Saturday, January 06, 2007

Volunteer work in Nakuru, Kenya

Volunteer work In Kenya - By Annabel Laister
I decided to come to Kenya in April 2006, I saw AVIF advertised on the Internet and was able to find the money to fund myself to get out to Nairobi for the 27th July 2006.
Matt, Kirsty, Kelly and I have chosen Nakuru and LDK as our placement. Yesterday we were driven to the school/orphanage where we will be teaching for the next month. It is called the Virginia M. Buena School and is only half way from being finished. It is a large school with over 200 children attending with 96 living in the Orphanage. Stepping out of the 4 wheel drive in their dusty playground to see a little boy with the most rustic kite I've ever seen was a type of culture shock I am not used to.
The children are charming of course, and recite poems and sing songs for us. We were shown the top kindergarten class who recited the poem The End by AA Milne, which was perfectly done with actions and everything! The last line I love the most which is Now we will be 6 forever and ever, such a wonderful age. Obedient and fun, they look like a pleasure to teach.
At home at the compound and office of LDK so far we are being very well looked after we have accommodation with electricity and a Maasai guard at night. Breakfast and lunch is cooked for us and we only have to buy the food. At weekends we are free and are hoping to see the famous Lake Nakuru and maybe take a trip back to Kinja. As we walked back from the school through the slums today every child greeted us with Jambo!! or Habari and HOW ARE YOU!!! Shouted from far off, some said Mzungu which means white person. Ken the manager of the school who was escorting us said they know why we are here and have seen other volunteers before. The drought was very long this year and there is no harvest but now the rains have been and gone there is some maize to be had.
Day 1 of teaching
Today I helped teacher Sofi with her class of 27 children aged 7-9.
First of all the whole class greeted me by standing up and chanting, good-morning teacher, WELCOME! I thanked them for receiving me so politely. They recited a poem by AA Milne called The End. They knew it word for word but I was wondering actually how much of the poem they understood.
After this we did some English games using a deck of cards they each chose a card and had to tell the class a number of things about themselves or at least some words in English. They know the parts of the body, and basic vocab like, cup, tree, house, hen, cow, man etc. Then we went outside for break, I stayed inside sorting through the exams of the children and realized there were huge gaps in their levels of writing and comprehension. After break we had outside time which is their sort of PE, they did exercises and breathing and I taught them the game Simon Says and What 's the time Mr wolf, which we had a lot of fun playing. Then back to class where we went through the seasons and played hangman with the new vocabulary they learned today.
At 12.30 it was time to get ready for their lunch. We have been told that the children usually only get one meal a day as when they go home they do not get supper. Huge vats of rice, beans and cabbage were carried by two young school boys and a long table was set up outside in the playground. The children queued up to get their lunch and sat down waiting to pray before starting their meal. Some of us left with heavy hearts seeing the way they have so little and we have so much. It is a real eye opening experience and forces one to rethink one's attitude to material possessions and all the junk we buy. These children have practically nothing, just the poetry that comes from their mouths.
David our Maasai night watchman has arrived I can hear him softly speaking his language, its time for my maasai/kiswahili/English exchange lesson!
Monday August 7, 2006
Today we were taken to the school to spend some time with the orphans. I met Emily Juma the housemother. She has been working with them for only 4 months but seems to have settled in well. She doubles up as librarian also and speaks very good English. We taught the orphans how to play Red Rover which they liked then we followed them upstairs to listen to them sing and dance. Two little boys were drumming on a tin bucket and an old rusty wheel barrow, the rest of the class sang and danced. It was heartening to see them happy and having what fun they can with the little they have.

Thursday, January 04, 2007


From The Edge's "Reasons to be Cheerful", asking 160 scientists and intellectuals for their thoughts :

Senior Consultant (and Former Editor-In-Chief and Publishing Director), New Scientist

The Sunlight-Powered Future
I'm optimistic about…a pair of very big numbers. The first is 4.5 x 10ˆ20 (4,500,000,000,000,000,000,000). That is the current world annual energy use, measured in joules. It is a truly huge number and not usually a cause for optimism as 70 per cent of that energy comes from burning fossil fuels.
Thankfully, the second number is even bigger: 3,000,000 x 10ˆ20 joules. That is the amount of clean, green energy that pours down on the Earth totally free of charge every year. The Sun is providing 7,000 times as much energy as we are using, which leaves plenty for developing China, India and everyone else. How can we not be optimistic? We don't have a long-term energy problem. Our only worries are whether we can find smart ways to use that sunlight efficiently and whether we can move quickly enough from the energy systems we are entrenched in now to the ones we should be using.........