The first 2010 Mohochi Scholars’ workshop was held between 30/04/10 and 01/05/10 at The KCC chairman’s residence in Isibania. We thank Mr. Philip Mohochi for offering his house for the workshop once again free of charge.
The scholars started arriving at 12noon and by 2:30 all 9 scholars had arrived and had lunch, kindly prepared by Mrs. Selina Sagati (the KCC treasurer) with assistance from a neighbor of the Mohochis.
The workshop started at 2:35 with a word of prayer (this is customary in most meetings and other functions in Kenya) from one of the scholars. Introductions followed prayers, with everyone present introducing himself or herself. This was necessary as it was the first time the 2010 and 2009 scholars were meeting each other.
Other than the Treasurer and the scholars, Sangai and Chief Togo (the two facilitators of the day) were also present. The first person to make a presentation was Sangai Mohochi. He projected the KI/LMEF website on the wall (luckily internet connection was good) and took those present through the following:
- A brief overview of the foundation including its inception, mission, structure etc
- Kusoma’s programs and the scholars page as well as their information (they were later invited to read and confirm that the information about them on the website is accurate)
- Kusoma’s sources of funding
- The foundation’s role in their education and the scholars’ obligations
The intention was to take them through the website, give them a good understanding of our operations and the people behind it with the intention of making them aware of the sacrifices made by those behind the foundation. Such an understanding was meant to make them appreciate the opportunity that they have and work harder to make the most of it.
It was emphasized to them that they have an obligation to ensure that they are in constant and timely communication with the KI. For instance, it was make clear that they have to give their end of term reports to the KCC immediately they come home. They were also taken through the Agreement with scholars, clause by clause, to ensure that they are fully aware of its provisions. The 2010 scholars were then invited to sign the agreement.
The scholars were given an opportunity to ask questions which were addressed by the presenter. They also sought some clarification on certain articles in the agreement with scholars which were also dealt with.
We then had a 15 minutes break during which we took a bottle of soda before starting the second session at around 4:15 pm.
In this session, Chief Togo Marwa talked to our scholars on making good use of the school holidays. Chiefs are local administrators who interact with people in the community. They are usually involved in local issues, including parent children conflicts. We thought, his experience would help our scholars learn how best to live with society when they are at home.
Indeed his experience in dealing with students and school aged kids in society turned out to be very helpful. He dwelt on his experiences in school briefly, his experience as a parent of school going children in the community and zeroed in more on his take on what students need to do while at home during vacation. He emphasized on discipline and the need to listen to parents and guardians. Another important aspect that he dealt with in detail was the need to be careful in choosing those that the scholars associate with while at home. He advised them to be keener when choosing people to emulate.
The third session which started at 5:20pm was dedicated to Challenges faced in school. This was a group discussion session in which the scholars were divided into three groups of three to discuss the topic and share their thoughts to the whole group afterwards. Similar concerns were raised in the open meeting. Following were the challenges that were mentioned:
1. Lack of text books and other study materials
2. Lack of kerosene to use for home study during the holidays-basically touching on poor financial situations at home
3. Lack of sanitary towels for girls-pointing to poverty too
4. Lack of pocket money
5. School specific issues like failure to finish the syllabus, poor food, frequent change of teachers etc.
We intend to discuss these and others in a full KCC meeting. Those present felt that, given our current financial situation, there are several concerns of the scholars that we can’t deal with at the moment.
The group discussion gave way to a two hour dinner break.
At 8pm, we watched a movie entitled Hotel Rwanda. The movie, based on the unfortunate 1994 Rwanda genocide was picked because of the relevance on inter ethnic tensions and animosities in the Kenyan set up. However, the system hanged on us and we did not complete watching the movie.
On the second day we had breakfast at 9am. The scholars divided themselves and completed different tasks that led to an enjoyable breakfast for all of us. Two who were not directly involved in cooking did some cleaning of the compound. It was nice to note that they were able to share responsibilities among themselves, and to execute them without direct involvement by any one of us.
On the second day, we had Philip, Syprine (the KCC secretary), Seline sitting throughout the sessions. The day was started with a word of prayer from one of the scholars.
The first session was dedicated to a discussion of what we had watched in Hotel Rwanda with the main focus being on the lessons that Kenya can learn from Rwanda, especially when you consider what happened in Kenya in 2008. All these were related to the Kuria community which has a long history of clan rivalries that often lead to fighting and numerous deaths to members of different clans. Our scholars participated in a very lively discussion and all offered very good insights and proposals on what the Kuria community can do in order to develop a more harmonious coexistence. We were very encouraged to note that the 4 new 2010 scholars contributed as much as their elder brothers and sisters.
This lively discussion was followed by a presentation by Joel Chacha at 10:30am on His life in school, college and after. Joel is a young man from Kuria who has gone through the public education system in Kenya, and is currently working with Action Aid after teaching briefly in one of the secondary schools in Kuria. He is one of the two students who did a survey on the state of education in Kuria West District for us in 2008. We wanted our scholars to hear from those who have managed to go through the education system despite numerous challenges as a way of motivating them to do the same. He did not disappoint in his presentation. In giving an account on his experiences, he gave special attention to the following as important pillars that would assist our scholars in their studies:
4. Self Control
The session ended at 12pm. It was extended since our fourth facilitator (John Oguda from Migori) was unable to make it to Isibania. In the last communication with him, John was traveling from Kisumu and we think that he was unable to make it due to travel complications. We had an open question and answer session with the scholars and the 4 KCC members that were present.
Lunch was served at 1:45pm, followed by the closing session. This included a presentation of token presents to 2 of our scholars for their performance during the 2009 school year.
1. Anastasia Gati was recognized for her academic performance. She was the top student in her class for all the three academic terms in 2009. We gave her ksh. 300 ($ 3.89)
2. Richard Zungu was recognized for his academic performance and leadership skills that he has exhibited. Richard was position 3, 4, and 5 in the three terms respectively. He has also emerged as the leader of the Mohochi Scholars, and has been appointed the water prefect in his school. He was given ksh. 200 ($ 2.59)
This was a small token meant to indicate that we shall reward hard work and good performance. We hope to increase the reward in future once our financial base is more stable. Future rewards must not be monetary.
Each of the members of the KCC advised our scholars before they were given money to pay for their transport back home and allowed to leave at 2:30pm.
The KCC met after the scholars left for a review of the workshop and a brief discussion of the issue raised by our scholars.
This was the first time I was attending the Mohochi Scholars workshops, and I must admit that it was a very enjoyable experience. It was obvious to me that the scholars (both new and old) were very excited to participate in the workshop. They were eager to contribute and spoke freely. Evidently, a lot of bonding was taking place and it could be discerned that there was a feeling of disappointment when it was time to leave. All we need to do is diversify the topics we shall deal with in future workshops.
I would like to thank the Kusoma International-LMEF board for making this possible. The scholars are very appreciative.