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NCS Kenya Blog: Day Four

7 April 2018

We catch-up with our National Citizen Service Co-Ordinator, Vicki Burton as she and her colleagues and graduates continue their African adventure.

Jambo everyone and thanks for sticking with me as we reach Day 4 of our trip.

We were down for breakfast at 7:30am and, sticking to what they promised, Ellie L and Taylor were the first ones down again, with smiley faces too! I’m led to believe this will be a huge surprise to their families! We had breakfast with Leah before she took us to the bus ready to leave at 8:30am. Unfortunately we didn’t leave until 8:35am as Louis, Louise and Ellie H all forgot to take their anti-malarial medication.

The bus we rode in today was much bigger, and can only be described as a rickety, old school bus. The bigger bus meant the uneven roads affected us even more and how we didn’t tip over I will never know! As we pulled up to Jubilee Academy, the children again ran excitedly to the gate to welcome us. They sang their welcome song again and smiled and waved at their favourite ‘Zum zum’ that they had met the day before.

We put our bags into our small room and I paid Edith our money for the t-shirts and bracelets we ordered. Altogether it came to 24,500KSh, approximately £185. We were delighted to learn that this would provide meals for the children for an entire term while not breaking the bank for each of us individually.

We then went outside and sat on the ledge that runs around the outside of the classrooms. We were treated to some more entertainment; this time around 25 children marched across the playground in three lines and stopped in front of us. The oldest and biggest boy in the school gave instructions out to the children who performed marches and manoeuvres to his voice and a beat. My little friend Eno then marched to the flag pole as a similar aged girl followed him. Eno led a chant while the girl unfurled the school flag and raised it up the pole. The whole school then saluted the flag and pledged the school motto while doing so. It was very humbling to watch and, as yesterday, the performance was fantastic. The children then lined up and went into their classrooms.

Meanwhile, we were greeted by Gilbert who told us the plan for the day. Using shovels we were to dig up the soil/gravel and pass it through a metal sheet in order to sieve out the stones. We needed to fill four wheelbarrows worth of soil and transport it in front the new toilet block (three wooden doors, some mud for walls and three holes in the floor) in order to mix it to make cement. Craig, Ellie H and Angie worked hard with Gilbert to prepare the cement.

While we were sieving the soil, two other local volunteers were making something with wood. Only ten minutes after they started, they produced a strong and sturdy 6-foot ladder; totally incredible! They used this to reach the top of the water tank on the school playground. The two volunteers then used the first batch of cement to complete the new toilet block whilst the newly-formed ‘Soil Squad’ continued to sieve soil for the next batch of cement that will be used for our classroom floor and walls. For reference, the ‘Soil Squad’ is a tight-knit team made up of intelligent, hard-working and humorous group members called Ellie L, Taylor, Will, Luke, Louis and Vicki (aka yours truly)!

Once we sieved enough soil to fill the Burn Valley, Gilbert told us to break for lunch as we needed to wait until Monday to make the second batch of cement for the classroom. As there aren’t enough tools for us all to work, we take turns and those of us without tools spend time with the children.

Because they spent some time in the classroom this morning, we had the chance to experience something different. The classroom environment was really strange; the children just sat there doing nothing while a teacher, if they even had one in their classroom, stood there too. I’m not sure if this is what usually happens but we were told that the children have already sat their exams and so don’t have any work to do now. I think they’re actually supposed to be off school this week for a break but because we are visiting, the school has remained open.

Finding it quite awkward watching the children sit in silence, we decided to play hangman using English words in a few different classes. The children enjoyed the interaction and having a turn to lead the game. Meanwhile Yazmin had gone to visit a younger class and was given the fantastic opportunity to lead a mini-lesson! She did a counting game with the children, who thoroughly enjoyed it. It was beginning to get extremely hot and the midday sun was affecting even the local children, most of whom were sitting in the shade on the ledges. Thankfully our dinner arrived shortly after Gilbert dismissed us and it gave us chance to rest and get out of the sun for a while.

Dinner didn’t go down too well with the group today; huge bones in the stew was a little bit off-putting! The children played outside all afternoon and since we had no building work left, we joined them. There was an older student there today, aged 17, and we think she must be related to one of the teachers as the school do not allow non-students onto the playground. Anyway, she was an incredible footballer! She told me she played for a ladies team in Kenya and I told her about Norton, the team that myself, Ellie H, Paige and Louise play for. She asked could we bring her home to play for Norton which was quite heart-wrenching as she genuinely meant it.

Just across the playground, some of our boys were playing football with the younger boys again. We had some humour this afternoon when one of the boys decided to take off his shoes and play in bare feet, and proceeded to tackle Craig. As a result, Craig accidentally kicked the boy’s toe and the boy walked off and sat on the ledge as Craig apologised. He then went inside came out with a bandage on his foot and wouldn’t speak to Craig, and walked normally until we were looking and his limp magically reappeared, much to his teacher’s amusement (and ours!).

We had a good laugh just before we left; some of the girls were asking about Amy’s eyelashes and one of them went to pull them gently, only to find out they were false and one came off in her hand! She was shocked and thought she had hurt Amy, but soon began to laugh when Amy and I burst into hysterics. She then pulled off the other one and continued laughing!

We were collected from school at 3:30pm and headed to a shopping centre to buy drinks and snacks before some of the group went to KFC! The rain was pouring outside at the time. We got back on the bus and headed to a local craft shop. The roads were heaving and no rules seem to apply; people pull out on each other and drive on embankments to overtake two cars and pull back in, but apart from the odd beep of the horn, there’s no road rage! There must be accidents every day, especially with the amount of cyclists and motorbikes on the road. At the craft shop we met up with Leah and she reminded us to haggle for what we wanted. The crafts were amazing and everyone collected gifts to bring home, including Kenya football shirts!

Once we arrived back at Jarika hotel, Leah briefed us about tomorrow’s exciting safari day. I don’t want to spoil tomorrow’s blog by giving too much away. While we had the briefing it was raining, which meant there were millions (not even exaggerating) of huge flies surrounding and coming into the room. Leah told us that certain tribes eat them! They’re harmless but nevertheless, we sent Angie and Leah on a killing spree, leaving dead flies all over the room. It was like being on ‘I’m a Celeb’! One landed on the table and Luke flicked it at me even though I begged him not to. Don’t worry though, I’ll get him back!

We had a quiet night playing cards in the lobby while Angie struggled to stay awake mid-game! An early night tonight as we are up for breakfast tomorrow at 7am!

Kwaheri,

Vicki.


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