We have not been doing any work on Passy’s World of Mathematics over the last month or so. This is because we have been working on other projects while vacationing in Africa.
We are now back home in Australia, and we will definitely be adding new material to the website over the next few weeks.
Our main reason for going to Africa was to promote Passy’s World in South Africa, visit the Ruben Centre in Nairobi Kenya, and also do some tourist sight seeing.
It was certainly a very busy trip, and one which has left some very deep and lasting impressions.
The most moving experiences happened while seeing local people living their daily lives.
The struggle for basic survival occurs daily for most of the people in African countries. It is harsh and unforgiving. As many African people told me: “Survival is by the Grace of God”.
The Ruben Centre
A small group of four teachers and I ventured deep into the slums of Nairobi and visited the Ruben Centre.
At the Ruben Centre, we were met by Brother Frank, who has been doing missionary work throughout Africa for the last 30 years.
The Centre is managed by the Christian Brothers, but was initially started by the Sisters of Mercy from Ireland in 1986.
Ninety people are employed at the Centre, which is enclosed within a walled secure compound, and includes a Medical Centre and a School.
The medical centre sits within the same secure compound as the school, and last year treated 57 000 cases of illness.
350 of these were HIV positive. In the photo photo below you can see some women with new born babies.
Most of the girls we saw with these babies appeared to be teenagers. We shuddered at the thought of their stories, let alone their future.
Brother Frank was extremely proud of the programs that are running here. For example: Micro credit, teaching women self defence to protect them against sexual assault / family violence, protection against abuse of child labor.
As well as the Medical Centre, there is also a local school which educates children from the slum district.
The Ruben school is growing at a rapid rate. 1800 students currently attend the school.
Years 1 to 8 students attend the centre, and they then do the final four years of Secondary school at other schools.
A frightening mathematical statistic is that more than 50 percent of all university graduates will be unemployed if they stay in Nairobi.
In Year 1 there are 230 students and 2 TEACHERS ONLY !
In Year 2 there are 140 students and 2 TEACHERS ONLY !
All students are taught in the first language of English, and not in their native language of Swahili.
Students are fed on site, (The UN contributes money towards this).
At morning break, students drink a type of rice milk. No complaints and they all look wonderfully healthy. They also receive another hot meal at Lunchtime. No childhood obesity problems here! Students are healthy and slim, and in several classes they comfortably sit two aside in large plastic outdoor furniture chairs.
1800 students racing around at recess but no teachers on duty. Not required!
During our time at the school, we joined the students in many activities, including Reading in the Library, Learning in Classes, Outdoor Sports including Gymnastics and Music, and looking after the extensive horticultural facility with its plants and livestock.
It was certainly a moving and unforgettable experience.
More information about the Ruben Centre can be found by clicking the link to their website below:
We nearly forgot to put something Mathematical into this review!
The photo below shows a partially completed human triangular pyramid. Rest assured that the students did know what a triangle shape looks like, it was just that one boy with a sore foot was not able to take up his position to finish the Pyramid!
There was plenty of time-off during our three and a half weeks in Africa to do some sight seeing and touring, mainly around the country of South Africa.
We went off in search of local wild life.
We had some down time chilling at the beach.
We checked out places of geographical interest.
And ended up having the locals eating out of our hands!
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