The bus came to a halt at a busy junction and began hooting incessantly for passengers to get off. The rain which was coming down in a steady drizzle was filing up puddles and making the ground slick with mud. I scrambled to alight as I clutched a battered umbrella prepared to quickly dive under it to shield myself from the rain. I was in Kibera to attend a computer literacy program organised by the Kids Comp Camp team.
The stage was filled with eager bodaboda riders waiting to ferry people to their destinations. I hopped on and headed to YMCA Kibera School where I found the team in one of the class rooms having a brief session. Caleb, the team leader, did the introductions and gave an overview of what we were to teach the children. It largely depended on their age and how well they responded to the initial introductory topics.
The classroom was at its capacity with children who had braved the cold to expound their knowledge on computers. They were crammed in little rustic desks brimming with excitement as Lead trainer told the history of computers and what how they worked. They were inquisitive and asked many questions. After dividing the pupils in groups they got down to work on Microsoft Word documents. For what seemed like ages the pupils took turns on the laptops typing their names, changing fonts and exploring the features of the laptops.
Caleb introduced coding using an interactive game called Kodu. They again asked questions as the different instructors showed the game practically with the children in their groups. First, they started with creating simple instructions and gradually progressed to complex coding after grasping the concept. They huddled together and chuckled excitedly as the cartoon executed their instructions. The excitement was contagious even as lunch hour came by most of them were reluctant to go!
We stepped out to have a break and evaluate the progress made so far. Amid the bustle of being served a steaming plate of rice and beans we shared the discussions we had had with the group of children we were teaching. And we agreed that the progress made was sufficient to introduce other aspects of coding in the afternoon session.
The afternoon went by fast with more laughter and learning. Brian, a visually impaired pupil, caused amusement each time he took his turn on the laptop. They guided him and cheered loudly once he was able to perform a task. They were hungry for more and during the vote of thanks they asked for more camps during their next holiday.
We would be back, we said as we took a tonne of selfies, capping a day of computers and fun quite well.
By Gathoni Kinuthia