We are well into week two at Oloika and everyday new challenges arise. In the last few days we have started a small tutoring operation in the empty school classrooms located on the other side of the work site. Though the school here is on break,(winter break, as it is winter here?) there are several boys studying diligently in small groups, preparing for their grade 8 final examinations. From the looks of it, this exam is quite comprehensive and makes our SATs look a little skimpy. (Yikes!) The boys share books that are barely held together at the spine- clearly they have been used by many students before them. The rooms they study in are dim but the walls are covered with vocabulary lists, science diagrams and geographical maps. Ian and Rob were the first to volunteer to work with the Oloika students and they both did a fantastic job. The test is HARD! Even Ian’s advanced mathematical mind was challenged by a few of the questions. He and Rob commented that the Kenyan boys calculate extremely quickly both in their heads and on paper. The students here are not allowed to use calculators before high school so they get very good and doing the work on their own. Zach had tremendous success with the students as he worked them through several sections of their English lessons. It is clear that everyone here appreciates Zach’s calm energy and his agreeable disposition. He is a huge hit with the children who all seem to love his wacky sense of humor. Paige, Virginia, Casey and Madeline have also been in the classrooms helping with history and science. It has been truly rewarding to work one on one in this way. As Ian put it the other night, “I decided today to make my mind sweat as well as my body.” Well said!
In other news, the last group of students has gone off for their boma stay. Last night, Brandt and I went with Sydney, Casey and Maddi to stay at Shani’s family’s boma. Shani has been an excellent cultural ambassador and host to us all and it was an honor to spend some time with his sisters and their children. We had a lovely dinner of flavorful cabbage and potatoes with rice and then danced and sang into the night with some visiting Morans. This morning we got to play with the baby goats and enjoy more of my new favorite beverage- Kenyan chai tea! It will indeed be hard to leave here tomorrow when we head back to Nairobi. As I write this I already feel a sense of loss, but also a sense of greater personal purpose and extreme pride in our group.