oh my goodness! the excitement i feel today…i cannot contain myself! i have finally seen a real snowfall after 2 years and it is the most magnificent sight ever! fine, the cold is not very welcoming, but who cares! it is super beautiful! i am living in my own snow globe…
The Kiatu/Amukat (shoe) Project Update January 28, 2012
More shoes will be bought this Tuesday and distributed in February in Kenya. This was a personal project in which friends contributed funds in order to purchase shoes for people who needed them the most in both Kenya and Uganda. If you want to more about it, read Oct 21 and 29 entries.
A few of you wanted to know how else you could help, since enough money had been collected for shoes. Thanks for the additional funds, which were used to pay for tuition, food, books etc, for a year for children’s education. While, Kenya has implemented Free Primary Education, there have been issues that have arisen, that perhaps were not forseen. The children that have been supported with the donations are going to schools where the fees are nominal, but some of the issues experienced in the public system, are not present.
In the first year of the introduction of FPE, enrollments jumped by 22 percent. Students in large numbers enrolled into schools across the country, causing class sizes to increase. Schools became overcrowded and the conditions, unbearable; not enough toilets, water or good lighting to accommodate the students. In addition to this, resources were lacking which meant students had to share textbooks and desks. Teachers were not sure how to cope with the large class sizes and training was not provided to better handle this situation.
Free Primary Education means that families are no longer responsible for paying the yearly tuition for their children. However, in addition to tuition, there are other costs associated with going to school. Students are responsible for their uniforms, textbooks, and transportation. These costs can amount to a lot for one family, especially if they have several children to educate. Parents will also consider the cost-benefit ratio. Does it cost more to send a child to school than the income that he or she provides by working on the farm or in the fields?
These are just some of the issues that the education system is facing. If you would like to put a child through school, let me know. People are sometimes hesitant to donate to an organization, unsure of whether or not 100% of funds will go where they are supposed to. The schools are paid directly by a contact person that I have in Kenya and this fundraising is not connected to any organization- again, a personal project – so all the monies go towards educating children.
Below is a picture of one of the classrooms that I visited on a recent trip.
Opera Night January 26, 2012
Going to an opera tomorrow evening. Double performance actually. My first time watching a musical/theatrical performance in Geneva. Being positive!
Friday after the opera – it was alright. the outside architecture of the Geneva Grand Theatre was beautiful. Cannot say much for the inside. Have seen an opera now in Geneva. Perhaps opera is not quite my thing.
Bookworm January 25, 2012
Excerpt from one of my short stories (WIP)
“Look at all the baby books Michael. I have so much more reading to do. I’m going to be a mom soon!” And with those words, Sonali gently pat her hollow stomach and looked up at Michael with her wide, gleaming eyes. She clutched the book against her chest and for the first time in months, she smiled with immense pleasure.
Michael looked at her with great sadness. He felt a tear roll down the right side of his face. All this time he had thought that the books were helping her to move on. Instead, that evening he realized that what he had really bought her all these months, was her own insanity.
The Sound of Music and the Taste of Yummy January 23, 2012
And all of a sudden in the middle of her sentence, she paused.
‘Did you hear that,’ she asked?
‘Hear what?’ The only sounds I could hear were the birds off in the distance, chirping a fine tune. And before I could respond any further, she stood up and began to dance. And then I felt it. The music surrounded us – a big bellied man on a piano, a purple woman playing the banjo, several little people with Litungus and Maracas shaking everywhere.
She danced the Samba and shook like the Basoga people, bringing unity in all the sounds that radiated around us. I was mesmerized and in a state of disbelief. I rubbed my eyes and once they opened, I saw elephants dressed in colourful clothes, swaying to the music. Koalas in caps and Macaques wearing bells.
A merry-go-round, full of little things with pumpkin heads, went round and round at a speed faster than my eyes could keep up with. Ice cream cones were floating in the sky and cotton candy swirled around the imaginary stars. She reached out for some and let it melt away in her mouth, until her lips were rosy red, like the colour of…could it be? Yes, on an ice stand stood a 20 layered red velvet cake, covered with cream cheese frosting that looked like fluffy clouds galore. She dove into it, and gobbled each layer, one by one.
The initial shock had surpassed. I took to my feet and swayed through the blue grass, flying over the multi coloured eggs and somersaulting in the air, like no acrobat had before. She took my hand and we jumped into the green sea, so soft and squishy. We danced to the madness and sang at the top of our lungs. I was ecstatic, like a child at a fair. Yes, this was my fair.
I turned around and looked at her, ‘Thank you for making me hear the music.’