School Special Occasions
Change a Chapter makes the most of opportunities to give the children a special occasion.
They love them! Africans certainly know how to have a good party however limited the budget may be. The delight and rapture on the childrens faces is wonderful to witness at these events. The children are excited and happy.
Opening of new classrooms – the Change a Chapter Building
The first special occasion Change a Chapter was involved in was a celebration of the opening of two new classrooms we had built in January 2011.
The event involved the children performing tribal dances and ushering in the guests to the biggest classroom which was decorated with balloons and streamers bought out from the UK.
The children entertained the guests with some songs and drama and were very patient during the speeches and prayers but they had seen what was awaiting them- a big cake and orange juice. Such great treats. Most of the children had never tasted iced cake before and some had never had juice. They had a magical and highly enjoyable time as the photographs show.
Prayers for Peace Balloon Release
Prior to the National Kenyan elections in 2013 there was much concern that the violence that followed during the previous elections would reoccur.
Change a Chapter decided to lead the children in a special prayer for Peace. Each child was given a balloon which had a prayer tied on it. The children and all the teachers were fascinated having never been involved in such an event.
The balloons kept popping as it was so hot that day but eventually each child had a balloon. After saying the prayer together they all let go together, but then realising they had lost their treasured balloon the children ran down the track desperately to recapture them!
All the adults burst into laughter. It was such a happy occasion.
In a country where there has been unrest this is a prayer we continue to offer for the nation especially in the aftermath of extremist terrorist attacks in 2013 and 2014.
School Prize Giving and Annual Graduation Ceremony
At the end of every term there is a formal closing ceremony.
At this all the children participate in some form of entertainment which involves, singing, poetry and drama. The children love to perform and thoroughly enjoy all the rehearsals up to the day.
There is always a prize giving for the children who have come first, second and third place in their class, together with best overall achiever. They come to the front and the whole school claps them to congratulate them on their success.
They are given a prize of one or two pencils or a pen or an exercise book. They study hard to achieve this position.
The biggest and grandest of the end of term prize giving occurs at the end of the school academic year which is typically the last week in November. This also incorporates the significant occasion in the life of a Kenyan child when they graduate from lower primary school into primary school. They will have completed four school years by this time.
The childs graduation shows they have passed a government exam and can read and write in both Swahili and English and can do simple mathematics. The graduation class give a special performance to the rest of the school and their parents /guardians who are invited to attend. Children of different ages may be in the class depending on what age they were when they were able to go to school.
Change a Chapter has always enabled the celebration to end with a special meal.
This consists of a meat pilau and ends with orange juice. Everyone will get a lollipop too!
At one of the end of term celebrations each year when Change a Chapter are present, the celebration consists of slaughtering a goat which the older boys do under the guidance of the father of one of the children. The goat is skinned and then roasted for about 6 hours on an open fire. The cooking is done by the school cook and one of the childrens Mothers.
It is a traditional and symbolic time for all those in attendance. Even though Change a Chapter pays for the goat it is served by the teachers and older children as a big Thank you to the director of Change a Chapter and the school director for the work they do.
Annual Shoe Shopping Expedition
All children whose education fees are sponsored through Change a Chapter annually get a new pair of shoes. This has turned into a yearly special event overseen by a local woman called Emily and a local taxi driver called Randu. They were asked by Change a Chapter to do it once and now eagerly volunteer. The taxi driver says it is the highlight of his year because of all the fun and the sense of adventure which the children enjoy so much. The shoe shopping expedition has now become a special occasion event in its own right.
A local shoe shack owner in the village is advised a week before how many pairs of shoes are required and he will go to the city of Mombasa to collect sufficient shoes for boys and girls in a variety of sizes. The children travel to the shop in a few tuk tuks ( a little three wheeler vehicle aimed to carry three people, but more little children will squeeze in.) The ride in a tuk tuk is a novelty in itself.
On the last shoe expedition, 25 children were taken in one go, ranging in age from 3 years to a 17 year old. The children were very happy a few hours later return to school each with a brand new pair of shoes and two new pairs of socks.
Yearly New Uniforms
Once a year all the Change a Chapter sponsored children receive a new made to measure uniform, handmade to fit them by a local tailor.