Monday, March 17, 2008


"Youth are the Future, Education is the key!"

Amidst all the uncertainty facing the IDP's at the Chief's camp. mathare, this little boy could afford a smile - hopeful that the future will look nothing like what is at the moment!
It finally happened! Cosmos Education Kenya volunteers visited the chief's camp in mathare, one of the sprawling slums in Nairobi, last Sartuday the 15th of March 2008. As always, the volunteers were entusiastic about the visit at the camp. It was a day after a night of heavy rains and with a bad drainage system in the Camp, there was mud all over and the Unicef tent were we carried out our sessions was all messy, but we endured all the same. After two weeks of preparations and planning, nothing could stop us. we were determined to make an impact in the lives of the displaced children, who at the moment their only hope remains the Kenya Red Cross, Mama na dada (An NGO which actively does outreach activities in the camp), Unicef, Cosmos Education Kenya, and other like minded humanitarian and outreach organizations.

Legend has it that the Towers of Hanoi....Isaac explains The story behind the Towers of Hanoi, as Bridgit puts the game in place!

After meeting in our downtown office at 9am, we hired a Matatu which took us to the camp. On our arrival, you could tell from the curious IDP's that to them every visitor brings with them a new hope. I was even amazed that some of the children could remember our volunteers who had done a pre-visit. I couldn't hide my joy on seeing the children recognize Bridgit, Kevin, and Justa - they really made a great first impression!
Njeri and Moses try the Towers of Hanoi challenge as Bridgit looks on
After a brief singing and interacting with the curious children, we finally assembled in the not so accommodating Unicef tent where we did our introduction. We had worked out a mechanism such that all our activities were synchronized and each session eased onto the next and this way we ensured that our young audience did not get bored. Unlike in the past, we did not break into groups, rather we opted to tackle the kids in one big group - which at one point seemed headed to the rocks! The kids were kind of unrully and naughty, but they afforded us their attention regardless!

Evalyn distributing some grapes she got from the camp to the kids

The topics covered ranged from the infamous Towers of Hanoi to the paper folding challenge. We did the hyena, chicken, and Ugali, all these laced with songs and dance - the Banana song was the most requested and our volunteer Kevin Kinyua with one of CEK's newest, Nina, kept the kids peeling, slashing and eating "banana" This way, Caitlin's void (note that she had travelled to Tanzania on an assignment) was adequately covered!

Now lets do this, Bridgit gets Moses to try out the Towers of Hanoi challenge as Isaac looks on

Being an Intern at the UNEP, I was careful not to leave out the environment! I talked to the kids on the importance of keeping our environment clean, taking care of trees, and planting new ones. The kids seemed aware of the fact that trees purify our air and induce rain!!!!

We need to keep our environment clean and hospitable to everyone!

After spending a sizeable amount of the morning teaching and singing, we then treated them to a cup of juice and biscuits. We also donated excersise books and pencils for them to write on come Monday morning.

Justa, Kevin, Dickson, and Nina doing the "I pepeta" song!

Once everything was said and done, and everyone was ready to go back and enjoy the rest of their weekend, we could not help reflecting on what really had been achieved so far. One thing we were convinced of , though. We had gone there with one thing in mind: To Inspire, Empower, and Engage, but I had a feeling that we had done more than just that. We had touched the lives of a very sensitive group in our society at this time when the country is still smarting from the post poll violence and its effect. Our hearts reached out to them and we are definately going back to pick up from there..........all the way to the future, which is intricately embeded in the youthful virality of the youth - as long as they are given the key: EDUCATION!

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