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

Friday, August 21, 2009

First Finished Classroom in Shimoni's Base Academy

Kate one of our Kenya Community Interns, tells us the exciting news from Shimoni...

Welcome to a very exciting week for my husband and I as we completed work on our very own project in Kenya. We have been doing a lot of work with a school called Shimoni Base Academy, brainchild of a fascinating and energetic man called Mr Abdallah Mwamose.

Run as a private school, this is by virtue of not having students in each standard of the primary school system, and it is hoped that as recruitment increases and the standards are filled they will become government-registered and funded. The term private school has a very different meaning here, so whilst the school receives some fees from parents it is only what they can afford which often is very little and the teachers work on a voluntary basis the majority of the time.
Despite, or perhaps because of, this the school is a wonderful place to work however facilities are basic and the school is housed in a building constructed with lumps of coral rag set in a bare dirt yard and reached by a small track from the main road. The ‘windows’ and ‘doors’ are simply holes in the wall and I am informed that before the school moved into the building it was sometimes used as a toilet by the locals! We have spent a lot of time with Mr Mwamose discussing his hopes for the school, one of which is to plaster and paint the walls of the classrooms and to secure the school by adding external doors and bars on the windows… so we decided to spend some of the money that we raised before embarking on our African adventure to complete this work on the kindergarten 1 classroom and everyone from Mr Mwamose to the children who will benefit from it via the GVI volunteers whose help we have enlisted have been incredibly excited.

The classroom before...

TIA – ‘This is Africa’ - is a common refrain when things don’t quite work out the way we planned but contrary to this we managed to have the classroom plastered (albeit with a cement finish as opposed to the traditional understanding of plastering) and the doors and windows fitted over the weekend in time for work on the painting to begin this week. Work this week was undertaken by a team of willing GVI volunteers as well as Mr Mwamose himself and a host of interested onlookers cheering us on including the children, teachers and members of the local community!

Kate and Mr Mwamose with the first brush strokes

As well as the painting we were also busy planning and delivering English lessons for standards 1, 4 and 5. In addition, we have started an environmental education programme for the school to supplement the syllabus as the children do not have any formal science teaching. The first class to be taught in the newly decorated classroom was an environmental class planned and delivered by the volunteers who worked hard all week to make this all possible.

At the end of the week there is a HUGE sense of satisfaction at a job incredibly well done. The painting is finished, the lessons taught and the best endorsement of the work we have done came with the enormous smiles of excitement and joy from the kids as they sat welcoming us to the first lesson to be taught in the classroom and the same smiles mirrored on the faces of the teachers who sat and watched while we gave our environmental education lesson on Friday morning.

The classroom after!
As Mr Mwamose is fond of saying “the future is not a place, it has to be made” and that is what we feel we are contributing to here as we hope generations of children in Shimoni will have the benefit of starting their education in a school staffed with enthusiastic teachers in a healthy and inspiring environment.

Happy learning!



Sara Mayer said...

what an amazing accomplishment! well done kate, jamie and gvi! this a gift that will benefit so many people and a helping hand to get the school moving towards their goals!

Sara Mayer said...

congratulations on your amazing accomplishment, kate, jamie and gvi! what an incredible boost to help this school move closer towards it's longterm goals! the room looks great!