Paulas & Ninas Blog
The Wonderful Wild
Friday 29 March, 2019
30.03.2019 BYE Kenya!
It is four o’clock and we are leaving for the airport. Soon I see all my loved ones again. We will leave Nairobi at 8.30 a.m. to Amsterdam and then on to Düsseldorf.
Yesterday it was very hard to say goodbye but today I am looking forward to seeing you all home again.
See you later 🙂
I love you all!
The time in Kenya was incredible!
29.03.2019 BYE BYE Ilkeek!
Hello dear ones.
Today is farewell day at Ilkeek. We enjoyed the last week very much and experienced many beautiful moments. On Wednesday, after our sports festival, we made an evening full of games with class 7 and 8 and had a lot of fun. We had different kind of competitions for the two classes and besides we had some competitions between the boys and the girls. The girls won of course! 😉
Afterwards we ate and chatted with the housemother of the boarding school. Also Thursday we had a nice evening after my visit at the doctor. We did our last common service, where many tears flowed.
And today it’s the day: bye bye Ilkeek.
We cleaned everything, packed our bags and said goodbye. The founder of the school and the chairperson were there. We received many Maasai chains and cloths as gifts and were taken in as part of their family. That was very touching. Afterwards they prayed for us and our return journey. When we finally got into the car and drove past the waving children towards the main road, my heart really bled. I hope so much that I can see the boys and girls again before they change to high school.
The time here was very special for me. I had incredibly beautiful experiences and also got to know my personal limits. MUCH thanks to everyone who made this internship possible. I will never forget this time. I left a part of my heart at the Ilkeek Aare Primary Boarding School in Suswa.
See you soon!
27.03.2019 Go Ilkeek!
Today our sports team is going to a competition at another school here in Suswa. Various athletics disciplines are offered, including sprinting over 100 meters, 200 meters, 400 meters and 800 meters, relay, cross country and walking, javelin throwing, shot put, discus, high jump and long jump. Our team was assembled last week during training by our new sports instructor. The children are totally excited. For Nina and me there was a new culture shock. While in Germany nobody is allowed to be unattended for even one minute, here the children go in different groups to the other school and only on site the teacher arrives with headmaster and colleagues by car. Nina and I ran along. Altogether we were 1.5 hours on the way. We walked through fields and meadows, climbed through wire mesh fences and passed highways and the children had nothing but their „sportswear“. On the spot, we met six different schools, all came by foot and then the planned sports day took place. The planning was a bit wilder than in Germany and the willingness of some teachers to work was rather reserved. Nina and I took over the measuring of the different throwing disciplines. Our girls became first place in the discus and shot put. Other schools led the way in javelin throwing. The boys were at the top of the high jump and sprinting. It was a super cool day, but the sun was too strong for me that day. Besides, it was very exhausting again to be an attraction for many people there. Our students had just gotten used to us, but the other teachers, neighbours and students had never seen a „Mzungu“ before. It was a very eventful day. Most impressive were the boys at the high jump. I’ve never seen anything like it before. The boys and girls jump over 1.80 m high, with their legs first and without any kind of pad. Simply crazy and impressive!
Now I rest a bit because of my sunstroke.
25.03.2019 Our last week begins
Our last week begins. Nina and I came back from the Maasai Mara last night and from today on, we have only 5 days left at the Ilkeek Aare Primary Boarding School.
The farewell is getting closer and closer and we are getting sadder and sadder. The girls and boys are really dear to our hearts. Surely many tears will flow as we say goodbye, because we never know when we will meet again. Today was the last time we corrected the English work of the eighth graders and sewed things. We now try to do even more with the children every day than usual and by the way let our afternoon activities run on.
Today we danced. I like the African music very much and the girls and boys have just as much fun dancing as I do.
22.03.2019-24.03.2019 Maasai Mara
Hello dear ones 🙂
Today is a very special day and Nina and I are very grateful and can’t believe it. The Member of Parliament for Narok East has invited us to spend two nights at the beautiful Keekorok Lodge in the Maasai Mara. We were spontaneously taken there and were allowed to sleep in a wonderful room overlooking the hippo lake. We spent the day at the pool on Saturday and in the evening, we went on a sunset safari. That was really cool. We saw lions, zebras, cheetahs, elephants, gazelles, buffalos and giraffes. Of the Big Five we only missed the rhino. That means that we have to come back in EVERY case. We also played cards, drank tasty Tusker and relaxed a bit. We really appreciated everything. Running water, a hot shower and food buffets with meat and fresh fruit and vegetables did super good after more than a month. The people were very obliging and nice and we felt very comfortable. The lodge is indescribably beautiful and it was an incredibly beautiful weekend with Michael and Stephen. During our sunrise safari on Sunday morning at six o’clock we even saw a leopard and 4 lionesses tearing a zebra. That was really the highlight of our stay. A safari offers some really magical moments. Many thanks again to Ken Amarat for these two days.
See you soon!
Saturday, 16 March 2019
16.03.2019 Sewing course
Today our sewing course takes place again. Even if Nina and I are not at all so handcrafted with fabrics and thread at home, the sewing by hand and at the machine runs surprisingly well. My grandmother would be proud of me, because she showed me all this when I was younger. In our course we sewed reusable sanitary pads for the girls at school. It’s a lot of fun, but it’s often stressful, because a sewing machine with a child’s foot on the pedal sews faster than it should. In our time we made 25 finished bandages and then repaired at least 3 dresses every day, shortened 2 skirts, sewed several shirts and trousers, stuffed sweaters and sewed on zippers and buttons. That was often a lot of work until late into the night, but the happy faces of the children made up for it very quickly.
The children wanted to give us some sanitary pads as a thank you, which we then thankfully refused.
We hope that the girls will be able to sew their own sanitary pads in the future.
See you soon !
Today I tell you a little bit about our girl choir, which we have founded. We always meet twice a week and sing many beautiful songs. Of course, we also started here with our school song „The lion sleeps tonight“. After that the Cup song was planned. It is really exciting to see how easy it is for some girls and how hard it is for others to move the cup in time. Our warm-up exercises were wild dances, xylophone sound exercises and games that strengthened our group cohesion. The choir consisted of almost 30 girls from grades 6, 7 and 8. We always had a lot of fun and the last meeting was super hard and sad. We all sang and cried together but we all hope to see each other again sometime.
The choir will have to perform at the opening ceremony just like the flute girls and we hope very much that we can be there.
12.03.2019 Flute lessons
Today I wanted to tell you about our flute lessons here. Our three students Mary, Joan and Ivyn are very busy girls from the seventh grade. Jonas, the German retired teacher, who was there in our first week, had brought the flutes from Germany. In the beginning we did music teaching and got to know the different tones of the flute. Afterwards we learned „The lion sleeps tonight“, the main song of this school. Meanwhile the flutes can even play simultaneously with Titus on the xylophone and the singing choir. Also „All birds are already there“ and „Brother Jakob“ belongs to the repertoire of the girls. We always meet twice a week and the girls practice every free minute. Today I also learned from Joan and Ivyn how to dance to African modern music. The girls here know in any case how to move and the rhythms are always really exciting. I will miss the girls here really. It is unbelievable how much they grow to your heart.
But now it’s time to enjoy the last days!
See you soon!
Monday, 11 March 2019
Narok City 10.03.2019
Good morning 🙂
Nina and I are on our way back to the school. We were in Narok, the next bigger town here, because Nina is sick. The trip takes about 45 minutes and Mike has organized his uncle as a driver for us. Hopefully Nina will be fit again soon and I hope that I won’t get infected, although this will probably be difficult. The doctor said that Nina is breathing too much dust here so she has caught an infection in her lungs. She has been given some medication and should rest for the next few days. Get well soon! The children are all so sweetly worried about Nina, but she says that she is not so bad at all.
Apart from that we only bought a few things in Narok and I still teach flute and guitar today.
See you soon 🙂
Mount Suswa 09.03.2019
Hello dear ones 🙂
Today was a very nice day. Nina and I went with Mike to Suswa Mountain to have a look at the crater and the bat caves. We were picked up in the morning by 3 motorcycles, of course with helmets (don’t worry!) and then we went over hill and dale towards the top of the mountain. Honestly it was a funny but not harmless ride. In Germany nobody would drive a motorbike with another person on this way up the mountain, voluntarily. We really jumped in between and you had to avoid donkeys, cows and goats that crossed your way. Hardly imaginable for you at home I believe, but there was no road up there! My driver and I fell, thank God, only once and only very slowly because we slipped away on the sand.
The bat caves were super exciting. Never before Nina and I have seen so many bats at once. It was a bit creepy in these dark caves too. It was especially funny for us that Mike was afraid that we would get too cold in the caves, but we rather enjoyed the 15 degrees down there in the dark shade, because of the 30 degrees here every day. After the bat cave we climbed into other caves and saw the world down there. After our first stop, Mike told us something about the trees and plants that the Maasai warriors use as medicine or deodorant. We also tried Maasai teeth cleaning. You take a small branch from a certain tree, pull off the bark and then bite around on the stick until a liquid comes out. Then you brush your teeth with it. That was really exhausting at the beginning and hard for us, because the branch is not easy to chew 😀
Then we went on to the actual mountain Suswa. The landscape up there is completely different than down here at the school. Everything is totally green and you can look far. We could even see the Ilkeek Aare. Very cool! Mike explained us that sometimes it rains in the crater and not directly around it. We walked a bit further up but we didn’t make it to the top in the midday heat. My circulation didn’t go through that. There were some tents at the top of the mountain enjoying the sunrise before they climb the top. The way is however very hard and one should take enough water with one. You should also not go there without a guide.
After our tour we drove to suswa in the city to do some shopping before we went back to school.
After this trip we definitely have soring muscles tomorrow.
Good night 😀
The halftime 06.03.2019
Hello dear ones!
Today is halftime, so half our time here in Kenya is over. On the one hand I am already looking forward to seeing you all at home, but on the other hand I will miss the children here very much. The girls and boys here became really fast part of my heart and especially a girl has become like a little sister to me. Nina and I will enjoy our last days very much now and maybe we can visit the school and the children again. Unfortunately, Nina is a bit ill, but she tries to cure it herself before we have to go to the doctor. In the last days, we have corrected a lot and besides our school lesson in class 7, we offered many afternoon courses in sewing, flute, singing, painting and playing guitar. In all courses we have a lot of fun and next week I will tell you more about it.
See you soon ! Paula
Monday 4 March, 2019
Praise the Lord! Amen! 03.03.2019
Today is Sunday and like every Sunday the children do their own service. Already on Saturday evening it is decided who the priest may be and who leads the course program. The Sunday service then takes place in the classroom of the eights and often lasts 3 to 4 hours. The children’s drums and their Maasai singing are already heard at seven in the morning. It is really nice to see how much fun the children have in their church. Many of them wear a Maasai necklace or bracelets for such a special occasion. They sing and dance a lot and cheer each other on. Quite differently than services in Germany God in heaven is cheered on loudly and wildly. That really pulls you along ! After about 2 hours, the teacher of religion, who is also a priest in the church here in the village, joins us and he takes over the service. The sermons and prayers are very emotional and everyone, no matter if boy or girl, sings along loudly and is 100 percent present at the service. Nina and I also had to sing something and say a prayer.
After the service we corrected a lot of work and gave flute lessons. We also talked a bit with our girls from grade 8 and enjoyed Sunday:)
Good night 🙂
Ps: In the picture you see me in the classroom of the eights before the service started. Normally there are always 4 children sitting on a bench, no matter if in lessons or in church 🙂
First Safari 01.03.2019
Good evening 🙂
Today was the day, Nina and I were on safari with class 8. Our alarm clock rang at 3.00 a.m. so that we “over punctual” Germans would be ready at 3.50 a.m., because it should start at 4.00 a.m.
Well, we stood outside and forgot that the Kenyan clocks tick differently here. Because four o’clock does not necessarily mean four o’clock, but from 4 o’clock until sometime during the day. Nina and I had already panicked that the bus drove without us, especially if you consider that it was a class trip (in Germany all parents would be there from 3.40 and if the bus was not there at 3.55, then the first parents would start complaining and at 4.05 at the latest the teacher would call the organization :D) and here everything is completely relaxed.
And we? We ran across the square like scared chickens but nobody was there except the headmaster. 😀 At half past four came then the Safari leader and the buses and then at five o´clock after a coffee at our house, we left.
After 3 hours driving on roads, country lanes, moguls and other roads we arrived at the gate of the Maasai Mara. After a nice breakfast we started. We saw many animals including lions, elephants, gnus, warthogs, antelopes, hippos, crocodiles and many more. That was so impressive. The Maasai Mara is huge and beautiful and it was an honour that we were allowed to ride along and gain this experience!!!
All the children and teachers and especially Nina and I were super happy and speechless from the impressions. The children especially liked the planes with which some tourists fly into the Maasai Mara. Many of them want to become pilots. We have already painted many posters with the children on which they have written and painted their wishes for the future. That was very sweet and very similar to children’s wishes. Many want to become engineers, doctors or lawyers and some even presidents. Many pray to God that they will do well in their final exam and a seventh grade boy was especially sweet because he wants to marry one of his classmates later and she pretends she doesn’t 😉
After our visit of the airfield I had to swallow. It’s awful to see how some tourists see these children as a sight and not as people. They really feel better and superior because they have much more money and want to take pictures in the middle of the children (but then please don’t touch them!) to show them at home. Or they walk past the children and then wave to them from above, as if they were the kings themselves. That was so corrosive!
That’s really terrible and Nina and I got so angry that we went like little terriers at some photographing tourists and asked them what they were doing and told them that it’s rude to just photograph people without asking them. Nina and I already feel uncomfortable when 30 people in Suswa say „Look there, a white person (mzungu)“ within 10 minutes, although nobody there wants to harm us. You just don’t want to attract attention and these tourists photograph the children like the animals they see on the safari. Some people should really think about how they behave. They act as if they were something better just because they can afford such a private flight. This behaviour is just shit and throws a very wrong picture on Europe and these people also bring a wrong picture of Kenya and the Maasais to Europe! The children are doing very well here and they are very happy here and they are not a tourist attraction.
After a nice picnic in the middle of the reserve under a tree we had a look at some monkeys, buffalos, crocodiles, zebras, giraffes and holiday lodges. We were then invited to dinner by a Maasai hotel manager. The people here are really very hospitable and cordial.
Late in the evening we drove back to school. The way took almost 18 hours, so Nina and I were extremely tired but all were super happy!
When we were back at school, we took a quick shower and suddenly the mouse came into my shower. I jumped on the toilet lid and then Nina and I got the mouse with a lot of work caught 😀
Then we went to bed and the children had to tell the others everything about their trip.
An unforgettable day!
Emotional day 28.02.2019
Hello dear ones.
Today is Thursday and Nina and I am allowed to join a safari class trip with the eighth-class tomorrow. We are already super excited and I think we are even happier than the children. Tonight, we already got a first impression thanks to Amos, our safari guide. It was really interesting to learn from his life, because he is Maasai himself and has achieved everything he wanted out of very poor conditions. He showed videos and told a lot about the Maasai Mara. The culture here is very interesting and very different from home. The children were attached to Amos‘ lips and his videos were all enthusiastic. Tomorrow morning it starts around 4.00. So, this will be a short night but it will be worth it. This will be a unique experience!
Before Amo´s presentation, Monica was there, a really great woman! She goes from school to school or also to other places, in order to enlighten girls and women about girl circumcision nowadays. She did a very motivating and enlightening course with all children from grade 6 to 8 about children’s rights, self-acceptance and self-esteem and afterwards only with the girls about the more intimate topics. Her models of the different circumcision methods and her explanations made us shudder. It’s great that there are women like her. She also goes to the women themselves who perform circumcisions to convince them to quit their job, even if it’s not very easy. Monika and Amos‘ two courses were very emotional and we learned a lot. But now off to bed, in 5 hours we have to get up again 😀
25.02.2019 and 26.02.2019 a normal school day here
Hello my dear ones.
Today the school has started again and Nina and I will take over the 7th grade in English in the coming weeks. Moreover we will have some lessons in the 8th and 6th grade in English. We planned to deal with “Punctuation” this week. Since the seventh and eighth classes have their intermediate exams on Tuesday and Wednesday again, we will take over the English lessons in the sixth class on these days. There we will work with “the direct and indirect speech”.
Of course, school here is still different than in Germany, but there are similar structures. There is a weekly timetable and not everything goes under the carpet like on the first day when exams were written. Nina and I now get the school structure better and better. Sometimes teachers drop out, just like at home, but there is no substitute teacher principle. The children then get tasks they do themselves in a disciplined manner. It is really admirable how diligent the children are here. One lesson only lasts 35 minutes and after every 2 hours the children have a 20-minute break. At 8.20, after a 20- minute meeting, in which the flag is hoisted and the national anthem is restored and the headmaster or a teacher explains important things, the actual lesson begins. From 12.55 to 14.00 the children have a lunch break in which they have time to eat. The younger classes, up to class 4 finish school at this time. At 2 pm they have to come back to their classes. From 15.10 to 16.10 the children may play or work on tasks or simply talk. Many are also very tired at this time and rest a little in the shade or on a school bench. We played volleyball for example yesterday and today. The girls also like to jump with a rope or want to take photos with us.
Most boys, like at home, prefer football.
After that there are again independent lessons for the boarding students until five o’clock. The students who do not live in the boarding school then go home. Afterwards the children are free and Nina and I offer a few activities like choir, dancing, flute lessons, painting and tailoring. Afterwards there is dinner and the older children learn again for about an hour in the classrooms before going to bed.
After our day Nina and I are often very tired, so we sleep very early. Moreover, we are mostly woken up very early here, as the boarding students are already awake at 5.30 a.m. and make some noise. 😀
Sunday, 24 February 2019
Today I don’t have much to tell. The rest of the boarding school students arrived and we played a lot. We also have a mouse in the house, which unfortunately we can’t catch. 😀
Tomorrow the school starts again. We are going to work hard for the next 5 weeks, because exams are pending and the trimester will be over.
Good night 🙂
23.02.2019 My first Maasai Birthday
Hello dear ones.
Today I was allowed to experience a beautiful birthday in Kenya. After Nina made pancakes for breakfast and fresh mango and fried egg and butter toast, we spent a nice day with Michael and his little 4 year old sister. The little one is so sweet!
We played with soap bubbles and balloons and talked a lot. In the afternoon Nina and I washed our laundry and the first students came back from the holidays. After a loving greeting and thousands „We missed you so much“ I had to go through a Maasai birthday custom. During the birthday song ‚Happy Birthday‘ a bucket of water was tipped over my head to make it clear that I am happy to have been born and it symbolizes a rebirth with lots of luck for the coming year. That was very funny! Late in the evening Michael and Stephen, our deputy headmaster, came to our guesthouse and Michael cooked Maasai food for us. Of course, there was Ugali, one of the most important dishes here and a kind of cabbage and meat. It was very tasty and funny, because we ate with our hands like the traditional Maasais.
Afterwards we talked into the night. It was a very nice day, but today I missed my family and friends from home.
Again, a thousand thanks to all who thought of me today:)
See you soon
Friday 22 February, 2019
22.02.2019 Happy Birthday!
Dearest birthday greetings to my grandma Irma and to Henning. I hope that you both have a nice day.. Enjoy your day !
Thursday 21 February, 2019
21.02.2019 Back to Ilkeek
Today we go back to Ilkeek. After our White Coffee, Butter Toast and Fried Egg we are ready to go.
Today we drive for the first time with a Matatu, it will be exciting. Matatus are small mini buses, which look rather safe. But the ride was super funny. In a Matatu, there runs loud African music and there sometimes is WiFi. Michael led us to the RIGHT Matatu and honestly, we would never have found it alone. The street rules in Nairobi are just crazy for us. There’s no order, everyone walks across the street as they please, traffic lights are actually ignored and it’s a miracle that so few accidents happen here. Totally crazy!
When we got off the highway and walked to school, everyone looked at us quite shocked. They just couldn’t imagine that we little white girls would run into the desert alone.
When we arrived at the school, we unfortunately had to realize that we don’t have any water yet, but we were given two buckets of water for washing and rinsing, so that we will probably survive well. Unfortunately, our food has all gone bad as well, because someone has turned off the fridge here. That’s very annoying but we’ll buy new ones tomorrow.
20.02.2019 Kiambethu Tea Farm
Today is our last day in Nairobi and we visit a tea farm, up in the mountains of Limuru. The farm belongs to a British family who moved there in 1902. Since 1908 generation after generation plants tea there. I have never seen a tea plant before and it looks like a normal bush. If you don’t work it regularly and pull out the tea leaves, it will continue to grow until it is in a big tree. It was incredibly beautiful up on the farm, far away from the city, without noise and dirt. We really had a wonderful day and a delicious lunch with tea afterwards of course.
We also visited the family’s private forest and a Kenyan showed us the various traditional medicine trees. There are some that are supposed to help against malaria and mosquito repellent, others that are supposed to help against nausea and toothache or arthritis. That was very exciting. Our guide also had a big knife to chase away burglars, as many steal the bark and leaves of these trees.
It was a great last day.
In the evening we went back to the Village Market to print some photos for the school. Another tourist had kindly taken us there, as we didn’t get a pass up there. In the evening Nina watched Schalke’s game and then we packed because we’re going back to school tomorrow morning 🙂
19.02.2019 The Bomas of Kenya
Today we will drive to the Bomas of Kenya. There you can see the 24 different tribes living in the area. It is really interesting to see how different the tribes live. Many are nomads or semi-nomads who move on in the dryness to look for food for the animals. It was very exciting to see how different the tribes build their huts and where they live in Kenya. Each tribe has a hut for the first wife, the second and the third wife as they live in polygamous families. In addition, the grandmother is often placed as a guard next to the entrance gate in an extra hut,because she needs the least sleep, so dear grandmothers now you know 😀
The Maasais, for example, have an extra hut for the animals as they are a very important part of their lives.
There are also huts for unmarried boys and various storage rooms. Totally exciting. Also, here we were asked by college students if they could take a picture of ins. That happens a lot, but it’s still funny for us.
After a nice cool Tusker Cider on a terrace in the middle of trees full of monkeys and warthogs underneath, we wanted to watch the show on site. In this show different dances of the different tribes are shown. Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough cash with us, because we thought that you could pay there with card. Just as we were driving home, the show director said his driver could drive us to an ATM and back so we could see the show. That made us really speechless. Such a thing would never happen in Germany!
In the evening we had dinner with Michael on the terrace. That was very nice. It feels like vacation!
18.02.2019 Wonderful Wildlife I
Good morning 🙂
Today we saw the first wild animals here in Kenya. Early in the morning we drove to the Sheldricks Wildlife Trust. This is a sanctuary for orphan elephants and rhinos. We saw a 3-month-old rhino, which was only recently picked up because its mother rejected it after human contact. The rhino came into human contact as it could not get out of a mud pit alone. The little rhinoceros is so incredibly cute and behaves almost like a dog when it follows its keeper.
Also, the elephants are super cute there. They are brought for different reasons from different reservations and national parks. Many are orphaned, because the mothers are killed by humans during the hunt or because they fall into wells or pits and do not come out alone. The found elephants stay there for 3 years to be reared. It was very interesting to learn that an elephant baby only survives 24 hours alone, otherwise it dries out without mother’s milk. The elephants are bottle-fed in the rearing station and since it is too difficult to milk a female elephant, the calves get human milk. The normal cow’s milk has too much fat, so that some calves died in the beginning until they found the right milk to feed.
It was nice to watch the young animals playing together.. An elephant threw mud at me, that looked really funny. These big, rather clumsy animals are very intelligent and they are said not to forget anything. It takes about 7 years until an elephant is taken up again in the wild in a herd. Since the animals are accompanied by the rearing station for such a long time, the orphan centre is naturally dependent on donations and adoptions of elephants for one year.
I would have loved to take an elephant home with me! 🙂
Afterwards we went to the Giraffe Centre. There you can feed the giraffes with pellets. That was fun:) I had a pellet between my lips and the giraffe gave me a kiss to get the pellet. I’ve never seen a giraffe this close before. Totally impressive.
In the afternoon we drove to the Village Market, a big shopping mall. There is a parallel world to the poor conditions in the city. Here, only few people go shopping and no one looked at us. We bought there painting materials for the school and toys.
In the evening we had dinner at Pizza Hut and then we went back to the hotel later than usual. During the drive in the dark it was sometimes a little creepy, as people burned things at the roadside and the driver drove through small abandoned alleys. But we arrived well:D
17.02.2019 First day in Nairobi
Today our free time as a tourist starts.
Nina and I booked us a hotel room in the Ink Hotel for 18 Euro the night with breakfast for both of us. We were also very satisfied, so that we spent our complete 5 days there. Afterwards several Uber drivers recommended us not to take a hotel in Downtown next time, because it should be there more dangerous. But we always took good care of ourselves and our stuff so that everything was fine. And Kenyans are always very friendly and courteous here. But it was noticeable that there is always a lot going on, on the River Road. At every free place on the sidewalk someone tries to sell you something and everyone calls us „Mzungu“. Mzungu means white person and sounds rude to the German ear. But here in Kenya, according to explanations by Michael and the Uber drivers and our deputy headteacher, it’s just to start a kind of small talk. The Kenyans are happy when they see a light-skinned person. Some also claim that it is lucky to touch a light-skinned one, which is why many people on the street try to touch us. Others say that we look more like Jesus because we are bright although Jesus actually came from Israel and therefore was not so light-skinned and because of that many would like to have some contact with a light-skinned person. As you can see there are really crazy ideas that get people to talk to us, but they are all nice and nobody wants to harm us. Of course, it is still sometimes exhausting and unpleasant to always be the centre of attention and for some thieves we are often an easier victim. However, we always had someone around us who would pay attention and warn us if someone had an eye on us.
On our first day in Nairobi we went to the National Museum and the snake house. The museum was very interesting and you could learn a lot about the history of Kenya and its over 40 tribes. But my personal highlight was the snake house, as we were allowed to touch several snakes and chameleons there. Totally cool!
Afterwards we went to the Karura Forest, a forest where you can walk well. There are small waterfalls and caves and it is very nice there. Many couples and families come here. Also, here we came into the situation new for us that a group of young girls and boys wanted to take photos with us. Most of the time they first tried it secretly and then ask shyly if we can take a photo with them. We always say yes and it’s crazy how happy the Kenyans are. 😀
However, some Kenyans are also too pushy. They ask for example, for our number or want to be invited to Germany or ask if we are already married or still looking by chance. So, there are a few crazy heads just like in any other country. 😀
In the evening we had tasty food and went early to the hotel, because one should not walk around alone in the evening.
16.02.2019 Mid-Term Break
Today it starts! We have one-week school free and the boarders visit their parents. For this time Nina and I drive to Nairobi to visit the National Museum, Animal Orphanages and National Parks. We would also like to visit a tea plantation and The Bomas of Kenya. I’m very excited and curious about what we’ll see. The world in Nairobi is very different than in the Maasai Mara.
Marianne and Jonas also fly home tomorrow morning. Have a good flight !
15.02.2019 The rain is expected
Hello dear ones 🙂
The sand and the dust, both are becoming increasingly unbearable at the moment due to strong winds. In addition, the Ilkeek has no more water supply. So, the rainy season is eagerly awaited. Normally the strong winds indicate that it will rain soon, but so far there hasn’t been much. We can’t take a shower for 3 days, we can’t use the toilet flush, we can’t wash and we can’t clean against the dust. The conditions are not so easy at the moment, but sometimes you have to learn to adapt to your needs. This has already become clear to us in class. Not every child has a pen and a notebook for all subjects. Almost nobody owns a book and chairs and tables are also in short supply. Often 5 children sit together on a narrow bench and write on their laps. Especially today we have few benches, because it is an important event; a parents‘ conference. Mr Baetge, Theo, Michael and people from the ministry are here to talk about the future of Ilkeek. It is exciting to see how differently dressed (traditional or business) and how different lifestyles the parents have. Some still live traditionally as half-nomads with their animals in the middle of the Maasai Maara and therefore only speak Maa and Kiswahili and some work in Nairobi and therefore speak English. But they are all equally nice and inviting. We really feel at home here. Everyone greets us friendly and tries to talk to us. Many people want to take pictures of us, that’s sometimes a funny feeling, because you are nothing special, but for the Maasais you are. They are happy that we are here and we are happy that they welcome us so friendly.
Our 7th grade lesson today was great. We studied the definite article and made tasks and evaluated them. We also played „Simon Says“. I think this is their new favourite game 😀
Tomorrow is the last school day before the „Mid-Term Break“.
Jambo means hello in Kiswahili. Nina and I have already learned a lot thanks to the children. We can already count: moja, mbili, tatu, nee, sita, saba,nane,tisa, kumi and have a little talk. But the language is really difficult, because it has hardly any recognition value at the beginning. Additionally, the people here try to teach us their own language ‚Maa‘. But it is very different from Kiswahili. We even got our own Maasai names. My name is Naserian, which means peace and Nina is called Nashipai, which means joy or happiness. Totally nice that we can become part of their culture. Tonight, after school we were invited to a self-organized service of the children. That was really touching. The Maasais are very strong believers and like Nina and I, most of them are Christians. The higher classes (7 or 8) then prepare their classroom as if it were a church. One of them stands in front as a pastor and reads his favourite passages from the Bible. In between one calls „Praise the Lord“ and everyone answers „Amen“. There is also often applause for the Lord and various prayers are said. Each class then performs a Maasai dance one after the other. They look great and the songs are beautiful. We were also allowed to dance along and therefore served very well as a means of entertainment, as the Maasai dances are not that easy at the beginning. Everyone was very happy that we took part and when we sang „Raise me up“ together with the girls in a smaller circle, Nina and I had to fight with the tears. You quickly become a part of this school family here and the teachers of the boarding school give you the feeling that you are very welcome. Not only the children learn a lot from us, but we also learn a lot from them in the areas of religion, faith, values and attitude towards life. The children are so happy here and we are always very happy to spend time with them. It makes you very happy and we are thankful that we are allowed to be here, even if you sometimes have to fight with problems like water poverty.
But not everything is simple and beautiful here. Today we had the task to distribute shoes, which we took with us from Münster. You can’t imagine how difficult it is to choose only 30 out of 300 children. You have to look for sizes and decide who needs new shoes most urgently. All children try to fight their way forward to you and say „Give me shoes“ and you can’t give everyone something. You’re really sorry about that, although you do something good. Thank God we still have a lot of shirts and t-shirts with us, which we can distribute next week, so that in the end everybody gets something.
We also have balloons, balls and soap bubbles, which we had a lot of fun with today:)
After our first real English lesson in class 7 we got a bracelet and a Maasai necklace from Michael, they look really cool. It’s crazy, we practiced the indefinite article today and the kids were thrilled. We didn’t have any books, but with some chalk and a blackboard we could explain the topic spontaneously. So, for our future teacher career we learn a lot here, because you get to know in which class you go at 8.00 in the morning and 20 minutes later, we start. Accordingly, spontaneity comes first here. Afterwards we did some exercises and when we wanted to take a break, the children wanted to do more exercises. Nina and I both didn’t know that from schools in Germany. Tonight, we had dinner with Mr. Baetge, Michael, Stephen, Marianne, Jonas and Theo, that was very nice.
13.02.2019 First lesson class 8
Today was the first real school lesson we watched. It is so interesting to see how Kenyan teachers teach as opposed to our teachers at home. Not only the subjects are different, but also the circumstances cannot be compared. The teacher, we were sitting with today, is still new at Ilkeek and I think he is very good. He is disciplined and very motivating. The students hang on his lips. It is particularly noticeable that the lessons are carried out frontally. The teacher lectures and the class repeat the important terms in a choir.
There is no group work or diversity of methods. In between, the teacher asks something and one student or the whole class answers. It is great that all students are very attentive. They see school as a privilege and are grateful to be here. They like being in school and want to learn a lot. If you compare this with a German school, you often have a few children sitting there who don’t want to be at school, because they have to go. So, a completely different appreciation of school here.
After the lesson of about 35 minutes Nina and I should introduce ourselves. We were only 10 minutes in front and when we moved back into the narrow school bench, my seat neighbour already had a new pen, my pen ;D
Really crazy! I didn’t say anything to avoid an argument. But that was actually the wrong behaviour, because the children should learn here that not all Europeans are rich and that one is not allowed to steal. But first I have to learn how to behave in such situations. Often Mr Baetge or other teachers (like us now) bring along balls, balloons, clothes and shoes, which of course don’t come completely from a private wardrobe, but are collected in sports clubs or something like that. These are then given away to the children. Of course, it is then difficult for them to understand what they can and cannot simply take.
See you tomorrow!
Wednesday, 20 February 2019
12.02.2019 what a mess! 😀
Anyone who believes that school is the same everywhere has no idea. HERE, everything is different. There is an actual timetable, but so far everything is still running under the carpet. But the reason could be that today is the day of the exam. All classes, except the 7th class, write several 40-minute exams today and have a 20-minute break in between. We will wait and see what the other school days will bring. Today we played a lot with the children in the yard. In addition, the children started to become more self-confident, so that you always have 5 children who go through your hair and another 5 who want to touch your face or who examine your hands carefully.
What soap do you use to wash your face?“ a girl asked me, for example. With a normal soap“ I answered. So, if I use it too, then I’ll be white?
It’s really crazy when you realize that these children here really believe that you’re only white because you’re cleaner, for example. Nina and I try to explain our life at home in Germany to the children somehow. It gets exciting and sometimes really hard, because it is unbelievable for the children that we don’t have elephants or ostriches!
Our guesthouse is also very beautiful. Mr. Baetge really took care of everything. The beds are comfortable, we have a drinking water machine and an equipped kitchen. Marianne and Jonas started their music and sewing courses today and the selected students are very happy.
Just the punishment of the children is sometimes unfamiliar and different from the German standard for both of us.
Arrival in Ilkeek 11.02.2019
After we bought some food in Nairobi to survive in the semi-desert and bought a guitar for Jonas lessons and fabrics for Marianne’s sewing course, we drove with our driver Stephen to the Ilkeek Aare Primary Boarding School. It’s really great how Mr Baetge planned our trip. Michael helps us with every problem, so we could easily change money and even get a SIM card with internet. Every student who gets this unique opportunity to attend the Ilkeek Aare Primary Boarding School after us is well looked after here.
The way from the big city Nairobi to Ilkeek was long and the first impressions were crazy. The difference between the rich people from Nairobi and the poorer people from the slums on the outskirts makes it hard to swallow. We have seen markets in the middle of dirt and garbage mountains around. Moreover, the traffic in Kenya is crazy. But our driver is a very good driver, he makes you feel safe.
The arrival in the late afternoon was indescribable. We arrived after school because we stopped at a photo point for so long. The roads towards Ilkeek were actually quite good highways but a look to the left showed the abyss waiting for you if you weren’t careful. When the highway led out of small towns and we were in the middle of nowhere, the driver suddenly steered onto a dirt road that was not actually passable. This should lead us to school. The car wobbled and Stephen tried to avoid the deep holes on the way. From a distance you could see red bright roofs and around them… NOTHING! No lake, no house, no supermarket.
The car stopped and 120 child faces looked at us shyly but joyfully. We got out and all the children waved at us. You felt like the Queen herself. Everyone wanted us to wave to him and the children worshipped us like gods. That was a strange feeling. The children dared to get closer quickly, so that since that moment we always have at least 90 children buzzing around us. After a few games and rope jumping we went to the guesthouse to rest from the first impressions. Tomorrow it really starts!
Hello dear ones.
Paula writes a blog again. This time it’s about my 2 months in Kenya. A breathtaking country, where there is much to discover.
I hope you enjoy diving with me into my world here in Africa.
Today it starts. After a stressful packing session at home yesterday I actually wanted to cancel the trip due to too little space in my two suitcases and the missing sleeping bag. But I arrived relatively relaxed at Nina in the evening. We chatted a bit with her family and ate currywurst. 😀
At 5.00 in the morning we left for the airport. Here we had a coffee with Jonas, a retired teacher who travels with us, and then we took the first plane to Amsterdam. There we met Marianne, Jonas sister and after a 2- hour stay, we continued with Kenya Airways to Nairobi. The flights were relaxed except that I bathed once completely in apple juice, because my folding table was not solid. 😀
Arrived in Nairobi we got our visa at the counter for 50 dollars and our driver Stephen and Michael brought us then to the hotel.
Now only one thing: shower and go to bed 🙂 See you then!