Team Kenya 2017 The Gabriel Learning Center: A story unfolds
Categorised in: Kenya 2017
By Performers Without Borders
Nakuru – the land of swirling dust.
As we dance and play games in the courtyard
with the kids of the Gabriel Learning Center
I take a moment to stop… look around…
and cover my smile with my bandana.
When the play gets exciting
the dust joins in as well.
Dancing covers your teeth
with a thin and gritty film.
Hula hoops and cartwheels send it flying
putting your eyelashes and tears to work.
Tag will leave you wearing
an extra layer over your clothes,
and I must often take a moment
as I am seized by dusty coughs.
It is ever present, even after a night of rain,
but something else never changes,
We dance, we skip, we sing, cartwheel, laugh and play all the same.
The circus fun has returned and the kids are eager for all of the games.
We have been in Kenya for 2 months and now we are living at The Gabriel Learning Center; our partner for our final project. There are about 200 kids, just under 30 of them “homies” who live here. The school is a beautiful little oasis in a slum called Kaptembwa; one of the biggest slums in Nakuru. The children who live and go to school here are happy and overjoyed with the fact that we are here working with them.
Our roles as volunteers in this project are unique because we are here teaching the PE courses during the school day with a total of about 5 classes that are 30-35 minutes long. For the other projects we had to work around the school day as education is taken very seriously for those who are capable of attending school in Kenya, and clowning around… comes in just behind. Since we are able to live at the school and teach classes throughout the day, we are able to provide much more in depth workshops to these kiddos than any of our projects before. We are also blessed with the assistance of each of the class teachers who join in on the fun, help translate and work with the rowdier ones. All of this adds up to an experience that is unparalleled allowing us to teach a lot more.
This project covers the final 3 weeks of our tour, 2 of which are left, and to end the tour we give this one a little extra. During the last 2 weeks we will be working with each of the classes to put together a performance that they will be presenting on our final Friday . This is the only project we have had in which the children will perform so it feels really special and the kids are very excited.
The children themselves are very talented, they listen well, work together, and love to perform. We had the pleasure of being here during a drama competition they had with other schools in the area so we joined in to cheer them on! It was their first year competing and they placed 3rd; a beautiful glimpse at the talent they have. The play was heavy being performed by such a young cast as it dealt with a father who loses his job, his wife and his children, and has to struggle to forgive himself and bring the family back together. Unfortunately it is a story that many can relate to here in Kenya but the children use it as fuel for their performance and it really shows the drive that these kids have.
Altogether the project here is one that is full of blessings and as a team we feel very fortunate to be partnered with such a strong and beautiful school. As we begin to step into the last few weeks of our journey, we smile and dance even harder as the dust flies all around. We thank you Gabriel Learning Center and we thank you readers back home. Stay tuned as we will reach out again soon. Smiles and laughter from Kenya! Amani Lazima (Peace is a Must)