R.E Mountain’s 7th annual Kenya Beach Volleyball

On 12th of June, we got a chance to attend this amazing beach volleyball fundraising event at R.E Mountain Secondary School to raise money for PA-MOJA.image

We had visited the school a few weeks back and we got to meet the PA-MOJA team and had an interactive session with them. At the end of this, the whole club, led by Mrs. Francis and Annie (president of the PA-MOJA club) invited us to this fundraiser.

Victor,  James,  Jake Schmidt, Mr Graham Schimidt and I arrived at around 10:30am.We got a warm welcome from Mrs. Francis and Mr. Magdy Ghobrial, the Principal. The Volleyball games had already started with different teams playing. We were all excited to be there.image

The beach volleyball was very competitive with 4 courts going at once. Victor got a chance to join one of the teams and show off some of his skills, as he is really good in playing Volleyball. Victor’s team even made it to the quarter finals. In the meantime, James and I helped with selling cookies, pop, sandwiches, pizza and water for the players and the people watching. Later on we played basketball and then we took 45 minutes to pump up this big love ball and then kicked it around with some kids, it was fun.image

As the time went by, the number of people arriving to the event increased,which was good for sales. The money that comes from such fundraising events really plays a big role in brightening the futures of the needy kids back in Kenya. We are very grateful for the effort that RE Mountain gives, which helps make such an event and the connection with their sister school, Tharua Secondary, in Kenya, a success.image

Thank you to the PA-MOJA R.E mountain secondary school team for raising this money and for inviting us to the event, we had a great time.

Maple Creek Middle school

A few things are as fun as good as going back to a place you enjoyed being before. On the 10th,we started the day at Dr Charles Best secondary for Butterfly Effect first thing in the morning and then James, Victor and I each got dropped off at the different schools we would visit for the day.

I was excited to go back to Maple Creek Middle school. The students were anxiously waiting for me, they were as happy and excited to see me again as I was to see them. Mr Andrew Graham, the school principal and Jaynel, a grade 8 student, warmly welcomed me and escorted me to the office. We went through the day’s activities and I started off with joining a class in the gym for body fitness.It was a really good workout, that I enjoyed.

I then visited the music class with Mr Burton  where I got to sing one of my favorite songs by The Script. imageThey were practicing for a music concert that they will hold. I was taught how to play the guitar a little bit, which was cool.

During lunch time, we did a snack sale where we had different types of Chips, juice boxes and more to raise money for PA-MOJA.image.jpeg It’s amazing  how the young kids are passionate about helping out by raising money. There was a good turnout and by the end of it all we had collected $96. Thanks to all those that participated, we appreciate your help.

After lunch, Mr Graham and I went back to Mr Faulks’s class to talk about PA-MOJA, we told the story of Samuel, one of the students at Uaso-Nyiro, a sister school to ASIA north poplar in Abbotsford, who came 1st in the National Javelin championships in Kenya. This is such an amazing accomplishment because he only ever got to practice with a stick. The full story is on the PA-MOJA website.

I also got a chance to chat with some of the students about how the sister school program has impacted them and they are happy to have Ereri primary school as their sister school. This is because they get to share lots of cultural exchanges. They get to see the differences and similarities about the countries, the schools and the students. They said that being able to connect directly is one thing they really like about PA-MOJA. It makes it feel like they know who they are helping and they also get to learn new things from the Ereri students. They hope to keep the relationship strong and running.

Again I wish to thank the Maple Creek Middle School fraternity for their generous help in raising funds and maintaining the sister school bond connection. I can’t wait to visit Ereri Primary in Kenya and tell them all about the awesome students and teachers at Maple Creek Middle School.

 

Day at Mary Hill elementary school

We spent the day at Mary Hill elementary school, this is my second visit to the school, but this time James and Victor came with me. We all were ecstatic. There is nothing as good as going back to a place you enjoyed before.

Ms Reid, the principal of the school was waiting for us at her office. We got a warm welcome from her. We took a couple of minutes to settle down and get briefed on where to start.

We kicked off by playing soccer in the gym with the kindergarten kids, it was amazing to see how they were excited to see us there. We engaged in a fun game of soccer with the kids for an hour then proceeded to the garden.image

Mary Hill  is a environmentally friendly school with a garden in their school, which is one of the similarities they have with their sister school, Mirera primary school, in Kenya. We watered some young crops they have planted like carrots, kales and beans. We also made sand castles at the sand pitch in their garden.

We then got to a short recess. The kids in other grades we very excited to see me there again, they came running to greet us. After, we got invited for a snack before heading to separate classes.

I visited a grade one class, this being a French immersion school, I got to learn some French words like bonjour, ca va bien? and George de PA-MOJA vient, from that class. I am grateful to Ms Linda and her class for having taught me that.

It was recess time again so we walked outside to play soccer.The kids there have amazing soccer skills, they are good at it. James had his team while Victor and I were on the other team. The game was very competitive, due to the number of talented players in the two teams.James’ team ended winning by 3 goals while we had 2 goals. Thumbs up to all the players.

We also took part in a lemonade sale. Many students brought their own cups to get the lemonade, because they care a lot about the environment. There was a long line stretching all the way down to play ground. The young kids from the neighboring pre school even came by to get some lemonade and support PA-MOJA.image The grade 4 leadership group organized and led the whole activity. The student leaders and the Librarian, Ms Medan, who has been very supportive in raising fund for PA-MOJA, were serving to the rest of the school. Thank you to everyone who organized this activity and everyone involved for your support, including the pre-school kids.

After lunch, James and Victor got a chance to visit Ms Peterson’s class where they witnessed a releasing of butterflies. Its very impressive how the students learn things in a practical way compared to us in Kenya where we learn this in a theoretical way. They have been observing them for three weeks from the chrysalis stage to butterflies.

Ms Reid then presented us with a cheque of two thousand dollars which they have raised for PA-MOJA throughout the school year. image.jpegWe completed the school visit by checking out a mural on the 1st nations culture the whole school has been working on,  each and everyone got a chance to paint it. Iimaget a great piece of art.
It was a day well spent, thank you Mary Hill elementary school fraternity for all your warm welcomes and inviting us over.

Weekend at Manning Park.

It has been an amazing experience staying for 10days with the Schmidt family.Thank for taking me in making me feel comfortable and loved.
On 21st of May Mr Graham Schmidt, Josie Schmidt, Jake Schmidt, Emily, James, Victor and I drove up to Manning Park to camp for 2 days.image

Originally it was planned we would go back packing and hike the woods of Stein valley but there was a fire barn so we couldn’t go.Mr Graham and his wife Christine decided it would be best to take their camping trailer up to Manning park for the weekend.They prepared the trailer for camping with the help of Josie, made sure everything was good to go and the supplies were enough.Josie send a text to Victor,James and Emily about the things they bring.

Every one of us was excited to go camping so along the way we had loud laughter from jokes told by Mr Graham and a lot of singing.Ms Christine Schmidt picked up James and Victor from their homes and Emily was dropped off by her Dad at the Schmidt’s place.We left at around 10:00am and the estimated time of arrival was 12:00 noon.It was chilly day with few minutes of showers now and then.Manning park being 1200 feet above the ground is colder.

We got there and set up our camp site, the ladies;Emily and Josie set up a tent outside.We the gentlemen got the trailer.Soon after we had a snack, we walked around and made some new friends from Netherlands and Victoria.This was indeed the weekend for all of us to get to know each other better and learn from each other, also to meet new people.My colleagues and I got introduced to a new game called Bocce.imageWe had fun playing it as its very captivating.Before we had dinner we had a snowball fight.As the dark crept in we all sat round the campfire with our tummies full from the delicious meal of grilled chicken we had.We shared stories and jokes for hours, till it was bed time.

The next day on 22nd which was Saturday we were up to hiking the woods are the park.We first had breakfast then took off into the woods.imageIt was really interesting as we got to learn different types of trees that grow there from Mr Graham.We walked past beautiful sceneries and lakes.Time by fast, we walked all the way to the end of the trail where we found a camp for the people who went back packing.As we were coming back we made a few stops, to enjoy nature and take pictures.The whole hike took 4 hours to complete.

After getting back to our camp site and having a snack we played Bocce.It got very competitive.James and Jake were on the same team, Victor and I were on the same team, Josie and Emily were on the same team and Mr Graham was alone.Unbelievably the ladies won.We got the campfire again although for the last night and did same thing but stayed up a little later.

On Sunday was the day we drove home.It was really fun, we got to spend time with each other and built our relationship more from all the discussions, games, jokes and stories.Indeed it was an incredible weekend.Thank you the Schmidt family for having put these together, we really appreciate it.

Maple Creek Middle School Visit

 

On Monday the 9th of May; Victor,  James and I spent  the day at the Maple Creek Middle School. Mr Andrew Graham,  who we met last summer when he came to Kenya, is the principal of the school. We all got a warm welcome from him as he introduced us to several other people. The first person was Mr  Faulks, one of the  teachers at the school, who is actively involved with PA-MOJA. His class has an ongoing exchange with a sister school called Ereri Primary in Kenya. We then met the school’s vice-principal, Ms Jones, at her office and she welcomed us warmly too.

We started the day by touring Mr  Faulk’s class where he introduced us to his students; later on we attended a school assembly in the gym.imageThe students were really excited to see us there. We each got a chance to briefly talk about PA-MOJA and the importance of having a sister school. After the assembly we joined a fitness class in the gym. They taught us a game called Dodge ball which we intend to teach their sister school when we go back to Kenya.

We also got a chance to visit several classes and interact with the students. They all wanted to learn more about us and our country, Kenya.image

It is fascinating to see how connections and learning more about each other can make a difference because after a few minutes of learning about each other, everybody was chatting and laughing with us like we had known each other for a long time.

Mr Graham served us with a delicious lunch of Sushi. We sat round the table with some of the students that took us round the school together with Mr Faulks and several other teachers chatting together. Later we got learn about the geography of the school by touring different parts of it.

A question and answer session was arranged where we interacted with students after our tour of the school. Some were curious about our school system,  our life styles,  the weather and we answered all these questions. We then headed to the next group of students from the Me to We club. One of the students asked an interesting question: what are we going to take back to Kenya from this experience? This is not a quick answer; it needed deep reflection by my colleagues and me.

All this time Owen Coukell was taking photos and videos of most of the activities we did,  he really did an amazing job. Mr Graham then invited us to join him in the field to play some rugby. Being a person who loves rugby I was very excited to learn some new skills. We got to the field filled with energy. We actually learnt some new skills, like how to switch the ball to the next player.

At the end of the day, we had done much, made new friends and new connections, learned new things about each other and as we went home we had something to reflect on that we shall take back to Kenya from this experience. We are grateful to the Maple Creek fraternity for being  welcoming, showing us around and giving us a chance to interact with everyone. Thumbs up to Mr Faulks and his team for their fundraising efforts which definitely gives many kids in Kenya the opportunity to go to school.

Plastic Soccer Balls for the kids in Langley Fine Arts School

The past few days have been great for many of kids at the Langley Fine Arts School, their teachers and us. We had a chance to share with them some Kenya practices, one of which is the making of soccer balls out or recycled bags.image

We started with Ms Fengler’s grade two class. The kids were very excited to see how we make soccer balls and curious as to why we make them like that. The reasons for making the plastic bag soccer balls are that in parts of rural Kenya, some of the playing fields have thorns which pop the inflated balls. The other reason is that some of the kids can’t afford to buy the normal inflatable type of soccer balls. It is also a very good way of recycling the plastic bags. One may wonder how? One ball needs approximately  about 50 bags but also it depends on the size of the ball.

We then made another soccer ball for Ms McKay’s class and another class. It was really nice to see how the kids appreciated our art, and how ready and eager they were to learn how we make the balls.They were very excited to try the balls in the field. I think this broadens their thinking and gives them a better understanding of other people and how they live and go about their day to day activities.

I learned that there are some things we can take for granted, like the making of soccer balls from plastic bags, but to the kids this was an important experience. imageA group of kids from both Ms Fengler’s and Ms McKay’s class joined me in the the field to test the soccer ball we made for them. After some minutes of playing, the group got larger and larger as it attracted more and more kids to play.The kids enjoyed it and so did I. Now they get to play with a Kenyan soccer ball during recess and their other free time.

What I derive from this is that learning about each other’s cultures brings us closer and we make the world a better place. This reduces chances of conflict, disrespecting and disregarding each other. Thank you to all the kids and their teachers for giving us a chance to make them plastic paper soccer balls. We are glad you liked them. We are also looking forward to spending more time and learning more from you all.

The Drama Show ‘Some Like it Hot’

Drama is something I have valued and liked all my life. Therefore, when LFAS Drama teacher, Ms. Boucher offered Victor, James and I a chance to join the drama class, I was ecstatic. We joined up for the ongoing production of a play called “Some like it Hot”. The plot centers on two guys named Joe and Jerry who get caught up in mob violence, and to escape the mafia, they have to travel to Florida disguised as women traveling with an all girls band. We had several roles but the main ones were as members of the mafia gang. Being my first time on stage, I was nervous but after some days of practice, I grew quite comfortable in my character.

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This was a very big opportunity for us because it gave us a chance to hone our acting skills. We are especially grateful to Ms. Susan Boucher and the drama major students for having accepted us. We joined the play half way through but they were very patient and coached us until we knew our lines.The lead actors Joe and Jerry had to rehearse over and over in order to be perfect. This really needs one’s attention and commitment. I am currently involved in another drama production and as a lead actor I have to memorize lots of lines which needs effort.

We had to be committed to  successfully play our roles in the show. To pull this off, the help of our teachers and other cast members was critical. Indeed, everyone involved put in a lot of effort and sacrifice just to make this play a success. We all had to sacrifice much of our free time like weekends and after school so as to perfect the different roles each of us had. The experience has had an incredible impact on my colleagues and me because we got to learn and share our skills on how to put across different feelings and expressions on stage.It also built a sense of team work because we got a chance to work together backstage, helping move things on and off stage which really needs a lot of coordination.

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Thanks to our homestay families who drove us around and dropped us off at the school during the drama rehearsal, sometimes going out of their way to do it. We managed to participate in nearly all the shows. We are also grateful to Ms. Ruffini and her partner Ms Binik for making the fancy costumes for us too. They were useful in portraying  different roles. It was also really nice getting to perform in front of an audience.

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Being in the show together has really built the relationship between the cast members and us. It has also taught us the importance of teamwork and respect for each other because were it not for that, the show would not have been a success.