Friday, March 26, 2010

Avocado Tree Grafting

Two months ago we permanently planted some parachichi trees in the garden at Usa River Academy. A month ago we experimented with grafting. This was a very special event because it was not only the culmination of many prior lessons but it also marked Full Circle's first attempt at a collaboration with an Usa River Academy teacher. Mr. Benjamin, the Biology teacher, was very excited to participate in the activity and planned a biology lesson to accompany the gardening component.

Mr. Benjamin with the students

We had an amazing turnout. I told Mr. Benjamin to choose about 20 non- TFFT secondary students who were interested to join us and was quite surprised when he showed up with over 100! When I asked him about the huge group he stated simply that they were all interested to learn and how could he deny them that chance. Touché!

Even the headmaster Mr. Kamuru stopped by to check out the project. Here he stands between Mr. Benjamin and Josh and looks on with the students.

Desi and Kasanga were on hand once more to serve as our expert gardeners.

Lou generously offered up some cuttings from her delicious Hass avocado trees to be grafted with the local variety.

Kasanga, with support from a student's hands, begins the delicate work of the graft.

Students eagerly look on.

The final result.
In the end everything came together and the project was a great success. We collaborated with volunteer extraordinaire Lou, Usa River staff and students to have a fun and educational afternoon that will ultimately result is tasty Hass avocados for eating!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Clean Hands Save Lives!

My first day meeting the TFFT kids I was struck by two things. First and foremost was how great, smiley and easy to fall in love with they all are. Secondly was how openly they sneezed and coughed all over each other. As many of us learn when we are young clean hands save lives. In an effort to introduce our kids to the concepts of germs, the spread of illness and importance of proper hand washing I planned an activity that involved one of their favorite things, paint!

Mathayo volunteered to be a "sick," child covering his hand in paint to represent his "sick germs."

The little ones all sat down and after Mathayo shook their hand they were able to stand up and shake someone else's hand.

Once the exercise was completed the students looked at their hands and saw the varying amounts of paint or "germs," that they had acquired. Veronica shows that her hands got covered in a lot of paint.

Then they took turns washing with water. At the end they looked at their hands and most still had traces of color on their palms.

The next time Allen played the "sick" kid.

Helena shaking hands.

The whole group shaking hands and spreading disease.

This time they washed with soap and water and noticed how all of the color was washed free from their hands. Now I was able to not only tell the kids that they needed to wash with soap and water, but show them how much more effective soap can be.

This time Ashura, the "sick" one in the group, has her hands painted purple to demonstrate how germs can be passed without direct contact. We tossed a balloon around so the kids could see that even though they never touched Ashura's hands, their hands still got purple.

Tossing the balloon

The end result. Purple hands!

Allen and Fadhili with painted hands.

More hand washing.

This time clean hands= clean balloon. We successfully prevent the spread of illness.

How do we cough or sneeze?

Ndera shows us the way.

All good lessons end well and this time they were rewarded with a balloon.

Can you hear Helena's excitement as she yells "baloooooooooooooon!"

Alrighty, we are off to school. Stay tuned for more Full Circle adventures.

Full Circle Round- up

Wow! It has been a whirlwind couple of weeks in the Full Circle program. We have been learning a lot but even more importantly we have been having a lot of fun while doing it!

Parachute play!

Once a week a Full Circle group has a cooking lesson. Coming up with recipes for our youngest kids that they are able to prepare and recreate themselves has proven to be somewhat of a challenge. For our first lesson I relied on a modified variation on a classic American kids snack, ants on a log. We sliced mini bananas in half, covered them in peanut butter and arranged raisins in a line.

Ester with a heaping spoonful of peanut butter.

Mandu takes his first bite.

Yusufu happily shows off his final product.

Mathayo licked the spoon clean.

Api with her mouth full.

Irene balancing the tub of peanut butter on her head.

Full Circle will be introducing the students to basic first aid next term. As a test run I ran a lesson on bleeding and very simple wound care.

I see zee blood!

Putting on zee glove.

Dickson reaches up to apply pressure and control the bleed.

Allen with the Neosporin.

Ndera with a "cut" on her neck.

Helena applying the Neosporin on Ndera.

Julieti all bandaged up.