Sharing the joy

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Krystal with a group of upper year girls on her last day. They were sad to hear she was leaving but glad they got to spend the past few weeks together.

March 15, 2019

By Krystal Woodside
Where has the time gone? Today marked the end of my teaching time at Rugetene primary school. I have been so lucky to have been given the opportunity to work with so many incredible people these past few weeks. The students have been better than I could have ever imagined. Their genuine curiosity and willingness to learn has made my job so much easier. I hope that I have been able to make a fraction of the impact on everyone here as they have made on me.

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Krystal with her cooperating teacher Lucy who she says has been like a mother to her while at the school
The week has been a busy one with many highlights so I apologize in advance if this blog is a little longer but I think the read will be worth it. On Tuesday much to my excitement I was given a Kenyan name from my fellow teachers here at Rugetene. The name is Kagwiri and from what I was told it means Joy or the one who is always happy. I am so honoured to have been accepted into my community this way and I am proud that this trait is how they view me. There is much to be happy about when I am in this incredible country surrounded by some amazing people. This event may seem small to these teachers but to me it really does mean the world.

This week I also had the opportunity to serve lunch to the students. I have worked as a server in Canada so it was easy to get back into the swing of things. Like many of the schools here in Kenya, Rugatene has a food program so students are fed everyday at 11:00 break and also at lunch. The meal I was serving was rice and beef which is almost everyone’s favourite. The ladies in the kitchen were fast and efficient and the students all waited patiently. I had a lot of fun and I think the students were happy to see me there too. I appreciate how when I am at the school I have opportunities to invest myself in more than just teaching.

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The kitchen staff and Krystal preparing lunch

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Krystal serving the rice and beef to a couple of students
Another day this week I had the opportunity to spend time outside playing with the students. This is something I have done so many times and will always cherish these memories. On this particular day the students were skipping rope using a vine they had found. After some coaxing on their part they were able to convince me and Hailey to try jumping. I was no where near as good as them at it but it was still a lot of fun. We took turns jumping and turning the rope and there were smiles all around. I think this will be what I will miss the most from my time at the school. Just playing and laughing with the students. This is where I really get to know the students and I feel as though they get a better sense of me.

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 One of the students jumping rope while Krystal turned it for them. The rest of the students were looking on while enjoying their porridge.
We finished the week off with the zones for athletics. This meant that 8 primary schools from the area came together to compete in many events. The event was held at Michogomone primary school which gave me a chance to visit Brent and Maude at the secondary school. It was wonderful to meet the people there and get a better sense of what the others have been doing for the past few weeks. After visiting the secondary school we went down to the primary school field to watch the athletics. If you remember my post from a few weeks ago my students had been hard at work practising for the competition. Although only some of the students compete every student comes to cheer so there were students everywhere. Rugetene did well, especially some of the girls in the running events and we took home many metals. More importantly the kids had fun competing and also talking to the students from other schools.

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One of the senior boys from Rugetene participating in shot put
Because the schools are so close many of the students have friends and family attending the other schools. This means it was a chance for everyone to catch up and spend the day together. I was also able to meet lots of new people. My students were very excited for me to meet their friends and I think those other students were also excited to meet me. As always there were lots of hand shakes, high fives, and first bumps. I spoke to lots of teachers from other schools as well. It was nice to hear more about the other schools in the area and their perspective on education. I also had the chance to tell them a bit about Canada and how our education works.

Finishing at Rugetene has been bittersweet. Although I am sad to leave I am also looking forward to what is ahead. Our plans for next week include attending the workshop run by Farmers Helping Farmers surrounding safe and inclusive schools, working on the days for girls project which provides reusable menstruation products, and also attending the event to distribute the mosquito nets to the students of Rugetene. I know it will be a jam packed week and I can’t wait to share some of my experiences with you all in my next blog post!



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