Mid-year Break Activity Recap
Did you know that the school calendar in Kenya is different than in the U.S.?
Rather than starting the academic year in August as American schools do, the Kenyan school year runs from January to December. While their longest holiday break takes place between November and December, students in primary and secondary school are out of school in April and August for a mid-year break. The main reason for this calendar switch is to account for the seasonal difference between the northern and southern hemisphere which also explains why they experience opposite seasons. While in the U.S we enjoy sought after summer months, our kids get to appreciate similar temperatures year round as the average wintertime temperature in Kenya is 73°F.
For the kids at the Kitalale and Kikuyu homes, school breaks represent an opportunity to spend more time with each other and continue to grow their minds, bodies, and spirits in play.
This year’s August break was incredibly special as we got to see the smiles of all of our kids as they rejoiced in each activity. The kids danced in unison, sang at the top of their lungs, swam like dolphins and even learned how to serenade each other with the recorder. Here are some of the highlights!
“Let them praise his name with dancing” Psalm 149:3-4
It is no news that the boys and girls of the Kitalale and Kikuyu homes like to sing and dance. Regardless of their age, most of our kids don’t mind taking the spotlight to showcase their new moves and sing to the guests that visit our homes. One of our girls, Faith, even had the opportunity to perform with her school group at the National Music Festival where her team came in 2nd out of 47 teams that participated!
As a means for self-expression, dancing and singing brings joys and supports special bonds between the kids in each home. We’re blessed to have a volunteer team come each Saturday to the Kitalale home and work with the children to inspire their artistic expression. The children look forward to this every week with lots of excitement.
Arts & Crafts
To continue stimulating the minds and creativity of our kids during the break, we make sure to have plenty of arts and crafts sessions. The kids love these activities and are always proud of the pieces they create.
At the Kikuyu home, we had a delightful mask-painting evening where the kids allowed their creative essence to flow. Once the kids were done painting, we hung the masks to dry on a line above the tables. The kids liked this addition to the dining room so much that we decided to leave them there for all to enjoy.
Despite it being “Winter” in Kenya, pool days remains amongst one of the favorite activities during this mid-year break. Both homes get the opportunity to go on a pool day where the kids pull out their ‘swimming costumes’ and jump in the water. While some of the kids are screaming of enjoyment others are screaming because they were just splashed. No one is left dry!
On days like these, it is delightful to see the role the older kids play and the care they have for their younger siblings. With supervision from the aunties, the older kids take on some of the responsibility and help out by keeping an eye on the younger kids as they swim and enjoy the pool time.
Mission Team Visit
This year, we were incredibly fortunate to have a mission team from the Antioch Baptist Church in Waterloo, Iowa back in Kenya. This group has been a long-time supporter of CoH and we were thrilled to have them back!
During their 9 days, the 6 missioners split their time between the Kikuyu and Kitalale homes and played with the kids, kept them entertained and helped strengthen their faith & spirituality. This group was also kind enough to bring recorders for the kids to learn how to play a new instrument! After learning the basics, the kids got creative and taught themselves the melodies to familiar songs – some of them even performed them hanging from a tree upside down! This activity brought copious amounts of joy to the children.
When taking a composing and performing break, the kids were enticed to the arts and crafts stations with the shiny and colorful beads that the mission team brought with them. It was great seeing the kids who have an eye for fashion and design putting together some beautiful necklaces and bracelets.
As this mid-year break comes to an end and the kids return to their regular schedule, we can’t help but be grateful for the time we got to share with them. These activities are meant to not only keep them entertained and stimulated during the vacation period, they bring the entire family together as one.
It is for moments like these that we are so thankful for all of the support from all the generous gifts we’ve received this year. It is thanks to these gifts that we’re able to provide as much love, and care to invest in the development of our kids.