During the month of June, we undertook a program of remedial study for the grade school kids here at Olbalbal. Many of the primary school kids are really weak. There are some in fourth grade that don’t yet know the alphabet. Individual attention by a teacher does not seem exist here. We hoped that a month of more intense study would help that situation.
We chose the weakest ten students in each of the seven grades for our intensive program. During the four weeks of school vacation, there were two sessions each day, beginning at 8:30 each week day morning and ending at 2:00 in the afternoon. There were two “classes”, one for the weakest students and the other for those a little less weak. At eleven o’clock the kids had “uji.” a porridge of maize flour seasoned with some sugar, vegetable oil and salt.
My student Lenkangu, who has just finished his first year of Teacher Training College did the teaching helped by another one of my students, Fabi, who has just finished the first half of her senior year in high school. They concentrated on Swahili and some math with the kids.
Before beginning the program, Lenkangu and Fr. Arkado went to the town of Karatu, some two and a half hours away. They bought bags of corn, sugar, cooking oil, salt and bowls for the “uji”. They also purchased notebooks, pens and pencils for the remedial classes.
Fr. Arkado has raised the money for this project through his friend Dorota in Poland. She works for an insurance company in Warsaw. Her fellow workers contributed the money for the four-week program.
The program was a total success with most of the weak students among the seventy participants making excellent progress. The parents were very happy with the program and showed amazement at the improvement of the reading and writing skills of their sons and daughters. Lenkangu did an excellent job bringing all together. He will make a great teacher. The “uji” program went really well also. Seeing themselves improve so rapidly in their reading and writing skills, a good few of the students expressed their desire to continue the program even after returning for the regular school year. The graduation went well, with the gift of a notebook and ballpoint pen for each student and some further notebooks for those showing the most improvement. The meal of rice and meat topped off the small graduation celebration.
Parents, students and, not least, ourselves are very pleased at the marked improvement in most of the students.