Thanks to one of our sponsors who sent across £20, all four boys Charo, Safari, Kaingu and Emmanuel had the opportunity to visit the local supermarket and choose their own gifts!
They had an amazing time since just visiting such a posh shop was a big treat for them. They all dressed up in their best finery to go, and were so in awe of the building itself that they almost forgot they were able to buy things as well!! They chose such lovely things to buy, such as shoe polish and shoe brushes as well as fizzy drinks, sweets, biscuits and cakes! We got a great photograph of them for you with big smiles and bulging bags!
Thank-you once again to this sponsor for giving them such a great experience.
On our last day in Kenya we visited one of the local community schools which has been started by a mother in the village who wanted to provide education for children who couldn’t afford to go to school.
The school currently has around 40 students and has kindergarten classes 1 to 3 and because it is a community school doesn’t charge any fees for the children who attend.
Today Charo in his role of elder brother (which he fulfils perfectly) escorted us around his and his brothers classrooms for a version of an English parents evening. You sit and talk through your child’s mark with the teacher, then receive their school report. We were very pleased to find that all four of our children had glowing reports in all areas.
Charo proudly showed us to his classroom where his teacher went through his marks with us. Overall he has done exceptionally well, getting 740 marks out of 800 and rising to position 2 in class. He only needs to rise one more position and he will achieve the coveted rank of first in class, meaning his name will go on the board in the school courtyard for everyone to see! Charo has achieved more than 80% in every single subject this term, in English and Swahili reading and in English writing he received 100%; and in maths he received a 96% score. These are clearly impeccable marks and he is justifiably very proud, showing us each piece of class-work bound together in his folder. Charo’s teacher reported to us that she is very happy to have him in her class, that he is a polite and extremely responsible boy and that he has the best handwriting in the whole class! She also told us that this term Charo has been given the honour of class monitor- someone the teachers select to be responsible for their classmates; he is (of course) carrying out this role perfectly!
Kaingu and Safari’s teacher was also very pleased with them. Both are achieving very high marks. Kaingu this term achieved a total of 709 marks out of 800, making him position 6 in class out of 24. In English and Swahili reading he received full marks, 100%. The teacher informed us that she will be working with him during tuition over the holidays to improve his spoken English (in which he got 76%) and social studies (74%), which are his lowest subjects since he prefers to talk in Kiswahili all the time!! We discussed his weakness in social studies, suggesting that this might be because it includes CRE (Christianity). The boys did not learn CRE in their previous home, so now approaching this subject in school is challenging for them. However overall she said he is a very hardworking boy, though a little shy, and very bright, always looking up to his brother Safari!
Safari’s report was just as positive, overall he managed to get 724 marks out of 800 in his first term in Standard 2, and got into the top three being position 3 out of 24 students in his class. Once again Safari managed 100% in English and Swahili reading, and English writing, and very high marks in maths (96%). It would seem that he takes after his big brother Charo in these things! Safari’s weakest subjects are Kiswahili (80%) and Social Studies (80%). He seems to have a specific problem in understanding ‘opposites’, within the Kiswahili exam and so the teacher is going to work on this with him during tuition over the holidays.
Emmanuel is in Standard 1 now and so it is his first year in the lower primary classes! Since he is such a big boy now this has meant a change in his uniform and he struts proudly around wearing exactly the same clothes as his big brothers, which he is extremely happy about! Emmanuel has achieved 3rd place in class this term, showing how well he has settled into proper primary classes. This move also means he has started computer classes, a subject he is throwing himself into and really enjoying. We have been told that if the teacher overruns in any subject and it is time for computer lessons, all the students in the class immediately let her know! Teacher, Teacher, it is computer time now!!
We are very proud of all of them and how hard they are clearly working to have achieved such high marks. After only four terms in school all the children have improved hugely. When they started at Mtwapa Academy, Safari was getting 640 marks out of 800, and was position 5 in class, after 12 months worth of schooling he is now getting 724 marks and has risen to position 3. Kaingu began in position 7, with 530 marks and since then has risen to 709 marks. Charo 12 months ago was position 14 in class, receiving 680 marks, and has since shot all the way up to position 2, with 740 marks. We are very pleased with how quickly the boys have caught up with their classmates despite their shaky start in life.
All the children’s sponsors will receive their full end of term reports in the post immediately after we return back from Kenya next week. Keep your eyes peeled, let’s hope Charo manages to get top place in class next term!!
Today we were back in Gorofani to visit the Mbazi nursery school. The school is held in the same room that is also used for cooking the food programme at the weekends. Today there were 29 students in attendance, mostly in KG1 and 2, although there was a small class of older KG3s.
We busied ourselves for an hour or so clearing the stones from the ground with some of the committee members, before handing out some of your donations to the children.
There were balloons, toys, crayons, colouring pencils, toy building kits, games, colouring books and paper, all of which were received very excitedly by the pupils and teachers alike. Once they had figured out what on earth balloons were; all the children were crowding round clamouring for you to blow theirs up, then letting it go flat and coming back again!
THANK-YOU so much to all the generous people who have donated these things, they will really help the school and all the kids were so excited and proud to get their very first toy!
On saturday we took a trip to visit a new group for the first time. The group is based in a very rural area towards Takaungu called ‘Gorofani’. The name of the town means ‘place with a storey building’ on account of the fact that near the main road passing through the town there is a two-storey house; quite a rarity in this area!
The group itself is comprised of 12 local adults who founded an association to provide aid for needy children, orphans and those living with only one parent or in very impoverished circumstances. The group provides a feeding programme every Saturday with 200 children already registered in its first year of running. This week more than 150 children came to eat rice and beans. The group also has a nursery school running in the mornings from Monday to Friday to provide education for 40 of the youngest children who cannot walk the 8 kilometres to the nearest school and back every day. The group has documented more than 600 orphans, one parent children and needy children in the very local area alone who are currently not receiving regular meals or any education and could therefore benefit from its support.
The projects currently receive some support from the government in the form of flour, rice and beans to distribute, any extra costs are currently being scraped together using small weekly donations from the committee members, local volunteer staff, cooks and teachers.
Although the intentions of this project and its potential are fantastic and the resourcefulness and dedication of the association’s members is astounding; it brings a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘living on a shoe-string’!
The kitchen for all 200 children is transformed during the week into the nursery school, and the cooking equipment consists of one very large metal pot, a large spoon made of coconut shell, wood for the fire and a box of matches. There is also a nearby freshwater well which has been built by the members and this water is used for the cooking.
I hope you enjoy these photos as much as we enjoyed the day. It was truly special to see such a well managed, independent local group doing such good work with such a small amount of money. Keep your eyes peeled for more pictures of this group when we go back there tomorrow!
The four sponsored boys Charo, Safari, Kaingu and Emmanuel received their letters and presents from their sponsors yesterday. Rarely has there ever been a more excited and happy group of children! They felt truly special and the attention was all on them for the first time ever!
We gave each boy a bag with all their presents and letters inside it, and they meandered calmly to the door to open them all up…then as soon as they thought they were out of sight ran and jumped all the way to the table!
Each of them was thrilled and opened their presents in their own way; Charo smiling to himself and carefully examining each item individually. Taking in every detail of the letter slowly; taking the lids off each and every pen to get a better look at them!
Safari ripped open the bag, grinning excitedly then quickly got everything out and spread it all out to see, picking up first one thing then the next; then sitting down to read his letters carefully.
Kaingu sat quietly on the chair to open his package, smiling secretly to himself, his face splitting into the occasional grin; then becoming super-cool again as soon he caught sight of you looking!
Emmanuel opened his blackboard first and just played with that, forgetting there was anything else! Then going back to the bag as if remembering that there was more, taking out another thing and once again getting carried away playing with that!!
By the time they had all opened their presents and read their letters they were proud as punch to have all these people wanting to sponsor them… I got the impression Charo couldn’t quite believe it!!!! We took lots of photos to try to capture the moments for you, and we really hope you enjoy them.
Once again thank-you so, so much to everyone who sent letters or presents to the boys. It was so lovely to be able to show them how much other people care about them; an experience they have not been very familiar with so far in their lives.
I am sure your replies will be really nice, we are hoping to help them write all their letters sometime next week so we can bring them all back to you.