Went to town yesterday. It wasn’t nearly as busy as it usually is. Then I remembered it was a holiday. I think it was their independence day. I got to the town office and only Haron was there. And he was only staying for a few minutes. He apologized for not telling me that they wouldn’t be in for the day. So I made my way over to Java House. This is a restaurant where all the foreigners and richer Kenyans go for food. The place serves good food, but they are more expensive than the other places. And they have wifi. I ate my fruit with yogurt and did my usual internet searching. Good to just sit and rest with nothing pressing to do.
I got back and took a few of the guys on a run, Peter, Noel, Ngatia, and Lupui. I thought it was going to be an easy run, a little less than 4 miles, but Lupui decides to start running. He is 20 yrs old from northern Kenya, 6’3”, soccer guy. I was surprised he was able to run that well. If he had proper training, I think he would be a pretty good runner. Then we did some pushups after, which they are horrible at haha. Last night Mr. Maina called me into his office, I thought he was going to reprimand me cuz I was asking a couple of the teachers about the what they thought about some of the comments he made during the meeting yesterday morning. But he told me that the students were not appreciative of what he and the other teachers were doing for them, which is probably true for the most part. But at the same time they are next exactly heart warming. So I suggested a couple students that we could have a meeting with so that we can get it all out in the open. The students have their concerns and Mr. Maina has his. I have my own as well. So I’m gonna be a bit of a mediator. Hopefully it goes well and they both see their shortcomings.
Gitau, Kamotho, and Waititu came to Blesco today. We all discussed some of the issues and I suggested that we bring in a couple of the guys so they can understand and help communicate with everybody else. It was supposed to be a discussion, but it turned into a lecture, even though they said it was a discussion. When people feel like they are getting lectured, especially high schoolers, they tend to shut down. So after a long while we ended and went to the Form 3 and explained one of the issues about changing registration for next year. Kamotho said he was only going to talk for 10-15 min. It turned into 40 minutes. Then Waititu said something, then Gitau, then Maina, and the next thing you know it’s nearly two hours later. The students asked a few questions and responded but eventually began to shut down. I wanted to leave. I guess it’s a cultural thing that if you lecture and talk more you will get your point across and the audience will inevitably agree with you. It happens in churches too. By the end all but two of the 12 students who were there wanted to still register at another school next year for exams. I consider this a failure. I would do things so much different if I was in charge. They say that this place is only a school, not your home. So you should focus on studying, education, and all that. But at the same time, these students are here 24/7. How can they say that this is only a school? They are not cattle to be driven to a watering hole where they will survive. I don’t know if this is my battle to fight. Maybe I’m wrong. The students confide in me. I’m told by those in charge that this is the “Kenyan way.” Maybe the Kenyan way is wrong. And just because all the other Kenyan schools are doing it doesn’t make it ok. Could this be a part of why Kenya is not doing well on so many levels? Am I being judgmental? I don’t know. Maybe. The American way is by no means perfect. Neither is any other institution. But some seem to be doing a bit better than others. I was watching a Morgan Spurlock documentary show. He was looking at the education system and went to Finland where they consistently are at the top of the world rankings for testing. They are in school about 5 hrs a day with maybe one or two hours of homework. And have fatty recess time. Oh how that differs from Blesco’s 11.5 hr days of being in the classroom. I just don’t know.
…Just talked to the guys. The information they received from other people on the outside is different from the information given to them by the people here. Therefore they want to be registered at another school for exams next year. I asked that if what the people in authority here says is indeed fact, would they stay. They said yes. It’s funny, I talk to the students and they have no problem telling me what’s on their mind. But when an authority figure comes, they don’t say much. Listening goes a long way.
On a side not, I bought a couple small pineapples, about the size of a grapefruit for about 55 cents on the way back from MCF on Sunday. And that was hecka good. Good way to finish the day.