Friday, 14 June 2013




Everyday I look at you
I wish everything were green
The broad smile on your leaves
Just makes my day.

Everyday I look at you
I thirst for water
Thanks to you
I can have it whenever I want

Everyday I look at you
I can’t help but admire you
How beautiful it is around you

Everyday I look at you
I imagine the erosion
I hear without you there’s no soil

Everyday I look at you
I imagine how it would have been
If you weren’t present

No water, no beauty, erosion and no
blessings, What!

I will protect you mother nature,
I will protect you mother earth.
I will, whatever it takes.

Written by Clarence Anyango  16 yrs
Ruaraka High School


Our Mother,
Our Provider,
With you, we don’t have to bother,
You are the source of our nation,
You solve our stomach equation,
And hence forth, our stomach will be strong like leather,
You unite us with determination,
Ploughing, laughing, creating new relation,
Oh our mother, we thank you.

You are the home of others,
Food to us, through hither and tither,
For you beautiful scenery,
Tourists bless us with feathers
You are our survival,
with your special nursery,
Our lungs, are fed with your daughter,
You act as our intermediary,
Prayers from us, to our creator,
Thanks to you, our mother.

You are our blessings,
Cleansing our hearts, body and soul.

Written by Reuben  Mutua Kilonzo 17yrs

Ruaraka High School



During the Elimu Asilia training workshop organized by Goethe-Institute and National Museums of Kenya on 20th -22 May, 2013 at Corat Africa Hotel, Karen.


 Writing is part of life. In our everyday endeavors we write be it by use of a computer or pen. People write letters, essays, research papers, speeches etc and this all calls for good writing skills in order to be effective.
Writing is not just putting words together; it is a skill that has to be nurtured through constant practice  Remember we write to share an experience, express personal ideas and feelings, thoughts and observations. Therefore a good writer makes us sense what is happening.
This therefore means that writing is not just deciding what to write but how to write. Mastery of writing then in the key to successful dissemination of information.

In order to get your readers enjoy what you are writing about, you need to have a good foundation. The following keys will help make your story interesting.
Key 1:
Know your audience.
a. What is your audience?
b. How old are they.
c. What are their interests?
Key 2 :
Choosing a good topic.
Consider these three factors when choosing a topic.
a. Can you find some information on the topic?
b. Choose a topic of interest to you and to others.
c. Choose a topic that is limited enough so that you can cover it in an interesting way.
Key 3.
Organize your composition.
Readers enjoy reading a well organized composition that flows like music to the ears. A good composition contains three parts: the introduction, body and the conclusion. These parts are developed in form of paragraphs. Each part of your writing must be cohesive, coherent and interesting.
a. The introduction.
·        Most important part of writing as it is the 'appetizer'.
·        It aims at catching the reader’s interest.
·        It therefore must be interesting and present the main point or argument.
·        Can use a proverb, clever quotation, starting statistics, starting revelation, provocative questions, anecdote or striking contrast.
b. The body.
·        It contains the substance of the writing.
·        Aim at holding interest of the readers.
·        Organization depends on the nature of the topic. e.g argumentative will take the emphatic order, narrative the chronological order, explanations the process order, and compositions on problems the problem – solution order. 
·        You may use 3 to 5 paragraphs.
c. The conclusion.
·        This brings the writing to a close.
·        Should be powerful, inspiring and memorable.
·        It should restate what you have said referring to the theme.
·        Conclusions end differently depending on the type of writing i.e. recommendation, prediction and quotation conclusion.

Develop a sense of what to or what not to include in your paragraph.
·       To achieve coherence use the following:
Ø Transitional or linking words e.g and, also, in addition, further more, never the less, consequently, as a result, for instance, to sum up, indeed etc.
Ø Use synonyms i.e fire, blaze, inferno etc.
Ø Repetition i.e you always have written good poems and you will write now. All you have to do is to write the title first.
Ø Use pronouns reference.
·       Building paragraphs is essential and how do you do this? Use the following;
Ø Facts and illustrations.
Ø Details especially for descriptions.
Ø Comparisons and contrasts.
Ø Reasons (why something happened).
Ø An anecdote (brief story).
Ø Rhetoric questions.
Ø Always remember that a good piece of writing is dependent on how  well you have developed your paragraphs.

For example,
It was regarded as respectful behavior for girls to hide in rooms whenever doors were knocked by visitors and strangers. This prevented visitors from seeing the girls as they would easily think of sending marriage proposals, yet at that time, it was an affair purely left to parents and close adult relatives.
Discussions during marriage proposals were done by adults in the family, without both the girls and boys knowledge of who their future husbands would be. The boys parents would visit the girls parents home to propose. Weddings were arranged as soon as marriage proposals were accepted.
Halima observes any child’s character (mannerism) depend a lot on how their parents, especially mothers bring them up. On accepting marriage proposals, special female teachers experienced in sexuality were assigned the duty of teaching the girls how to live in marriage; particularly how to prepare themselves to have sex with their husbands.(Elimu Asilia)

KEY 4.
The mechanics of writing.
For any project to succeed, the foundation must be good and strong. Therefore a writer needs to have some basics to make him/her have a convincing piece of writing.
The following tips are essential.
·       Neat / legible handwriting.
·       Correct spelling.
·       Correct punctuation.
Punctuation is the use of certain marks to clarify meaning. Misuse of any of these marks may change meaning or fail to convey intended meaning.
Ø It is important to know the use of the punctuation marks one is using.
Ø Below is a list of punctuation marks commonly used:
1. Full stop (.) sentences end with full stop.
2. Comma (,) used to set off connectors, separate words.
3. The semi-colon (;) pause milder than full stop.
4. The colon (:) used in introductory statement.
5. The question mark (?) used to query.
6. The exclamation mark (!) use to express strong feelings.
7. The hyphen (-) join compound words, elements of digits.
8. The dash (---) stress materials that follow it.
9. Parenthesis (bracket) ( ) used interchangeably with dashes.
10.         Quotation marks (“”) - enclose direct quotations, special words, titles etc.
11.         Ellipsis (…..........) show omission, create suspense.
These punctuation marks are the building blocks that make your composition interesting.

KEY 5.
Sentence construction.
Sentences are the grammatic vehicle we use to convey meaning. Writing coherent sentences is essential and a skill that is acquired through practice. Sentences are meant to convey meaning clearly and accurately. They are;
·       They are supposed to be grammatically correct.
·       Sentences should be complete.
·       They should be clearly and logically connected.
·       Spelling and proper use of punctuation marks cannot be underscored.
How do you attain well constructed sentences?
Evaluate your sentences by checking on;
1. Subject – verb agreement.
2. Agreement with collective nouns.
3. Correct use of articles, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs etc.
4. Correct use of words.
5. Correct spelling and punctuation.
·       Sentence variety is key in holding the readers attention use both short and long reasonable sentences.
KEY 6.
Choice of words.
This is a key component in developing your paragraphs and creating and interesting presentation.
·       Precisely use the right word.
·       Preferably use concrete rather that abstract in stories.
·       Use figurative language. Avoid cliché’s.

KEY 7.
Choice of style.
As a writer, one needs to use a style they are comfortable with. You can choose to communicate a message through:
·       A poem.
·       Narrative.
·       Drama / dialogue.
·       Speech.
·       Letter.
·       Report, etc.

Whichever style you choose, remember your writing must be attractive and interesting to capture your reader’s attention.
Someone sang a simple song.
Music alone shall live,
Music alone shall live,
Music alone shall live,
We write music to tell a story so keep writing!

Presented By:

During the Elimu Asilia training workshop organized by Goethe-Institute and National Museums of Kenya on 20th -22 May, 2013 at Corat Africa Hotel, Karen.



Ruaraka High School is a day mixed high school which was started in 1979 by the local community. This was made possible by the donation of a two acre piece of land from the late D’Silva locally known as Baba Dogo. The parents of the school contributed sh. 400,000 for the initial construction. However the two acre plot was found to be inadequate for a secondary school necessitating acquiring of more land.
The school as the name implies is located at Ruaraka in Kasarani constituency about 7 kilometers from the city centre and adjacent to the North of Mathare Valley slums. Mathare is one of the most densely populated areas in Nairobi and the community consists mainly of poor people who among them engage in casual jobs whose income is not enough to sustain their needs.

In 1984 a seven acre plot was acquired from the Commissioner of lands initiated by late Hon. Ngumba former MP of Mathare through Harambee initiative. An architect was then engaged to design the school on this new site. Funds were raised to the tune of ksh. 1,300,000 which included the value of donated materials and services that had been invested towards the construction of the school. The school was officially opened in 1984 by Hon. Mwai Kibaki, then Vice President and currently the President of the Republic of Kenya.

By the year 1989, the school comprised of a ground floor, six classrooms, an incomplete administration block and other facilities. The buildings remained incomplete till 2007 when through the economic stimulus programme (ESP) the government provided funds to complete the construction of school buildings.

Orphans:      These are the total ex partial orphans who struggle to get the daily bread and are therefore forced to work after school on weekends and holidays so that they can have their meals and save for their education.
Other orphans live with their relatives who are unsupportive and they use them as house helps and tools for sexual satisfaction. Such children do hard labor such as fetching and selling water to the neighbors, building and construction (Mjengo) house helps, laundry for the neighbors and they are highly exploited because they are children.

Single parenthood: These children from such families help their single parents in looking for money. They end up doing the dirty work in their environs and are exposed to many dangers such as rape, sodomy, drug abuse and death.

Large families: Due to poverty in slums, families tend to be large with the daily bread coming from the casual jobs that the parents do either in the neighborhoods in the light industries in Kariobangi. Such families survive on less than a dollar a day which can not sustain all their basic needs.

Unemployed parents: Most of the slum dwellers are unemployed and they tend to survive on very little money from the rare jobs that they get. This can not be enough for food and education and therefore children end up dropping out of school due to lack of fees.
Due to the harsh conditions, these children are forced to do hard labour where they get exposed to unlawful activities such as prostitution, drugs theft and illegal gangs and they end up dropping out of school because of pregnancy, drug abuse and addiction, court judgments, shame and even death.

Below is a case study of some of the challenges students face

Wilson lives in Korogocho slums in Nairobi with his younger brother aged 12 and fends for him. Both his parents are alive but his father is estranged. His mother had to relocate up country after it was discovered that she was suffering cervical cancer. The fact that he was in school he decided to stay and complete his education.

Faced with those circumstances he has to work over his weekend at Gikomba(Open air market) where he sells novels. He also cleans around his area and is paid some money. This income pays for his rent, food and fees. Other than this, he faces a lot of insecurity as his neighborhood is made up of gangs and drugs. 
His younger bother fell victim of smoking bhang(cannabis sativa) but he managed to get him out of it through counseling. The youth around are jealous of him and have nicknamed him ‘teacher’. They have tried to entice him into drugs claiming that teachers are paid poorly and drugs pay better.  The girls around have dropped out of school and some as young as 18 years have three children.  Other than drugs careless sex is the norm of the day.

Wilson claims he is forced to look rough, dirty and sometimes has to wear a jumper to cover his school uniform just to appear defiant and please the ‘boys’ in order to avoid being attacked. Having been a member of the international climate champions clubs, he learnt the skill of gunny bag farming. He prepared his sack that was destroyed by pigs. 
However he benefited from the school sacks since he got fresh vegetables cheaply and was able to save some money. Through the clean up programs in the school, it made it easy for him to clean around his area for an income.  He also participated in cleaning up the Nairobi River. His dream is to reach out to the youths about dangers of drugs,     pre - marital sex and importance of education.


The international climate champions club is an active club in the school with an enrollment of fifty students both boys and girls. The club has to provide the students with an opportunity to take up the responsibility of protecting the environment. It has also provided an opportunity to sensitize students to plant and nurture trees and therefore participate in ‘greening’ the world. The club sessions also provide a platform for students to discuss issues affecting them as adolescents and emerging current issues.

Some of the activities are: 

 1.     Tree planting.
 This has been done through the ‘Adopt- a tree’    programme where students have planted and adopted  trees.
Emily Osundwa of Kasarani District Agricultural officer

   2.     Beautification
Flowers have been planted around the school.


   3.     Rain water harvesting
 This is trapped from the kitchen roof and used for cleaning around the school and    watering the flowers.
    4.     Multi-storey vegetable garden
 The vegetable garden has been used to demonstrate to members the use of small space to earn an income and for food security.
   5.     Small scale farming.
This is done on small plots where students have learnt to grow dry resistant crops.
These activities have enabled students to interact and acquire skills they can use after school.

Generally, the students are faced with numerous challenges especially that they come from slum areas. Issues of         pre-marital sex, drugs and gangs being prominent. The girl-child is highly affected because of this kind of environment. According her protection is protecting the world.

Story By: 

Assisting Teacher
Lilian Sayo.