Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Last Mama-Mtoto meeting

Hello everyone!

Today was the day: the final Mama-Mtoto meeting! After 4 months of meeting, writing and sharing, the mamas came in one final time to talk about the final storybook, their experiences and the responses of their children to the Hyena and the Fox!

The mamas were surprisingly on time, and we started with sharing some general thoughts on Mama-Mtoto and what it had brought the mamas. Maria shared her experience of the Mama-Mtoto program, which I thought I would share with you!

But going through this program, it has been a warm-up, it has awoken some spirit inside. Most of you had given up, you were doing your business, getting money, but now you know about the books, and empowering your children through books. Even such a small program involves so many people, Jennie from Canada, Susan and Harmke from Holland and Ariel from America. And now if you go to Lamu right now, it is like they knew you long ago isn't it? A library it is more than books, it brings people together, I don't know how to talk about it, I am very happy. The way we advertised this program, there was an application, which is not easy for you and most of the people here want money for the program. But you can't buy this knowledge! Here we have benefitted from the good works of so many people. And I hope you will bring your friends, and once in a while you will come to the library and bring your friends. […] I want to thank you very much for contributing your time and your money, may God bless you!”

As usual, the mothers shared their experiences with the storybook of the week, The Hyena and the Fox. The children really enjoyed the wordsearch we included in the book and the “connecting-the-dots” assignment, Susy created for the book! The kids commented on the dress of people in Garissa, some noticing that the women are completely covered and one of the children asked his mother, “aren't they hot, because it covers everything? Why do they wear that?”

To finish my report and get some reflective comments from the mothers, I conducted the last focus group, focussing on sustainability, cultural exchange and evaluation. The mothers were very positive about the program and some thought I would share some of their comments with you.

My kids learned something that they had not been exposed to, they learned new stories.”

“The acting assignment really build their confidence, they would not just act in front of their parents and peers like that but now they feel like they can.”

“The books have enriched my children and I would never have had these books if I hadn't participated. I feel like it has stimulated my educational path and I realize I am still learning something new. My husband asks me, are you going to class? He sees that I am using my time usefully and properly. He knows I have to do something to advance myself.

My children wonder, did our mother really go to school? They would look at me like I a illiterate and like I had never been to school. But now my children respect me and see that I am literate. Moreover, the MM program gave me the opportunity to sit down with my children and read a storybook to them, […] there is more of a reading culture. At school they spend all the time on the curriculum so they have no time to read, but now we do it at home. I had never imagined I would touch a computer, I thought I would spoil it when i touched it, but now I am on track, now I can learn.”

We finished the meeting with an update on the celebration meeting next week and decided that we will all go to Maria's farm for a small lunch next week Saturday to celebrate the accomplishments of the mamas!

Have a great weekend,


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