Blogs from Sir John Franklin School Students

From: Amber and Kirianne

This morning we visited a tea factory, owned by the local farmers. When we arrived at the tea factory, the smell was noticeably fresh. Two supervisors took us on tours of the factory, and we learned about the processes of withering, crushing, cutting, tearing, curling and fermenting. By this point, the tea leaves resemble the tea that comes in bags. It is then dried and separated into different grains or qualities. The packaging and stacking all done manually and the large tea companies, such as Lipton’s buys from that factory.

On we drove to the market in Kericho Town, to buy groceries for needy families that live up in the hills. We took these basic groceries and visited the homes of the five families, and heard about their daily lives. Many of them only have small huts on tiny pieces of land and huge families, one women had ten children, with three already having moved away from home. Their buildings were small, dark and without ventilation, and the smoke from cooking fires made it hard to breath. Talking to these women, who were proud of their families, and everything they’ve lived through, brought us a greater understanding of the difficulties for many families around the world, in Kenya and even at home in Canada.

Next, we drove on to Sogobet School, up a very steep, bumpy, muddy road. It had been raining for at least an hour at this point and the vans had much difficulty getting up the hill, however the boys from the school came down the hill singing and helped push the vans when needed. As we arrived at the school gate, we were met with songs from the girls and a very warm welcome. We learned about the history of the school – another A Better World Canada project – and met some of the teachers. We proceeded to spend a couple minutes in the classrooms with the students, discussing Canada and answering questions. As we left, some of us took part in a farewell dance and song. Celena became quite the celebrity at the school, because she was forgotten and all the students resolved to call her name very loudly. When she was finally found, still visiting a classroom, they all yelled goodbye to her as we finally left the school to head back down the hill, which was much easier. Many laughs were shared today.

To finish off the day, we visited the old Tea Hotel, and were able to shop for crafts and souvenirs and learn about bartering, as well as sit in the grand parlour of the hotel and enjoy a cup of tea and some ‘chips’. Beatrice, a PhDEd student in Kenya, who had spent the day with us, left us with a very powerful message to continue on with our education. She also emphasized the importance of sharing our experiences and appreciating what we have. Our lives are ours to cherish and direct. Overall, it was a very good and moving day, with lots of opportunities to learn and appreciate.