Thursday, May 22, 2008

A day with the Muthaiga Police Depot IDPs

A view of the Muthaiga Police Depot IDP camp

Everyone was unusually early, perhaps an indication of what a good day it was going to be for us. All the materials had been put in order and the systems ready to go. Transport was quickly organized and the gang left for the Muthaiga Police depot IDP camp. Cruising down Murang'a road on that bright Saturday morning , the members couldn't help reminiscing the HSLC week at MCEDO school! We used exactly the same route as we used during that week of the camp last year.

On arrival at the IDP camp, some of the MCEDO teachers joined us and it was a nostalgic re union. We were met by Julia Njoki, the lady in charge of the operations at the IDP camp. We were taken on an orientation tour of the camp before getting the children together for our main activity. After the tour, where we got to see the appalling living conditions of the IDPs, the children were assembled in the main hall and it was a pleasant surprise to see how obedient and receptive they were, compared to the past visits to the other camps.

A section of the 'gang' introducing themselves

We started by introductions, after which we had one big group assembled outside in the field and started on different modules. We did 'WATER' where we talked about the % of freshwater and salty water in the world. The % of water available for use by man, and talked about the importance of water, why we need to conserve it, and ways in which to do so. We also talked about Global warming and its effects on the environment. We taught about the causes and mitigation measures! It was encouraging to realize that the children really knew which mountain is the highest in the world, the highest mountain in Africa and the highest in Kenya. That was not enough-they even know that on top of these mountains there is ice which melts when the sun is too hot! It was their turn to tell us how the melted ice flows into rivers and eventually into the oceans and seas leading to rising sea levels!

CEK members doing the banana song with the children

We talked about trees and came up with a new slogan: 'cut one tree, plant 5 more' We gave out postcards donated by UNEP's Children and Youth unit, which had paintings from the Tunza International painting competition for the children. What was even more encouraging was when two of the children gave back their postcards with a thank you note! This was very much humbling and we realized the impact we were making on these youngsters! Talk of inspiring, and that is exactly what we were doing to these young people!

Isaac Teaching about Global warming and its effects on the environment

Rocket launch was the last item on our agenda, after which we had the 'gang' serve juice and cookies. We also gave out books, pencils, sharpeners, and erasers. At the end everyone was satisfied and we headed out for our final activity of the day which was tree planting. We planted 10 seedlings in total.

Kevin Kinyua prepares to launch the rocket

We left when a church was bringing lunch to the camp - Giving! Something crossed my mind and I wondered just how much there is to gain by reaching out to the less fortunate in our society! Voluntary/community service does reward and posters a sense of belonging and self confidence to the giver!

Caitlin with some of the children at the camp

CEK members planting a tree at the camp

Kanja explains how to remove a seedling from the plastic bag

When all was said and done, we had Inspired, Engaged and Empowered. The most important thing was the impact that was left with the youngsters about CE and the whole team.

A section of the children taking juice and cookies

Justa Distributing books

Surely, 'youth are the future, education being the key!'