by Valeria, Co-Director, IHF Kenya
When I first came I wanted to know a little bit of how the school system works here and I thought to myself: ‘There is many things I have to learn about this, but I am sure I will know everything soon’ but even now that I am left with two weeks of my stay I get surprised by some of the school events that they celebrate here.
This past Wednesday I went to Nakuru Day Secondary school for Rodger Plilan’s Form 4 Prayer Day. When I first heard of that event a couple of weeks ago I had no idea what I should expect of it, so I asked my local friends what was it about. Their explanation was: It is a day, where parents and students go to school together to pray for the students to pass their final exams (Form 4 is the last exam of high school).
Once I arrived at the school I could already tell that some special event was going to take place, since there was a woman at the entrance selling framed good-luck-wishes in all kinds of colors. Matron bought one for Rodgers. Entering the gate we saw picture-booths, very colorful ones. As we entered the main hall I thought I was entering in a catholic church, because on the stage there was a table arranged like an altar and three priests sitting behind it, with three altar servers at the side.
I usually understand the kind of mass I am used to in the catholic churches in Switzerland, meaning singing from a book, being quiet and listening to the priest, etc, but here it is different. The church “lives” it. The people dance and sing – knowing the songs by heart – but the structure stays the same. I was amazed. I must say that there was one factor though that made everything a little tiring, which was the heat. Even though there were six fans on the ceiling in the building the heat kept coming through the windows and as there were so many people it was too hot inside.
After the mass, entertainment was next. The young adults performed different things: some of them sang in the choir, others had a kind of role play that is very typical for schools here and some danced.
The entertainment was followed by the speeches, and I must say, for my taste they were too long, but probably the factor that I did not understand anything because it was all in Kiswahili played a big role there as well. The speeches were about performing well, future plans, what has been achieved so far, etc. I must admit that after two hours of speeches, of which I only understood 15 minutes I was really glad to be able to leave the hot building and go outside to fetch food provided by the school – rice, cabbage, meat, and bananas. It was a really nice meal.
That was also when I finally got to see Rodgers, because through the whole ceremony I did not see him – all the students were sitting together in the front. The three of us (Beffrey, Matron, and I) we went and took a picture with Rodgers at one of the picture-booths and after that we left the school.
I think it is a wonderful thing such a day where students can sit all together and have a good time before starting their final exams.