This week has been full of action. Last Wednesday the Wale dancers had a performance at the Nairobi International Trade Fair and I joined them for the day. It was a day full of waiting, hanging out and dancing with the kids. Also, my wallet got stolen, but luckily I saw who took it and got it back from him. It was a very confusing experience, but I definitely learned how it looks like when someone is trying to pickpocket you. That day I also filmed a video of Sarah and Mary for the School Fee Campaign. Basically, I just filmed them talking about themselves, their interests in school and in other areas of life, their future plans and what the campaign means to them. I am glad to be a part of showing people the amazing personalities of these young people and helping them tell the world what it means for them to go to school and to raise awareness about the financial struggle related to education in Kenya. For me personally, it is a good remainder of the fact that education is not a given everywhere, even though I come from a place where education is free. I most certainly find it unfair that wealth and social status play a major role in preventing some kids from getting an education.
As I have probably mentioned many times already, I am especially impressed by Sarah. She is 16 years old, an amazing dancer and a kind and genuine person. She was the first one of the youth to catch my name and start to talk to me. She welcomed me from the first days I was here and even though she was a little shy, I could feel the warmth and kindness in her. She is an inspiring dancer and a talented choreographer. I have been learning a couple of choreographs from her and my mind is just blown away by her corporal expression. Of course, there are certain moments of shyness, but I am sure that as she grows older she will learn to let go more. It makes me sad to even think about all the wasted talents if she would not be able to go to school. She is a motivated girl with dreams and aspirations; she wants to go to university and become a journalist and a professional dancer. These dreams can only be reached through education and hard work.
I work with these incredible young people every day and see them express themselves in different ways through art and dancing. It would be a shame if these kids would be denied the possibility to go to school. For that reason, I encourage everyone to contribute even just a small amount for the School Fee Campaign. I have already done it.
On Friday I got to dance more with Sara and George, when me and Venna joined them to learn a new choreography. I enjoyed it a lot! Later in the afternoon I went to watch The Slum Soka team play against the Nairobi French School and we won 5-1. These kids are incredibly talented, and the coaches told me that they have been doing very well in their friendly games winning many of them. The dancers at Wale are getting ready for another performance, a traditional one, so on Friday and Saturday the yard was filled with drumming, traditional dance and singing. It was a great pleasure to watch it.
My drawing project is moving forward slow but steady. We have been trying to buy sketch books for weeks now, but they never have them at the Text Book Centre. In addition to Sarah, Julius, Boni and George, now Evette, Claire, William, Brian and Ibra (who’s an artist, coming to Wale only on Saturday) are taking part too. I am excited about the project and on top of the themes I mentioned a few weeks ago in my post, we are going to add traditional African masks. The plan is to get the books done by the end of November, so they are ready to be sold during the holiday season.
My life skills class last week put a big smile on my face. The kids were so excited about cutting the pictures from the magazines to create their own dream boards. They were cutting animals, airplanes, hot air balloons, beautiful stylish ladies and gorgeous vacations sites. When we talked about dreams their personal dreams included to fly in an airplane, to visit America or Canada, to be rich, become a marine biologist and to travel upcountry.
Last week I also had a review of my internship so far, and that left me with a positive, motivated and hopeful feeling. I have had challenges regarding my work here, but luckily Venna is a great supervisor and a helping hand. We talked about the projects I will be involved in and made a more structured plan for me, which calmed my mind and helped me to get a clearer overview of my purpose here. As I have mentioned before, I am a perfectionist and I just love lists and neatly organised plans.
My highlight for this week is my trip to Lamu. I will be spending four days, from Thursday to Sunday, in Lamu enjoying the beach, sea, food, and everything else there is to be enjoyed. It is nice to finally get out of Nairobi, go to a different environment and get a small break to relax.