Zuri Watoto Wote

For the students: Brunswick, Maine students send friendly greetings to Maasai children of Kenya!

Posted in Kenya, Maine schools, Responding to poverty in Kenya, Student Art xchange by Lynn Ouellette on 01/26/2013

 

Telling the Maasai children about the artwork

Telling the Maasai children about the artwork

Hello artists of Brunwick, Maine! Your artwork and the donated art supplies have traveled  a long way to make it all the way past Kiserian,  Kenya where the Maasai children live. The children here and the teachers and parents of the community were VERY grateful to receive them! The trip to their community is about an hour’s drive from where we are staying and we traveled through the town of Kiserian and through some beautiful countryside. It was common to see donkeys grazing on the side of the road or to see herds of cows crossing the street and even to have to stop for them as they pay absolutely no attention to the cars sometimes even if they are being herded. Often they are roaming free when not in town. We traveled through the Rift Valley which I wrote about in my last post for you.

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Cows crossing!

Cows crossing!

Our group getting our photo taken in front of the view of the Rift Valley

Our group getting our photo taken in front of the view of the Rift Valley

The Maassai school

The Maassai school sign

When we arrived at the school the children were all very excited to see us because they know that we always bring things that will add to their classrooms and do special projects with them. They are very smart children who are hard workers and love to learn but do not have all the books and supplies which children in the U.S. have. They have very few art supplies (maybe a few crayons) and their school has tin walls, a tin roof, windows with no glass, and until recently dirt floors. because of some donations they were recently able to make a cement floor on the school which has made it much better. All children who go to school in Kenya are required to wear school uniforms so you will notice that they are all dressed alike in the photos taken while they are at school. Although much of the time the Maasai rely on milk and meat to eat, when there are enough supplies to make it, the children get porridge made out of corn flour, dried milk, oil and sugar for lunch. When we arrived they had run out of the supplies for making hot lunch so the children were getting any lunch. However, we were able to get them enough supplies to make sure that there would be lunch for them for the next year.

Maasai Children waving as we arrive

Maasai Children waving as we arrive

Greetings from the Maasai children

Greetings from the Maasai children

The homes that the Maasai children live in are very different from the homes that we live in and they often raise the baby animals of their herds inside while they are young to keep them safe from predators. The Maasai are known for dressing in very bright clothing and wearing traditional tribal beaded jewelry. Even the very young children wear bracelets made out of beads.

Typical boma or Maasai home

Typical boma or Maasai home

Maasai women in their colorful clothes

Maasai women in their colorful clothes

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When I told them about your art, I explained to the children and the parents that it was a way to send friendly greetings from America and that part of my goal in traveling is to teach the children at home about the cultures of other parts of the world and try to connect them to each other I explained that your artwork had many friendly sentiments and that Mrs. McCormack had been talking to you about Kenya and the Maasai people.

Showing the envelopes of art

Showing the envelopes of art

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Sharing the individual pieces of art

With their masks!

With their masks!

On the day before we had made masks with them so they had just been making masks. I shared some of the masks that came in the art work form some of you which made them laugh and clap!

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enjoying the masks you sent!

I also explained to them that I would be making copies of  the photos that I had taken of them the day before to share with all of you when I return to Brunswick. Since they do not have mirrors or any photos of themselves it was a special treat to take instant Polaroid photos of them and put them on a frame for them to bring home in the same way that you would have your picture taken at school.

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Example of a the nphotos taken of the Maasai children

Example of  the photos taken of the Maasai children

I am hoping that we might be able to continue this exchange back and forth as I go to Kenya each year in the future. Although Many things about your lives are different, there is much more about you and the Maasai children that is the same and it would be a nice opportunity for you to learn more about that. A huge thank you to all the Brunswick, Maine artists and especially to Sharon McCormack for coordinating this with me!!

Maasai children in the classroom

Maasai children in the classroom (including learning the word for” head”  in English!)

2 Responses

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  1. Halliday Moncure said, on 01/26/2013 at 2:21 pm

    I just read this with Owyn, and she was thrilled to see the kids in Kenya and learn more about your art project. She loved their colorful clothes and beads. Thanks so much for coordinating this – you are doing great work! 🙂

    Like

    • Lynn Ouellette said, on 01/26/2013 at 2:44 pm

      Thank you! I’m thrilled to know that one of the kids from Brunswick who I actually “know” sat down and read it!

      Like


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