I came here on the 29th of May to work with GVI in the village of Shimoni and their associated base in Mkwiro. After a few days of travel fraught with delay’s and lost bags I finally made it to my destination at Mkwiro. I signed up for the community, marine and the forest programs and I started on the island teaching in the Mkwiro primary school. Working with me and mentoring me was Kathryn, known as Madam Kathryn to the kids at the school. Our first two days consisted of training to get us ready for teaching classes and helping Kathryn manage her classes. But we also got to go to Teacher Chai, the teachers tea time on Tuesdays. We got to meet all the staff, including the head teacher Mr. Abdul. After that we started with our lessons with the primary school children. Our job consists of teaching the students of classes 4, 5, 6 and 7 English, and teaching Standard 4 maths. The first thing that struck me was the general sense of enthusiasm from the students that probably would have served me well if I had the same level when I was in school.
After our first day teaching Kathryn (or rather Madam Kathryn) thought that we were ready to lead a class, and encouraged us to take a few of the classes to lead. As I thought this a somewhat dubious assertion I decided to take up the standard 4 math class, as I am semi-competent in math. Everything went much better than I expected, and any short comings I had didn’t seem to be noticed by the Standard 4 class. During the week our schedule (aside from chores) revolves around our class times the school has assigned us. In our free time we plan our lessons, scavenge up materials and think up some creative twists for our lessons. We also spend a good amount of our time keeping the base tidy and preparing meals for everyone on base. At nights we have our debrief and finish our chores, and hang out with the marine staff and volunteers. In our second week the plan was much the same, I decided to pick up a few more classes, as had my fellow volunteer Pauline. We did more planning and spent more time helping the school. All in all it was a pretty fantastic two weeks and one heck of a learning experience for me. I am honestly surprised how much I enjoyed myself during the time I spent on community. I had thought that it was something I was going to suffer through, however if I ever got the chance again I wouldn’t hesitate to jump on the chance.
Andrew Carlisle – Combination Volunteer