Yesterday was Education Day for our county. Basically “big people” from the Ministry of Education are at this event, there are a lot of speeches, some dancing/singing by local schoolchildren, and awards (e.g. school that had the best test scores in a subject in the area).
I guess with the awards, a trophy is given and then the school must return it at the end of the year to be given to whoever gets the #1 ranking in that subject the following year.
A group of students from my school were asked to give a poetry (singing/drama) at the event, they did great. The teachers who coordinated it did a great job as well.
We rode on a school bus from the local secondary school and I got to see more of Kenya. Beautiful!! Lakes, hills, green! Love it! We were supposed to leave at 7 am but the bus didn’t show up until 10 am. We arrived and stood around while the kids practiced their poetry. We also watched some of the other schoolchildren’s performance. A couple of police officers took an interest in our children and bought them mandazi. They were having conversations with them and me by writing back and forth on our hands.
After our kids performed and after we ate lunch (we bought rice and were given free bread +soda), I had to sit with all the teachers who were there from our county for a couple of hours not having a clue what was being said as we “listened” to many different speeches. One of the teachers (she teaches mostly Classes 4 and 5 as well) was kind enough to fill me in on a few things here and there. Apparently they were talking about how we need to make sure girls get an education and that young teenagers are not being given to men as wives. Teachers need to have better housing (teachers usually don’t live in the same village they teach in so they actually have two houses) available so they can teach. We have a high rate of HIV/AIDS (statistics that were given was that 3 out of every 5 people have HIV/AIDS and we rank #1 in the country for HIV/AIDS…I want to double-check on the 3 out of 5 thing).
Then awards were given out. Our school got an award for doing well on the KSL exam and our headmaster got an award for being the best KSL teacher in the area. Of course my fellow teachers decided to send the mzungu up to accept these awards (twice). The deaf mzungu who had no clue what the awards were for, when they were announcing things, or who she was accepting awards from. Basically I would just sit there daydreaming until the teacher next to me would wildly slap me on the shoulder/back and say “go, go, go…go get the award!”
We were outside from 7am-6pm and for some reason I completely blanked on bringing sunscreen. Not a good thing when you’re pale, have a family history of skin cancer, and can burn within 20 minutes at the equator. I was so mad at myself!! I was trying to stand under trees and tents but apparently that doesn’t do much good. *sighs* oh well, what is done is done I guess….blah…..just makes me nervous with the whole skin cancer thing.
To kill some time I occasionally asked the kids some questions and they would chuckle at the fact that I was trying to teach them outside of the classroom. For example we got 16 sodas (13 kids, 3 teachers) and several kids kept trying to count them (slowly). They kept losing count so finally I said “there are 4 sodas across, 1..2..3..4..and there are 4 sodas down, 1..2..3..4…what is 4 x 4?” They got it right off the bat, would tell their friend that I was trying to teach Math, laugh, and then they would show their friend how.
On our way back to the school, one of my Class 4 girls sat next to me. She’s one of the most curious child EVER. She was asking why we were pulling into a gas station, why they were filling the bus up, what they were filling the bus up with, and why the employer gave the bus driver a receipt. Keep in mind these kids’ families don’t really have vehicles (that’s village life for you) and they miss so much on overhearing things (I know from experience that it took me a while to fully understand certain things as a kid because of the little things you don’t overhear such as….what do you say when you want to return something back to a store? Trust me, there is a certain way to say these things. I know because I used to get odd looks/confusion until I finally started asking people what kind of phrases they used). Another example is that I know the next time I go to Nairobi, I will likely be by myself and I will have no clue what to tell the matatu/bus drivers in terms of name of places as to where I want to go to because I don’t know what my fellow PCVs (who I have usually been with in the past) tell them. It’s always the littlest things that people don’t think are big deal that actually turns out to be a big deal when one can’t hear.
We finally got back to the school. I was hungry because two of us teachers didn’t get to eat lunch and only ate bread + soda. I was all excited to make scrambled eggs with pancakes. Let’s just say one should not multitask while cooking especially when refilling their stove with kerosene. Both of the containers that I use for kerosene and cooking oil are both yellow. Yeah, my eggs were cooked in kerosene which I didn’t realize until I took a huge bite and promptly spat it out…..oops. At least the fruit salad and pancakes were delicious and filling!