The 14th was our first day working at one of the three Irente centers. Each group experienced different activities ranging from working in classrooms, changing diapers, and creating visual aids for students with low vision.
Speaking from experience, the Rainbow School was very high energy. On the first day, I (Michelle) spent my day working in the kindergarten classroom. We worked on math, which was great, because I actually know my numbers in Kiswahili. The other days, I worked in class four with the older children. We used Math again, and tried to teach Science. The language barriers are a little difficult with the older kids, because they have trouble understanding why we can’t understand them. With those kids, we also went to the garden to plant and weed. That was a good way to learn outside of the classroom. I had a lot of fun at the Rainbow School, because each kid is extremely energetic and happy to be around new people.
I (Kristen) went to the Irente School for the Blind for the first three days. The first day was spent gluing string to drawings that we copied out of textbooks, that way children who are blind could still feel the pictures. That afternoon we actually got to spend time with the children by taking corn off the cob and peeling potatoes. The next day, we spent the whole time gluing string to paper again. The last day was my favorite. I spent the morning in the Kindergarten classroom; helping the children who were a mixture of low-vision and blind, count. Later, I read an English textbook out loud while one of the teachers, Angelina, typed it up in Braille. That afternoon, the 5 of us spent time outside playing with the kids. I learned a song in Swahili, but I actually understood what I was saying! It’s definitely an improvement since the beginning of our stay here.
Starting today, all of the groups will switch centers. We are all hoping to continue having a great time!
We think that each group is starting to feel more comfortable with their host families. Some of us have started helping to cook (we made Chapati with our family!). Others are even teaching our families different American card games, when language isn’t too big of a barrier.
As the weekend comes up, each group will experience more of our family’s lives. For example, we’re going to visit one of our host sisters at boarding school! We are also going hiking as a group to Irente Viewpoint on Sunday. We’re all hoping this rain can hold off until then!
Baadaye (see you later),
Kristen and Michelle