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Volunteer teacher at Eburru Secondary

Eburru Secondary School: February-March 2013

I have to admit that since my visit to Eburru Secondary School in 2012, I had been very taken with the idea of returning, to see how my pupils and colleagues were faring.

This time I was there for 5 weeks, and at a particularly interesting time, as the General Election took place.  It meant that the school was closed for a week, and even prior to that, many colleagues were called away for pre-election training, so the atmosphere was far from normal.  However, it did afford me the opportunity of teaching several different classes, as teacher absence meant there was always something to do!  I had some exceedingly interesting political debates with the senior pupils, who were incredibly excited at the prospect of voting for the first time.

Among my teaching colleagues, Charles, the former deputy, had left to become head of a different school, Robina who I worked very closely with last year, had also moved on.  The school is now a 2 form intake, so additional staff have been recruited, and it was a delight to get to know them, and they were very keen to hear about education in England.  The new deputy head, Jane Kiguru, is an English teacher, and also has responsibility for the girls’ boarding: she is a very energetic lady and will prove to be a great asset I am sure.

This time I took with me a collection of musical instruments, as I was sorry to see last year that the school had nothing.  They were very basic things like shakers, tambourines, whistles, small drums and the like, but they were received with great enthusiasm, not least by the staff.  We incorporated some of them into the productions for the Drama Festival, which this year I was able to attend, and it was such a pleasure.  My colleague Consolata had worked so hard with the drama and dance groups, they were a joy to watch and did well in the competition.

I have contact with a Luo music group called Kenge Kenge, and I invited 3 of them to come to the school and give a talk and little performance.  The whole school sat outside, and all the staff came too, and the 3 musicians explained their traditional instruments, played them, and invited participation. 

I slotted back into the routine amazingly quickly, owing a great deal to the kindness and friendliness of everyone I met.  I got used to eating ugali for lunch, and looked forward to my break time mandazi.  Once again I took many pictures with me and also some posters, which I hung up to brighten the otherwise bare walls.

Some new classrooms have been built, to accommodate the new Form 1’s, 100 pupils in 2 classes, and there is also a new uniform, which looks very smart.

I visited the Primary School a couple of times, and am happy that TAS is now focussing support there. There are more children every time I go there, and the demand for new classrooms, equipment, and teachers is high.  The Secondary School has benefited from generous support, and attention now goes to the younger children. I am sure I will return one day, it has been a pleasure and a privilege to be part of the Eburru community.  My thanks and good wishes to everyone I met there.

Jennifer Sturdy

11 July 2013