Remember the story of the ten lepers in Luke 17:11-19? How Jesus healed them and only one came back to show his appreciation to God? I will never forget this one time i attended a Sunday school service in one of my friend's church; Moses, a Reverend at St. Andrew's ACK church. The teachings for that day was about the ten lepers-after reading the bible verse he asked the children what they thought about the story; one little boy said,"Jesus must have been so happy that somebody thanked him" i was marveled at the response of the little boy. How many times do you seat down and reflect on the countless blessings God has bestowed you and appreciated ? We are pleased by the letter below that one of the ASSETS beneficiaries Ngombo Lillian Tabu wrote us showing her sincere appreciation to ASSETS and the A Rocha Kenya in general.
The ASSETS Program conducts camps in two folds one when A Rocha staff go to the schools and camp for a week, this happens in April in every calendar year. The other camp happens in August in every calendar subject to funding. The August camp invited participants are beneficiaries, parents and wildlife clubs of Kenya Patrons from selected areas. The objective of this event is to impact the beneficiaries with environmental conservation knowledge so that they able to use it in school and at home with their parents and friends.
The topics that are emphasized on include Creation care “ God is the creator of everything and man was created to take care of God’s creation”, A Rocha’s five Cs-conservation, community, cross-cultural, cooperation and Christianity, ASSETS conditions, Career choice and development and drug abuse and HIV/AIDS.
In addition that the beneficiaries are also taken to snorkeling, Gede ruins, Mida creek where they visit our Eco-facilities: tree house at Gede ruins, the boardwalk at Mida creek (enjoying the biodiversity around).
It has been two years now since our last ASSETS camp; we are hoping and praying to raise enough funds to hold one next year (April 2015).
On the 7th of October 2014, we held a grand opening ceremony for the new Environmental Education resource facility. Bishop Julius Kalu officiated the official opening.We had several entertainments as the ceremony was taking place from primary school students, an ASSETS beneficiary, a choir and a play by the community. The ASSETS beneficiary a young bright man from Gede boy’s high school gave a small talk on how the program has played an important role in his life and the importance of conserving the environment.
The primary school students presented two songs about the dangers of not conserving the environment, the importance and urged the people to conserve the environment. The choir also did a wonderful job to emphasize on the same singing a wonderful song about the environment.
The community wasn't left behind they performed a play: a group of parents whose kids benefit from the program. They illustrated very well why people should not go around poaching elephants and other wild animals and the consequences of such actions.
The entertainment was...i cant really find the right words to describe it but let me say it was simply breathtaking!
The community conservation officer (Festus) and I made a visit to St. Thomas girl’s high school. Though the visit was very brief, it was an amazing experience to interact with the student. We did get a chance to interview her and had a talk with her about how she’s doing in her studies, her goals and what plans she has for her future. Her name is Jackline Kazungu. She started schooling this year in the month of February. She comes from Kahingoni a village 3km from the Arabuko sokoke forest.
Jackline first learnt about ASSETS program way back in her primary school (Kahingoni primary school) from one of their teachers. The teacher was a patron of the wildlife club in their school. He encouraged the students to join the club since being a member of the club was one of the requirements of being selected as an ASSETS beneficiary. She joined the wildlife club and learnt a lot about what A Rocha Kenya really does and conserving the environment became her passion. She did quite well in school and was also selected to benefit from our program. Jackline wishes to become a doctor in future.
She is a bright young lady and we pray that she achieves her dreams!
It’s amazing how many hearts one can touch by simply giving. Through A Rocha Kenya’s ASSETS program hope has been restored and dreams have come true. Chipande, a group of parents of the students who have benefited from ASSETS program gathered together to prepare a nursery bed.
Chipande is one among many of the clusters of villages in the same neighborhood formed by parents of those students who have benefited from the ASSETS program. The parents belonging to these clusters meet regularly at the schools to cultivate the trees seedlings that will later be distributed.
The students will cater for the tree seedlings until they are ready to be distributed. Wouldn’t you want to touch a child’s heart today? Put a smile on his/her face? …these children are our tomorrow’s future!
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.Matthew 5:16.
We were delighted to have David Nyundo Charo come down to the A Rocha Centre in Watamu, to come and tell the ASSETS team that he had just graduated from Secondary School, with impressive marks. He was pleased to have a quick interview about his background, and how ASSETS has affected his life. David was born and brought up in Mijomboni (a small village near Gede). He’s part of a family of 10 - 3 brothers, and 4 sisters. He’s in the middle - 3rd oldest. Both his parents are farmers, growing maize at a small shamba where they live.
He went to Mijomboni Primary School up until the age of 16, a school he greatly enjoyed being part of, and the place where he first heard about ASSETS. He says he remembers when the ASSETS team came and spoke to his class about it, and how he might have an opportunity of going to secondary school, as he knew his family wouldn’t be able to afford it.
He also explained about a day when people from ASSETS came, and helped his class, and their parents plant Kasarina (indigenous) trees in a tree nursery at Mijomboni Primary. He says they’re still growing well there! The seedlings will be given to the parents, to take home and plants at their own shambas.
He explained how he had been to the boardwalk at Mida Creek, and learnt more about ASSETS there, and was very keen find out more about the scheme, and become a beneficiary.
David did very well in his assessments at Primary School, and ASSETS started to sponsor him to go to Secondary School. The school he went to was Godoma School, in Bamba. He loved his time there, and said he worked very hard, especially enjoying maths and the sciences! His final grades were impressive, and gave him an aggregate mark of 64 - a ‘B’.
To go to university, the required mark is 61. David is now 20, and hopes to go to study Maths or Chemistry at Kenyatta University - he showed real passion for these subjects. He said he would love to be a teacher of Maths and Chemistry when he is older. He said - ‘I really want to thank ASSETS for pushing me, and helping me through secondary school - giving me the opportunity to study and achieve good enough results for university.’ David is now trying to raise money to go to university.
Last week in Mijamboni Primary School near Gede, the usual Tuesday evening Wildlife Club was offered a rather exceptional activity! The classroom was made into a cinema, staring David Attenborough and his BBC Earth Series.
This was very and increasingly well-attended, with about three times as many students at the end of the film than at the start! (and many more watching by the window). As the Wildlife Patron wasn’t here, we could not have a discussion afterwards as we usually do, but it was nevertheless an enjoyable afternoon for everyone, filled with ‘ohhs’ and ‘aahhs’ of amazement at the sights of nature and wildlife. Favourites were chasing scenes - lions chasing an elephant for instance-, and the monkeys having a bath.
We believe these films can make a big difference in giving a positive image of environment. Although they may not grasp all the commentary, children see how beautiful, diverse (and apparently funny) nature is. We know that for someone from a similar rural primary school, seeing such a film spurred an interest in the environment and eventually led to a full time career in this field! So let’s hope many more will be inspired to protect the environment through this!
On Friday the ASSETS program started camps for families receiving bursary funds. In the morning, parents and students from Gede primary school and Mijomboni primary school gathered in Mijomboni. This is where Festus, a community conservation officer, started off the day teaching the families about the history of A Rocha Kenya, shared the location of the eco-tourism sites that provide bursary funds and highlighted the importance of conservation in the surrounding area. After enjoying juice and cookies the parents left leaving the students for the rest of the day. A key part of the ASSETS program is to teach students about conservation. The afternoon was spent explaining the ecological importance of the Arabuko-Sokoke forest and Mida Creek. Students participated in games called, “Hungry Hippos,” and “The Wader Migration Game.” During “Hungry Hippos” students had to share limited resources with their friends and by doing so they were able to cross a river full of hippos. “The Wader Migration Game” involved the students learning about the challenges birds face while trying to migrate around the world. The day ended with the introduction of a brand new curriculum, called A Rocha Conservation Education Course for Secondary Schools (ACCESS), where students participate in a four year long environmental studies course outside the classroom. The students were very excited about the introduction of the new course and agreed to participate. The day was full of learning. Next week Festus and volunteers will continue to run camps for eight more schools supported by the ASSETS program.
It was utterly unbelievable to see the children so amazed by the visitors. Definitely, most of these children were seeing a "mzungu" (European) for the first time in their life.
Andras and Noemi, guests at Mwamba Field Study Centre had generously donated some note books and pencils to the children of Mgamboni primary school. Despite being a fairly new school Mgamboni has already attracted over 200 pupils who used to walk five kilometers to the nearest school.
Within five minutes of arrival, they had all gathered around the camera, each pushing and pulling their way to the front to be photographed. While Noemi was busy telling the students stories about Hungary, where they come from, Andras and I had a chance to see the classrooms and their only office.
It was great to see the enthusiasm in the teachers despite the very difficult conditions they are struggling to overcome.
We were later shown the school new classroom under construction. Here Andras was thrilled by the indigenous architectural skills which reminded him of his hobby back home, building kayaks.
In the end we were very happy about everything and surely the two hour drive to Mgamboni was worth it.
The Environmental Education team took a bigger group with them this time to Mijomboni Primary School. The group involved students on a trip organized by the Minnesota Zoo, USA. Melanie a staff at the Minnesota Zoo accompanied them to this trip. The students are interested in nature conservation and some of them study related courses at the university. The rest of them have not joined the university but have an interest in nature.
The pupils at the school received us warmly as we gathered into one of the classes. This time they bombarded us with questions concerning the sustainable use of natural resources like the forest. This could tell that they are very active in conservation efforts. They were keen to learn how they will convince their parents on sustainable use of forests and water sources like rivers.
Each of the students together with the local pupils got a chance to plant an indigenous tree in the school compound. Later on they played volleyball in the school field together with the pupils and donated some stationery to the school.
Naomi Wanjiru Gichungu- Environmental Education intern