I was sitting in a cafe just outside the major mall of Mombasa. I trekked out early in the morning to make the time difference and Facetime my family and friends at home. I ended up staying for a lot longer than I anticipated as I got carried away with conversations and those I was having with myself in my writing. I sat beside a window and throughout the day I noticed some changes. The guards were doing more than thorough security checks than when I first walked through this morning. Trunks of cars were being opened and the underbelly of cars were being searched . The pat downs on pedestrians and the metal detector use was different. It wasn’t the usual wave of their detector – hear a beep – and say ‘Asante’ as you walk through. No, now they were really checking what was beeping and what you were carrying. The only thought Continue reading
GVI Volunteers have these students up until Standard 6. After that, our volunteer presence is lifted and shifted back into Kenyan teacher’s hands. Once they reach Standard 8 they have to take a national exam, their KCPE, to see if they can move on to Secondary School. Without passing this exam, the students cannot move on in their education or have a certified & documented education. The attainment of certification means more open doors from documented jobs to bank loans. This certificate means a lot in guaranteeing a bright future for our students.
Not all of our students will pass this exam, attain certification and move on. But we’re hoping Continue reading
I took a week long camping safari with Intrepid Tours where I traveled from Nairobi through to the National Parks and sights. I was more than happy to see the Maasai Mara, the Great Rift Valley, Hells Gate – among … Continue reading
Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Olives Church in Bombolulu is a busy, busy time. We have Madam Grace leading her Kiswahili Lessons, and we have volunteers teaching Maths, English, Computer Literacy, and Creative Arts to the adult members of the … Continue reading
Meet James. He’s currently a level one in Standard Three here at Nyota. I had the pleasure of teaching him for six weeks as well as doing personalized one to one sessions with him twice a week. I get to … Continue reading
I was pulled away on a Thursday afternoon to have a chat with the project manager. Not really sure what it would be about I went in without any expectations. After a short while I realized what was happening and was beginning to feel hopeful. “Monika, we love what you have done here and the work you’ve been putting in with resources and how to change the programs. I know that you are going on Safari this weekend – take your time and travel if you like – but instead of flying home after that, we’d like you to stay here as the Education Officer for our project.” Before she finished asking, my heart had already said yes. Continue reading
Nyota Ing’arayo became an official school and today we celebrated. There was pilau, singing, dancing, smiling, and definite laughing going on at the school amongst teachers, staff, volunteers and especially the students. With Nyota becoming a school, the Students of Standard 8 are able to sit their Kenyan Certified Primary Education (KCPE) exam wearing uniforms representing their school. Now it’s official and Nyota is moving on from it’s child care centre days to a government recognized school. Continue reading
Having done a teaching practicum in China, being a teacher in Canada, and now having volunteered in a Standard 3 classroom here in Kenya, one thing is clear: teaching abroad is a worthwhile opportunity for professional development.
The obvious aspect of professional development that comes with teaching overseas is adapting to your new environment. No electricity, limited resources, and bright eager students. At times I wondered how easy it would be if I had a document reader or an interactive whiteboard, but instead you have a few textbooks, a blackboard, chalk (sometimes), and an always disappearing eraser which is actually a small plush kitten. You realize quickly that without technology or even an adequate number of textbooks you can still be an effective teacher and find ways to reach your students in the best way you can. Continue reading
A panoramic of our Standard 3 classroom here in Mombasa from the front of the room.
My group reading session today had my girls looking at, ‘The Giving Tree‘ by Shel Silverstein. Before reading the book we did a pre-reading activity that asked the question: “If you could ask a tree to give you anything you wanted, … Continue reading