PACE Fun Day at Kawangware Primary School

A few children eagerly crowd around as the speakers and the sound system are set up. Then, suddenly, the sound of loud music pierces the air, marking the start of one of the most anticipated days on the school Calendar of Kawangware Primary: The PACE Fun day.

The rest of the students enthusiastically stream from class, and within minutes, the quad is filled with green-clad bodies, steadily moving to the beat the music carries. It is a popular song by a local musician- the children sing along with the lyrics they know, and when they aren’t sure, they simply let the rhythm take hold of them.

A few minutes after the PACE volunteers have joined in the dance, much to the enthusiasm of the   students, the co-ordinator of the event, Mr. Saviours Aburaka halts the music in order to introduce the  visiting PACE volunteers to the students and organize for the first order of the day:- peer mentorship in each of the classes, led by groups of 2 or more volunteers. The volunteers are quickly organized and the students, albeit reluctantly, leave their dance floor and make their way to class, each stream having been split gender wise.

“We wake up in the morning and feel no hope. We see no use getting through the day, knowing the kind of challenges we have, and will, face,” says one of the Class 7 boys, Nicholas, during the mentorship session. From the nods of approval in the class, it is clear that this is a widely felt emotion. Poverty, lack of attention from parents and guardians, and negative peer pressure seem to be the most common problems facing these children. The students interact with the PACE volunteers, who first listen to their stories, then discuss their experiences teaching children like them, and brainstorm possible solutions that either stem from their own initiative or from collaboration between the students and the teaching staff at the school. The underlying theme is for the students to understand that their present circumstances do not dictate who they can be, and will be, in the future.

The PACE Fun Day at Kawangware Primary School

June 17, 2015
|
Norah Chelagat Borus

A few children eagerly crowd around as the speakers and the sound system are set up. Then, suddenly, the sound of loud music pierces the air, marking the start of one of the most anticipated days on the school Calendar of Kawangware Primary: The PACE Fun day.

 

The rest of the students enthusiastically stream from class, and within minutes, the quad is filled with green-clad bodies, steadily moving to the beat the music carries. It is a popular song by a local musician- the children sing along with the lyrics they know, and when they aren’t sure, they simply let the rhythm take hold of them.

 

 

 

A few minutes after the PACE volunteers have joined in the dance, much to the enthusiasm of the   students, the co-ordinator of the event, Mr. Saviours Aburaka halts the music in order to introduce the  visiting PACE volunteers to the students and organize for the first order of the day:- peer mentorship in each of the classes, led by groups of 2 or more volunteers. The volunteers are quickly organized and the students, albeit reluctantly, leave their dance floor and make their way to class, each stream having been split gender wise.

“We wake up in the morning and feel no hope. We see no use getting through the day, knowing the kind of challenges we have, and will, face,” says one of the Class 7 boys, Nicholas, during the mentorship session. From the nods of approval in the class, it is clear that this is a widely felt emotion. Poverty, lack of attention from parents and guardians, and negative peer pressure seem to be the most common problems facing these children. The students interact with the PACE volunteers, who first listen to their stories, then discuss their experiences teaching children like them, and brainstorm possible solutions that either stem from their own initiative or from collaboration between the students and the teaching staff at the school. The underlying theme is for the students to understand that their present circumstances do not dictate who they can be, and will be, in the future.

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After about half an hour of this heart-to-heart, it’s back to the dance floor, and the kids show an impressive display of talent and enthusiasm. They are having the time of their lives- you can tell. As the songs are switched in quick succession, the energy steadily increases, and the pupils, initially too shy to join in, make their way through the crowd and let go to the rhythm of the popular music. The PACE volunteers have ample time to ‘get down’ with the kids, and small circles are formed all around the quad, where the PACE Makers have set base, showing and teaching the children some cool moves.  There is a wide smile on everyone’s face. Laughter cuts through the air; joyful noise intermingles with the music.

Then it’s time for clubs and societies. The PACE volunteers are split up into groups according to their talents and passions in various areas such as Music, Drama, Math, Scouts and Sciences. The members of these clubs are assigned to a few classrooms, and the volunteers take them through a session of showcasing talents, electing leaders of the clubs, formalizing the rules, meeting schedule, mission, motto and vision of the club, and registering the members. The Upper Primary choir proceeds to give the PACE Volunteers a run for their money, with a breathtaking rendition of ‘The Lord is our Shepherd’, set for Soprano and Alto voices, and the set piece for the music festivals. The Lower Primary choir sings an endearing arrangement of a nursery rhyme, and Anne, the newly elected chairlady of the music club, belts out a remarkable soprano solo. They are going places- you can just feel it.

 

The lunch time bell rings, and as the pupils make their way to their respective classes, the PACE volunteers go to the staffroom, where they are served a tasty meal of rice, meat stew, cabbage, and chapattis- quite a nice treat organized by the school administration. They interact, giving each other stories of the quality of talent that the children in the various clubs had: the handiwork club, in particular, generates a buzz with their skill in art and design, especially their expertise in making beaded necklaces and branded t-shirts.

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Soon after, the PACE Volunteers are needed in the school pitch for the last session of the day- the afternoon sports event. The adults and pupils are split into groups and engage in various competitions, such as the 100-metres dash, musical chairs, tire racing, candle racing and sack racing. The competition is fierce, and the energy and excitement on the pitch is contagious.

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Finally, after being pleasantly exhausted by the fun and games, the PACE Volunteers have their final moments of interaction with the pupils, and the fun day comes to a close at 4 pm. Volunteers trickle out of the school slowly, many of them lagging behind to talk to the children and answer any questions they had not been able to tackle in class.

As the PACE team leaves the premises, the pupils wave goodbye, satisfied grins etched on their faces. They will certainly have a good story to tell their siblings and parents that evening. It has been a day worth remembering, and an experience worth sharing.

As the PACE team leaves the premises, the pupils wave goodbye, satisfied grins etched on their faces. They will certainly have a good story to tell their siblings and parents that evening. It has been a day worth remembering, and an experience worth sharing.