Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Hongera! Party for Form 4 Graduates

So it turns out that we got to Tumaini right as the Form 4 students (this means seniors in high school) were in the middle of their final exams. Having just walked into the middle of this without any exposure to everything that has led up to it, I think it has been hard for us (or for me, anyway) to get an understanding for how important these exams are. The setting when we first arrived here had these students in the middle of the exams, so there is a natural tendency for us to consider this situation to be the norm. But it is anything but the norm! These exams are once-in-a-lifetime, and they are a huge deal! They're like your SATs, GPA, and college applications combined into one. They basically determine where you can go to college and what you can study once you get there. They go on for 3 weeks, and they test basically everything you have learned over the course of your entire education.

(As an aside, having these exams didn't stop people like Karicho, Joseph, Merciline, or a few others from being genuinely welcoming to us or genuinely caring for the younger kids at the home here. Karicho would even take time several nights each week to help younger secondary students with their studies - this kid is a gem... I can't begin to say enough.)

Anyway, the Form 4s completed their exams today, and we thought it would be fun to throw a little party for them. So we did, and it was a ton of fun! Emilee made apple bread and Jonathan made biscuits, and we went and got 22 bottles of Coca-Cola from the store across the road. They were either very polite or they actually liked our food! (I think it was the latter - I'm not gonna lie, it was pretty dang good.)

We played two games at the party, in which we learned that Kenyans not only set the standard for distance running but also for... giggling. The first game was one where we went around a circle and made everyone say their name and then tell us something interesting about the person to their right. We got everything from "To my right is Mary and she is short", to "To my right is Reginah and she is a loyal friend". The second game was charades. They ate this one right up. One girl told me afterward that she wants to make it "her new hobby". The only disappointment was when Stephen drew Shakira and didn't shake his hips around.

But seriously, it was a great night, and this seems to be a pretty neat group of kids. We will be hanging out with them weekly throughout our time here and getting to know them better. Below is a picture from the party. Oh yeah, and "Hongera!" means "Congratulations!".

1 comment:

The Sumer Alvarez Foundation said...

"To my right is Mary and she is short."