We entered the chapel for a welcoming ceremony, which was really special. Afterwards, we gathered in the courtyard as we waited for our specific prefects to bring us to our designated classrooms. I was put in form 4, the equivalent of sixth year, with the ages ranging from 16-22. The boys were more than welcoming and had a keen interest in our “party lives” back home. Their curriculum was very similar to ours, swapping Irish with Kiswahili. Sitting in on geography, maths and biology, it was clear to see how similar the topics we learnt were, covering the location of industries, genetics and the infamous -b formula and quadratic equations.
The welcoming nature of the school staff, boys and teachers provided us with the opportunity to bypass any nerves and get stuck in to school life and learn about Kenya and its culture. What really surprised most of us was how energetic they all were in regards to school, even if they are waking up hours earlier than us every morning. This really hammered home the point that they view education as a privilege, not as a right, and a way to break the cycle and open doors for their future.
As I was put in form 4, all of the boys were preparing for their K.C.S.E, the Kenyan version of the Leaving Cert. The subjects being covered varied from agriculture to physics. The aptitude they have and the want to reach their full potential shows just how impactful the Machakos programme has been and continues to be.