“Are they purple?” said a boy in Group A.
“Colorless!” a number of students shouted in unison.
“No, blue, violets are blue” he said, laughing.
Today was our first promotional library activity at the Miriam Kanana Memorial Library at the Kaaga School for the Deaf. We invited twenty students from Mwithumwiru (meaning "black forest" in Kimeru) Secondary School to attend the event.
When we called the English teacher two days ago to remind her to send students, we were informed that many would have to be sent home the morning of the event to collect their school fees. She didn't think they'd be able to send 20 students, as requested. The event had been planned for a couple of weeks, and I’m sure they knew that tuition was to be collected today, so why didn’t she tell us earlier? My hopes for the event were gradually sinking.
The teacher walked into the library, over an hour late, saying “Many had to be expelled because they could not pay. The students are here now. They did not even take tea!” To my surprise, 21 students filed into the room after her. Maybe everything would work out after all.
The event started with a tour of the library and an overview of its resources. Next the librarian divided the students into two groups and had each group choose three representatives for a question game. If a team answered a question right they got 10 points, but if they guessed wrong the question was passed to the next group who would get 15 points if they answered correctly. He started off with some general knowledge questions which mainly consisted of completing English idioms. It was hilarious! Here are some of the funnier questions and/or responses:
“Which bird delivers babies?”
“A bird?” said a girl in group A.
“Duck-billed platypus!” shouted a girl in team B.
“What religion worships Buddha?”
“When life gives you lemons, what should you make?”
“What happens in Vegas…”
“Is left in Vegas.”
And my favorite question and response, “One man’s trash is another man’s…?”
“Meat?” said Team B.
One of the questions in the science section was to divide the Periodic Table into four equal quadrants and list the elements found in each one. Both teams got it correct! Pretty impressive.
To finish up the question and answer segment, the librarian gave each team a story starter and they had ten minutes to finish it. Group A was given “Kenya is home to…” and Group B finished “She let out a loud shriek, ‘Woohoooeeoooee!’” Here is their story:
Then suddenly all the neighbors surrounded her in the house.
“What’s wrong?” the neighbors asked.
She replied, “They are dead.”
“Who?” the neighbors asked.
“My family. Those heartless beasts have attacked them. My son, they stabbed him to death, and my daughter, they raped her to death. Everything that I have worked for all of my entire life has been taken. I don’t know what I am going to do. I think I might just commit suicide and follow my entire family than stay in this world and stay in the ocean of poverty.”
Group A’s story was significantly more lighthearted and talked mainly about animals found in Kenya and the tourists that come to look at them. Both teams were awarded 20 points for their stories, and Group A won the contest.
I divided them into groups by grade and gave each group poster paper and markers to make promotional posters to hang in their classes. I wasn't sure whether or not they would go back and the tell other students what they had learned, so I figured this would be a good way to ensure the rest of the school found out about the library.