Most of us have memories of primary school that still stick with us years later. We helped create a number of them today.

Class photos: We finished the class group photos for grades 5-8 today. It was fun to watch the boys tuck in their shirts, the girl’s bush off their skirts, and the positioning to be next to your best friend. This year we made the process more of a joint effort with lots of “test shots” followed by repositioning, and shouts of “stand up straighter” from classmates who were vested in the photo being as perfect as possible. The number of photos taken tripled but so did the fun.

The Cafeteria Cook: There is no cafeteria at Gichunge, but there is Mercy who gets to school at 6:00 AM to start the fire that will cook the porridge and heat the tea for the teachers. She also serves the porridge and then washes the cups, pots and pans … and NEVER stops smiling. Each visit we bring her new aprons. It is small thank you for a huge task.

Lunch Time: Today we shared the American sack lunches we had made. The bags of “crisps” (potato chips) were a big hit. We followed Margaret’s advice and got the weirdest flavors we could find: Tangy Tomato, Onion & Lime, Hot & Cheezie, Chili & Lemon, and Carmel flavored. In the Kenyan tradition, after the sacks were passed out, a student led the class in saving a prayer before the bags were torn open.

The Place You Hung Out: A couple of weeks ago the Education Department made the school cut down about 30 trees that sheltered the students as they ate their porridge. The lumber was milled onsite and used to make new desks. The end cuts did not go to waste but were made into long benches the students STILL use to eat their porridge or gather with friends. What was a good place is now seen as being even better.

THAT Teacher: All of had one. He or she seemed to create magic in the classroom. Margaret and Jeff ran into one in the pre-primary classroom where they were finishing up the height and weight measurements. This is the same classroom that has all the wonderful “talking walls.” Each student came forward to be measured and then quietly returned to their seat. They don’t come any sweeter.

Buddies: Printed photos are rare in Kenya, but everyone seems to know what a selfie is … and wants to be in one! Margaret and Kathy took at crack at multiple selfies today. In the process we made a lot of friends, but not sure our selfie skills improved.

Can’t wait to make more memories tomorrow.

— Kathy Macdonald
A class photo; Mercy the cook; Lunch time, The best benches at school; The magical classroom; Selfies!

A class photo; Mercy the cook; Lunch time, The best benches at school; The magical classroom; Selfies!