Today we had at least as many as yesterday, but not sure exactly how many b/c we split the group. I taught forms 1 & 2 this morning, with about 35, but some of them were 3 and 4 who sneaked in. At 10:30 a young math teacher, Felicitas, from Ndingi came to help out. She taught the 3’s and 4’s while I took the 1’s and 2’s to another building in the compound—the only one I know of with a blackboard. My horoscoe for this week said something about thinking big, but never did I think this big! It could turn out to be the beginning of something even bigger for next year. The idea of free tuitioning is popular. Most of the kids are from Mji Wa Neema or are from Mary Fry’s group of kids from a very poor area. These are kids who could never afford private tuitioning like the more affluent kids get. So I feel really good about leveling the playing field a bit. Having the Ndingi teacher come may encourage more of them to join in next year. Who knows what we’ll have!
Below is David Mungai’s bio group, meeting in the old kitchen, now used for a study room. It was so full I couldn’t get over to the other side where the light would have been better.
Below is Patrick (right) and his 4 form 4 physics students. These are smaller groups, which is better for teaching.
Felicitas also teaches chemistry, which the kids had also asked for. This is like another miracle. I found people to cover every subject I wanted—namely math and science, which is where the kids really struggle. You know when 50 kids voluntarily give u a week of vacation that it is important to them!
This afternoon Lucas finished his exams just in time for his next dental appointment. You never, ever saw anyone eager to visit the dentist like that boy was today. He was dancing! It took a long time, but below are the before and afters. Actually what you see are the temporary caps. The permanent ones are being made by the lab and will be installed next week. Nonetheless he couldn’t stop smiling when he got back.
They only put temp caps on the 2 front teeth. In all they will cap 8 top teeth. Perhaps in time he can have the bottom ones done too, but they don’t really show.
Long time readers many remember Jecinta, our beloved social worker, who passed away 3 years ago (or was it 2?) She had a daughter named Marion who spent a lot of time with the Mji Wa Neema kids when she was small (and so were they). She became best friends with a girl whose name was also Jecinta and eventually mom Jecinta adopted child Jecinta. Mom had scrimped and saved for years to “put up” a house, which she got to live in for maybe 2 yeears. Now the grandmother (Jecinta’s mom) lives there with the 2 girls. Marion goes to SFG, but Jecinta is a reluctant student and didn’t qualify. Both girls are now staying at SFG (thanks to a conversation Julia had with the grandmother) and are attending the tuitioning. That’s a first, but even more amazing is they came to my kitchen table last night for individual help. Clearly it’s something in the water or the air! Jecinta is on the left, Marion on the right
The latest “old girl” to pay a visit was Teresia, from the pioneer class. She has finished university (sponsored by Kenya Help) and is in that very uncomfortable time of trying to get established with a good job. It’s a real struggle here. Jobs are scarce and hard to get. She studied tourism and should be able to get something at this time of year, but…. However like most graduates, she is very entrepreneurial. Because I had to pick up some purses I’d ordered from Damaris, I took her along. She loved Damaris’ bags (see pic in # 17) and she loved Damaris. The are discussing having Teresia market the bags in Nairobi—which Mary Sangok will be doing as well. Teresia and Mary are good friends, so perhaps they will join forces. Who knows maybe someday they’ll have Mary and Teri Bags.
She came looking every bit as gorgeous as she did last year. I hate to suggest she could get a job on her looks, because she was #2 in her graduating class from SFG—smart, hard-working and beautiful. Great combo!
Julia and I are planning the Mji Wa Neema reunion, which is Saturday. Almost all the children who ever lived here will attend, although we’re not sure about Kamau and Josephat who attend St. Joseph’s in Nakuru. Julia believes the SJ students are to be kept for 2 weeks of tuitioning, although the education minister has outlawed such activities. The only reason I can get by with it is because it isn’t tuitioning (no one pays tuition!!). You’ll remember I bought 2 goats for the event, which may have over 50 people, including the 3 priests here, plug Fr. Kiriti, various notables from the parish, like my buddy, Simon Peter Mungai and others. Catherine, who adopted Michael from here about 4 or 5 years ago, will be back from her US trip in time to bring him and Fr. Kiriti will be Toleo (aka Mercy). When they were here, Michael and Mercy were very close. He was the big brother who watched over her. This is one of my favorite pictures of all times.