Friday morning has been a very busy day for myself and Jonah. We were at a primary school in Nairobi teaching Astronomy and had to work with more than 100 primary school students. I am very exhausted and I contemplate canceling my meeting but the thought of not seeing the girls for another week kills me so I decide to travel to the school and meet with the students. Well I am late by a few minutes and I have some trouble at the gate. The watch man is reluctant to let me in and after only phoning Mrs. Holi on her cell phone and letting him talk to her that I am allowed inside the school.
I do not find Mrs. Holi, our contact teacher at the staff room. Most teachers are very busy marking the exams and compiling results as the students have just completed their end of semester exams. I talk to her again on phone and she requests me to go straight to one of the computer labs where the students have already settled in and are waiting for me. As i walk to the lab I meet with another science teacher who is very helpful. Most of the science teachers at the school know me since I have been visiting the school for a very long time.
I finally get to the lab and find an anxious group of girls, around 50 waiting for me. I intend to instal astronomy software in their machines but I am unsuccessful and therefore I have to think of an activity to do with the students. Since we are setting up an interact club, we discuss more about our club activities with the students with guidance from the club chair. We still have so much time and we decide to recite poems and songs.
One girl, with a pretty voice sings her version of "We are the world", in her song she encourages the youth to plant trees and save our continent. That was a beautiful song sang with a beautiful voice and I manage to record it. Another student recites a poem and reads quotes on leadership and responsibility.
Later we have a debate on current issues where the students had very good points. We had a relaxed day, I feel it was helpful for the students to have a relaxed day as they are also tired from reading and sitting their exams for the last week. They tell me that they have also been under a lot of pressure and have not had enough time to think of other extra curricula activities and now that there is less school work they are excited to return to their clubs.
After the activities we agree that we will have a joint session with Nairobi School and Kenya High school during the week of 100 hours of astronomy. If the skies are clear, we may have a Star Bash and it will really be fun for all of us.
I return to the staff room to meet Mrs. Holi, and I am impressed to meet a former university student at the school. Mr. Wanjami first visited Kenya High school as a HOU volunteer when he was a university finalist studying education Physics. At first i did not recognize him but after chatting I realize that he was one of my volunteers and accompanied 20 other volunteers, Kevin Govender South Africa HOU and myself to Kenya High last year in March. He was a successful recruit after our first ever star party at Nairobi University. Mrs Holi, Mr. Wanjami and I have a cup of tea and we discuss a lot about HOU. Mr. Wanjami is interested in assisting Mrs. Holi and will be my liaison next week.
It was such an honor meeting Mr. Wanjami at Kenya High school. I feel that the work we have started is growing and slowly having impact. I always look forward to visiting Kenya High School and I am very excited about the next visit.
The trip was sponsored by America HOU and Pulse Health Care Ltd.
About Hands-on Universe Africa
Hands-on Universe Africa, Africa HOU is an organization dedicated to promoting science and technology in Africa using Astronomy tools. Our curricula focuses on interactive astronomy and its role in promoting science education in the classroom. Africa HOU is a registered organization in Kenya.
Astronomy can be used as a vehicle to spark scientific curiosity and intrigue. It promotes not only science education but also culture. Through simple science experiments, students are encouraged to try and solve answers. We encourage our students to build their own scientific research projects in an effort to reduce the gap between university students and high school students
The vision of Africa HOu is to be a world leading system of educational change and enrichment for all children of Africa, and show them a path where science and technology education can advance their lives and the lives of all humans
The mission of Africa HOU is to enable profound science learning with the tools and methods of modern science education through collaboration with astrophysics
Astronomy HOU clubs in schools
This year is the International Year of Astronomy. One of our aims as hands-on Universe Africa is to set up as many Astronomy clubs in the kenyan High schools and primary schools. We will help the students come up with activities and support exchange programs between schools in Kenya and other schools in other countries.
Schools that have so far started setting up astronomy clubs are Kenya High school and Nairobi school. We will have more astronomy clubs in other high schools in Kenya.
The clubs will have their own blogs which we will attach to our blog. Keep visiting our blog for more information.