“What’s he saying?”
Hesitantly, “He says your hair is too long, it looks like for the devil.”
Where does he come up with this stuff?
This morning I volunteered at the SOS kindergarten for the second time. A few of the students were having a lot of trouble with their subtraction classroom and I went around helping them. The one boy who is a little behind the rest of the class struggled with the simpler problems he was given.
I looked at his notebook, “4-4=4” he’d written.
“OK, you need to look at this one again. If you take away four from four the answer can’t be four.”
He looked at his paper, confused.
“Here, draw your circles again.” They’re taught to do subtraction by drawing circles for the initial number value and crossing off as many circles as are being subtracted. He drew four lopsided circles.
“OK great, now how many are you taking away?”
“Good, so take away four circles.” He crossed off all four.
“Now what is the remainder?” He counted the number of circles.
“The remainder is how many circles are left. How many circles aren’t crossed off?”
“OK, let’s look at it a different way.” I held up four fingers.
“How many fingers am I holding up?”
“Good. And if I take away four fingers” I said putting them down one at a time.
He counted with me “One, two, three, four.”
“How many fingers are left?” I said holding up my fist.
“Do you see four fingers here? No, there are zero fingers.” He looked at me with a confused expression on his face. This was getting difficult.
“Ok, I have four pens” I said placing four pens in front of him, “and I take away four pens. How many pens are left?” I pointed to the empty table and he looked away. “No, look here. You can do this, you just need to focus. How many pens are here?” I said again pointing to the blank table.
“Four.” Alright, we were getting nowhere.
We moved on to another problem and went back to that one later. He finally got the right answer and I asked him a few more of the same question, substituting in different numbers, to make sure he understood.
During PE I tried for a second time to teach a group of kids Duck, Duck, Goose. One of the teachers saw me and asked if I wanted them to get in a circle. I said that would be great, not realizing she meant the entire school. It took a few minutes to explain and for everyone to catch on, but soon we were playing a 100+ person game of Duck, Duck, Goose!
That afternoon we went to the tree nursery where a group of women work and meet on Thursday evenings. They stood up and danced towards the car as we approached. I got out and was immediately surrounded by a large group of women, all shaking my hand two or three at a time. A few pulled me in and hugged me, resting my chin on their shoulder and putting their face up against mine. Considering I was a good foot and a half taller than most of the women, I spent much of the next five minutes bent over awkwardly.
As we passed out food to each of the women, the crowd cheered, ululating in excitement. They were extremely thankful for the food we brought and sang and danced for us again when the food drop was complete. One of the women grabbed my hand and led me around the circle, dancing as we went.
Before we left they wanted to say a prayer for us. The majority of the women were standing, but a small group of the oldest women sat in the grass. I think they probably had enough teeth between them for one person. I helped pull one of the women to her feet. She held my right hand and my left was placed on top of Dorcas’ and held by a couple of other women. They all gathered around and each woman seemed to be saying their own individual prayer. The woman I’d helped stand up coughed as she prayed and a wad of saliva landed on my hand. That makes two days in a row I’ve been spit on… They were an incredible bunch of women and I really enjoyed meeting them. I'm looking forward to the next food drop a month from now.
We took a quick tour of the tree nursery and I talked to a man helping out about global climate change. He said it has had a major impact on Kenya as evident by the droughts some areas have been experiencing. He said it wasn’t until more recently that Kenya realized the importance of taking care of the environment and has started taking measures to protect and improve it. Just recently one of the leaders of the environmental movement in Kenya, Wangari Maathai, passed away from ovarian cancer.