Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Holiday Science Learning Camp

The last day of the camp started with all the volunteers converging at the CE Kenya office. The truck came shortly after and started the five km journey through the ever busy Thika Road dual carriage way. Within a couple of minutes, the team arrived at the school where the students waited anxiously. The weather was a little chilly albeit some signs of a shinny day.

The opening session which normally consists of songs, stories and prayers marked the start of the days’ activities. This was lead by Peter Kanja (the President CE Kenya)who joined the group for the first day due to some official commitments. He was formally introduced to the group by Bridgit. He led the students to sing several songs before narrating an interesting story about a king, chameleon and a hare. The moral of the story was that students should use all their efforts in critical thinking in their studies especially now that they are in the middle and upper primary school. He also lead the students to demonstrate how one should “Think Big & Wide”.

After this session, the students went into their classrooms and the first session begun, the theme of the day was ‘The Environment’. The students were introduced to the three ‘R’ acronym. This simply means:
1.Reduce; People should try as much as possible to reduce the waste materials in our households.
2.Re-use; Most of the materials used for domestic purposes are re-usable. It is not only wise to reuse things like plastic containers as mush as possible but also very economical.

3.Recycle; Materials like polythene bags, plastics, rubber, paper etc, can be recycled and made in to new usable products.

The planting of trees was not left behind since the desertification and the global warming has been experienced worldwide. This is an activity that was done in practically after the tea break and the second learning session. All the students, teachers and members of the school sarboninate staff gathered at the school farming demonstration plot where the plantig of trees was to take place. Kanja had arranged the purchase of tree seedlings of Gravillea Robusta (Silky Oak) from a nearby trees nursery. The holes were already prepared by the schools’ gardener. Each class from standard 4 to 8 had to choose representatives who had to plant a tree. The planting activity was lead by Kanja who started off by demonstrating to the students how to remove the seedling from the paper without tearing it or even making the foster soil to disintegrate. This method leads to “re-using” the same paper in planting another seedling in it.

The planting session kicked of with the students from all the represented levels, before the Zambian team planted theirs lead by Billy. The schools that took part in the camp also planted theirs with the teachers and the staff of MCEDO-Beijing leading the lot. The volunteers followed suit with the CE Kenya closing the chapter.

Soon after this, the students converged at the assembly point where they were issued with certificates of participation. This activity was lead by Bridgit assisted by Lizbeth and Kanja.
The headteacher of MCEDO later addressed the gathering where he thanked Cosmos for organizing the camp and requested for another camp in November. He noted that the students were highly interested to have another camp that they requested to be longer in time.

After the closing remarks, the CE team boarded the truck, which was waiting nearby and headed to the evergreen serene environment of the Nairobi Arboretum for a picnic lunch. The place was full of people from all walks of life who had come to experience the nice leafy environment. Lovers, youth groups, families, academics, nature lovers and researchers not forgetting several institutions all thronged the more than 100ha of untouched natural forest with over 4000 trees and plant species. The team finally spotted a good spot with a green soft grass with an inviting texture. This is the place where we had our mouth watering Nyama Choma (barbecued meat) and tens of delicacies accompanied by a soda of ones choice. After the lunch, an open discussion moment run the air as the team shared the experiences of the tiring week and the way forward. Kanja chaired the session, which lead to the issuing of the evaluation forms where the volunteers had to read and answer some questions in writing. Kanja emphasized to the members the importance of filling in the forms which he said will help in making a better planning of any future event of the whatever kind.

Then came the time to cut the huge dark brown iced cake with a CE HLSC script on the upper side. Isaac lead the group in cutting it not forgetting little Shiru who was representing the students. Carol & Justa lead the cheering squad in song and dance as the knife was driven all the way down the width of the tasty cake. ”Kila mtu alete sahani yake” (everyone bring a plate) Bridgit shouted as the team members put their plates ready for a share with heaps of the sweet anticipation showing very well on their faces! No more noises were made during the cake swallowing time…..jokes aside please!

The final part consisted the presentation of the certificate of Participation to the volunteers. This activity was lead by Bridgit assisted by Kanja. Evelyn and Angela were the days camera ladies. They captured all the moments with lots of ethuthiasism and ease…to the joy of the team.

The presentation marked the end of the days activities and the camp at large. Lucy lead the team with the closing prayers before thee group collected the refuse and disposed it safely in the designated collection bins and walked towards town, where everyone rushed to catch the his/her transport home. The CE Kenya executive went straight to the office where they held a meeting before leaving at 9pm.

Surely this is a camp to remember!!!
Memorable quotes of the day:
You people have changed my thinking style…..why didn’t you start coming to teach us while we were in standard 4? Kevin Odhiambo of MCEDO standard 7.

2.I now know just how easy it is to solve any given sum! Nancy student Old Mathare primary school
3.Ha! Next time you come, I will have made my own rocket with tins, Isaac standard 4 pupil MCEDO primary school.

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