Nyumbani Village was founded by Father Angelo and Sister Mary Owens in 1992 to serve orphans and elders who have been left behind by the “lost generation” resulting from the HIV/AIDS pandemic. It was opened in 2006 and is a place where orphans enjoy living under the watchful eyes of grandparents. The village is located in Kitui county and its about a three-hour-drive from Nairobi.
We began the journey on Wednesday at 9pm and it took us around 13 hours from Maseno to get to the village. We met the deputy head teacher, Anton, Hose, Jane and other members of staff and non-staff. Anton and Hose took us around the village. Anton is the head of home care department while Hose is a solar system specialist who teaches at the polytechnic. The village has three schools, a medical clinic, worship centre and other community buildings. After touring the village we went back to guest house where we prepared for the Friday sessions and thereafter had a rest. Among the sessions were game 21, handshake problem, Josephus problem, counting squares, puzzles and more others. We wanted students to realize that Mathematics is all about simplification, being systematic, forming patterns, identifying strategies and generalizing. The highest number of students who came for the sessions were 28. Each session was 1 hour long. Santiago and Zack led most of the sessions while Patrick and I went around helping students understand. Patrick led the session on counting squares while I led the session on josephus problem. I really enjoyed interacting with students. I loved seeing very active students, happy to learn, the likes of Meshack, Dennis, Richard, Diana among others. They really inspired me. As we ended up our sessions on Saturday, they wanted to know when we were going to meet again. Santiago and Zack having more experienced helped me in pointing out areas to improve on. We left the village on Sunday morning hoping to have impacted on the students. On our way back we got stuck for over an hour a long dirt road which had been turned into slippery mud by the rains. We finally got out of the mud by creating a path using stones and lifting one of the back wheels and placing stones below it. Overall, despite the challenges we encountered, I was quite pleased with my visit. I liked everything, the sessions, food, people we met and the environment. The most important thing I learned is that education isn't just one way!! Everyone has something to give if we step back, take time to listen, observe, and draw it out!!