From Michele Reid, Principal at École Mary Hill Elementary
On October 28 two Kenyan students, Allan Waithira and Denis Chege, arrived in the Coquitlam School District for a two-month stay. They were selected due to their hard work in a course called Butterfly Effect; an independent study course where students at Charles Best Secondary School in Coquitlam, along with students in Langley, Surrey and Kenya do projects of their own personal interest and support each other in an online community of learners (Butterflyeffect.hoop.la).
Butterfly Effect is a cultural exchange component of PA-MOJA (PA-MOJA.com), which is a small grassroots NGO that partners schools in North America with schools in Kenya for authentic connections and to preserve wildlife. Coquitlam has a number of PA-MOJA schools so during their stay, Allan and Denis spent one day a week at Maple Creek Middle, Kilmer Elementary and Mary Hill Elementary to share their culture and learn Canadian culture. This deep connection has allowed all the schools involved to expose students to the new core and curricular competencies of the new B.C. curriculum in an authentic way.
Denis and Allan stayed with homestay families from the district and got to experience many Canadian activities. The visit has profoundly impacted the two Kenyan students and also the many students at Coquitlam schools. If you would like to read about their experiences, please visit their blogs at KenyaAllanCanada.wordpress.com and KenyaChegeCanada.wordpress.com.
Everyone involved would like to thank the Coquitlam School District for providing the flights for the students and to all the schools, students, parents and homestay families who made the visit such a success. We also want to thank everyone who donated clothes and tickets for activities; it really helped the boys fit in to our schools, our weather and have some great experiences.
Denis and Allan will return to Kenya on December 28. They will bring back the knowledge and experiences from Coquitlam to the Kenyan schools involved in the project. If anyone would like further information on this exchange, please contact Alison Stuart, a teacher at Dr. Charles Best Secondary, at firstname.lastname@example.org.