Saturday, June 26, 2010

A Journey through Music!

Friday Flat Stanley and I visited the children at Ebusiloli Primary School.  

The day started off like any other day.  I was making classroom observations of science lessons.  In one class the students seemed very engaged in their lesson about animal parasites and the prevention of them in domesticated animals.  I even learned a couple of new things about a nasty parasite called a "liver fluke."

[By the way, I'm one week away from completing Phase 1 of my project, at which time I will make several postings about my findings in the classroom.]

I enjoyed watching the children learn and ask all of their questions about how to prevent these parasites.  One girl even asked if the same parasites infected animals in other parts of the world.  The teacher looked somewhat surprised by the question, but he just smiled and stated, "Yes, some parasites are common in other parts of the world, while others are unique to this country."

I couldn't help but think that the murals on the walls of the school, commissioned by the Kijana organization (whom I work for) may have helped to motivate this student's question.  All over the school grounds the walls are covered with paintings of maps to help the children to understand that Kenya is just one part of a much larger world.

Here's one of the continent of Africa. (notice the Kijana logo on the left-hand side)

 And here's one of a world map.  I wonder how many times students pass these murals in a day?  It's essentially the same sort of education that American children get by watching commercials all the time. [Constant bombardment of images leads to some form of education about that subject matter.] 

After class I got to take a longer break than usual because of the scheduling of science lessons that day.  So I decided to take a tour of the campus.

 I saw the field that the students use for gym class...

and their recess area after lunch. 

After my stroll around the school I was informed that the last
science class that I was supposed to observe had been canceled
because the teacher had to leave early.  I was a little sad about this
because that was one less piece of information to journal about.

                             But to my surprise, the head teacher called me outside where I saw the students assembling these instruments.

Apparently, the students were preparing to go to a yearly
competition at a Kenyan music festival.  I was informed that in
previous years the students had made it to national, and the head
teacher stated, "There's no reason why we can't make it there

And once they had everything 
set UP, they started to GET

                             Their music was amazing to say the least!  From the time they began playing I had tears in my eyes, because they were so talented at such a young age.  All the teachers and students watching had to start dancing because the rhythm was just that melodic.

The students played about 8 songs for me complete with
choreographed movements!

My favorite part of the entire 
performance was a drum 
selection played by four young 
men from the school.

And when I say "they got down," I mean they really GOT DOWN!

There were also a collection of solo performances by the students.

Complete with some familiar instruments like this West-African hand drum...

And this strange instrument (I forgot the name) which sounds similar to a violin, but is played like a guitar.

There were even unconventional instruments like this student who was playing...a pot!?!

This guy particularly stole the show in my opinion with his awesome skills on the xylophone (or marimba as it is called in Africa).

Here is a panoramic picture of everyone playing together.  It was a little overwhelming to see such a large group of young children in such perfect harmony.

After the amazing performance, which lasted nearly an hour, the principal brought out the uniforms that the students would be wearing for their performance.  The boys were a little surprised to find out that EVERYONE would be wearing traditional Kenyan dance attire, which included skirts!

The entire school (which had gathered in the courtyard to watch the children play) was laughing as the boys tried on the clothing.  The boys didn't seem too happy about this.


As a motor bike (oops, I mean a "vehicle"...) arrived to pick me up, this was the last picture I took of the children saying goodbye to me.  What an awesome experience!


Cory Biggs said...

Please tell me you got some video of this!

P. Banks said...

Don't worry, I got lots of footage! I just need to get to an internet source that is faster than dial-up. Guess I'll have to wait to share it when I get back to the US.

Valerie said...

So Cool PBanks! Love your adventures and so jealous that you get to work with children! Sounds like so much fun!

Kimberly Caldwell said...

You and Watterson are up there on my list of "most fun looking IPSPs" - I LOVE the pictures!