#23 2014 School Closes and Now We Work at Home
School closed on Wednesday, amid cleaning of classrooms, dorms and grounds. The classrooms will be used for seminars during the August break, bringing some income to the school. By the time 3rd term begins September 2nd everything will be covered with a layer of dust and the cleaning must be done again. Work teams are well organized and in a short time everything is in apple pie order.
In the afternoon the term was wrapped up at an assembly in which teachers addressed the students, most very positively because the results this term were markedly up from 1st term. Top performers for each form were recognized, as well as top performers in each subject. In an effort to put more emphasis on improving in math, an award was given to the most improved math student in each form. This is just one idea Ruth has instituted. She wants the girls to
Top Form 4’s, Cynthia is in the Middle
compete for that recognition. My part is to continue to work with the lowest performers (and anyone else who is interested). Four form 4’s who live far away have come to Mji Wa Neema to dig into math, as well as other subjects. They start the KCSE in October, so this is really crunch time. Three of those 4 are math phobics whom I have finally convinced they can do it, but the concepts they have missed out on are interesting. I had thought they would be big things, and some are, but some are just a simple idea that wasn’t resonating, so the girl couldn’t move forward in that particular topic.
They came yesterday morning and got settled in after I fed them eggs and toast.
Quinter, Veronica, Yvonne and Edith chow down
I had to go to school, having been invited to join the teachers in their annual goat eating event. I’ve learned that a goat-eating is a celebration, for a wedding, such as I attended last weekend for Agnes and her fiancé. The teachers have a mutual support pool to which each contributed ksh 400 (about $4.75) monthly. When anyone has a need, such as one of the men whose baby boy died, the fund is there to help. They have instituted a goat-eating to celebrate their mutual caring and the end of the 2nd term, which is the longest.
The Men Make the Sausage
Sr. Magdalene, Esther (matron) and Ruth prepare vegetables
They have a good time, pitching in to make chapatis, mokemo (mashed potatoes, maize and greens), goat stew, salad, and fruit. They fry the intestines (known in the south as chitlins) and fill part of them with organ meat mixed with peppers, onions, garlic and seasonings, which is then cooked. As this preparation is going on, some played soccer, others basketball and some lounged about in the sun. It was an all-day event, but I left after the meal (when they were ready to dance and party), because I had my girls here at home and I wanted to be sure they were settled in the girls dorm here.
There are a number of our girls here who attend SFG, so the 4 are comfortable and seem to be happy to be here. They came to my kitchen last night and as usual, we sorted out a few items. Each time we have a session we unravel more “knots”. All of these girls came to my extra sessions at school and all raised their math scores. That’s the right direction!
One of the girls, Quinter, is actually quite good at math, but she wants to go to medical school so she has come here. She comes from very, very far and from a very difficult family life so she understands all too well that the next 2 months will determine her future. Cynthia, who lives here also wants to go to medical school, so the 2 will work not only on math, but also chemistry, physics and biology as well. Sister Magdalene who teaches biology has promised to come tomorrow. She lives in the convent here in the parish compound. Ruth has promised to come on Monday to do English and CRE (Christian Religious Education.) All are coming as volunteers. The District Education Officer is enforcing the ban on tuitioning, but since no one is paying, this is not tuitioning, but free tutoring, which can’t very well be outlawed. Despite the ban, I know of a number of girls who have found teachers who do tuitioning in their homes. The purpose of the ban was to eliminate that practice, which gives an advantage to the kids whose parents can pay. He also wanted to be sure kids have some relaxation time, and the girls who are here are doing that as well. This afternoon they are washing windows with the detergent they made from
Edith and Magdalene Make Detergent While Joseph Supervises
scratch, cleaning out the dining hall and enjoying doing these jobs together. They’re listening to music, chatting and doing what girls do when they get together.
=Love to all