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School Visit to Ngomongo Village

Day 1

I packed my suitcase with minimal amount of clothes and toiletries the rest was packed with clothes for the children, school equipment and toys. This was the first time I had ever packed so little for myself and it was bizarre. I was also very apprehensive about what to expect at the school and whether the Kenyan customs would allow us in with our stuff for the school.

Dad and I checked in with the exact weight requirements which was a relief due to all the extra luggage we were taking. Flight was fine and the apprehension I had over what to expect eased a little. We arrived in Kenya and got through customs without much bother ¯ just questioned on what was in our large tube - a huge world map!

On arrival at the hotel we organised the clothes, arranged car hire and arranged to meet up with the First Choice regional manager.

We got a taxi to take us to the school, which was fun as we did not really know where we were going so had to ask around everywhere. We found it eventually and the taxi driver was great, he even agreed to pick us up later. We did not have to pay until the return journey! We were greeted by lots of smiling children and two of the teachers in the playground, as it was lunch time. We got introduced to all the teachers, Pamela, Mercy, Laurent, Kenny & Ascar, then shown around the school. The children just stared at us but all kept shaking our hands and saying hello. The school was in a better condition than I had expected which was nice. The classes reformed at 2pm so we then went round each class to say hello and introduce ourselves and explain what we hope to do in our short visit.

The school consists of three classrooms, a store room, three toilets, wash room and three bedrooms. All situated in a large compound which went around the whole building. Each room contained bench style desks and a few small blackboards. This building housed 85 children all of whom seemed very happy and attended school voluntarily so were little bother.

We told the teachers that First Choice manager, Jon, would be visiting tomorrow so asked if they could sing a few songs, recite some poems and generally put on something to impress him. We popped out for ten minutes to organise mobile phone sim card and on return to the school rehearsals were well underway. We sat around and listened and were very impressed, it was also very useful to see how the school worked.

Before we left we asked the teachers to put together a list of what they wanted done in order of priority in order to assist us with our quest to make a difference.

Taxi picked us up a few hours later and we returned to the hotel all ready for the week ahead. We chatted about what we needed to do and had an early night.

Day 2

Car arrived in true Kenyan style, an hour late! Jon the First Choice regional manager met us at the hotel at 9.30am. We took him to the school, showed him around, introduced him to the teachers and then discussed what plans he had. The children all gathered in the main room and did their little show. It was excellent and very good. Jon was very impressed and am sure that First Choice will now support us as their in resort charity.

Once Jon had left we set to work on what we could achieve at the school. The teachers provided us with their list which consisted of :

 

New & larger blackboards

Smaller chairs & tables for kindergarten

Toiletries
Text books
Story books
Curtains
Skipping ropes, balls and hula hoops
Exercise books
Crayons
Metre rule
Mops, brooms and cleaning equipment

We agreed with the blackboards and Kenny had got a quote on them, we met the carpenter, reduced the quantity and set about organising them.

We then delivered the goods we had brought from the UK. Everything was received gratefully and some of the items on the list above were included. Skipping ropes, books etc. The clothes were handed out to the children and they were really happy to receive ¯ they were trying things on and even started fighting over a few things. It was wonderful to see how happy someone can be to receive something as simple as a pair of pants or socks. I had donated my freebie Robbie Williams T-Shirt and this really cute little boy received it and loved it so much he put it on straight away. Another little boy received a crisp clean school shirt and again put it on straight away but he went off to play at break and managed to end up with a filthy brand new white shirt! Very funny and rewarding.

At lunch Dad and I went to the supermarket and purchased the cleaning equipment requested and took it back to the school. That afternoon Dad, Kenny & Pamela went into Mombasa city centre to visit the ministry of education and investigate new chairs for the younger children. I stayed at the school and covered the afternoon teaching of the older class. We did geography using the large wall map I had brought over from the UK.

 

We started by locating Kenya & England on the map, I then handed out jigsaw puzzles of the world for the children to put together in groups. They really struggled and it was clear they were not used to practical teaching ¯ they normally undertake rote fashion learning in a purely academic way. They took a while but when achieved it were very pleased with themselves. We then moved onto looking at flags of the world and had stickers of flags, each child had to stick a flag on the map ¯ hence looking at the map and getting used to where countries were. This was done well and again a bit different for them.

 

We learnt the continents whilst doing this. After that we moved onto capital cities of the world and they had to match the country to the capital city. They had an answer sheet and had to fill it in. They enjoyed it so much that at home time they did not want to finish. They asked me to teach them again tomorrow. It was great fun and very rewarding. The children were very enthusiastic to learn and very receptive. The children went home and the others returned from their trip to Mombasa. Not very successful which was a shame.

We returned to the hotel and slept soundly from another hard days work!

Day 2

Car arrived in true Kenyan style, an hour late! Jon the First Choice regional manager met us at the hotel at 9.30am. We took him to the school, showed him around, introduced him to the teachers and then discussed what plans he had. The children all gathered in the main room and did their little show. It was excellent and very good. Jon was very impressed and am sure that First Choice will now support us as their in resort charity.

Once Jon had left we set to work on what we could achieve at the school. The teachers provided us with their list which consisted of :

 

New & larger blackboards

Smaller chairs & tables for kindergarten

Toiletries
Text books
Story books
Curtains
Skipping ropes, balls and hula hoops
Exercise books
Crayons
Metre rule
Mops, brooms and cleaning equipment

We agreed with the blackboards and Kenny had got a quote on them, we met the carpenter, reduced the quantity and set about organising them.

We then delivered the goods we had brought from the UK. Everything was received gratefully and some of the items on the list above were included. Skipping ropes, books etc. The clothes were handed out to the children and they were really happy to receive ¯ they were trying things on and even started fighting over a few things. It was wonderful to see how happy someone can be to receive something as simple as a pair of pants or socks. I had donated my freebie Robbie Williams T-Shirt and this really cute little boy received it and loved it so much he put it on straight away. Another little boy received a crisp clean school shirt and again put it on straight away but he went off to play at break and managed to end up with a filthy brand new white shirt! Very funny and rewarding.

At lunch Dad and I went to the supermarket and purchased the cleaning equipment requested and took it back to the school. That afternoon Dad, Kenny & Pamela went into Mombasa city centre to visit the ministry of education and investigate new chairs for the younger children. I stayed at the school and covered the afternoon teaching of the older class. We did geography using the large wall map I had brought over from the UK.

 

We started by locating Kenya & England on the map, I then handed out jigsaw puzzles of the world for the children to put together in groups. They really struggled and it was clear they were not used to practical teaching ¯ they normally undertake rote fashion learning in a purely academic way. They took a while but when achieved it were very pleased with themselves. We then moved onto looking at flags of the world and had stickers of flags, each child had to stick a flag on the map ¯ hence looking at the map and getting used to where countries were. This was done well and again a bit different for them.

 

We learnt the continents whilst doing this. After that we moved onto capital cities of the world and they had to match the country to the capital city. They had an answer sheet and had to fill it in. They enjoyed it so much that at home time they did not want to finish. They asked me to teach them again tomorrow. It was great fun and very rewarding. The children were very enthusiastic to learn and very receptive. The children went home and the others returned from their trip to Mombasa. Not very successful which was a shame.

We returned to the hotel and slept soundly from another hard days work!

Day 3

We arrived at the school to the welcome of lots of smiling children running out to the car. They took my bag and kept shaking my hand. It is a wonderful way to start the day. I taught geography to years 2 & 3. There were more children in this class and they were more excitable to be taught by me so it was harder. We located the countries on the big map again and performed the world jigsaw puzzles again ¯ which they found hard. We then stuck animals around the world onto a new sticker map. Again this helped them understand where countries were. I then handed out an animal sticker to each child and asked them to draw it and colour it in. They cheered when I suggested drawing a picture which made me sad as this is something our children do on a daily basis, but as paper and colours are pretty scarce in this school it excited them. They were very proud of their pictures but wanted me to take them back again to England with me.

Dad & Kenny had gone shopping for games equipment and checked up on the blackboards. It was break time when they returned and they enjoyed playing with the footballs etc. After break Dad & I painted the hop-scotch. It looked great and by lunch time the children were amazed and wanted to play but couldn´t due to it being wet paint ¯ then the heavens opened and it poured down with rain for the rest of the day ¯ ruining all our efforts!

That afternoon Dad, Pamela and I went into Mombasa and purchased the new text-books and exercise books. This fixed price shop became negotiable which was fun and Pamela said we got a good discount and was very happy. We purchased a text book in mathematics, English and Kiswahali for each class. The teachers basically write it up onto the blackboards as we can not have a text book for each child. We then went to the post office to get stamps and checked our PO box ¯ electricity bill only! Typical where ever in the world you are the only post you get is bills!

Back to hotel, still raining and another early night!

Day 4

We went via the supermarket to purchase remaining toiletries, first aid stuff and school equipment. Arrive at school and still pouring with rain ¯ checked the hop-scotch and children were playing on it which was great to see but it was all flaking off due to the rain. Arrived again to the hugely warm welcome from the children. Blackboards had been delivered the night before and one put up. They looked really good. The man returned for his money for the blackboards but we refused to pay until he put them all up. He soon returned and they all got put up (even the old ones moved to where we wanted them). He got his money and we then asked if he knew anyone to put up a netball ring, mentioned the words two hundred Kenyan shillings ¯ then bingo after an hour another man returned and it was done! I painted a height chart on the wall inside the school to help achieve some health record maintenance.

We then went out to lunch with the teachers and had a meeting. It was very interesting to see how differently they behaved and how shy they were. They found it hard to make decisions and we found it difficult but hopefully at the same time educated them.

When we got back to the school the sun was eventually shining so Dad repainted the hop-scotch (fingers crossed it lasts!). I partook in a kiswahali lesson which was great fun. I sat with the children and learnt with them ¯ I learnt a Kenyan version of head shoulders knees and toes ¯ it amused the children to see me reciting the words and singing along with them.

As school finished we took a load of photos of the children and said our good byes ¯ it was actually quite moving. We then finished some things off with the teachers. Played a quick game of netball with Pamela, Mercy & Laurent. We left on a real high and lots of laughter. They made us feel so welcome and I genuinely know they want us to return.and you know what we probably will.