Team Talk Solio Lodge

What do education, healthcare, sport, and wildlife conservation in Kenya have in common? Find out in the latest updated from the Team Talk project. For background on Team Talk and the project partner organisations see here.

Ava and her wonderful team were a very welcome sight when we arrived on Sunday evening – thank you so much to Solio Lodge for hosting us so amazingly for this part of the Team Talk project. Thank you also to Solio Ranch for waiving our bed-night and conservation fees for the duration of the project, we really appreciate your support.

DAY 1

We were all really excited to be returning to a school that we worked at last year, to see the progress. Immediately, on arrival, it is evident that so much has been done to the school in the year since we left, they have three new classrooms and 70 new students in Form 1.

Our welcome was very warm and we were thrilled to find all the Tag equipment in perfect working order and complete.

From the start the children were totally receptive to the education workshops, contributing useful and valid information. We had a fun session using small playlets, which they did in teams to demonstrate whether the children really understood the meaning of self esteem. Everyone was involved and, apart from being extremely funny, all the children obviously understood what we were asking of them very well.

Ronnie and Raymond took charge of the school teachers and introduced them to the TAG concept and the coaches Level 1 curriculum. They were all keen and very happy to participate in the student tag throughout the day. We were joined by two teachers from the primary school, making the group 7 in total.

As the school is now so large we have split the students into year groups. Year 1 is doing the Team Talk syllabus, Year 2 and 3 will do a first aid course and unfortunately for year 4 they have exams. However, as a stress buster Ronnie took the boys who we had introduced to tag last year and started taking them through Tag to contact drills which was a big success.

We were joined by a few Solio Lodge staff keen to learn the skills of the Tag Rugby game!

DAY 2

We woke to a very misty cold morning in Solio, but this did not deter the teachers who keenly attended Ronnie’s referring class before heading out to the field to put his words into practice.

We had another very interactive session with the children discussing stereotypes of male and female roles. We gave them all the sentence: “woman without her man is nothing” and asked them to punctuate it to give it meaning. All the teams ended up with: “Woman without her man, is nothing”. So when we punctuated it: “Woman: without her, man is nothing” they were amazed. This led to a big discussion and we finally concluded that actually neither sentence is accurate and that we all need each other!

We continued into the afternoon, asking the children to act out playlets illustrating the differences between the more traditional roles of men and women and the more modern roles of men and women. Again, the children threw themselves into this activity and we had another hysterical afternoon. We were joined by a few of the Solio Lodge staff who stood up and told the children what jobs they do at the lodge and how they got there.

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It’s interesting to see how the children see these roles and it is clear that despite being a relatively central area in Kenya and near a busy city like Nyeri, these children come from families which are adapting to modern life, but which are still very traditional.

The Solio Lodge staff joined the children again for the afternoon session – they joined the end of the educational workshop and were able to talk to the children about their jobs and what they are doing in tourism. They also joined the Tag Rugby session with enthusiasm afterwards.

At the end of the day Anne and I took the Year 2 girls to one side and had a small discussion with them and gave them the Haller Trust cycle beads. Many of the girls were part of team talk last year and were able to open up to us a little. The ones who we had met before all said that attitudes in the school had changed since our last visit, something which has also been corroborated by the staff. Since July 2013 this school has only lost one girl to pregnancy and it was a new student who fell pregnant almost immediately on enrollment.

DAY 3

Ronnie started by going over the tournament rules with the coaches  and planning the tournament for the following day.

In the morning we did the confidence exercises with the year 1’s which was great fun, and in the afternoon we looked at Sex Ed and STI’s in more detail.

We broke the yr 1, 2 and 3 girls into their year groups over the week and discussed some of the challenges they face and more in depth details of their lives. We also handed out the cycle beads from Haller Trust, which they all have embraced fully. For the year 1 girls we also gave out bras, which caused big excitement as it had done in the Mara.

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As a broad overview the Laburra girls are far more open with us but have allot more temptation to be complicit with the boys than the girls in the Mara, who I would say as a rule are under more aggressive pressure to comply with the boys’ requests. It would seem to me in this area the girls are under more pressure from boys outside the school than from those within.

DAY 4

The tournament was again a great success, these children are very competitive and the standard of play was very high. The discipline during matches was good and generally everyone showed good sportsmanship throughout the morning.

We were joined by two families from Solio Lodge,  who really enjoyed interacting with the children. They were given a brief overview of Tag by Ronnie and then thrown in at the deep end, playing a game against the year 3 boys. Fortunately, they had Ronnie and Raymond on their side and it was a great game… everyone looked like they had fun.

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It was a great experience for the Kenyan children to mingle and chat with the American children and vice versa. The Kenyan children were very gregarious and not shy at all, interacting with both the parents and the children of the family with ease. An amazing experience for all…

There was a good show of parental support for the tournament and for the project generally. The principle of the Laburra secondary school has been amazing and has such a positive attitude towards the school and the children, which is so clearly reflected in every aspect of school life.

At the prize giving The TAG RUGBY TRUST donated a set of Tag rugby equipment to the junior school, which was greatly appreciated.

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