taste of freedom and a chance to unleash the leader in me. With its "Head, Heart and Hands” philosophy, a paragon of humanity is clearly defined; and as one who has tapped into it I can say this with great confidence. 

But to me Pestalozzi also means the beautiful, green, rolling hills; the chirping robins, cooing doves and cawing crows that gave me company on the slope to the bus stop and the roaming deer and foxes that reminded me of the wild in me. Most importantly, the wonderful, amazing, awesome people who loved me and gave that young lad a home away from home. Pestalozzi means a transformation from that boy to me, ‘TimO!’, who no longer views himself as a Ugandan but as a citizen of the world.

Enjoyed this blog? Read more of what our alumni have to say here.

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