Besides the Meho Kindergarten MCP also supports another facility in the community – the Eparu Kindergarten which was founded by Magret in 2009. She has opened the kindergarten because she loves kids and wants to contribute to her community. She basically works voluntarily for the community since almost none of the parents pay the N$25 per month she is asking. She started out under a tree until MCP set up a little hut and gave her some teaching materials. She teaches Monday through Friday from 8am until 11am and about 25 kids from the age of 2 up to 6 attend the kindergarten class daily.
Since MCP wants to implement a strong cooperation between Meho (Vision) and Eparu (Life) Kindergarten in order to further the education within Mayana and to prepare the kids for school, I had a few meetings with Magret and the kindergarten board to discuss the cooperation and how MCP is also expecting action from the board to help with getting the parents to pay and supporting the teachers. At the moment MCP is also providing the feeding scheme for the kindergarten, so the kids get to eat a bread role while in class.
Since I needed some more info from Magret anyways, I decided to spend one whole morning with her and assist her teaching the class.
When I arrived I was greeted with big eyes and a song “Welcome our visitor”. It was very cute since they were more screaming than singing and also the pronunciation was a little off, but I could tell that they love to sing and had fun performing for me. After that the kids learned the numbers 1 through 4, how to pronounce them in English and they had to draw them into the sand – so not having a proper floor does sometimes come in handy. Magret checked everyone’s numbers and everyone got a “very good” or “excellent” or we assisted them drawing the number again, if it was completely something else. While repeating the numbers Magret sent three of the older girls outside to fetch water from the tab because soon it was recess and time to eat the bread roles she made.
So we all lined up outside to wash our hands and it was amazing to see how the older ones took care of the little ones. Then everybody received their bread and some even had brought along cookies to share or scundu – the traditional drink made of mahangu, water and sugar.
I did try it before and it is not for me – so I passed when one kid offered me some. But the bread role was fantastic! After everybody had finished we played a little outside. We formed a big circle and we through a ball to the kids asking them what their name was and when they passed the ball back they had to answer “My name is…” and again many many kids with very German names. I suggested to Magret that I would form a second circle since we had two balls, but that didn’t work out because all the kids shifted to my circle. After playing some football it was time to go back inside to learn the seven days of the week.
The kids ran back quickly to the shed to get a spot on one of the two benches. After they had learned all the names of the days in English, they sang a little song about the days of the week and we moved on to vowels. This time the kids had the chance to come up to the front and write the vowels on the chalk board. I was surprised to see how long a tiny tiny piece of chalk could last. By that time most kids were more interested in joking around with me or wanting me to take their picture than paying attention to what was going on. It was nearly 11am anyways and so Magret closed the class with taking attendance, singing a goodbye song for me and the kids were released after saying a prayer.
Magret was eager to get my feedback on her teaching. I explained to her that I have no clue about teaching kindergarten, but I thought that she was doing an amazing job volunteering – especially regarding the little materials she has at hand as well as the circumstances with the shed – which has gotten very hot by then – and parents not paying their contribution. I hope for her and the kids’ sake, that the board has gotten the message that they need to take action because otherwise MCP will not continue to support the kindergarten: “One hand doesn’t make a clap!” 😉