Thursday, 29 July 2010

First full day here in Kenya!

I had an amazing day yesterday! Got woken up by the children at 5am, which is apparently a normal occurrence here but managed to sleep until 6am! Alex had to leave at 6.30am to get a Matatu as he had to be at the KWS at 8am! He was taken with James, one of the teachers at the Heritage School, to be shown how to get there!

-For those who don't know, in Kenya there is no public transport around the city (buses) instead there are private owned minibuses which are used like public transport. Due to their size they can get very crowded and can be very interesting as the driving is sometimes a bit crazy!

I went downstairs at around 8.30am for my breakfast which was tea and bread! No toast here - or anything on the bread for that matter! The tea was very sweet and different to what I have in England but nice all the same! After that the Orphanage's Book Keeper, who's name I didn't quite catch, took me to the school. The school is owned and run by Heritage of Hope and Faith and is a Primary School which caters for children from 3 up to 15! From there they go to High School which are mostly Boarding Schools. I was introduced to the Head Teacher, Steven, who was very welcoming and Lovely! As the Children were sitting their exams I was shown to the staff room and met some of the teachers and red through some of the exam papers.

I will put up some photos of the school when I get chance but the rooms are made from Iron Sheeting and seem very run down and in the classrooms there is a blackboard and some old wooden desks and you are lucky if you have a couple of large sheets of paper decorating the walls with information hand written.

After I had met a few of the children I bumped into Grace (another volunteer at the Orphanage who had stayed here earlier in the year and knew the place quite well). She asked me if I would like a trip around the town. So we went on a small wander around Mlolongo, the town in which we are staying. It is a very run down looking town, rubbish is left and then burnt in the streets but at the same time it is full of life and everyone is very friendly! Grace pointed out the Post Office, where you caught the Matatus from, a couple of good small supermarkets and even a good chicken and chips place! After a cup of tea at the Orphanage she showed me to the nearest Internet cafe, where I am right now. It's only 1shilling/min which is less than 1p/min!

We then went back to the school! The children had finished sitting their exams for the day and were cleaning and washing the floors of their classrooms! You don't get that back home! They were in great spirits and within 3 minutes I was giving a child a piggyback and two were holding my arms! It's a surreal place!On one hand the children were very poor and were lucky to own a textbook or even more than one pencil! Yet they were so happy and full of life and they absolutely love visitors and volunteers! They also seem to be very fascinated with watches and are very eager to have their photograph taken! After a couple of hours of taking and singing with the children (and getting to know 2 American volunteers; Qianna and Danielle) The whole school went to their 'playing field' - a large-ish nearby flat area of grass. Here most of the boys played football while the girls sang and danced! It was really lovely to watch them practicing!

The school day is very long, especially compared with England Primary Schools. It's from 8-5 and the children wake up between 5-6 and don't go to be until 10pm some nights as they have chores! They must get so tired!

After games there was a brief assembly held in the school grounds by the headmaster, Steven, reminding the children to wash their clothes ready for their class presentations tomorrow!

I then went back to the orphanage, spoke and sang with the girls and rested a while. Alex got back at 7pm and was very tired from his long day! Especially as we had not had a proper sleep since we were back in England!

For dinner we had potato and banana on a tomato-y sauce which was actually quite nice! We decided to go up to bed early - 8.30ish as we were exhausted!

Lottie x

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