#11 The Nine + a Few Other Things
Both SFG and Ndingi are out for 4 days of midterm break. Sometimes students have been “retained” because they were not doing well. Needless to say they were angry and didn’t improve much. This time the faculty decided it should be voluntary. Of 270 girls, 9 decided to stay. Friday morning (not too early) I arrived to find them in one room, all studying. We discussed what we could work on and decided to do form 1 topics first, even though there were 2’s, 3’s and 4’s as well. We tackled some hard topics and some easy ones, taking it step by step. I’m learning more about how to break a complicated question into parts so that when we take on the whole, they won’t get lost. One student asked me a question I simply could not think through. Only after I went home did I realize there was insufficient information. I couldn’t solve it as presented because it wasn’t solvable.
We worked until I could see they were done! On overload, wanted no more math for awhile. So I went home, and only when I got there did I realize how tired I was. Naps are lovely! In the meantime M had come for her help. Evidently she knocked my door for 10 minutes and I didn’t hear it. Must have been really out.
Next day I went back and found the 9 much refreshed and ready for another round. I asked the girl where she had found the question and sure enough, she had omitted a vital number. It was still a complicated question, but I think they were getting it.
As always, I find kids are hindered by not having their own calculator, box of geometry tools (protractor, compass, etc) as well as having to share a book. One girl without a calculator was Joyce from Mji Wa Neema. I asked whether she had spoken to Julia about it. Yes. She said my grandmother had to buy it. Can your grandmother do that? No. Later I conferred with Julia and yes, grandmother is very, very poor. ARGH! Judy and I have provided money for the children for those needs, but sometimes it just doesn’t happen. But now Joyce has her own calculator, which will be passed on to Lukas in 2 years when Joyce is finished with high school and later to Joseph when Lukas is finished. The calculator cost a bit more than $9!!!
What’s so sad is Joyce really struggles with math. I’ve tutored her for years, and she tries so hard to understand, but….. Although I did see that look on her face for some of the lesson, telling me she understood. Hope springs eternal.
At teatime, I joined the girls and after telling them how much I admired them for staying at school when they wanted to go home, I asked each why she had stayed. They mentioned the courses they want to focus on and for 7 of the 9, you guessed it, math was #1 on the list.
I didn’t stay so long that day because I had promised to attend the installation of new officers in the Naivasha Rotary. Having attended last year, I figured it would not start on time, so went an hour late. Fortunately I had been given a starting time that was an hour earlier that the correct time, because it did start pretty much on time. They are a fun group, as is my Menlo Park Rotary group, and they served a great meal, which meant I didn’t have to cook – always a gift to me!
This is Juanita (pronounced here just like it’s spelled), outgoing president. The large ribbon around her neck is the symbol of her office and contains a name pin of every president since the club was chartered in 2002.
I was sitting at a table of friends and members of Life Bloom, one of whom is the sister of the incoming president, Pauline. While we sat there, a phone call came from a 3rd sister. On her way to the installation she was in a matatu accident, but only scratched. Both sisters were so proud of Pauline. Everyone was greatly relieved when the 3rd sister arrived and all could see she was virtually unscathed.
Here are the 3 sisters, Pauline in the middle, uninjured sister too.
This morning I was rushing about trying to get ready for mass when a knock revealed M, wanting to attend with me. Her 2 older sisters were coming later in the morning to visit, and I had encouraged her to come too, but not at 8:15! I left her in the kitchen with the paper while I finished dressing and off we went, almost late, but as it turned out, the 7 am mass was still going on and 8:30 mass began at 9:15, which made the 10:30 mass begin at about 11:15. A 3rd mass has been added because the town, and therefore the Catholic population, is growing. Masses here are generally 2 hours, but for some reason they didn’t schedule them at 7, 9 and 11. Even at that they might be squeezed from time to time. Oh well, I’m not in charge of scheduling, nor anything else. They’ll sort it out in time.
When M’s 2 sisters arrived they were so happy to see her, the youngest. The girls are all quite pretty and each has her gifts and knows exactly what she wants in life. D is the oldest, and loves small children. She works as a “house help,” saving her money to return to school for Early Childhood Ed. She wants to open her own center. The middle sister is at university, a fortunate SFG graduate who did very well on the KCSE and has a sponsor who is sending her on. She is majoring in social work and wants to work with disadvantaged women and youth. M wants to be an engineer. What impresses me is these girls came from such a difficult home life. Each has a different father, the mother is an alcoholic and is erratic, never gave them the love and support they needed. Instead of going to the streets as many girls have had to do, these girls supported each other and the bonds are very strong. We had a lovely breakfast, scrambled eggs and toast, but I had agreed to meet Fr. Kiriti in the early afternoon, so I dropped the 3 off at M’s house and proceeded on to give Fr. K the document he needed to present to the bishop. Only in my haste, I had forgotten it in my room. ARGH!!! Run back to get it, give to Fr. K, drive back home in the Sunday afternoon traffic, and miss being broadsided by a matatu backing out onto the road by about 2 Nano-meters. Anyone who thinks my reflexes are waning at these advanced years should have seen how fast I hit that horn! Shaking my head in disbelief, I finally made it back home to try to solve today’s Sudoku (couldn’t get it)
Had dinner in the dining room with the few remaining residents. From left, Magdalene, SFG class of 2014. She is here to take a computer course here in the church compound. She begins school in September, wants to be in media loves to perform, is a great dancer and singer, and quite beautiful. Next is Joseph (better known as the Peanut Butter Thief—4th grade) Julia is the matron here and just wonderful. Across is Lukas, older brother to Joseph, 7th grade and a strong student. He was the main butt of teasing tonight because he is into his growing boy appetite and can consume vast quantities. Selina is also of SFG class 2014. She does the computer class too and will enter nursing school in September. She has been so good to me and to Julia in her recovery from surgery. Selina will make a great nurse.