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Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings…

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… so said William Wordsworth.

SHALOM ACADEMY HEAD GIRL DEBORAH BUZANZI WITH HER FAMILY

For confirmation of Wordsworth’s assertion, we need look no further than a poem OUR head girl, 10-year-old Deborah Buzanzi, wrote about her environment, a subject she feels deeply about. (And it also demonstrates how well her English is coming along.)

T H E  P U S H

In our city there is no push
But there is many rubbish heaps
Big enough to make a hill with
No care for cleanness

Who will make a push?
The president or the governor?
The senator or the MCA?
Who will make a push?

We have clean water
But water is not clean water
Because it carries germs
Water is drying at the source
Who will protect the source?

From tree on hill
Down to the river
Is it county workers or a police officer?
Is it our parents or ourselves?
Who will make a push?

One good teacher can change the world

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They say one good teacher can change the world, but what about half a dozen!

Here are some of our new and well-established teachers – left to right: Debra, Nobert, Mike, Gladys, Vitalis and, in front, Terry.

Long time no see

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After an enforced absence of 2 years, it was great to return to Irovo in January 2022 and catch up with all the teachers, pupils and parents at Shalom Academy.

Despite our absence, infrastructure improvements are evident. Concrete floors have been laid in the last 3 classrooms (all 8 now have clean, even and red floors), and there are also new latrines for teachers. A new concrete water tank has been built next to the kitchen which should make cooking a little easier during the wet months.

To add to the progress, we brought books, stationery and sports/play equipment from Lancashire, which looks great in the resource room. We also brought a stack of regulation sky blue polo shirt uniforms.

The pictures show board member and charity founder Olive with new teacher Terry Museni.

Can’t Stop Progress

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Thanks to support from Preston Guild Rotary Club during the Covid crisis, we have been able to pay the absent teachers a portion of their wages and re-start the building programme. We raised enough to lay concrete floors in the three remaining classrooms and continue the path that links all parts of the school. This will hopefully ensure mud-free lessons in future and fewer dusty text books.

Help where it’s needed

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The lockdown restrictions due to the Covid 19 virus have hit Irovo hard. Not only are villagers losing their jobs but also most institutions have had to close, including Shalom Academy.

While the coffers at Strive for Excellence were somewhat lacking, we had to step in with some emergency support for teachers and the most needy families.

The pictures show some of the pupils with their parents/grandparents who wished to show their thanks for our support.

Prefects

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Shalom Academy is lucky to have two excellent pupils who act as our two prefects—effectively head girl and head boy.

May I introduce Michelle Mutola and Alex Ingaya who have been pupils for years and can be relied upon for various duties such as gathering books and equipment for teachers and being great role models for the other 100-odd children.

Beans, beans, good for your heart…

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New cook Gertrude seems to have got the measure of our kitchen and children, and the conundrum of cooking for an indeterminate number of pupils each day. But one thing is for sure – she never runs out of anything. As the pupil registration grows, so too does the amount of food in the pots on our open-fired stove.

Thank goodness for some parents bringing beans, corn and firewood to help with this vital support for our children’s welfare.

 

So Many Books, So Little Time

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One of our aims this year was to add significantly to our library of text books that meet the requirements of the new Kenyan curriculum.

We bought as many books as we could fit on the back of the bike and Olive and Mr Bondi spent a happy hour or two cataloguing them.

They were soon being read and appreciated by our grade four pupils (from left) Jacqueline, Abigail, and prefect Michelle.

Meet the Parents

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Our new year parents’ meeting is always an engaging affair—mostly down to the terrific speakers: chairman of our Irovo board (beating the drum about paying fees), headteacher Mr Bondi (stressing all the new educational supplies), Vitalis (asking parents to please bring beans and firewood to help with the lunches), and Olive (giving an outsiders’ perspective on fundraising, attendance, uniforms, and future plans for the school).

The parents were then given a tour of the resource room and the ongoing infrastructure works, before being thanked with a plate of tasty food from our new cook, Gertrude.

Deskbound

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Victims of our own success, Shalom Academy soon found itself short of desks once the new cohort of pupils crammed into the classes (105 at last count).

Vitalis got straight on to the local carpenter who quickly made 15 new desks (wide enough for three little ones), providing seating for everyone. They will be painted in the school colour (sky blue) before being placed in the classrooms.

The pictures shows Vitalis and security/caretaker Gerald, and some of our new pupils using the goalpost as a trapeze while waiting for their desks to be placed in the classrooms.