Intense Tutoring. At mid-year and at the end of the year we put on a remedial program for the weaker students in our local grade school. Christmas vacation saw our volunteer teachers working with the weaker students of all the different classes. In addition we gave special attention to the students that are beginning their final year, grade 7, now in January.
This involved some intense tutoring in math and Swahili, two of the subjects that the students find most difficult..
The volunteer teachers spent some hours with these kids each day helping them to fill in the blanks of things they missed or didn’t learn well in the earlier years of primary school.
The idea was to limit the number of kids in the program to about sixty, but it proved very difficult. Most mornings I counted over a hundred that we have divided into four class groups. The program is very popular with the parents, since they see a significant improvement in the reading and math skills of their children. Also, the fact that we provide a “lunch” of corn porridge cannot be discounted as part of the reason so many want to come.
In the beginning the older kids came only at eleven for the meal and then some hours of instruction. But we have found that if the kids stick around home during the morning hours, they are invariably tapped to go out and pasture the family’s sheep and goats. For this reason, we had them come early at the same time as the younger kids although this puts more of a strain on our few volunteer teachers.
The program was a success with 16 students winning the prizes of new school uniforms for significant progress in reading and math skills.The biggest challenge was to keep the number of students down to a manageable number.
No insulin for diabetics. As long as I can remember insulin medicine has been given free to Diebetic people at government dispensaries. Since many need at least one injection a day, the amount of insulin required can be significant. Now it seems that insulin is given free only to those people that have health insurance. Diabetis is a growing problem and many people suffering from it and not the people with jobs where health insurance is available. This is causing a crises for the small built significant number of diebetic people here at Olbalbal and elsewhere.