Thursday, July 21, 2011

School Clubs Visit

At the beginning of next week, the company is expecting VVIP's (Very, very important persons!) Sue arranged to have the chairman's house cleaned and the Guest House is also been given the "once over" for the visitors. As she is away for a few days, she asked me to supervise the above work. The cleaners washed the carpets, took down all the curtains and washed them. Washed all the bedlinen and soaked the mosquito nets in insecticide. Below is just one section of the washing line full of curtains. Sue's patio, the chairman's patio and front lawn was lined with washing!

Just some of the washing being done to prepare for the special visitors next week. Isn't this a beautiful garden?

Last week in Eldoret, Sue and I bought white damask material for tablecloths at a factory shop (I bought two kikois/shuks as gifts for friends in SA. They were a fraction of the price you pay at tourist stalls and shops). We also bought two meters of red damask for serviettes. I took the material to the sewing "fundi" on Tuesday after market and she said I could collect the items on Wednesday afternoon.

Mrs Selous, seamstress/sewing fundi in front of her dressmaking shop

I duly collected the items on Wednesday. Normally there are only two toddlers sitting on stools near her while she works. When I looked up after paying Mrs Selous, I found a large group of children standing around and gazing up at me!  
I was sorry I didn't have my bag of sweets/candy with me. I  normally keep these in my basket (which was too full going to school) and hand out treats along the road

At school I visited the art class first. The pupils each had a leaf on the table, and with water colours were painting the leave and pressing it onto a blank paper

As I'm a wordsmith I normally don't try my hand at conventional art,  but, for the above picture above,  I helped a little guy mix the colours, press the leaf down and lift it carefully to reveal our artwork!  (I'm sure I saw the teacher frown at the smudge mark near the image!)

I had a message - which I'll divulge at the end - with photographic evidence,  for all the clubs.The teacher quietened the children and I was able to speak to them.

Next I visited the Science Club which was held outside. The pupils were creating a rainbow prism. They had a piece of glass in a basin of water and were reflecting it onto the veranda wall. I had a skeleton of a ghekko which I donated to the Science Club for their natural display.  Once again, the teacher called the pupils to form a semi circle around me and I delivered my message. They, like the Art Club, promised to heed my words. I don't know how, but I didn't take a photo of this club!

Caroline (the Head Teacher)  and I walked across the school field to where the Wildlife Club was busy with their project. This club is incredibly popular with the most members - 36! (Could it be that they get to go on weekend outings to the nature reserves?) The pupils are very dedicated and I found them preparing a wildlife garden. They'd already created a pond and I promised that I would take them some grasses and papyrus plants to fill up around the water feature. As the soil is clay there, I showed them how to add leaves and other dry material to improve it.

The Wildlife Club stood around me as I delivered the same message as I had to the previous two clubs

My final club to visit was the Journalism Club. As you can imagine, I had quite a few projects to share with them. I took my articles (in the SA magazines) and showed them my byline and bio. I also showed them my WIP (my recent two articles) and the revision and correction in red pen on the documents. I shared the fact that I'd been writing since I was twelve and today I write, write, write.  I didn't mention electronic writing i.e. Blogging as they don't have computers or access to the Internet. (they're 12 years and younger) I also stressed that it's hard work, writing. And conversely, it's also easy. You can write about anything. We discussed the many different topics and they became quite excited about the ideas.  

Then I showed them the photo I had brought as I put my message across. (warning: not for sensitive viewers)

On Sunday Sue had been at the dam and photographed, among other things, the little flock of storks. When she downloaded her photos at home, she was shocked to see the following:

The bird flew up everytime anyone approached it. Sue thought if they could catch it, saw off both ends of the arrow, they'd be able to pull it out, as it was through the crop. I 've been to  the dam twice while Sue's been away but the stork was nowhere to be seen.

I spoke to all the children that unnecessary pain inflicted onto a dumb animal is a no-no. One little lad said he thinks it's a young man who wants the bird's feathers. This could well be, I only hope he stayed around to collect the desired feathers when the birds finally dies/died. At the Wildlife Club the teacher stressed that the children shouldn't even kill a frog and they all agreed.

The head teacher has pasted this photo on the school notice board, each club has a photo in their classes. Each pupil said they 'd tell their older brothers, cousins, friends, who like to hunt, to take care not to aim at birds and animals that you cannot eat.

Let's hope that this photo made enough of an impression on pupil and teacher alike that they spread the word and so we may prevent a similar situation in the future.


  1. Jo, it seems the children are learning and thriving in all their clubs. I would love to be a part of the wildlife club too if I was a child. The photo of the bird with the arrow was very sad and I'm sure it made a huge impression on the children. It is important to get the message to them while they are still young. Thanks for all that you do with them!

  2. Hi Jo, I love reading your blog.. You have such an interesting life --and write so well to make it interesting to us.

    Good luck with the VERY important guests!!! I'm sure they'll appreciate your hard work cleaning the guest house.

    Great that you spoke to the school clubs... The kids can learn so much from you.. Sorry about the stork.. What a shame...

  3. I'm so glad you showed the photo to the children and talked to them about it. What a very dreadful end for a beautiful bird.

    —Kay, Alberta, Canada

  4. Wow, that image sends a powerful message, as I'm sure did your words.

  5. A great post , Jo! I also love reading about your life in Kenya. I would have loved to be in a wildlife club when I was young. The stork photo is distrubing and I am glad you had a talk with the children about hurting the wildlife. BTW, I love the cute bird on your header. I hope you have a great day!

  6. I hope the VIP's appreciate your efforts to make them comfortable. Well done with your work with the school children. Poor bird!

  7. Ooooo, that's one painful picture to watch! But the bird seems to be surviving?! He should get a medal for that! Loved to follow you on your visit, Jo. It's interesting you did not talk to them about blogging and stuff that is not relevant - so many Westerners come and talk about everything outside people's reach and anything that has to do with the Internet is exceptionally fashionable right now. But the knowledge you shared was really useful!
    Warm greetings from your friend in West Africa!

  8. You could not have illustrated your message more powerfully, Jo! That poor bird! Apart from the unsettling image, this was another really enjoyable post. I loved seeinf Mrs Selous's sewing area and the faces of all those expectant children waiting hopefully in the background! It's always nice to hear how the school clubs are getting on and to know that you're continuing to give valuable input. Big hug, Des xoxo

  9. Jo, what a great way to teach respect for wildlife. You are a very capable writer and I love all the pictures and stories about life in Africa.

  10. There you go again, saving the world in your own special way, hats off to you girl!

  11. By explaining difficult subjects, you're doing your best to help the kids learn how to be good people.
    I love seeing the local school and hearing about the students.

  12. Love to read about your life there ! What a cleaning ! It hurts me when I saw the poor stork !
    I don't know what I would have done to the one who did that !

  13. I love seeing photos of businesses in Kenya and other African countries. It's amazing what they can fabricate with so little money and simple tools and machines.

    Kudos to you for volunteering your time in the camp's school. The kids at the school look very earnest and sweet. It's great that there are so many clubs available for the kids. And even bigger KUDOS for talking to them about not causing cruelty to animals. That was painful to look at. I hope the poor stork does not die a long, slow painful death due to infection from that arrow.


Thank you for visiting my blog and taking the time to leave a comment. I appreciate your feedback. Jo