Welcome to the Marine Mammal and wildlife Research and Community Development Expedition blog where you can keep up to date with all the happenings and information from Kenya

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Olga Goes Back to School

Olga, our volunteer from the Netherlands, writes about her experience on our Community Development Programme in Mkwiro:

This morning we got to sleep in (until 9 o’clock!) and had base to ourselves... both of these being new and exciting experiences! With groups in the forest in Shimoni and on the boat for marine research, it was an unusually peaceful base left for me, Rachel, Tom and Sara, just the right cure for any morning grumpiness…

At 10:30 we started our Physical Education class for Standard 7. It’s basically half and hour of playing games, running around and having fun! We played Zip-Zap-Zop, the Link-Tag game and Frisbee relay. I’m pretty sure I laughed louder than all the kids – I felt 7 years old and in primary school again. Good times!

The PE class for Standard 6 was even better. Last week we had asked them to organise a lesson themselves and teach us some games and songs. The melodies of Swahili songs are still stuck in my head, but despite continuous repetition, I can’t really remember the lyrics, but luckily they have written them down for us, so the rest of base won’t get off that lightly. We played game after game, some similar to ones that I used to play, but theirs always involved dancing or singing. I found myself in the middle of the circle of clapping kids, the game requiring me to sing the first letters of my father’s, mother’s and my own name – but I couldn’t get into the melody and made some kind of a rap instead. They laughed, so I think they forgave me. All in all, the 30 minutes were over way too soon!

After preparing lunch it was time for the adult English class. We have five regular students now, ranging in age from teens to 50’s. Some of the students haven’t been to school in decades, but they are model students regardless – often voluntarily taking home class work to practice between sessions! Tom and I were the tutors of an 18 year old named Makame. Makame wants to become a tour guide in Mkwiro when tourism starts developing here. We made him write down the first steps of the tour and then Tom & I pretended to be tourists and Makame showed us around the classroom as if it were Mkwiro village. I really feel like we were helping him move forward; in a few months he will certainly be ready for the tourists… so, reader, you’re invited to come visit!