Wednesday 17 October 2012: Huruma Primary School, Eldoret
There are two things I learnt about driving across Kenya in the dark:
1. It's best not to look ahead at the road. There are no lights, no road markings and lots of vehicles...on both sides.
2. Always wear a seatbelt.
Eldoret is very different to Nairobi. It is much smaller, much more rural, with dirt tracks for roads, wooden shacks and the usual rubbish and debris. Today we visited Huruma Primary School. It was hard to spot the school as we approached. Blending into it's natural surroundings, all that could be seen was a scattering of buildings, spread out across the dusty landscape and hundreds upon hundreds of children.
As 'The Teacher' I was quickly shown to a classroom to 'teach'. With no preparation, no resources and a strong accent this was officially my biggest teaching challenge to date! In amongst my ramblings of Nessie, the Monarchy, Edinburgh etc the children sat beautifully, listened carefully and behaved impeccably. Naively this was not what I expected and I found it hard not to feel guilty for taking important teaching time away from the children.
Lunch soon arrived, cooked and served by the Elephant Juice Team and the school volunteers. For many this would again be their only meal of the day. However, this school was bursting with happy children, who were just as capable and well behaved as their Scottish counterparts, even though they had so little.
Reflecting on this experience I believe that it is the resilience of people, and not endless resources that are important. It is thanks to those teachers who work selflessly, the volunteers from the slum, who cook and serve the meals every day for the children, and the supporters who find the time and money that make it all possible. For me, returning to the UK will now be my biggest challenge, but I am reassured to know that out here, it doesn't take a lot to make a difference.
'Do not forget us' was the parting comment from one of the teachers...I doubt I ever will.
Mrs Elephant x