Sunday, November 30, 2008

Football and Trampoline

This week, the ever lovely Ashini Patel had us over for some football, trampolining, sandwiches and lemonade.

Ken and Sylvester:




This week's relatively small group with our wonderful hosts Ashini and Rohan:

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Village Market Water Slides

Thanks again to John Muranda and everyone else at Village Market for making this fun afternoon possible

Maureen and Joy:

Naomi, Sydney, Melody and Eric:

James and Joy:

After our swim, we went to the Nairobi National Museum to watch Sober Sunday Movies, part of the SAMOSA Festival.

James with Joy and Maureen:

We hung out with the very cool and very funny Shane Solanki, the star of the SAMOSA Festival. The kids love this man, he is one in a million. And we will miss him. A lot.

These group shots are so hilarious, I had to post them all. Check out Mungai, the lil thug:

Friday, November 21, 2008

Crafting fusion with children

Maisha ni Matamu organized SAMOSA Festival Children's Activities which were hosted by Braeburn School. The workshops included: Classical Indian Dance, Drama/spoken word, African arts and crafts, yoga, rangoli and Bollywood dancing. In line with the festival's celebration of cultural fusions, the activities are not only celebrations of culture in themselves, but aim to bring together children from very different cultural, social, racial, ethnic and economic backgrounds that we have in Kenya. Children from the Braeburn School learnt, played and befriended children from: Gachie Primary School, Kamuiru Primary School, Red Apple Junior Academy, Rise and Shine Academy, Elim House of Grace Kawangware and some children from the Albinism Foundation of East Africa. Most of the kids from these schools had never been exposed to dance, poetry, art or yoga classes before in their lives.

These are the workshops the children worked on:

Monday 17th November:

Classical Indian Dance began as a spiritual expression of praise to the lords. The dance is not just about doing a little jig - it is a training and discipline in respect, grace and generally being attractive. It's not just for girls! There are lots of types of Classical Indian Dance. The workshop leader, Harsha Shah specializes in Odissi (pronounced Orissi.) She has been dancing since she started walking and begun formal training at the age of 13. She is one of the best teachers in Indian Classical Dance in Kenya. We were very lucky to have her with us. If you want to get in touch with her, she can be reached via email on avinashshah[AT]nbi[DOT]ispkenya[DOT]com

Theatric drama workshop: Yusra Warsama led the kids in a spoken word and drama workshop backed up by the musical talents of Tony Juma on the drums and Joseph Canton on the guitar. Yusra is a spoken word artist from the UK who stunned the standing-room-only crowd at the Festival launch the night which she both co-wrote and starred in. Seeing Yusra interact with the children made my eyes water. They were all so captivated by her energy and charisma. At the end of a series of fun and physical drama exercises, she guided them through a writing exercise.

Tuesday 18th November:

African Arts and Crafts: Kenyan born international fashion designer John Kaveke led this crafty workshop. John has been drawing since he was in nursery and once his work was featured on a children's show on local TV station, he knew that he had a real talent. His interest in fashion started when he was in high school. He went to Spain to study fashion design, and the rest is history! He has had his own beautiful clothing line since 1997 and has done fasion shows as far as Bosnia. He can make custom made to measure clothes on order (call him on 0723 376 665) or you can see his clothe range at the Kiro Shop in Yaya Center. For more information about John, visit his website:

Yoga Totos: Fazilah Bazari led this fun, creative and vocal class. She has been practicing yoga for 12 years and teaching for 8. She teaches Yoga, Yoga Nidra (a deep relaxation technique), Yoga Therapy and Meditation to children, adults, pre and post-natal women and children with special needs. She helped the children use their imagination with posture. And also taught them learn how to breathe and relax correctly. Yoga is beneficial to balance, co-ordination, emotions and overall well-being. If you would like to know more about Yoga, Fazilah, or the classes she teaches, send her an email at fbazari[AT]hotmail[DOT]com

Wednesday 19th November 2008

Bollywood Dancing: Bollywood is the Mumbai based Hindi film industry and it is the largest film industry in the world. That's right, Bollywood makes more movies than Hollywood every year! The dancing in Bollywood films in modern films often blend Indian and Western dance styles. The workshop leader was Deip from the UK who started dancing professionally 3 years ago after getting spotted by a Bollywood music group in nightclub. Other than dancing part-time, Deip also exports lorries! You can read more about his dance troupe on their upcoming website:

Rangoli is the Indian art form of sandpainting that uses finely ground coloured powders. The term rangoli is derived from words rang (colour) and aavalli ("coloured creepers" or "row of colours"). Like Hindu and Buddhist Mandalas, the reason for using powdChildren Eventser, grains or sand as a medium for creating Rangoli (and its resulting fragility) is thought to be a metaphor for the impermanence of life and maya. The workshop leader was the lovely Mrs. Usha Shah. There is not enough to be said about the achievements of this amazing, kind, compassionate and culturally dynamic lady. But someone once said of her: "In this world, there are people who don't care at all about others, there are philanthropists, and then there are angels like Usha Shah."

Children Events

Friday 21st November 2008
We wrapped up the week's activities with an afternoon of performances and demonstrations.

Harsha Shah and her student Suki Mwendwa performed a beautiful Odissi dance:Fazillah Bazari and her group of kids show what they learnt:Past winner of Miss India-Kenya, Dr. Amritpal Kalsi inspires the children with a short talk:Shane Solanki purchased copies of "The Boy Who Became President of America" by our very own Kenyan author: Philo Ikonya for all the children from the schools in Gachie.

You can read about the Festival in this East African Newspaper article.

The event was a huge success and we would like to thank the following for all their time and hard work:

Braeburn School: Joanna Garner, Charlotte Hilton and James the bus driver in particular. The parents, teachers, faculty, staff and students were all very welcoming to their new friends from the visiting schools.

Teachers and Supervisors at Gachie Primary School, Kamuiru Primary School, Red Apple Junior Academy, Rise and Shine Academy, Elim House of Grace Kawangware and The Albinism Foundation of East Africa.

Workshop leaders: Harsha Shah, Yusra, John Kaveke, Fazilah Bazari, Deip and Usha Shah

Zahir Daya of Portrapix and his team of cameramen and photographers: Eric Gitonga and Simon Mbugua

Organizers of the SAMOSA Festival - Dipesh Pabari for his support and mentorship

All the children whose enthusiasm and good nature made such a memorable week for all involved!