We just finished a full week of work on the classroom and teaching practice. As of today, the classroom renovations have been finished and painted. This is in part due to the wonderful work ethic of the interns and also to the incredible involvement from the community. All of the masons and construction workers helping us are from the community of Munjiti themselves and even went to the school we are all renovating. After the day’s work is done, many of the workers hang around the school because for them it’s not just a job. The rest of the community is also extremely invested in the project. In addition to all the hard work, we’re having a lot of fun…it’s not uncommon for spontaneous dance parties to break out on the worksite!
We have also built classroom desks which has actually been quite a monumental task. We are using eucalyptus wood which is very strong, and over the course of 2 days working in shifts, we were able to build 5 desks. It’s hard work! Our goal for next week is to start and finish the mural we plan to paint on the school wall. We have decided to paint several panels that each reflect different school subjects, like science, math, etc. The mural is facing the main road, so everyone will be able to see it!
All of the interns have jumped right into either teaching classes or designing lesson plans. By the time we leave Munjiti, all the interns will have had a chance to practice teaching at least once. The interns should all be very proud of this since some of the combined classes have up to 60 students! The students have been spending the last month studying for exams so the games and activities the interns lead have been a welcome break. They keep requesting that the interns come back for more!
The school in Munjiti is very highly regarded and ranks 5th out of 27 schools in district. This is incredible since most if not all the students also have full time jobs at home helping with the cooking and cleaning and other chores. Many students are also involved in additional activities at the school such as running, soccer, volleyball, jump-roping games, drumming, dance, and they have an awesome music program. In fact, to end the work week today, some girls from the school spent a few hours teaching our students several Luhya dances. Their dance group is very competitive and has won several awards. Our students didn’t look quite so competitive but they sure had fun!
We’ve also been eating really well. Every day for lunch we have some kind of beef stew and rice with ugali and sukamawiki (similar to kale and super nutritious). The interns have all learned how to make chapati (flatbread) and several used it to make pizza for their host families. Pineapple, oranges, and bananas are also in season.
This week we wrap up our time in Munjiti and head off to Uganda. I can already tell it will be tough for the interns to say good bye. They are making such wonderful connections here.