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Monday, November 25, 2013

Nutrition Class at Shimoni Primary

This past Tuesday we had our final health club class at Shimoni Primary, a public school here in the village. The school term has just finished this week, but we were lucky enough to have one more great lesson with a few eager students from a mix of ages! These students voluntarily attend health club a couple of days a week after their scheduled classes have finished for the day. 

Health Volunteer teaching
On Tuesday I arrived at Shimoni Primary with Jackson (health staff) and Ryan (health volunteer) in the typically blistering heat to a class full of rambunctious students. After a few minutes (of which it took us to settle them down) we began our lesson on nutrition and a balanced diet. We began by explaining what these things meant. We explained how the food we eat affects our health and that eating the right amounts of a variety of food types is important to maintain a healthy body. 
Health club Members listening keenly
We went on to discuss different food groups, (carbohydrates, proteins, etc.). At this point the students were volunteering their own answers, and giving us examples of different types of food that they eat regularly. It was great that they felt so confident with the material, and willing to use their prior knowledge! Fortunately, we had a poster (that Jackson had made) with examples of food containing different vitamins and minerals, and a food pyramid. This was a wonderful aid for the students to use, as it added color and interest to the dull black board! We used the food pyramid to demonstrate serving sizes. We discussed with the students that your body needs more of some types of foods (complex carbohydrates), and less of others (sugars).
Health Club Members doing assignment
Our final activity, which created the most excitement, was when all of us together came up with three exemplary, nutritionally balanced meals. Having drawn three ‘plates’ on the board, the students began suggesting different foods from a range of categories in the food pyramid. Together we created meals consisting of eggs and toast with fruit on the side; ugali (a typical Kenyan maize dish), rice and beans with cabbage and spinach; and potato stew with fish. We even included some biscuits, which our food pyramid had suggested we “use sparingly.”
Health Volunteer Demonstrating an activity to the students
Getting students to contribute is often one of the more challenging components of teaching a class here, as they are not accustomed to highly interactive teaching, and are used to copying from the board. So, it is really great when you do get students interested and involved in a subject manner, as we did in our nutrition class! The students were very willing to participate, because the subject matter was relatable. They were able to give examples of the food they eat, and we were able to supply them with a new understanding about why we should eat certain types of food and what it does for us. It was wonderful way for us to end the term on such a high note!
Julia Hatheway-Health Volunteer