Saturday, July 23, 2011

East Africa Day 71 (Sat July 23): Art Class in Kawangware Slum with Angela

When I met up with Angela for the first time earlier this past week, she'd invited me to help her teach an art class on Saturday AM. She and her old roommate started this Saturday AM art class, where they teach about fifteen teenage boys who are former street children, now attending a school run by Catholic nuns in the slum Kawangware, outside of central Nairobi.

I took a bus to Angela's neighborhood this AM and from there we jumped on another bus bound for Kawangware. If I had had any preconceived notion of what the area would look like, I would have been surprised to find that the school where we held the art class was a beautiful building in great repair. I snapped this photo from the school courtyard.

Angela brought watercolor painting supplies with her. We set up the classroom before the first students arrived. Once the approximately twelve students were seated, Angela introduced me to the students. We talked with the students about USA geography, and then Angela reviewed the lesson.

First, the students used pencils to mark off boxes on their paper sheets. Then they filled the boxes in with the watercolor paints.

Finally, when dry, the painted paper was placed on the bottom of a box that Angela brought with her, a marble was dropped in black paint, and then dropped into the box on top of the watercolor design, and the student then shook the box around, moving the black-paint covered marble over the watercolor design. Here's Angela and I with the box ...

It was interesting to see how the students personalized the project - check out the finished designs! I did the one with the spiral design. Angela thought that the students had fun with the fact that we were doing the project with them.

Angela and I were joined by an employee from the Japanese Embassy, named Hisashi, who has helped Angela with the art class before. Last time he was there, he taught the boys some karate. They reviewed their karate together on the quad lawn for ten minutes, after we completed the art project, and before we left the school grounds.

While some of the students were reviewing their karate, I learned how to play two conga drums from one of the students, who is very good! He said that he learned to play at the school; he invited me back to the school for additional instruction:) This is the student who instructed me in congo techniques ...

After the morning program had ended - approximately three hours after we'd arrived - Angela and I went back to her apartment where I got to meet her boyfriend, she made lunch, we watched a Twilight-style movie "I am Number Four" which Angela and I agreed was unexpectedly pretty good, and just generally hung out. They then dropped me off in town, on their way out. It was a great afternoon!

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