Friday, 26 August 2011
Saturday, 20 August 2011
Monday I arrived at Bare and their schedule was complete, the desks were arranged and the books were ready to be read. In a system that is so focused on teaching grammar, literacy is suffering. The schedule has allowed for each class to have one 40 minute library period per week. I worked with the teachers to explain that this might be a 40 period where the children are not “taught” with chalk and talk but rather, they can explore the books at their own level. The teachers were so enthusiastic and supportive. They marched the little ones to the door and gave an explanation about what a library is. Word spread quickly around the school and classes began to look forward to their turn. There are 100 books in the library right now. Unfortunately, the reading level of most of the books is too high right now. These kids, besides being to new to books complete, are also new to English. As time goes one, however, I’m sure this will improve. Still, children sat and shared books. They pointed to pictures and whispered the English words – if they knew them – to their friends. While the higher level students could read and understand some of what they read, the little P1 students didn’t even know what to do. Their little feet dangled below them and their chins barely made it ot the top of the desk. A book was put in front of them and they stared. They just stared. The teacher and I spent 40 minutes showing them how to hold a book, how to look at the pictures with their friends and, when they were finished one page, how to turn to the next. It took most of the class time to get them to move from sitting quietly and staring at the book, to actively engaging in the process. By the time today – Friday – rolled around, the children got the point and were reading and talking and pointing to pictures and using the little English that they do have. The Senior 2 class was in and were so enganged that the teacher and I spent most of the time running around helping kids who wanted to know the meanings of words. At the end, each group presented a new word that they learned that class and they were annoyed when we told them their time was up.
Most people think that “kids in Africa must just be hungry for education!” It’s true, I supposed, that the kids here are well behaved in class but the secondary students hide behind the bathrooms brushing their hair when they should be in class, just like those in Canada. The boys skip out of the room the minute the teacher leaves and hide behind the water tank. They thirst for break time, like kids in Canada, and saunter back to class unless the head masters hurries them along. Kids are kids. But I believe all kids want to learn. 99% of the time, if a teacher creates the conditions for learning EVERY child will rise to the occasion. At Bare, this week, they definitely did.
Thank you to: Christine Haefele of New York; Nora from England; Jutta Oezsen, Sandy and Michael from Essen, Germany; Samie from Quebec; Gichi and Carlos; Yana; Kristin Lazure and David How; Alles Giese; Katja, Gisten, Guther and Connor; Renate; Sobi; Astrid and Max Hansen; Jenny, Tobias and Laeticia Campbell-Klomps; Sabine and her family from Berlin; Antonia and Moritz; the staff and students of the German School in London; the staff and students of Blessed John XXIII in Calgary and especially Tina Hewing – who started this big little project. Stayed tuned for more updates on how the libraries are doing.
Sunday, 13 September 2009
I hope you are all well. This week has been incredible busy with all sorts of events. I did run two work shops in quite far out areas and they were great fun, even though it was incredible hot in the classrooms and that can be quite challenging. The teachers were amazing and so interested in the different topics and therefore....as always..... running the work shops just felt right and was a real pleasure.
Also, on Monday I received a phone call from Paul and Jason from 'The Great Football Give Away' who were on their way to Kibungo. You should check out their webside as it is really cool what they do and it would be great if you can support them in their future work.
A few hours later they did rock up with a car full of balls and camera gear and of we went to different schools and places in the Ngoma District.
We drove along the roads and when we saw kids playing with self made balls we stopped and supplied them with proper footballs or netballs.
Wouw...they eyes did light up and the kids were in between disbelieve and happiness. It was great to see them kicking of the proper balls and playing.
The nicest was to go to one field with heaps of kids and giving them balls. These children were just so happy and could not stop playing. I am definetely going back there and kick some balls, as I played myself for about 7 years.
The evening was great as we did have some good food and Mutzig and it was great to talk. Paul and Jason are two really interesting characters and totally open minded and king sized fun to hang out with. Yes....hi 'Billy and little sister'....Daddy was here in the middle of nowhere near Kibungo!!!!!!
On Tuesday we all had breakfast at my house and then they gave me a lift to one of my schools - that was great....no Motorbike ride in the morning!!! When we arrived at the school Paul and Jason did give away loads of balls. It was great!
The work shop was great even though I felt so tired after a very short night!!! As always we had a huge amount of pupils looking through the windows and trying to find out what is going on in the classrooms. The kids do love it when we sing songs or when I introduce games to the teachers.
On the way back I passed by the place were the others were. So I just jumped of the motor bike and enjoyed the rest of the day driving around with the others, bringing balls to the children and playing with them.
Everybody from the area is coming and checking out the football field. This little girl looks very mailnutritient and I just hope for the people that the rain will start very soon!!!
Paul and Jason did leave a box full of balls with me and my plan is to go to really far out areas that you cannot reach with a car but just with a Motor bike and bring balls to the children that do live in the most disadvantaged areas.
'Guys...it is actually a long way down and
....I know you are really keen on bringing those balls to the kids down there....
what about staying alive!!!'
Thursday was another work shop. It is cool, as I came past a school were Paul and Jasone were on Tuesday and I saw the kids playing with the balls and having fun. I just love it when they take their sandals of and play barefoot as that is better for kicking the ball and they can run faster.
Well....when I needed to run to the bus stop on Friday to catch the bus to Kigali....I did take of my shoes and did run bare foot...as it actually is ..... much easier!!! I guess I am becoming Rwandan.
On Saturday Anna, Jason and I did travel to Lake Muhazi and had a really nice and relaxing time there.
he did spot the most amazing eagle I ever saw in my life:
Sunday, 6 September 2009
Hi, it is the 6. of September and that means I did fly out exactly a year ago.
- meeting amazing people
- making good new friends
- working in a really rewarding job
- making all sorts of contacts with other NGOs, Unicef, etc....
- getting an understanding for sustainable development work
- running work shops
- working alongside teachers
- having fun lessons with the children
- riding on a motor bike taxi on the shittiest dirt roads in the middle of absolutely nowhere
- shopping on a market
- travelling Rwanda and Uganda
- learning from a nation that has gone through a Genocide
- seeing an incredibe beautiful country
- and so many more
- being covered in rat poo and pee after trying to wash the draws where she lived in....thanks to
the water pressure everything splashed up on me
- having the biggest spider ever next to me, yes it had huge jaws and had legs like baby fingers
- experiencing an earth quake (5.2 on scale with its Epi Centre in the Kivu area)
- having flees and bedbugs and being bitten as there would not be a tomorrow
- having a broken door for 2 month and therefore having no door for two month
- having an invasion of about 100 bees (just yesterday)
- needing to fly home with a bad Kidney infection
- being hassled
- being mugged twice
- and.......a few other things
All of us are asking the same questions: Where has the year gone?????
This year has been incredible good, challenging, hard, amazing, bad, great, fascinating, rediculous, cool, sad, brilliant,..... and fast.
I am looking forward to hopefully doing my Masters in 'Development' in London from September next year on. I will see.
Friday, 4 September 2009
Tuesday, 1 September 2009
I had a nice day training teachers from 10 different schools. I did train them before and it was great to see them again. I could not believe when we drove there that the old dodgy and bumpy dirt track road was actually a proper straight sand pist. What happened over the last 6 weeks. I actually did like the jump onto the old horrible road. Where is the adventure???? Well...for the Rwandan people I do appreciate the change. And...at least it is still sandy and dusty. So here is the news from today:
The kids were so funny and could not believe how many teachers were in one room. As always I did put the tables into groups and as always the teachers found that weird at the beginning but then enjoyed it during the day and understood the reasoning behind 'Sitting in a group'.
I still cannot believe they prepared a chicken for me that was really an honour.