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!)

Young Artists Send Greetings from Brunswick, Maine to Kenya!

Posted in Giving back, Kenya, Maine schools, Student Art xchange by Lynn Ouellette on 01/13/2013
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Really captures the spirit of this project!

Thank you Brunswick school artists!!!  I am so excited about this project! Once again working with Sharon McCormack, a wonderful and enthusiastic art teacher in Brunswick Maine, we have organized an exchange of art and culture between local students and Kenyan children. Students from Coffin School and Harriet Beecher Stowe School have sent me many wonderful pieces of beautiful art work and a generous offering of donated art supplies as part of the Art of Giving Project.

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Art supplies and envelopes of art work—wait until you see samples of the art

I had so much fun looking at the art work–there are so many pieces that I think I will be able to share them with more than one group of children in Kenya.  Here are some samples of the wonderful work:

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And look at these wonderful masks!

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I wish that I could show all the art work since I had a wonderful time looking at each and every piece. The first stop will be with the Maasai community where I will bring the donated art supplies and many pieces of art. The Maasai children are wonderful enthusiastic learners who are in a new school in a poor community and do not have materials like art supplies. They will be thrilled to get the supplies and delighted to get greetings from the U.S.

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Maasai children of Pastoral Care Development Alliance

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This is the floor in their new school–it’s a lot different than yours.

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And this is a Maasai house–silly me I’m trying to catch a baby goat and not very good at it!

Later I will post some more entries so that you learn more about the Maasai community and the children who live there. I can tell you that without a doubt they will be so excited to get your art, friendly greetings, and the art supplies. The other part of this project will happen when I am there working with the children. The Maasai children love to have their pictures taken and are fascinated to see them on my camera. They don’t ever have any pictures of themselves and they don’t even have mirrors. So I will be bringing a camera that takes small photos that print out instantly so that we can take a picture of every Maasai child and we will make a little frame so that they bring them home. It will be like getting a school picture which everyone is used to getting here at home, but will be very special to these children (and their parents) because they have never gotten them before. My camera also keeps a record of the photos so that when I return Mrs. McCormack and I and anyone else who wishes to volunteer (I already have one parent volunteer–thank you Judy Marblestone) will get together and make a photo of the Maasai children in the same kind of little frame to give to every child who made art work to send over. You will get to see a lot of smiling faces appreciating your friendly greetings! Later I will post about the other community where I will bring some of your art work. I will write some special posts for all of you at Coffin School and Harriet Beecher Stowe School and you will know that they are written for you because the titles will start with “FOR THE STUDENTS” Many thanks again to all especially Mrs. McCormack!

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