A Travellerspoint blog

Pencils and papyrus

Today was a bit of a sad day in some respects. As Florence's Orphans Nursery in Orongo is inaccessible during heavy rains because of the thick stodgy mud and frequent floods, I was investigating other teaching options, and went to visit another nearer nursery school. It was similar to the orphans nursery, although there were more painted sugar cane bags on the wall (like posters) with fantastic pictures of local food, tools, transport painted on. Definitely an idea to take to the orphans nursery.

After just meeting, the headteacher asked me to take her class as she had to go and send her daughter's birth certificate to a school in Nairobi, so would be gone for a few hours. I don't think I have ever felt so ill- equipped to take a lesson. I was handed a piece of chalk no bigger than 1 cm, and a scrap of paper with 'broom, spoon, soon, noon, moon' written on and was expected to stretch out a lesson on 'oo' sounds for 2 hours. There weren't enough pencils, and most of the pencils were broken and the children were using a rusty razor blade to sharpen them. Once again the rote learning felt pretty dull and uninspiring so I introduced hangman and am glad to say the chalk somehow lasted to the bitter end. The class seemed fairly friendly and keen to learn and the headteacher seemed very flexible about me helping there when rains prohibit me from going to Florence's Orphans Nursery. I might even look in my bag of tricks for a pencil sharpener.

I came back home and found our the brother of our neighbour Tom, lying on the doorstep very sick and very thin. We gave him moringa and rozelle tea and water, but it doesn't look too promising, and was quite disturbing to see someone so desperately ill, a common story here with the high AIDS rates. REAP promotes growing highly nutritious plants to help manage HIV, like the moringa and rozelle that we gave him. It probably sounds stupid but it was shocking to see someone in the flesh, with their hip bones jutting out, and so weak and frail, rather than just read the staggeringly high statistics abotu HIV/ AIDS in Africa.

We were supposed to collect our furniture today for our house and went down to a shack by the Lake where the papyrus chairs and sofa were made. The father and his apprentice son had done a great job, and the wandering cows thought so too as they munched our chairlegs before being chased away. (Apparently the papyrus tastes salty which they like).
Hopefully the cows won't pay us an unexpected visit in our new home ;-)

The following pictures don't fit with the writing above, but are from David's day trips with REAP to visit field workers, like Monica with the Gambles and Jos- the- poser...

Oil press for all sorts of seeds:


Monica, an enthusiastic and active REAP member




Sudan's next top model...

Our last evening with the Gambles:


Posted by africraigs 12:37

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