Of leaps and lions and letters

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By Brett Roche

This past week was amazing! The students were preparing for their athletics meet on most of the week, so much of our days were spent watching and helping organize the track and field events. It is great to see how involved and excited the students get for athletics, and they are all very enthusiastic and supportive of their peers who are competing, with lots of cheering and encouragement.

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It is so interesting to compare track and field in Canada with Kenya, as we have more equipment and resources, so Kenyan schools have to get creative to put on their events. They use wooden branches that have been carved for high jump and pole vault, and they use a pit of sawdust instead of mats for their jumping events, but the students are do not skip a beat and happily proceed without hesitation, and perform very well.

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The students under grade 3 also do the track and field but they have different events, which in my opinion are much more fun! These younger students do things like sack races, potato collecting races, skiprope races, and spoon and egg races, and they are extremely entertaining and funny to watch.

The athletics meet was on Friday morning at Kiirua Primary, and we were able to go watch before we went on safari for the weekend. Our students from Mitoone performed extremely well, and made me, the other teachers, and their fellow students very proud. By 11 o’clock, when we had to leave, Mitoone students had already won 5 events, and the day was not even half over! I really enjoyed watching the students show so much support and school spirit for their friends who were competing, and reminded me just how effective sports are in bringing people together.

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After the meet, we went to Samburu Game Park for safari for the weekend and had a truly incredible experience. We saw almost all the animals I was hoping to see, including five lions, three leopards, one crocodile, and countless giraffes, elephants, oryxes, gazelles, impalas, zebras, ostriches, and countless other beautiful and unique mammals and birds. The game lodge was beautiful, with very nice “tents” (which were really like luxury hotel rooms), an awesome pool, great food, and helpful and friendly staff. There were also countless monkeys around the lodge which could wreak havoc, but could also provide some laughs. Overall the safari was a fantastic experience which I would recommend to anybody, and I hope I will be able to go on another one some day.

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Finally, this week, I got my students to complete a small assignment for me, which will really be for my next teaching placement. I wanted to give them some practice after teachig them about composition writing in multiple verb tenses in English, so I came up with an idea of something they would enjoy, and could connect with my next practicum.

My next teaching placement is at Stonepark Intermediate, where I will once again be teaching grade 7, so I had my students each write a letter to a grade 7 student on PEI. These letters had them talk about themselves, what they enjoyed, and where they came from, as well as what they hope to do in the future. They then were able to write out some questions for the students, and I will now bring them back to PEI, give them to my next students, then have them respond and send them back to Mitoone. The students loved the idea, and really loved writing them, decorating them with colouring and drawings, as well as the prospect of making a friend who is their age on the other side of the world! They have already written letters to West Kent, their twinned school in Charlottetown, but they were excited with this assignment because they will receive a response within a month or two, instead of a year thanks to email and the help of Mr. Kiirinya at Mitoone.
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I am continuing to love my time in the community and at the school in Meru, and I think this was my favourite week yet!

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