Report from Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Almost late to Gichunge Primary this morning … got caught in the unusual traffic jam shown below.  Our work at the primary this year consists of ongoing projects and fresh initiatives.    One of the ongoing efforts is to track the impact of the porridge program we have supported for years.  This time Margaret and Jeff Punch took the lead weighing each student and recording their height.  The Eighth Grade went like clockwork.  Things got a bit unruly with 33 Third Graders whose English skills are still evolving.  Not sure this was covered when they went through Med School.  They took at break after Third Grade and answered health related questions from Eighth Graders.  It is pretty rare for any of the students to have access to a doctor, much less two.

Kathy took on the task of taking class photos, another one of our ongoing efforts.  For most of the students, these are the ONLY photos they have of themselves.  She did not fare much better than the Punchs did with the Third Graders when she began with the pre-primary group.  This age group is just being introduced to English and Swahili … and have NO experience with facing the camera much less lining up.  It was a wonderful test of wills with everyone trying really hard to please.  Below is the best of over 50 shots.   The out-takes are wonderful with heads looking in the wrong way, someone deciding it was all too much and laying down, the class sign held directly in front of the face, and the poor teacher pulling one student or another back into position.  It was fabulous and worth it.

A fresh initiative this year comes from a teacher request for help with “talking walls.”  In Kenya, Talking Walls are posters that can “talk to the students” when the teacher is not there.  Brilliant!  Last fall we experimented by leaving several yards of fabric used to line curtains.  It was heavy enough to install grommets on one side so they could easily be hung or removed.  The result has been an amazing set of teacher created masterpieces that are replacing the torn and damaged posters they had.  Later this week, the teachers will begin phase 2 with the 50 yards we brought this trip.

So, can your walls talk?  They do here.  They reflect the hard work of the staff, the effort of the students (even the third graders), and the joy of this place that brings hope the entire community.

— Kathy Macdonald

A Kenyan Traffic Jam; The “Perfect” Photo;

A Kenyan Traffic Jam; The “Perfect” Photo;