After a restful Sunday, the FIR team got back to work. Sadly, we were still without a working minibus today and ended up taking a cross-country hike to our first school of the day, Lycée de Kigali. It was also coincidentally the hottest day since we have arrived, so we were all slightly red-faced by the time we arrived; thankfully only one grazed knee was obtained.
Some of the Rwandan team members went to this school themselves, so they were really happy to be able to go and visit. As one of the better schools in this region, we had a very different experience compared with the previous two we visited last week. Many of the children were already driven to study engineering and go abroad to do so, which indicates that it is common that alumni from the school were likely given information and encouragement already about this. However, there were still many questions and gaps in their knowledge about the engineering and science concepts we present in our workshops; in some ways, they could appreciate the concepts even further!
Today we tried running all of our workshops simultaneously, creating our “science fair”. This allowed a varied mixture of activities to be side-by-side, some which took longer and some which could be explained in five minutes. It felt very relaxed and allowed pupils to stay for whatever time they wanted at each station. Overall we saw over 60 people in about one hour!
Afterwards, Jumai took down contact details of pupils who wanted further information – many had asked about specific things like scholarships and degree programmes they were interested in. As we were with a fairly senior cohort, a large number of the students knew what they would like to study already – however, there’s nothing wrong with showing them something different!
We sadly had to cancel the visit to our second school today as we were unable to get there without a working bus; we are confident we will be able to visit later in the week. However, this meant Jumai could run her first careers session with the Rwandan teams and gave the rest of us some time to tie up loose ends in our workshops and tidy up our messy studio! Jumai tells us more about how it went:
“We spent the session focusing on the social responsibility compelled on our generation of Africans and how we can fully embrace that. A TED talk on architecture by Diebedo Francis Kere (building with clay and community) got us all reflecting on how technology and education can enhance how we collaborate with our communities on giving back. The Rwandan team also spent good time analyzing the Rwandan terrain, looking at issues such as unemployment, improper land use, population boom and illiteracy. They came up with unique solutions and ideas on how to deal with these issues. After this, we ran the Myers Briggs indicator test individually to allow us track our natural tendencies and personalities. It was a great first session and the team members did say they felt empowered and recharged even though it was a long grueling day.”
Tomorrow we have a painfully early start, visiting a nearby school at 8am – but we are excited all the same! The minibus was fixed this afternoon too and will be available for the rest of our time here, with our much loved driver from 2016, Gratien, who makes the long journeys a lot better!