Reflection of the learning process in Kenya

Many of my family and friends said before I left for Kenya what an experience it would be and how lucky I was to get the opportunity- and they weren’t wrong! Being able to witness a different culture and be able to play a part in aiding people in the build- up to developing and setting up community media centres was so rewarding. From the teaching module community media, i’ve learned the importance of implementing change through the transferring of skills- teaching the teachers. Simply stepping into an environment and setting up a community media centre would simply not work. However, teaching people the skills they can share between other members of the community provides the people a voice, empowering them through the use of media. The people who took part in the workshop at the beginning of the trip were so passionate about helping others. From day one of the workshop to the last day, their aspirations were clear to see and the work we’d completed showed a clear positive impact on their plans.

Not simply the learning process, but the other adventures we encountered throughout our stay in Kenya were so rewarding too- from the Massi Mara, to going to an orphanage. The Massi Mara was a once in a lifetime experience and I know Peter’s trip was made by seeing his Cheetah- rather than my screaming at the bugs in the tent that same night! I know for sure I never want to see a jumping spider ever, ever again!!! Not to mention burning on the last day and now having tanned legs but only on the front half!

From going to Kenya I think it’s only confused me more. The benefits to both the communities and I are so rewarding in this line of work. However, but visiting the orphanage and the school it has spurred on my passion and love for teaching! It’s put me in a split situation as to whether to follow a career in teaching or make my way into the charity sector…  The opportunity to partake on this trip and gain so many life skills was amazing. I could never have imagined that was going to happen when i started uni 3 years ago! I cannot thank Peter enough for the brilliant work he takes part in completing over in Kenya and the teaching and learning that is undertaken before the trip- your work is so inspiring!

I know for sure I will envy future students’ of Peter’s who get to go to Kenya and I’ll be stuck in the UK!

Ruiru and the Childrens Orphanage

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The trip to Ruiru changed and adapted on the run up to our trip to Kenya.  A lack of communication with Kris, due to connection problems, meant the plans kind of fell through. Callum had been in talks with Kris in getting a music session set up with the community members and ourselves- but this was dismissed due to lack of planning and communication.

We still went over to Ruiru for Peter to have a meeting with Mike, Roman, Kris and Vincent about future plans of collaboration between partners and different communities. This was very interesting to sit in on and play a little role of contributing my thoughts and ideas on the subject matter. The plans everyone had in mind were strong. There were many logistics to work out to ensure the plans could be followed through and work to benefit the communities and partners alike. Firstly, facilitating the communities by using accessible technologies was highly important. As throughout our work so far, it is important to ensure alien technologies are not introduced within a community that they will never be able to use again or gain access too. This causes more harm than good, which is why working within their means is essential. Alongside this the importance of long term sustainability was also important.

The meeting was interesting to get a taste of what the future holds for the community partners and the initiatives that want to be implemented to benefit community learning.

Next we moved over to a childrens orphanage. This was a real eye opener- just like Kingsway School earlier in the week. We stopped off to get some lollipops at the shop prior to our arrival (thanks Peter!) to give to the children. This instantly made each and every child happy! The smiles on their faces when interacting with us were so rewarding. Just talking to each of the children, finding out their names and playing some games kept the children smiling the duration of our stay. Inevitably, as noticed this trip, they were fascinated with the digital cameras and we took lots of pictures of the children with their blue tongues from the lollipops all smiling!

The trip keeps getting better and better! Let’s see what’s going to happen next with the Maasi Market and the following remaining days…

Maasai Mara

 

 

ImageToday was the day I admittedly was most looking forward to, and the day most people back at home were jealous of- the trip to the Massai Mara. After a long bumpy drive on the dirt roads we finally arrived. The accommodation was beautiful, but I was not anticipating the bug filled tents! I think I was just being a girl about things and freaking myself out… Hey! Well for someone who hates moths and butterflies I wasn’t exactly able to prepare myself for the jumping spiders and beetle creatures roaming around my home for the night!

We quickly left again after dropping our bags off to go to the Maasai Village. This place was just truly amazing. The villagers build their houses from scratch themselves out of resources accessible to them- mud, manure, sticks and branches- and they’d last for around 9 years. We questioned what they would do once their houses deteriorated and the response was they moved location of their village. This intrigued me as to how easy they seemed to make it sound to up and move an entire village of many different families.  The team work and collaboration between the villagers was clearly visible. With the boys going out at 15 to live in the wild and fend for themselves, albeit in a group, for 3 years to then come back and become a true man. This ritual is not complete of course without the killing of their own lion. I know I wouldn’t be up for the challenge even though I do find them extremely cute- I wouldn’t want to risk it!

Learning about the villager’s culture was fascinating and I’d still like to find out some more about it! Shortly after seeing the inside of one of their houses we were ambushed by the selling techniques from the Maasi villagers who gave us a chance to try out our haggling techniques… to be completely honest I don’t think my techniques were up to scratch but it gave me some practice for what was to come later in the week at the Maasai Market!

Setting out on the actual safari was a little overwhelming. There was so much to see and we had to keep our eyes peeled. By far the greatest views we saw were the pack of lions and the little lion cubs! They all ventured out slowly and began to play which was delightful to see! The following day the animals seemed to be out in full force. We all were a little tired from getting up early and fending off the bugs all night (okay, maybe that was just me…) but when we started to spot the animals I seemed to wake up immediately! Spotting herds of elephants and plenty of giraffes, gazelles, zebras, warthogs and wildebeest- to name but a few the day was getting better and better. The most exciting part was the exiting of the park. I know this might sound a little crazy but this is when our driver spotted a cheetah casually taking a stroll down the dirt path. We managed to get right up close and get plenty of good pictures- although Peter missed his amazing shot… Whoops! I think the fact he’d seen the Cheetah in the first place had made his safari trip this year- as it did for all of us!

I’m just looking forward to getting home and making everyone jealous- especially my dad- with all the pictures and stories I’ve got to show and tell!

Trip to Londiani

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The trip to Londiani was incredible to say the least. The very long journey to get there was definitely worth the wait- although I was asleep most of the time anyway… We got to stop off at the Great Rift Valley for the first time and the view was insane! Seeing for miles the beautiful landscape was amazing- albeit a little scary at the great height of the fall from where we were standing! As always we were swarmed by the locals trying to sell us all their goods for a ‘good price’ with their opening line of ‘which country?!’ but we managed to successfully avoid them with a little help from Peter! On the road again to finish our ‘3 hour journey’ according to Rufus- which took more like nearly 5 hours in the end! He blamed it on the bumpy roads and if he was driving he could’ve done it in 3 hours- Kenyan time playing it’s part here again I think!

When we arrived the scenery was beautiful. The arrival was overwhelming once we’d climbed the massive hill that our driver JJ had kindly driven Peter up and left us behind through miscommunication! Arriving at the school to be greeted by all pupils and staff singing and dancing for us was incredibly overwhelming. The children were all so excited to see us- bar one kid who cried at the sight of a white person!

Going to the school and seeing how much they appreciate us just being there was remarkable. The smiles on their faces will stay with me forever. The passion displayed by Daniel, the founder of the school, was unbelievable. The school try to facilitate the children who cannot travel to and from school with the boys and girls dorms. With only 18 beds in each and 40 children sleeping in each dorm it was clear there was work needs to be done to help facilitate the children better. The same can be said about the well that is used for kitchen use. It was a small well which can only be filled when they receive rainfall- which is only 8/9 months of the year. Obviously these are obstacles that the school face but creating partnerships between Universities and others can help to aid and build on these to better facilitate the children.

Not only has the trip to Londiani been a real eye opener, but it has made me consider working in the charity sector. Seeing what a difference can be made through small improvements and development projects is aspirational. Seeing first-hand how much little things mean to others is incredible. By far one of the best bits of the visit was Peter getting the children to shout Chelsea as the pictures were being taken and making the children laugh hysterically when the teachers had to do it! I did feel a little bad when we were saying goodbye to everyone and all the children bundled in to high five us and got into trouble for getting too excited and running at us!

All in all this was the best day so far! I’ve found out so far that any expectations I’ve had for each day are always being topped and I hope the trip continues this way!

 

Workshop reflection

 

After today’s session it really hit home how much we have given to the community through our 3 day workshop. After the first day everything seemed a little uncertain and up in the air without teaching benefits, but throughout the last 2 days the students confidence has grown.  Not just simply transferring our skills to the students, but fulfilling the students ambitions to learn skills to teach to others.

The reflection process of the workshop as a whole and the video production outcome were incredibly insightful. The workshop reflection displayed major benefits for the communities and students. The students, and I both understand that utilizing the technologies and resources available to them is important for bringing communities together and working sustainably. I’m amazed by how well the students picked up the skills and knowledge to plan, produce and edit a video. It gave me an unbelievable sense of achievement in the fact I played a part in the start of changing and adapting the lives of community members. Giving people the opportunity to develop and transfer the skills developed throughout the workshop to help empower the lives of community members.

Workshop members were keen to develop their skills throughout the 3 days, and I hope they are continue and develop their skills and display this through the use of the blogging tool, WordPress. This way people can understand their ideas for CMCs and their ideas and visions can be developed through the support of others.

Watching the videos at the beginning of the session made me feel so proud! Proud that within 2 days we had turned a group of people who shied away from contributing and responding to questions asked, to people who can worked well in a team to understand the benefits of learning skills to transfer to others and give them an opportunity to have a say through the power of expression. My main reason for partaking in this journey was to see what my knowledge and  skills can do to better someone else’s live, maybe not directly but indirectly through the transferring of skills.

The whole trip so far is a complete eye opener to how much so little can do to change other people’s lives…

Empowerment through CMCs video production

After todays workshop it really hit home how hard it is for lecturers to engage and get interaction amongst students in lectures. Giving a little motivation, I’ve noticed from today, goes a long way. The first day of the workshop displayed a hidden sense of enthusiasm as people seemed to be less inclinded to contribute through keeping thoughts to themselves. However, from today the students displayed a keen sense of interaction and communication between not only the teachers and students but amongst the students themselves. The willingness to learn and develop skills, knowledge and understanding for the media equipment and software was inevitably noticeable.

Putting together ideas and understanding for the pre production of the video allowed the students to show their ideas and collaborate effectively. The idea to produce a video production surrounding empowerment shown through the use of a community media centre (CMC) was cleverly thought out and developed into a storyboard. The team began to quickly get involved in shooting the video and sharing the responsibility of the different roles, allowing everyone to have an experience of each role.

The main aspect of the workshop so far is the benefits that can be seen that have been adapted to the ideas and aspirations that can be taken on after within their local communities. After speaking to the group I was working with today I am really looking forward to hearing the reflection on the workshop as a whole and how everyone, including us, have benfited. Bring on tomorrow!

Workshop CMC Scenario

The first day at the workshop at Hillpark Hotel started with the participants getting into groups and sharing their ideas surrounding the notion of a community media centre (CMC). The group I was working with had broad ideas around the topic area and different ambitions in relation to contributing or setting up a CMC. The follow are a few questions deliberated through the CMC scenario… 

Q. What was you motivation to be involved in these three day workshops?

A. – Expand a company
– Networking
– learning from others
– Meet people in the media
– Share knowledge and skills
– Learn how to link and involve others through the use of community media
– To find out what community media is

Q. What does a community media centre (CMC) mean to you?

A. – A source of information
– Empowerment and skills
– Telling stories to create positive change
– Expand and teach all young children giving them power and a voice
– Access information easily
– Create links between CMCs and the government

Q. How might it benefit your community?

A. – Empower youth through the use of skills and sharing of ideas
– Sharing stories that give people the power of voice
– Create government interaction
– Share information about health that can reach communities in time
– Employment
– Community unity

Q. What resources would be needed to establish and sustain a CMC? How might these be aquired?

A. – Internet
– Personel to lead the centre
– Media equipment- camera, computers, office space
– finance to sustain the CMC
– Good PR- word of mouth

Aquired through…

-Sponsors
– Donations
– Community funding
– Fundraising
– Partnerships

Major shampoo explosion

After the minor mishap of a shampoo explosion in my suitcase we finally arrived at Hartebeest Campsite. After a long flight and lots of food and drink i couldn’t wait to sleep and wake up in Kenya when we could actually see the surroundings! We ventured out to a few shopping centres to find some missing essentials and some Safaricom sim cards to be able to contact home- not as simple as you’d imagine! 8 hours later most of our phones began to work…
Sat down to do some planning when we got back from shopping and it suddenly dawned on me that the work we’d been leading up to was starting tomorrow. Feeling nervous, anxious and excited all at once at first, but running through the tutorials and our plans for the first day of the workshop just made me think, bring on tomorrow!