Earlier this month, fifteen parents and teachers took sixty students from the Mwanzo Education Center on a tour of Kisumu’s international airport, museum, and zoo!
The field trip was paid in part by parents who were able, and Mwanzo.
At the museum, our children were able to tour traditional villages and were introduced to the ceremonies of more than 40 of Kenya’s tribes. Our students come from Luo and Luhyia tribes, so it was interesting for them to see model villages from different cultures from all over Kenya.
The students were also toured exhibits of wild animals not seen roaming in lived spaces such as Rabuor and neighboring villages. Among the attractions were an exhibit on lions and how they hunt, but the live python at the zoo was the biggest attraction – and not just for the kids. The python was over 20ft long, weighing 180lbs, and scared some children and parents to the point they wouldn’t even step foot into the snake park. Other animals that drew interest at the zoo were a 50-year-old tortoise and a Nile crocodile, but our group unfortunately missed out on the Hippopotamus, which became a little too shy during the visit. Teachers from Mwanzo told us stories about how the parents were just as awestruck by the animals as the children – this was their first trip to the zoo too!
However, as amazing as mother nature’s animals are, they pale in comparison to the spectacle of noise and power that is a commercial airliner taking off and landing. What seems routine for us in the US was a first-time experience for these kids. Having only seen airplanes flying overhead and hearing Loyce’s stories of her own long hauls across the ocean, they’ve spent most of their young lives only wondering about what the experience would be like. While we couldn’t quite get them onboard a plane to experience it first hand, we were able to get the kids to a good view of the airport’s tarmac where they were able to watch as a plane landed and passengers disembarked.
You can imagine the nervousness of these children as they watched a plane touch down for the first time – and the applause we’re told that followed when the plane came to a stop. The visit to the airport was symbolic as much as anything else. Air travel is a distant concept for many in Rabuor, and it was important to Mwanzo that these children know they too could take to the skies in the future.
The seeds of this dream could already be seen sprouting at school the next day, as children were seen running about with model planes they made from leaves.