They were in my class

21 Sep

Kalie Sauter

Today is probably the most challenging day since I have been in Nairobi- and only because I feel sick! I think I ate something even 2 days ago that did weird things to my stomach and so all yesterday my stomach felt weird and then last night it really hit. I haven’t thrown up since 5am this morning, which is good, but whenever I stand up I start feeling really queasy all over again.

This past week, though, has gone very well- as I connect more with artists in Nairobi I was able to visit a dance club in Kibera where they do traditional dance performances. This coming Thursday will be the first artist gathering for anyone who is interested to dialogue about their art and uniting together as a community of artists, using various skills. Honestly, though, as of right now I have no idea what will happen at the meeting but there are still a few days between now and then to iron out logistics and details. The intention is that artists get together once a month so as to be in constant dialogue with one another.

This past Saturday my second art class in Mathare went well although I am still in the process of problem-solving a few issues about the class… mainly, how do I balance quality verses quantity. I do not want to turn kids away from the class and yet when there are so many I cannot concentrate on giving each individual time enough to help and explain specifically around their painting. Next week the class will be divided into 2 separate classes based on age group- 8 and under will come at 9am and 9 and older will come at 11 am.

This week we talked about what is beautiful in Mathare. After brainstorming and drawing things that are beautiful around where they live the kids were sent out for 10 minutes to find something in Mathare that they thought had beauty in order to bring it back and paint the object. We got all different kinds of things- blocks of wood, shoes, plastic toys, plants, a banana. Then each child chose 2 primary colors and was responsible to use just those 2 colors to paint their object. This emphasized how by mixing 2 primary colors you actually can get a 3rd, secondary color. I also was able to visit a few of the children’s homes after class which was so good and yet eye-opening since all 3 kid’s home lived in one room which housed their whole family. I am hopeful that I will slowly get to know these children individually and be able to get to know them on a more personal level. That way I wont say “Oh, yeah, I worked with the kids in Mathare.” but instead say “Yeah, Decha, Sherry, John Clinton- those kids were in my class!”


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