My long day in Mathare

25 Oct

Long day, good day. I have a friend who has actually been traveling throughout the world, using her poetry as a tool as she goes. I was so excited when I learned Ebony was making a 2 week stop in Kenya and so leading up to her visit here she agreed to come and give the kids in Mathare a poetry lesson!

I met Ebony at the bus stop at 7:30 am and rode the matatus into Mathare. First came the younger art class: we continued to explore how our emotions can be expressed through painting by using one color plus black and white (called monochromatic). I have been having a lot of hesitation to continue painting with the younger children because sometimes it seems out of control and that they are not understanding the project. However I took another approach and stab at it and this time painting worked much better. The children were given the option to paint a sad, angry, or happy painting. Depending on the emotion they chose the kids sat with others who chose the same emotion and then were given one color that corrosponded to that emotion (red for anger, yellow for happiness, and blue for saddness). Then I just told them to paint the entire paper that particular color. This was great because they could all handle glopping paint onto a page and smearing it around! After this the kids with the dark blue background were given white to paint a sad picture and red and yellow backgrounds got the black paint to show their emotion in picture form. The paintings turned out very expressive and bright in the end and this was the smoothest the younger kid’s painting class has gone yet!

Second class involved a bit more vocabulary, but the kids are so eager to learn and absorb whatever we are talking about that even the “boring” definitions that we are learning seem to completely hold their interest. But dont think I dont even make this part fun- because I do. They were throwing red yellow and blue balls at the corresponding happy, sad, and angry faces I drew on the wall. We then did a short excersize to emphasize blending a color with black and white to get various values, because I think this still hasnt sunk in. Five squares with a white square on one end, black square on the other and then a color was painted in the middle square. Then the kids mixed white and yellow and black and yellow to fill in the other squares so there was a gradual monochromatic gradation from light to dark. The older class then completed their paintings as well. I am also facilitating critiques of our completed paintings to encourage the kids to talk about why they like certain paintings and what works and what doesnt. I will write out a few “awards” each class and ask the kids to elect their classmates for things like “very creative painting”, or “painting what blended colors well”. The kids seem to respond to this and even tape the awards to their shirts!

After lunch Ebony started up her poetry class! She walked us through writing 3 different poems, all exploring using similes and metaphors. Two poems showcased each individual’s unique qualities and personalities and then the other one we chose a color to describe using the five senses!           

At the end of this long Saturday Ebony and I headed back home, arriving almost at 7 pm!

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