July 2010

St. Clair’s Orphanage

Our final rotation just happened and now Robin is now here in Kisumu spending time at St. Clair’s orphanage and will be visiting the kids at St. Francis for the first time this weekend. It was great reading storeybooks to the kids this morning and having them participate with the words and songs that they know, as well, reciting poems and demonstrating their “good manners”. We spent much of the morning with the babies at the orphanage who are under the age of 1 year old, Francisca (also known as piglet) who loves her head to be rubbed, Moses a very active vocal baby now that he is over his cold, Paul who is wide-eyed and at the same time a very old soul, and finally the oldest of the group Magdaline who has a very strong personality and preferences for someone so young. There are also many other kids at the orphanage that we have also gotten to know quite well and enjoy spending time with them, in particular are Imam, Marilyn, Helen, Jacob, Junior, Tracy, Paul, Victor among so many others. Our days in Kisumu have found a great rhythm where we are able to rest after spending time at the orphanage before venturing out into town to meet the many new Kenyan friends we have made or run errands. Overall the entire group so far has felt incredible warmth of Kenyan hospitality and are amazed that so many people not only take the time to say hi and notice us but to express care when we have been under the weather from the sun, food, or our days. Cheers to Kenya.

M

Orphans Using Laptop
2010
Jul 23

Computer Classes in Asembo

It is nearing the end of the first week of computer classes in Asembo. After a few schedule changes last Friday, and then some very last minute changes before starting classes on Monday morning, we finally learned that we would have far fewer students than we expected, and would only need to teach 5 classes a day instead of the 6 originally proposed classes a day. This is working out really well, as there are only three laptops and about 12 students per class (so that leaves around 3-4 students sharing each laptop). I can’t even imagine what it would have been like to teach the proposed 16-17 students per class 6 times a day!

With the exception of maybe one or two students in the entire group, Monday was the first day for them to ever see or use a computer. We started out with some basic information about keeping the laptop plugged in and identified the main parts of the computer, such as the mouse, desktop, keyboard, on & off button, etc. Since then, we’ve moved on to using the copy and paste functions, using shift and the other very useful keys, and just getting the kids to practice typing, which is so important. Also, we’ve stressed over and over again how important it is to save a document you are working on… we even got the students to write in their notebooks “ALWAYS PRESS SAVE!!!”

Everything is progressing quite slowly, but obviously we’re taking it step by step since they really knew absolutely nothing. The majority of the students seem to be getting the hang of things quite quickly though, so it’s very promising! They are all very keen and have asked about how they can practice outside of class time, so hopefully they’ll start coming on their own to the centre the use the facility!

Robin

Asembo Bay Resource Centre
2010
Jul 20

5 Classes a Day

Hello there,

As you know, Josephine and I gave the first computer class yesterday. After a few schedule changes last Friday, and then some very last minute changes yesterday morning, we finally learned that we would have far fewer students than we expected, and would only need to teach 5 classes a day. This is working out really well, since there are only three laptops and about 10 students per class (so that leaves around 3-4 students sharing each laptop). I can’t even imagine what it would have been like to teach around 16-17 students per class in the 6 originally proposed classes per day!

With the exception of maybe one or two students in the entire group, yesterday was the first time for them to use or ever see a computer. We started out with some basic information about keeping the laptop plugged in and identified the main parts of the computer, such as the mouse, desktop, keyboard, on & off button, etc. After that, we showed them how to handle the mouse, and then did a couple of activities where they could practice left-clicking, for ‘selecting’ or choosing something & right-clicking, for opening the option menu . We then taught them how to use the double left-click to open a document that Josephine and I saved onto the desktop for them, and in that document we asked them to practice holding down the left-click button to select the entire text. In the last 20 minutes or so, we showed them how to open paint from the start menu and then let them take turns drawing something and changing the paint tools so they could practice the mouse skills we had just taught them.

During the whole lesson we asked them to jot down a few notes, since they had all brought their notebooks, but this was sort of rudely enforced by the male teacher who accompanied them to the session. I think the teachers were excited themselves to come use the computers, which is not the point of the classes at all, but we told Bertha that they were obviously making the students feel a bit uncomfortable and that we would prefer it if they did not come to class. I’m pretty sure she told the headmaster because no teacher came to the two classes this morning, so hopefully it continues to be that way. Bertha is starting some computer classes in August, so the teachers can pay her to take classes in the future.

Anyhow, moving on, today we went over what we showed them yesterday and taught them a couple of new things. We showed them how to copy and paste, as well as use the space, backspace, enter, shift and caps lock buttons. Then, we got them to copy the text we prepared and then paste it a couple lines below, using all of the new buttons we conveniently showed them beforehand. The last thing we did today was show them how to write their first and last names with a capital letter at the beginning of each name.

Everything is progressing quite slowly, but obviously we’re taking it step by step since they really knew absolutely nothing. The majority of the students seem to be getting the hang of things quite quickly though, so it’s very promising! They are all very keen and have asked about how they can practice outside of class time, so we’ll have to talk to Bertha about maybe arranging another time they can use the laptops in the back room.

I hope that was not too much boring computer info to read all at once! We have another class starting in about five minutes so I must be off!

Robin


Week Two: Kisumu

I’m on week two of being here in Kenya and I find it difficult to sum up everything I have experienced thus far. Only two weeks in, I already have a lifetime of memories to take away with me. I have been rotating between Kisumu and Asembo Bay, having the privilidge of meeting the amazing children and witnessing the difference that The Tumaini Children’s Project is making in their lives. I am in Kisumu today, getting ready to visit St. Francis boarding school tomorrow to visit with the children and to bring them their brand new textbooks. Soon, I will be heading back to Asembo Bay to help get started with the computer classes for the children in the village as well. Seeing the smiles on these children’s faces makes every day here even more rewarding.

Hil

Jason Asembo Bay
2010
Jul 11

New Computer

At day 4 in Asembo, I am thrilled to be back in this community full of familiar, friendly faces. We have been formally and informally introduced with enthusiasm so many times, with so many smiles, thanks and handshakes that I’ve long-since lost count. One new computer has arrived so far (which will bet setup tomorrow) and the Internet connection has been stabilized. The cellular service in the area seems to have been improved over the year, so things are actually fairly quick compared to last year (to put it in perspective, the cellular modem we’re using to provide Internet access to the resource centre is about as fast as a 56Kbps modem).

We’re about to hitch a ride with a friend of a friend into Kisumu (the city about 80KM North-East of Asembo) to sort out some supplies (technological and otherwise), and possibly meet with the children at St. Teresa’s or St. Francis tomorrow morning during the day before three of us head back to Asembo to get things in order at the Resource Centre.

Oriti!
Jason

Asembo Bay Feeding Day
2010
Jul 9

Feeding Day

We were in Asembo yesterday for the widows and orphans feeding day – it was really good and lots of dancing – including Kaedra who really broke it down, plus yummy african food (we all loved the tilapia the best) that we got to eat for the first time. Jason was greeted joyusly by everyone – like a heroic son back from the war. The women in particular really praised you and Wendy with many wishes to bring you both back to Asembo. The kids from the local primary school entertained us but it breaks your heart to see the holes and broken straps in the shoes of those who had shoes and the tattered clothing of all the kids and some of the widows. so far everyone has noticed that Kenyan smiles are beautiful – everyone we met immediately starts smiling to which you can’t help smiling back. I can’t wait till we go to the orphanage today and hopefully things will work out for us as they have so far. Josephine and Robin didn’t end paying any extra money for the bags of books and they are already at Asembo. I sent robin, hilary and jason to asembo and Josephine and I are in kisumu.

Michelle


Nairobi is COLD

Nairobi is COLD!!!! Brrrr… well a lot colder than I expected (feels similar to early fall weather for us Canadians) especially after leaving the sweltering humidity of Toronto, but it is unbelievably full of colour with flowering trees, lush foliage and bright red dirt makes a spectacular background. The group has arrived in stages over the last two days and we have all been getting to know each other, and sharing our excitement about the upcoming projects over great hospitality that we are receiving at the guest house we are staying at. Everyone we met has been really friendly and helpful so much that you feel like you have arrived home!

We fly off to Kisumu today and began the work. That’s it from me,

Michelle