27 Jun 2009 Nairobi, Kenya
 |  Category: Kenya, Our Trip, Volunteer

We were so excited to arrive in Kenya and meet the children at the Galilee Primary School and Lorna Waddington High School, who had received the first distribution of mosquito nets. The schools are located in the Kayole-Soweto slum area of Nairobi, Kenya. Over 1700 students attend school on the campus. Many of these children are orphans, all live in poverty.

Upon arriving we were greeted by the school’s director, Fanuel Okwaro. He took us around to every classroom where we were introduced to the teachers and welcomed by the students (classes start at “Baby Class” level pre-K3, moving into Nursery School, then Pre-Unit, like our kindergarten in the US, and then grades one, two, and so forth through 8th grade. Students then take the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education exam to determine if they are eligible to attend high school, which goes from Form 1 through Form 4) . Each class had a poem or song that they performed, it was awesome! While touring the school we also got to see the kitchen which is located where the Galilee Primary school started in 1997, in a simple building with two small rooms and dirt floors. At lunchtime we went to the library, which also doubles as the teachers lounge, where we met the principal & several more teachers. Thanks to the organization Feed The Children, a hot lunch is provided to students every day school is in session (Monday thru Saturday). Lunch consists of beans & rice or beans & maize…for many children this may be the only meal they get that day.

We spent the afternoon typing exams on 2 of the schools 3 computers. They only had hard copies of most of the exams which makes it very difficult to update and/or make changes…with the exams saved into the computers teachers can modify the tests as they see fit. At the end of the day we got to play with the children and then Fanuel gave us a ride back to the Rusam Guesthouse, where we had dinner & passed out early.

On our 2nd day we headed to downtown Nairobi with Duncan (Fanuel’s assistant) to do some shopping for the school. In addition to the mosquito nets we purchased (thanks to the donations from our friends and families) we also bought school supplies. Notebooks, pencils, pens, paper, crayons for the little ones and many other necessary supplies…we even got a few fun items! Two new soccer balls and a table tennis set. Back at the school we spent the rest of the day inputing more exam data into the computers. In the late afternoon when the children were out of class we went out into the dirt courtyard in the center of the school to teach the kids how to play ping pong. We borrowed 2 square tables from the classrooms and as we were setting up the net, a crowd of children quickly gathered around. Sherri & I demonstrated (as best we could) how to rally the ball back and forth. The kids were gathered so tightly around us that someone always caught the ball if we happened to miss it. We took turns rallying with the children trying to give each of them a turn. Once they had the basic concept down we stepped aside…even some of the teachers got involved and the older kids tried to explain the rules to the younger ones, who were much more interested in just hitting the ball back and forth.  It was so much fun…by the end of the day our cheeks hurt from smiling!

That evening we were invited to one of the classrooms to watch the choir practice. They put on a full performance including song, poetry and dance. They really have some talented students and they will be competing against other schools later this year.

We really enjoyed our time at the school! We especially loved the time we got to spend with the children playing games and taking pictures! The kids loved seeing themselves on our digital cameras…we’d snap a couple pictures and then show it to them and they would just laugh and laugh!

We also taught some of the children to play Bocce Ball thanks to Jeff Kelley and our friends at Sanuk who gave us a soft bocce ball set to take with us on our trip…we left it at the school for the kids!

The children in the orphanage had already received nets from a shipment sent earlier in the year. From wear and tear, some of the nets had small holes in them which could allow the mosquitos to get in, so we spent one afternoon sewing these holes so that the children would still be protected.

Thanks to our friends, family and Netting Nations that helped make this part of our world trip one of the most amazing experiences!!!

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