#18 Another Crazy Day Thursday, July 7, 2015
Catherine came to spend last night and to attend Rotary with me. Everyone welcomed her as she knows almost everyone in the Naivasha club. Our speaker was a man from Equity Bank who came to explain their new program of on-line banking through the phone. Not everyone has a computer her, by far, but virtually everyone has a phone. It seemed like a great system, which avoids long bank queues—a pain in the backside here. Why can’t banks figure out how annoying it is to waste an hour, maybe more, in a queue. The tellers are sluggish and too few, but with this new program much of that can be avoided.
Of course Catherine and I talked all evening until we were both bleary-eyed. She was up and out early this morning to chair a workshop at local hotel. Life Bloom has been in existence for 11 years, during which time extensive programs have been developed. The are now beginning to be duplicated in other places. She has persisted through thick and thin, mostly thin, to keep LB alive, even when there was no money to pay staff. It’s still very dicey for them, but knowing how important their work is, they just soldier on and hope for the best. Despite some periods of discouragement over lack of funding, Catherine knows she can’t let that vital organization fade away.
This morning I had some time for a shower, shampoo and clothes washing. The latter is best done in the shower, because the water drips and splashes all over—so my clothes would be all wet, if I had any on. I put off this chore as long as possible, but now it’s done and I have clean undies for another week! Bliss!
I had promised to teach a form 3 class at Ndingi yesterday, but when I arrived I learned the school was to attend the burial of a form 3 student who had passed away. Evidently he sickened not too long ago and just died. So sad. So I returned today to teach them about vectors—questions that are almost always on the KCSE. They are deceptively easy, but look confusing, so student often skip them. Their teacher is Elizabeth, a lovely young woman who has been at Ndingi for 4 or 5 years. She sat in on the class and paid me the ultimate compliment, “I even learned something myself, the way you teach it.” Having never seen the topic I had struggled with it myself until I realized just what was going on. Now it’s easy and I think the boys thought it was easy too. The person who first showed me had just said, “Do this and do that,” but without letting me see the point, what is the problem about. I had to figure that out myself and now I am very proud of myself, because I do think I explain it well (she said with undue modesty!)
Off to SFG from Ndingi, I arrived in time to do a bit of work before long-time friends from US, Carol and Ron Clazie arrived. They are in Kenya to do a safari, but planned 3 days here in Naivasha to see the school and other projects which they have helped to fund. It was about 1 pm, which is when I work each day with 5 lowest performing math students in either form 3 east or west, or form 4 east or west. Half an hour isn’t much, but if each of those students could raise her math score by even 10 points the accumulation would have a big impact. Sometimes student just need to know that someone noticed their struggle and cared enough to offer help—and some have simply given up. I can’t tell by looking which is which, but when they come to the library they are attentive and always tell me earnestly that the session helped. Somehow we do need to convince the girls that not only is math doable and not that hard, but also that it is very important in their futures. Uphill work at best!
Back in the staffroom, Ron and Carol witnessed my daily abuse from Janet and now Margaret, who now tells me she’s changing her name to Margo. After I wrote about Janet’s and my visit to the market last week, Margo (nee Margaret) insisted I had to write about her and include her picture. Here she is along with Ms Sassy Janet.
We spent almost an hour touring the school, of which they had read for years and had seen many pictures. Today was not a bread baking day, but they got to taste the really yummy product. We toured the garden and the cow barn and finally I noticed they were tired. They’d come in at 10 pm last night and arrived at their hotel at about midnight after the grueling longs flights I’ve described many times.
After a brief tour of “Margo’s House,” which is sufficiently modest in size that a brief tour can be brief indeed, they took off in their rental car for their hotel and a nap while I went off to the ETW office to meet with Fr. Kiriti. We sorted out a few things and decided to go to the Naivasha Sports Club (also the home of Rotary Naivasha), to await Joyce, as he’d wanted to consult with the 2 of us. Having eaten a small lunch, I was feeling a bit peckish, but alas, the NSC was closed for the afternoon break. We drove down towards the lake where there are many lovely hotels, and eventually decided to stop at the Naivasha Country Club Hotel, where Ron and Carol are staying. Walking in we saw Ron in the gift shop getting a map. They both joined us for a bit of relaxation as well as to plan tomorrow’s adventures.
Ron and Carol had each brought a bag of books, as well as the rest of the hand-knitted scarves which are given each year to the form 4’s. I was just unpacking the books and putting them on the books shelves when my passel of 6th grade boys arrived. They took one look at all those books and dived right in. “HARRY POTTER!!!!” They all squealed and Julius grabbed book 1 first. Danson wanted to start with book 5, but I insisted they had to be read in order. I had asked another visitor to bring a copy of 1 and 5—forgetting they were in those bags. So sorry Mary Anne, but the duplicate copies will be read and enjoyed. Here are my guys, clowning like any 6th grade boys would do!
Joseph in peaking under Danson’s arm (note his new reading glasses). Next are Patrick, Julius, Jackson and Brian. They are such great kids and I can’t wait for them to get to high school so I can teach them math as well. ACH! They are so bright. Their English is really good, and of course improving as they continue to read. What a kick! It was Judy who encouraged them to come in to borrow books. She and I had both brought as many as we could and at the end of our stay, we gave all of them away. Some of the books they chose are pretty long so I don’t know how many will be back tomorrow, but they are excited about the new collection. They’ll be back!