Sunday, July 17, 2011

Mutuuma Primary School Library

My work with Mutuuma School is not just in infrastructure but there is also the emphasis on academics. On the right here is a library built with help from friends Canton, NY and PA. Students use this library for reference work as well as for quiet study. we even installed solar power that many students used for studies and revisions after school before going home where many would not have light or time to study.
I also promised to pay tuition for high school to any student who scores 400 points and above out of 500 in the national examinations. So far no one has taken up the challenge. When I visited the school this June I was promised that this year might produce someone to take up the challenge. I am waiting to see.

Mutuuma Primary School

I have a soft spot for Mutuuma Primary School, the elementary school I attended many years ago as well as a school that both of my parents taught at and became principals. Since 1999 I have tried as much as possible and with the help of friends and family to give back to that school. Here I want to share some images of the slow but steady growth of the school's infrastructure over the years.
Here on the left is a view of how the school was prior to 1999. When we were in school it was not as good as this because we had mud walls in many of the classrooms. Here below is a shot of one of the trips I

made with friends from Augustana College who supported the renovations of these and other classrooms. Some of the classrooms did not have windows (okay they had wire meshes) or doors. Here below you can see a shot of the school after we had completed major renovations to it. My thanks go to all my good friends across continents and family who have supported this endeavor. It means a lot to me and I want to continue supporting the school in whatever ways I can.

Giving advice to Mutuuma Primary School kids

When I am in Kenya I try to visit my former elementary school and chat with the kids who all know me through the few projects I have been able to sponsor in the school. Seen here I am telling some seventh and eighth grade kids to work hard and go beyond the lives of their parents. I told them of my story when I was their age when I was working in our garden harvesting corn and the dry stalks were all hard to carry when the stinging hairs of the stalks were combined with my sweat. I promised myself to work so hard at school that I would never have to do that work for a living and would instead hire other people to do that for me. I hope this was inspiring to those kids especially to one named Mwenda who was very attentive to my pep talk.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Mutuuma Eagles Court

Finally the basketball court is taking shape and hopefully there will be some playing going on in a few months. It was such a delight to see some of the kids from school and looking back at my own school days when we would never even have thought of basketball in an elementary school.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Sports center in the making?

Here I am at the project site where friends from Rockford Christian School and my family contributed resources to build a basketball court. Thanks to them, many young people from this community will be able to play a sport that many only experience in high school.

Back in the Maasai Mara

Being back in Maasai Mara I wonder what keeps me interested in seeing the same animals year after year but then you find this guy chilling in the bushes and not bothered by the ten vehicles surrounding it as his friends and cubs are feasting on a fresh zebra. This does give me reason to love this place.
I am cheating because I have access to internet and I am supposed to be on vacation. Well I cannot get into the cold swimming pool where our daughters are playing and I am not sure I want to just lie around.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

In my homeland

One of the things that give me pleasure when I visit my natal home and community is seeing the dynamics of the everyday from a different perspective. From visiting the elementary school I went to and seeing great progress on a project to build a basketball court for all my 'homies' to get some recreation to visiting the health clinic I used to attend when I was a young boy. The best part of this trip so far is getting back to tasting some foods I have been missing not because I cannot get the ingredients in MI but because here is a specific way of preparing them here that is quite tasty. I am thinking here of mashed potatoes and green bananas, or salted free range chicken!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Family get ready

Sunday, June 12, 2011

It is a few hours before we get started on another family trip to Kenya. The last time we were there together was two years ago and we really are looking forward to seeing Kenya again after two years with a new constitution and some new physical improvements on some roads, at least in the capital city of Nairobi. But here is the latest picture of the family taken this wee at Nkatha's 8th grade graduation.

Monday, May 9, 2011

East African hip hop

Here is what a scholar of Swahili popular culture said about my book:
The analysis of lyrics and the living conditions of artists yields a worthwhile
introduction to the status of youth in contemporary societies. Particularly for undergraduate students or those just learning about Africa, the quick pace of the chapters provides an invigorating sense of the relevance of youth, music and social conditions in three countries. Ntarangwi’s writing style is also devoid of heavy jargon or verbose passages, and will appeal to general interest readers.
For scholars interested in the history or in-depth analysis of music in East
Africa, the monograph often moves too quickly to explore topics fully. The
lives and careers of artists, as well as the reasons people are drawn to hip hop, are hardly addressed. There is almost no detail about the sound of East African
hip hop and how the music pushes the themes of the lyrics. For scholars of East Africa, the inclusion of lyrics in English versions only makes it impossible to read more into them, or to check translations. Finally, even though the ethnography focuses on all of East Africa, it is strongest in examining Tanzania and Kenya and somewhat limited when it turns to Uganda.
Overall, this is an important regional study. As new economic and political partnerships emerge within regions such as East Africa, such studies are increasingly necessary to interpret the meaning and significance of cultural forms – of which popular music is certainly an important example.
Bryant University

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Using technology

When technology allows one so much access to news and possibilities of linking up with family and friends, what happens when one does not use it? I have found that while I really was excited about setting up my blog, I cannot quite keep actively entering posts. This has meant that I am not quite the blogger I had hoped to be but I think I have a reason to start now. Now that my family and I are going to Kenya in June I think I will find enough stories to share on this blog. So keep checking for those stories.