The school at Wanga sits on a hillside overlooking Lake Victoria, it’s a great view but to the pupils and teachers it’s just an everyday part of school life. The school is linked to Ponteland Community Middle School through a charity, Development Direct, and so this was the opportunity for current (and recent past) pupils from there to see a different sort of schooling. At Wanga there are few resources, just an incredible enthusiasm to learn. However, coupled with eagerness are the hard facts of living in this part of Kenya. A lack of clean drinking water and a shortage of food are everyday realities and illness often goes untreated for lack of money for suitable medicines. School uniforms are hand-me-downs many times over often with repair on repair. Life isn’t that easy for the teachers either with one of them explaining that he walks 2 hours to school every morning, and 2 hours home again; he can’t afford a bike to make it any easier.
There is clean water available for the pupils at school and while there it was possible to undertake a small repair on the school’s water filter to help turn roof water into clean drinking water freely for them.
Visiting parents, teachers and pupils alike found themselves thrown into helping out: teaching lessons, helping with revision, music and art. We were given renditions of songs, begged to teach, involved in games with a Frisbee and football made from rubbish tied up with string and generally asked about all manner of things. Meanwhile some of the pupils were taken to a nearby school where teachers and pupils from Ponteland were helping set up an ICT suite that could be used by all the local schools. The Wanga pupils took to computing remarkably quickly.
Just before we left there was a final ceremony of presentations by pupils and staff including Luo dancing by the boys and a recitation by the girls.