2019 Trip Blog #10
Written by Greg MacAdam
Good day everyone! It’s good to finally have some time to sit down and write about the trip. The days in Mageta Island sail along as we are shipped back and forth along its short coastline to the busy schools.
Four to five hours on location is the average time we use to meet with the school teachers then present our classes. Each class presents its own problems and opportunities. Be it translation, knowledge base for the students or time limits. Almost immediately upon dismounting our motorbikes we are literally swarmed by young students with an energy that is always infectious. Visitors from Canada are so rare, the mere sight of us stops all school activities and the teachers have to work extra hard to coral the little ones back into class.
Our last few days on the island take us to Mageta Secondary school. There, my class was filled with much older boys in their last years of high school. The lessons went well and they were all very engaged and asked increasingly detailed questions about reproduction. Leading questions were closely tied to biology such as “ How do you get identical twins? ” or “ What determines a child’s gender”. HIV knowledge is reasonably established and bland to them. So to break up the lesson I start a game of Rock Paper Scissors, Tic Tac Toe and even once an arm wrestling competition. There was even time after our lunch break to meet again and discuss other things that they might face in their coming years. This part of the lesson focused on depression, alcohol and drug abuse. As with every class I also try to add in a couple fast facts about Canada, usually by complaining about how cold it gets back home of course!
While planting the trees, I asked a young boy from the class called Ouma William Usiku if he would like to be interviewed. With the same enthusiasm he had in class he agreed. On the front step of the teachers office we were able to sit down and begin. William Ouwna is 18 years old, an only child. Very calm and soft spoken. He lives with his widowed mother a short walk from the school. Favorite subject is Sciences. His personal goal is to one day become an engineer. When asked why that was his choice he reply’s “ I enjoy designing things. If I see a piece of machinery or the layout of a house I think of ways to improve it. How can it become stronger? Things like that.” When not working he does his best to join in on a game of volleyball with his classmates.
William is behind in classes by one year because he sometimes has to leave school to assist his mother at home for up to three weeks at a time. The interview was very casual and relaxed. The conversation drifted from additional questions about life in Canada to how to improve at public speaking and life on Mageta.
William has planted his tree in Mageta and I look forward to the day we can meet again and catch up.
Written by Greg MacAdam