An experience and a half”

21 May 2014
As you’ll know from our blog on Monday the 12th of May, ten teachers from Londiani were in Ireland at that time visiting their partner schools. The plan, for both visitors and visited, was to work towards the aim of the FOL School Network Programme: to develop global citizens in the network schools through a deeper awareness and understanding of global issues and cultural exchanges. And (of course) to let them enjoy themselves a little while doing so. The students and staff of the Irish schools - Killinarden Tallaght, Moate community school, Mountrath community school, Scoil Ui Mhuiri Dunleer, Co Louth and Mount St Michael in Claremorris - were delighted to host the teachers and offer their hospitality during a trip which also gave a number of families an opportunity to get to know the Kenyan visitors. And now our visitors are back home. Late on Sunday evening the group touched down in Nairobi and on Monday of this week they travelled back to their own schools and communities in Londiani. We’re sure they’ll have fond memories of their week in Ireland, a week that was an unbelievable mix of activities as each school warmly welcomed their visitors and found out more about Kenya, while, of course, sharing information about the country that would be the Londiani teachers’ home for a week. It might be too simple to say that the Irish schools learned from the Kenyan teachers and the Kenyan teachers learned from the Irish. In fact the learning that took place in the schools is impossible to quantify but if the enthusiasm could be bottled it would surely make a best-seller! “An experience and a half”. That’s a very appropriate phrase used to describe how last week felt for the Irish and Kenyan teachers and students involved in the FOL School Network Programme. It was a real educational partnership and FOL has no doubt that the learning didn’t stop at the fond farewells and goodbyes that took place over the weekend. Indeed, the depths of friendships that have developed throughout the whole year of this programme — during which, don't forget, Irish students and teachers were visitors to Kenya - will continue long into the future. The curricular activities in each school included discussions on human rights, equality and global development. The teachers taught both primary and secondary school students about Kenya as a country, and about the people of Kenya through cultural sharing. And cultural sharing there certainly was: everything from Kiswahili songs to Gaelic football, as we shall explain in tomorrow’s blog…