Archive for May, 2016

Rugby

May 25, 2016

Sunday
Our last day here for this trip – and finally a slow morning.

Then off to Rugby! It’s Sally and Stuart’s (Angel Kindergarten / Lunchbowl Network) brand new initiative for the kids of Kibera.

115 kids aged from 5-12 years. Some of them from the Angel kindergarten, some from the Saturday Lunchbowl feeding program in the slums. All of them excited to be donning a uniform and learning some rugby skills.

The coaches are volunteers from Rugby Kenya (not bad!) & everyone gets a hot lunch – always a bonus.

It’s only week 3 of this new venture but it’s pretty clear everyone is loving it. As usual there’s a thousand people behind the scenes making it look easy when in fact, getting 115 kids bussed from Kibera, changed, trained, fed and back again on a Sunday is no small thing. Hats off to Sally and Stuart (and their kids who are all involved somehow or other) for another amazing program.

As always there is plenty to keep us amused. We love the kids names – ‘Gift’, ‘Goodluck’ ‘Blessing’ and today, we had both ‘Barak Obama’ and ‘Bill Clinton’!! Really!!

We served food, cleaned boots and played with the kids.imageimageimageimageimageimage

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Safaricom

May 23, 2016

Saturday
We went into town to meet with Elizabeth, who runs Ghetto Classics and more recently, the Safaricom Orchestra. Think major sponsorship from one of Kenya’s biggest companies. Certainly the biggest telco here.

The orchestra is a wonderful opportunity for teens from a wide variety of backgrounds to come together and make music. Entry is by audition and there are wealthy kids, slum kids and middle class kids.

Safaricom is providing instruments, rehearsal space, tuition, performance opportunities. Good stuff.

Elizabeth originally sourced our Kenyan AMS teachers – they came through the Ghetto Classics program at Korogocho. It was great to update each other on where we are at, how each of them are going and what new opportunities lie ahead.

Turns out there are some big ideas around – Elizabeth is keen to put the AMS courses into new areas in Kenya and is currently talking to Mombassa County about training new AMS teachers… Watch this space!

While we have been here it’s been great to see street lights go in for the first time around the Karen area (where we are living). It makes a HUGE difference to the feel, security and driving in the area.

As we were coming home late afternoon the guys were up the pole working. And when we drove past again a few hours later they were still working away – pitch black and well into the evening. It’s nuts here.imageimageimage

Training

May 21, 2016

Friday
Early start to battle the traffic, which was so bad on Ngong road that our driver took a different route through some of the village areas. The shops are amazing – (photos don’t do them justice) love some of the names…!

Over 2 hours later (and really not all that far) we arrived. I swear if it was safe it would be faster to walk.

I trained teacher Celine in the Junior Starter Course and all 4 of our teachers in the next module of Super Starter.

Such an encouraging experience. They are smart, insightful and thorough.

It was our last day with them for this trip. Bill spoke to them about their future, our future and our hopes for them over the next year.

Each of them made a small speech thanking us for our support, talking about their lives and telling us what they they have learned – still gives me goosebumps.

We took off into the centre of Nairobi City to the ‘Credible Sounds’ music store (which some of you may remember from our last trip) to buy 4 new keyboards so that we can run ‘Junior Starter’ at the Angel Kindergarten. I’m happy to report that this time was a whole lot more straightforward than the last!! We didn’t get arrested, we didn’t get ripped off, we didn’t get lost and it didn’t take 7 hours. Yay!!

We did come home with 4 nice new instruments all ready for teacher Celine to begin next week!imageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimage

Rain!

May 19, 2016

Thursday
It rained all night and all morning. It’s the wet season, so we were expecting to have rain this trip but hadn’t seen any til now.

As a result, the roads were far worse than usual (which we didn’t think was possible!). As we remarked at the amount of water everywhere, our driver David exclaimed ‘Well this was all swamp! You are not supposed to be able to build a house or drive a car here. Where is the water supposed to go!?’ Meanwhile we are passing buildings several stories high, stone fences that are on a decent lean and cars and trucks doing their best to muddle through the potholes.

We passed a Matatu (still full of people) missing it’s front wheel and totally stuck in the mud.

David then told us about a huge hotel not far away that is built on a swamp and is ridiculously unstable. It was supposed to be demolished but it belongs to a member of parliament… Say no more. Insert long rant by driver as to the corruption of the Kenyan government …

But it was when we reached Kibera that the water took on a new significance. We know how unsanitary and filthy it is even when the weather is gorgeous. The red dirt path we’ve come to know was a fast flowing river today. Full of pigs, rubbish, sewerage and goodness knows what else.

We had a wonderful day at the Angel Kindergarten training 2 brand new teachers – Ruby & Faith. They’ve both been teachers at the kindergarten for a while now and they’ll be doing our Mini Musos course with all the 3 and 4 year olds. They are going to be wonderful!!

A day at Angel

May 17, 2016

Tuesday

The Angel Kindergarten is just inside the Kibera slum. There are several hundred little ones from 3-7 years attending Angel each day. They are the very poorest of the poor.

Kibera, one of Nairobi’s biggest slums is 4 square kms and home to (estimated) over a million people. (Lots more about this in previous posts).

Sally is Brittish and moved here 2 years ago with her husband and 4 kids. She runs the Angel Kindergarten (amongst other things.) Early this year they moved Angel to new premises and have since tripled in enrollments. What Sally is doing here is nothing short of incredible.

Sally ‘picked us’ this morning and we had a great drive hearing all the latest news and catching up. She was very relaxed as she pointed out all the spots near the kindy where shootings have taken place recently and proudly showed us the new stone wall and razor wire surrounding their compound.

The new location is gorgeous! The Astro turf went down last week and has totally transformed the space. There are new classrooms, lots of equipment and a large hall. It’s colorful and happy – and has a full view of the slum straight out the hall window.

As usual we were met with great excitement – we know many of the kids from our last visits and they were very affectionate! (Husband got mobbed) (And loved it). It was wonderful to see them. Hundreds of happy little treasures with big smiles.

We led songs with the older kids in their Assembly Time, watched our teacher Celine teach a ‘Mini Musos’ class (brilliant) and then did several hours of further training with all 4 of our Kenyan AMS teachers (who travel anywhere between 2-3.5 hours to get here.)

We have so much work to do but our teachers are clever, quick and keen to learn. They loved the new round of AMS shirts and were delighted with the new flash cards and magnet boards that we brought from home.

We’re back!

May 16, 2016

Monday
It was with equal amounts of excitement and trepidation that we set off for Korogocho this morning, to watch our 4 Kenyan AMS teachers teach the ‘Super Starter’ course.

Korogocho¬†is one of Nairobi’s largest slums – and arguably the most dangerous. We set up the program and trained the teachers last September and we are here to see how it’s all going and do some more….

Alex, our driver didn’t like the idea of taking us there as its too dangerous, so he took us about halfway and then we changed to Samuel, who is more familiar with the territory.

As has always been the case, the drive is amazing. I’m past the point of feeling like I need a Valium to make the trip – but the sights, potholes and crazy driving never get old.

As we got to a ‘jam’ (completely stopped traffic) on the edge of the Korogocho area, we asked Samuel if we were in a safe area. ‘No. No, not safe. There are many bad guys here. And the bad guys here have guns. They don’t like visitors. I don’t know how they know each other but they know we we are not from here. It’s not safe’. Ok thanks. Let’s get moving then?

People everywhere. Rubbish everywhere. Goats everywhere. Buses everywhere. Dust everywhere.

We can’t take many photos because you can’t be seen to make eye contact or show a phone or a camera… But we got a few.

We made it into or compound and we were delighted to see our teachers!!

After a good old meeting and catch up, we watched each one of them teach a class. I am thrilled to report that they have far exceeded our expectations and are doing a brilliant job! The classes are thriving- singing, playing & reading beautifully. Smiles all around – We are astonished and impressed.

It took us over 2.5 hours to get home. Awful traffic. And a husband who stubbornly likes to keep his window down the whole way even though we are being warned that its a notorious area and we need to be safely locked in our car. Grrr!!

Training stars tomorrow!