It was bound to happen. Thirty-one (31!!!!!!) kids showed up today, although not all at 9 am! I believe the most I’ve ever had on day 1 was 10 or 12. I had to grab a chair from my house, as we have only 30 chairs in the Mji Wa Neema dining. Nineteen are from Mary Fry’s group, shepherded here by James Mugo, her on-the-ground right hand man. He’s a super wonderful young man, 3rd year university student who makes sure kids are in school, are doing well, show up for tuitioning and generally move on toward adulthood and higher education. Here is my group. Note that the front is all boys and the back is girls (and boys who arrived late). By Tuesday they’ll be all mixed together. Most of them know each other from elementary school. That’s Beatrice (back right) and next to her is Mary, both of Mji.
As usual we began by making a list of topics they wanted to learn more about, then started right down the list. #1 surds (square roots) We dispatched that issue in less than one hour and afterwards one of the boys from Archbishop Ndingi said the nicest thing, “I always thought surds were really hard, but the way you taught it made it easy.” Wow! Can a teacher ask for a nicer evaluation than that?
I tried to arrange for teachers of other subjects to come as well and while I wasn’t totally successful, Mr. Wafubwa of SFG came at noon and taught chemistry. The kids seemed very happy with what they got, but we’ll see how many come back on Monday.
I don’t think I mentioned that it has been raining of late. In fact it began raining in the middle of Wednesday night and rained most of the day on Thursday (yesterday). Fortunately I had brought in my laundry earlier. I was afraid it would be rainy today, which might keep many of the kids from coming. It didn’t. Rain is very welcome because if it doesn’t rain for 4 days, the dust is terrible. It gets in my lungs and I cough a lot, plus the car gets so dirty! I could ask the kids to wash it for me, but there is no point. I drive up to school and by the time I’ve traversed the road into school, the car is dust-covered again. So I’m glad it rained. Once every 4 days would be perfect, but….
Mary Sangok came this afternoon with her 3-year old daughter Gwenivere—not sure of the spelling, but it doesn’t matter because she’s known as Gwen. While Mary and I chatted Gwen busied herself decorating a napkin. She’s very cute and not at all shy with me. Mary’s school has had a long holiday, but she goes back to U. of Nairobi shortly and wanted to bring Gwen by to say good-bye.
Several days ago I bit the bullet and purchased 2 lavender plastic chairs so I’ve have someplace besides by often-messy kitchen to entertain. My “sitting room” doubles as the entrance hall and is really small, as you see. I took this picture standing in the doorway to Judy/Alison’s room.
As well as being the entrance hall and the “sitting room” it serves as a store room for extra bottles of water, canisters of gas, mop bucket and home for the coat rack that Judy had made several years ago. (Brilliant idea!) There are now 3 of them, one for each bedroom as well.
(pause while I go to Julia’s)
For the 10 years that I’ve lived in Mji Wa Neema I’ve visited Julia and sat on the hardest understuffed chairs you can imagine. It was like sitting on the baseboard, although in fact they had a very thin foam pad. I guess I’m a slow learner, because only 2 days ago did it occur to me that new foam could be bought just down the road for very cheap. Today was the big day and we’ve now installed the new pads. Oh my, it’s wonderful—actually a bit stiff, but foam softens with time. Julia was really pleased and I must say I will be happier when I visit her as well.
We took lots of pix, but these are the best. With us are big Esther and Johnson, her small son, who no longer cries when he sees me. In fact, I sometimes get a smile!
Johnson, me, Julia and Esther, below Joyce, Johnson and Esther.
As you see, Julia’s sitting room isn’t very big either, but it’s twice the size of mine.