Bukati School-boy

Children of Bukati
NEWSLETTER - June 2008
School Presentation, Poems, Songs

Bukati School-girl

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June 21 2008 email from Dr. Cate Dewey while in Butula, Kenya

Hi Everyone

It is clear that my name (spelled and pronounced Keti by the staff and the children) is symbolic of the time and effort and generous donations made by everyone who have given their money, time and talents to raise the hopes and the health and the educational standards of the children in this school.
But, my name is used because I am something tangible that the children can see and touch. I share these songs and poems with you so that you can see the heart felt appreciation of the children and the staff who lead them.

Please replace Keti with your own name when you read the words.

Early Childhood Development

Children who are 5 years old may attend school in a kindergarten type class. Although the government does not pay for this class, children must have preliminary literacy skills before they can attend grade 1. The parents and guardians are expected to pay 100 Ksh per child per month. This money that is collected is used to pay for the teachers because their salary is not covered by the government. I said in a previous email that at the community meeting, the decision was made to feed all ECD pupils every day they are at school. I am glad that these young children will get this support of both the food and the education that will result from attending school.

Kindergarten Children waiting for lunch

Above: Kindergarten Children waiting for lunch.



English is the 3rd language that these children learn – after the tribal language which is spoken in the home and Swahili which is spoken in the market. It seems the teachers use songs and poems to help the children learn English. The children presented some action songs and poems for us on Friday before they were given their lunch. In one action poem the children said “I get up in the morning, wash my face, brush my hair, put on my uniform, drink my tea and walk to school. I look left and I look right, no cars coming, no trucks coming and I cross the road.”

The other classes wrote their own songs, dances and skits to present to us on Tuesday, the last day we were in the field. Most of it was presented in Swahili, but Christopher, the grade 6 teacher translated for me.

Class 1 Sang

Canada, Canada we all shall go to Canada
Thank you for the uniforms, we are now shining, we are now smart
Thank you for the dairy, we are now healthy, we are now strong
Welcome to our visitors

Class 2 told a poem about AIDS

The disease has cleared everybody in the universe
From east to west it is killing with pain
It has no mercy
It has left many orphans
Everybody shall be careful about the disease
[Can you imagine 7 year olds presenting such a serious topic?]

Then the class sang a song
“ Welcome to our visitors, welcome to Bukati
Oh Keti, Welcome to Kenya
Thanks Dewey for the uniforms
Thanks for the Kidari (that is the mixture of beans and corn the children eat)
Our teachers move forward, Bukati move forward, Keti move forward, Parents move forward, Headteacher move forward, deputy headteacher move forward.

Kindergarten Children singing songs

Kindergarten Children singing songs

Above: Kindergarten Children singing songs for the Canadian visitors

Class 4 sang

Open the door, the children are coming
Welcome visitors, welcome Keti, how are you?
You are welcome, feel at home
We look to both sides and we look forward and backward and we are all
all right because of you
We have been sent by Nick to greet the visitors
(FYI: Nick is the principal, also called the head teacher or head master)
We have been sent by Keti to greet the visitors
We have been sent by Peter to greet the visitors
Sounds of happiness
Let us thank Keti for the wonders she has brought us
We will clap and jump a bit ….

I was just sleeping and then something whispered to me that Keti is coming
Oh no, wonder, she has now come
I was feeling a bit of a headache, I was feeling a bit of a backache, I was
feeling a bit of a stomach ache but all of a sudden, I felt all right for seeing our visitors
Before I was thin, but now I am fat
Before I was thin, but now I am fat
Nicky, those are our greetings
But my mother’s sister, wherever we go, we shall pray for my sister Keti
We will move together with you in an airplane to take the same message to various places
We are happy because of Keti – we are now fat

Standard 8 song and dance
The following is an example of the "call and response" song, that is a very traditional type of singing done around the world, but especially in Sub-Saharan African cultures. In the call and response style, the “call” is usually sung by a soloist and tells a story. The response is usually sung by a group and is a response to whatever the soloist has sung.

Click here for a short video (8 seconds) of a song done of the Grade 8 class in Feb. 2007.

Note that in the video above, the girl with the scarf on her head that is leading the dance troupe is Julianna, the "leader" who is now in high school.
Click here to see Julianna and two others who graduated to high school.

We are coming Keti, we are entering the field
The children are bamboo sticks that cannot break
Keti is a bamboo stick that cannot break
What is wrong with our visitors that we do not see you smiling
Let me cut my hair and dance to making you happy
Thinking of the things that you have done, I am ready to dance with every
part of my body because of what you have done
Who shall we send to greet the visitors, because our happiness
We will send Sharon to greet the visitors and
we shall send a boy to greet the visitors
[these two individuals came forward and danced for us]
Let us show pride for what Keti did
She walks proudly
Even the boy will dance a traditional African dance for her
We thought our Keti might not come, but she has come so we can dance for her
We can do the old traditional dances for her
They used to say Bukati will not be built up strong but look at what has happened
So we can dance
Oh please, can you call our wonderful Keti to us
We can shake all the parts of our bodies on behalf of Keti
And even our hands alone can dance

Please let us sing about Keti
She looks like a lamp that shines in the darkness
She is the morning star shining in the darkness
Who else on this earth can be better than Keti
An important person like Keti
The Keti of Canada is our morning glory that shines day and night
That Keti is in the corner shining so today is a wonderful day
Let us shake ourselves for her because today is a very happy day
Keti, everybody is looking, they are looking for you like money
[Then as the children left the field they sang]
We are now departing in bodily form but spiritually, we are together

Standard 8 did a play about an orphan

The orphan, living with an aunt was at home doing homework when the aunt arrived home. She and the uncle yelled at the orphan because the house was not swept, the orphan tried to explain she was doing homework, but she was kicked out of the house and told to go to get married.

The orphan went to the home of another aunt but the aunt said she was already caring for other orphans. The orphan asked where she could go.

As she moves from home to home, she finally gets to the home of a rich man (depicted as a man with a very large belly). His wife answered the door. The wife called to the man, “there is an orphan at the door” and he responded “a girl or a boy” When the wife said it was a girl, the man said bring her to me. She asked to be employed. The rich man looked her up and down and gave her a job in the kitchen. Next the rich man suggested that his wife go to see her parents and stay a while. He told the orphan that she was much more beautiful than his wife. Luckily, the wife arrived back home before the orphan was molested by the man. The wife kicked the orphan out of the house.

The principal came across the orphan in the street and scolded her for not coming to school.
She responds “I have no where to stay”.

Standard 7 poem: A poem to give thanks to Keti

With all the respect I stand before you to give thanks to you
Thank God and bless you for your help
Blessed with a clean heart, you have gone around to raise money,
you went to friends and family
Everyone added what they could
We are enjoying the fruits of your work
God bless you because you give to others

Cate

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Updated October 23, 2008