I finally made a decision… The school, and I am so pleased I did!
Today was my 1st full day there, and after about a half hour walk (with a short stop due to a tropical downpour)
I arrived to meet Pastor Jackson, the schools director. After discussing yesterday where I would be most useful, I was sent straight to the smiling faces of KG1 class. These kids range from about 2 1/2 years to around 5. They all started school at the same time (apart from those who have been held back a year) but as there is no compulsory education system, school starts when parents decide! KG1 have the education level of our pre school class I would say, and as they speak Swahili and I speak English….this could be an interesting couple of weeks.
I walked in to huge excitement yet a slight unease by a new white face or Mzungu (which when said by children is kind of harmless but when said by an adult is a bit of a different story)
The morning started with language where we were looking at A-H (now, G in my eyes should be for Girl….in Kenya its G for Gun), followed by a quick lesson on how to brush your teeth (where we were able to give out toothbrushes to all the children), how to write the number 4 and then outside games,
I then pulled out a bit of a treat from my bag. Carla had suggested I bring some balloons with me, I did and, as you will see from the photos, they got the kids a little excited!
I have never seen children rush over to someone holding something so simple as a balloon! The excitement on their faces was priceless and it almost brought a tear to my eye. And whereas most children would cry at the burst of a balloon (I know some adults that would do the same…) when a balloon went bang they were beyond excited, started jumping around and shouting what sounded like Hero!
I learnt today that a lot of the children at the school who come from families who are too poor to pay school fees and afford to feed their children at home. They survive on food provided by the school, porridge around 10am and quite a substantial lunch, which today consisted of rice, beans and cabbage (it was really lovely).
They wont then eat at home until the next day when they get their 10am porridge. It was heartbreaking knowing how much we take food for granted in the UK. Even as a student, eating 7p cans of beans or 20p noodles when we had no money (probably after spending it all on nights out) and thought we were hard done by is NOTHING compared to these beautiful children.
After lunch I was back in class but, as KG1 were all asleep I was moved to standard Grade 2. These kids are all a lot older, from around 7 years old, some are a bit older, some are a bit younger but all pretty smart. They were learning about what was needed for a good lesson in school which was enlightening. Ask kids in the UK that question and I bet the response would be something like “computers” or “better teachers'” possibly even “DVD’s” (I remember in school we LOVED video lessons, it meant you didn’t have to answer questions). But, the children of Shikamana answered “pencils”, “chalk”, “desks”, “books”, “teachers” and even “classrooms” which shocked me a little. These kids are pretty lucky in Kenyan terms, they have classrooms, with electric fans, blackboards, desks (although some of them are falling apart) running water that is safe to drink (although it tastes kinda funky), good teachers who care about what they are teaching. I know some places in Kenya have none of this!
Where I am staying has a TV, and one particular advert that I have seen every night, between episodes of a really random, dubbed Spanish soap (which is SO bad it is BRILLIANT!!) It is for a development being built just south of Nairobi that is set to be Kenya’s answer to The Silicone Valley. I raised a question to Daniel about the money being used and surely that it could be used to improve education in rural areas of Kenya. He agreed and said that a lot of people are unhappy about it but there is nothing that could be done. This is terrible, surely it needs to be raised that kids need a good education to be able to fill jobs created by this new ‘super city’.
Kenya, address the poverty and corruption in your country before ploughing money into a development project you are not ready for as your youth are not yet equipped to run it in the future.
OK rant over, I have also realised I have written tonnes.
Oh and disaster of the day to link to the bag, coral issue and then yesterdays dehydration….heat rash all over my feet!!!
PS. If you want to help these children in anyway. The money I am raising via this blog is being donated to buying the school items it needs and hopefully paying for a couple of children’s school fees. There is a link to the donation page on the right hand side. go take a look you could help give a child an education, and win some prizes!!