From Kenya to Craigour

posted 31 Oct 2008, 12:31 by South Edinburgh Net Admin   [ updated 4 Dec 2008, 13:05 ]
Mary Kimandi, 40, arrived in Scotland from Kenya for a two-week stint as part of a link between Craigour Park Primary School and St Augustine Majira.

While the welcome she received to South Edinburgh was warm, Mary wasn't expecting such a cold climate.

She said, "The people in this community made me feel welcome - I could have stayed here for more weeks.  Although, I wasn't expecting the weather to be this cold!"

Mary highlighted some of the differences between the Kenyan and Scottish lifestyles.  In Kenya, Mary enjoys her work but must work hard to put food on the table.

She says, "We have different ways of getting food and our gardens are different.  In Kenya we go to our garden to get our food.  We grow it all.  In our gardens, we also have animals.  I have a chicken and cow in mine!  In Scotland, people go to supermarkets to get their food."

While there are many contrasts between schools in Edinburgh and those in Kenya, the education systems in both countries share in common a face-to-face style of teaching and insistence upon school uniforms.  The more modern Scottish schools are better furnished and benefit from more advanced technology, such as the internet.

"Teaching methods are different in Scotland.  Here, they use the internet to find out information, but in Kenya, teachers have to use books.  Also, we just get to choose what high school we go to, but in Kenya you have to take an exam to determine if you go to secondary school."

Fellow teacher Anneliese Pirt, 26, has followed Mary's progress with interest and hopes that the partnership between the schools could bear even more fruit.

"Mary has come in and we've managed to draw comparisons and contrasts between the different ways of life in Scotland and Kenya.  For example, we ran a health topic where the schools have exchanged ideas about what kind of food they eat, and we've also related to Kenya emotionally through song."

Craigour Park's link-up with The City of Edinburgh Council's international unit brought about the partnership with their Kenyan counterparts, one that saw Craigour head teacher Carol Cameron jet out to Africa last month, soon after Mary returned home.

Anneliese, for her part, is due to visit during the Kenyan winter - in July next year.

South Edinburgh Echo, November 2008