My name is David Manoa, and I am a field project co-ordinator with Born Free in Kenya. I’m currently based in Olmoti Primary School just outside Amboseli National Park where we’re building 4 new classrooms and a boys dorm to add to the kitchen, hall and girls dorm that we completed in 2006.
For the first time in history, Ol moti primary school community organized an end of term closing ceremony. Parents and guardians as far as Oloitokitok (about 80 km away) and Kimana (about 50 km away), were all in attendance. Some ‘privileged’ parents arrived in style on their motorbikes while others simply walked to the school from the near by manyattas.
About 60 parents/guardians and 250 children convened in the schools airy multipurpose hall that was built by BFF with the help of Martin Clunes funds. After introductions, came the prize giving sessions where students in position one, two and three were honoured by heavy applaud. It was encouraging to see girls competing fairly well with the boys. The big shock to many was in class three, with all the top three positions being scooped by girls.
Toward, the end of the celebrations, the master of ceremony (the head master) invited various parent representatives, school chairman and myself to talk to the gathering. I must say, I was really impressed with the whole ceremony set up. The speeches were brief and to the point. The speakers from the community encouraged the children to work hard and reminded parents to help the children to realize their dreams. A renowned parent representative said, ‘the greatest prize one can give their children is education’. Some parents even vowed to campaign against the outdated cultural practices such as Female Circumcision or FGM as it is now more commonly known, which undermines the education and general development of the masaai communities. And in their closing remarks, the headmaster and the school chairman thanked BFF for their continued support to uplift the lives of the Ol moti community and promised to take care of the provided facilities.
All these happenings are a notch high, contrary to what I used to see in the past years. I believe there is light at the end of the tunnel and I can’t wait to witness yet another purposeful event!