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My friend, David (who I talked with about math and evolution on previous blogs, links are below.) went on a backpacking trip in Africa recently. This is his story of the experience of other cultures.
This is the first blog in part 2 of this series. Here is the link for the page where the others can be found:
June 5, Soccer With African Children
Today was day 3 in Kigali, Rwanda. We went to check out one of the organizations that we will be working with, an environmental group in Ecole Primaire Biryogo Amizero. It was a grade school filled with children who were happy to see us. We had the opportunity to learn how the school manages erosion prevention. They do this by growing a Vetiver tall grass along the dusty slopes of the school yard. Trimming and maintaining the grass is important as well, and it can be used as cattle fodder. At the school, the children were running and playing around by the hundreds, in their blue uniforms. Some of them were helping us with the grass trimming, which they had demonstrated to us.
After that, we went up the slope to the simple classroom buildings, with one door for each of the rooms leading outside. The inside of the room that we saw looked very humble. Only a cord for a single light bulb hung from the roof, with no light bulb in it. There was only natural lighting from two windows across from the door. The dimly lit classroom was filled with young students and their teacher.
As we walked inside, all of the students stood up. Kyle, the first one to enter, was instructed by our guide to tell the students that they may sit down. We sat in the desks with the children. Then we viewed a simple math lesson on multiplying fractions for about 10 minutes. Slight things were different from the way that I was taught in school. For one thing, the students snap their fingers to get the teacher’s attention. The kids took turns answering problems on the board and correcting each other.
Later, we went outside to just introduce ourselves to the rest of the people in the school yard. They were ecstatic to see us. They all wanted to say hello, walk by our sides, play games and just spend time with us. It was a fun experience, even for those of us who are usually not too good with children. The appreciation was overwhelming. Some of us played soccer with them, and others took lots of photos and selfies. Sophie and Sarah Bell decided to teach them the Macarena. We stayed there for about half an hour. But it may have been longer than that since we were so preoccupied with interacting with them.
Later in the evening, not much happened. We just stayed around the hostel, enjoying each other’s company. We talked about Rwandan history, went for a night run, and had dinner. It was a nice way to conclude the evening.