But he was a no-show. Actually, he had been in the Philippines and returned after a 15-hour flight, so he sent Fr Nyamweya, in his stead and promised to come another time.
Like many other events the 10 am mass began promptly at 11 am. Turned out the girls were having their tea!!!! Alison and I had arrived at 9 to be sure everything was set up to show the Power Point of the history of SFG. Those of you who attended Kenya Help’s 10th birthday party a year ago March may recall we had it running on the side wall during our event. I had shown it to Fr. Ngaruiya, who insisted she girls should see it. Of course! None of them knows the history of the school, which opened in February 2007, so is 10 years old this year. I added a few more pictures, including one of Fr. N, who didn’t know it was going to be there. He loved it, as did the girls. I realize I know more about the building and the beginning years than anyone other than Fr. Kiriti and I think it’s important to keep that history alive.
But when we arrived no one had thought to tell the teachers in charge of audio/video that we needed a computer and projector. Mad scramble!. ARGH! The projector turned the slides into long, narrow rectangles. NO! NO! That won’t do. Oh, there’s another projector we usually use. Run get that one. Try to get everything plugged in and talking to each other. Fr. Ngaruiya, had called next door to Upendo Village to borrow their screen. SFG doesn’t have one and the back wall of the stage, which I had thought we would use, was totally draped with cloth as part of the mass décor. Big discussion about placing the screen. I’m saying move it forward—otherwise the pix would spill over the edges. Fr. N insisted it should be moved backwards. Try it out. I was right! Finally it was working. So glad I’d been early. Some little bird warned me of possible glitches.
Fr. Nyamweya’s sermon addressed the fact that last year’s graduates had performed miserably on the KCSE. Everyone had been shocked at the results, although I’m told many schools did far worse than in previous years. That was because the new minister of education stopped the “leakage” of exam questions prior to the exams. Many students were caught up short. However, there is no indication of that problem at SFG. They just didn’t do well.
Earlier in the year Fr. Nyamweya had met with this year’s form 4, asking them to write the reasons they thought class 2016 did so badly. The responses were remarkably candid—lazy, snooty, disinterested in school, cliquish—quite an impressive list that he read, reminding them it was in their own handwriting. He described those issues as “demons” and after building his talk around “demons” he dramatically lighted the paper with one of the altar candles and dropped it on the floor when it threatened to burn him. “There, we have destroyed those demons!!!” Pretty effective pyrotechnics.
Mass at SFG is particularly nice because the girls are the dancers, the altar “boys”, the choir and the audience. A few parents came, but evidently they were notified late. One was a mom of a form 4, who loves math and another the class parent, a father, of a form 3 girl. Each was given a chance to exhort the girls to make us proud again.
After a break, we reassembled for a showing of the history after which principal Kahiga and Fr. Ngaruiya spoke of their great gratitude to our donors who have brought this school into being. There are many 100’s of you! I wish you could see the wondrous work you have built. Here is a Google Earth shot, in case you’ve not see that before. Lower left is the classroom quad, with dining hall above it, dorms (U-shaped bldgs) a with teacher-housing to the left of the dorm. Brown area to right of dorms is garden with cow shed (small white bldg. just to the right. The large area on the far right is the soccer field.
At 2 it was over and the form 4’s gathered for a photo in front of the flag pole on the quad. “No ladies, you must face the sun or you don’t show up.” OK, scurry, scurry, reassemble, but….the small tree is in the way. Can’t take a picture straight on. I took a number of shots, none of which was very good, but I think this is the best. Besides the official photos of all 7 graduating classes were taken in front of the school, where no tree impedes the shot. Gotta do that.
The students had reorganized the dining hall while lunch for the teachers and guests was ready in the library. After it was all over, students came to Alison and me for math help. I love doing that 1-on-1 or 1-on-2 teaching.
At 4 we dropped everything to rush to town for a meeting with Hilary Agisa, social worker for Empower the World (ETW), which is the Kenyan counterpart for Kenya Help. He accepts applications for scholarships, vets the family, follows the progress of the students, mentors and reports to Kenya Help. Alison had made a laundry list of questions, suggestions and ideas. We talked long but accomplished much. Our focus was making ETW more relevant here in Naivasha as well as how can KH and ETW work together more effectively.