Day 6: behind the smile…

Today everyone resumed their activities at Red Rose School. Paul taught the 8th graders about cars and their mechanics and was surprised by the interest of the kids in electric cars which are very rare in Kenya. Alice taugh piano and guitar to some students and discovered they barely knew how to read notes. With the help of the teacher, even more interested that the students, she explained what was an octave, minor or major chord…she also taugh ballet to 22 girls in the afternoon. Beautiful moment to see those girls in leopards and ballet shoes dancing with grace among metal iron sheets!

Malo taugh maths in the same class than last year and was pleased to see some improvement in the maths skills in one year particularly for one of the boys. Dimitri taught 7th graders how to present themselves in French and started a new project with Paul. They are creating a mural with the help of 14 kids. First they asked them to draw something which can motivate them in the future but it has to be related to Kenya. They drew a river (of life) and added each elements the kids drew around it to compose the mural. Next step will be to paint the mural on the wall of the safe house.

Last Friday, I had asked the class I was teaching geography to, to invent they own Utopia place and to present it today. When I told them that they could win prizes, it was like a “beehive”, everone was excited to win and present a good project and suddenly asked me thousand of questions. I was struck by the fact they had hard time not to copy what they knew already and let their imagination wonders. It was like they were describing a Kibera but in another world. Then I had so much fun showing then some snapchat trick and started a babmington game in the courtyard with Malo.

Raphaele had a great day, teaching numbers in French and singing with the little one “1-2-3, nous irons au bois,4-5-6 cueillir des cerises…”she also experimented how to turn the spatula in the super huge pot to prepare ugali for 400 kids. She got few more muscle…

During this time, Marie was meeting with suppliers and builders to talk about renovation of the school and also interviewed with Jaypee, the director of red rose, a psychologist who can come talk with kids having a rough time at home. And this is on this topic that I would like to close this post as today some of us met for the first time the kids they are sponsoring. When you start talking to them and give time to express themselves, then behind their smile you can discover the traumas. Few example of what we heard today: Willy has eleven siblings. The parents are fighting all the time and the father leaves and disappears for long period of time. His daily life would pretty difficult if Jeff from Uweza were not helping him.

Joan, sponsored by Alice, lives with her brother and sister and the dad. The mom left one day and only comes back very rarely. The dad is very busy getting money and with her siblings they are all the time alone. She cooks, the brother cleans the house and the little sister prepares breakfast.

A lot of the kids have a very difficult daily life: Hiv positive, no parents, staying with guardian, abused by a member of the family, sent to be housecleaner instead of going to school or doing their homework. The girls from early age carry responsibilities that are not adapted to their age. Most of them start at 6am and when they come home in the evening, they have so many housechores to do that they cannot go to bed before 11pm.

Jaypee was telling the psychologist about this boy in 4th grade whose grades were sliding down suddenly. Red Rose investigated and discovered that the dad tried to rape his sister in front of him. Or also this young girl in 3rd grade who lost her mom. Last year she stayed with her aunt who was still a teenager. One night, this aunt on the other side of a curtain suicided herself and this little girl witnessed everything. How can you have a normal life after this? This is why Project Kenya wants to hire a person who can work with the kids around their traumas but also train the teachers how to respond to those cases.

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