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ECOmovement to Kenya: JUN/10

Kimana, Kenya, June 2010
Letter to Enkii teachers
from Tatiana Kessedjian & Carolina Matos


After a few days of the conclusion of the ECOmovement to Kenya project in the city of Kimana, we send this gratitude letter and reporting to all Enkii Primary School employees who, such as us, carry out the complex but rewarding task of teaching.

First of all, we would like to thank the headmaster Mr. Lenjasi for kindly opening the school doors for the fulfillment of the ECOnsciousness and ECOmovement projects, as well as for trusting that these projects can bring significant benefits to the local community.

Now please allow us to make a brief reflection about the unforgettable experience we had at that school, in June 2010, when we shared precious time and knowledge with Club123s’ students.

As you know, both of us, Tatiana Kessedjian and Carolina Matos, are art-educators of the Brazilian NGO 123s that supports the Club123s in Enkii since 2008, led by the teacher Peris Siamanta.

Through the same NGO we idealized ECOmovement to Kenya with the aim of creating a supported project, that would be able not only to serve and strengthen Club 123s, but would also observe, understand and learn from the Maasai community and culture.

We truly believe that there is no teaching without learning and no learning without teaching; therefore we did our best to open our hearts and minds to understand, learn and live the lifestyle of that place, that is so different from our reality.

The challenge was great, the doubts and difficulties were enormous, but in the end the beautiful experience, learning, smiles, looks and hugs rewarded all challenges.

The day we arrived at the school we were received by all Enkii students, who surrounded us with curious, scared and attentive look, making clear we were strange people, different people for our appearance, nationality, customs and culture. At that moment we felt a mixture of anxiety, joy, uncertainty, hope and fear, but with a free spirit we moved forward, confident that the project would happen in its best possible way.

Tatiana & Peris

In the first lesson we noticed some students were moving to and fro, many side conversations, other students moving on top of tables and a crowd of curious children hanging at the window what drew the attention of the Club123s students. We tried to create a new organization format in the classroom, because in our point of view this would be essential to the smooth progress of the project, and at the same time we were wondering how to find the balance between giving and receiving.

The question that came to us was: How to be open and receptive to a different culture, system, customs and at the same time allow ourselves to bring new knowledge that could be beneficent to the community? This still is a difficult question to be answered and maybe we’ll need much time for a good response, but the most important thing is that the intention in finding the middle way was always present in our hearts.

From the following classes on a beautiful relationship of complicity and friendship with students was created, and they naturally started to respect us and trust in our proposals. Unfortunately by that time two rather unpleasant situations happened and we would like to report them now.

One day during our work, a Enkii School teacher who attended our class, directed and threatened an inattentive student with a wooden stick. In another day, in the course of our activity, we witnessed some of our students kneeling on the patio waiting for a physical punishment. After receiving the punishment they cried, they physically and emotionally retracted, and some of them went home feeling unable to keep up with our class after that.

In those days, we, as women, educators and citizens of the twenty-first century felt so threatened and assaulted as our students.

We understand that different countries and cultures have different views of life and education, but we would like to share our point of view about it and kindly ask you to open your minds to listen to us. If what we are going to say makes some sense in your hearts, please think again, reconsider your positions as educators, as knowledge facilitators and citizens, the ones responsible for the country's future.

We truly believe that violence only generates more violence as well as love only creates more love; so we decided to educate with firmness and love rather than using force and pain.

In second place, we believe that everything in life is constantly changing and so the concept of education has gone through frequent changes everywhere in this world. We would like to let you know that the act of punishing students through physical violence is totally lagged in terms of educational development worldwide. More than that, hitting in order to educate is a human rights violation and against the law for the protection of children and adolescents that exists in many countries nowadays.

Our experience in Enkii has shown that it is possible to find new ways to educate and the proof is that at the end of a one month project we won the respect, affection, trust, creativity and commitment of the students without using any kind of physical punishment.

So we ask you from the bottom of our hearts to reconsider the way of educating and encouraging discipline. Have you no doubt that progress in education is always seeking for the best for the school, teachers, students and the nation.

In resume we would like to clarify that we do not have a derogatory and discreditable image about Africa; on the contrary, we understand the cultural differences of this continent as a beautiful, inspiring and fascinating way of living. Precisely by recognizing this magnitude, which is expressed through empathy, generosity and sharing of the African people, particularly the Kenyans, we believe that in union with many other countries we can rebuild together our vision of education as well as our vision about the capacity of African students in assimilating such transformation.

We are fully available for any comment, feedback or reflection that you would like to share with us.

Thank you very much for the attention, affection and willingness you showed during our stay in Kimani.

May you all be happy and successful in all you do.

With love,
Tatiana and Carolina
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2 comentários:

  1. OM

    I feel a change in the way you write
    It is me who changed the way I feel
    Is it you that wrote without judgement
    Or is just because it makes sense?


  2. Parabêns, a energia do texto esta maravilhosa, emocionante a coragem , a sabedoria e principalmente o grande senso de amor nas palavras.

    Que Miguel protejam vocês sempre e continue dando forças para expandir a paz no coração de todos ...