African Adventure #5

Luanda Travel Blog

 › entry 6 of 9 › view all entries

Last Friday I was formally presented to the students at Esalwa Secondary School during their morning flag raising/prayer ceremonies. As I walked out into the center of a huge circle of 600 students, I felt quite nervous. They quietly ooohed and awwwed at me partly because I was wearing a Tanzanian dress that Chris had given me 3 years ago. They all had huge smiles on their faces as the principal introduced me to all of the students. As I stared back at the 600+ smiling faces, I told them about myself and why I had come to Kenya. They all clapped when I was done and said JAMBO really loudly....what a great welcome!!!
Last week I observed several different math and science classes at each grade level: Form 1 (9th grade), Form 2 (10th grade), Form 3 (11th grade) and Form 4 (12th grade). All of the teachers and students were very welcoming and wanted to know all about me and the education system in America. It still amazes me that 40-50 students can pay attention so well for such a long period of time... They are in school from 7am until 4 pm and then study again from 7-10pm every night....and all of this with only a chalkboard, chalk, no electricity, and rundown old wooden desks.  They are definitely very dedicated, honest, hardworking, and curious children who have the initiative to run the classes on their own if the teacher is out ill for the day. I can't say that I have ever seen American students take that kind of initiative! 
Today they started taking their end of term exams, which will run for two weeks. During that time I am helping the math and science students review their material and I will also help the teachers mark the exams next week. On the weekends I am enjoying visits with the Deputy (Assistant Principal) and other teachers. This past Saturday, I went with her (Isabel) and her daughter (Elvira) to visit her other daughter, who is away at high school in another village. It took us 2 hours to get there on three different buses, all while umbrella-less in the heaviest rain I have seen here yet...oh how I miss my STi!! :-) It was a great day and a wonderful visit with her daughter. I especially enjoyed using my umbrella inside the bus since the roof was leaking, all while 3 chickens were clucking in my face. You gotta love the bus rides in third world countries. On Sunday, I rode on the back of a boda boda (the local bicycle taxi system) into a nearby town so that Isabel could go to the 'salon' to get her hair done. We also did some shopping at the local markets as well. It was a nice, relaxing weekend spent with my neighbor/school Deputy, Isabel.
Since writing last week about the snake incident, I found out that the snake in the classroom was a mamba, which of course is in the top 10 list of most venomous snakes in the world.... Needless to say, my sleep has not been so well as of late. With all of God's creatures trying to share my bedroom with me (spiders, cockroaches, mosquitoes, geckos, lizards, etc), it has made sleeping somewhat of a challenge. I have figured out that if I leave the hall light on, I don't have as many visitors at night. As long as the electricity is working (it almost goes out on a daily basis due to the rain/wind), hopefully leaving the light on will help me sleep more soundly. Thus far, that has been my only challenge.... So, things are going well!! However, I still have moments of missing home, mostly friends/family, food, and the fast internet connection...oh, and of course my STi. Anyway, I have to get back to school to help the students review for their exams. I will write again next week, either from Kisumu or once I get to Mombasa on Friday.
Kelly :-)

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