Questions from Kiirua

By Emily Gallant and Hope Gallant, pre-service teachers from UPEI doing a practicum in Kenya

Hi again! The Gallant teachers are back with an update from week 2 at Kiirua Primary. 

Class 6 at Kiirua Primary

With each day, our students are getting more and more used to us. They can understand us better, and are even more comfortable asking us questions. Here is a list of some of our favourite questions to date: 

“Where does snow come from?” 

“What are your houses made of?” 

“What does your money look like?”

“Do you all drive cars in Canada?”

“Is English your mother tongue?”

“Do the children wear uniforms to school?”

“Do children have to have shaved heads in school?” 

“Do your students use pencils or pens?”

“What do the students eat at school?”

“Do you use textbooks in school?”

“How do you discipline students in school?”

“Will you sing us the national anthem of Canada?” 

“Do you have a president in Canada?”

“Do you teach Religious Education?”

“Are there black people in Canada?”

“Do you have cholera in Canada?”

“Does it rain in Canada?”

“What is the temperature in Canada?”

“How do you dry your clothes in Canada if it is so cold outside?”

“What time is it in Canada?”

“Do you have lions in Canada?” 

“How do you heat your houses?” 

“Do you have counties in Canada?”

Many of these questions are quite entertaining to us, and the students laugh out loud when we tell them the answers. Other answers are hard to explain. For example, have you ever tried to explain what a dryer is? The best I could come up with is that it is a giant microwave oven for clothes. Some questions are hard to explain for other reasons, especially because of the differences in school cultures between Canada and Kenya. 

Emily teaching an English lesson

During one of these questioning sessions, the students asked Hope what snow was made of. When she told them it was made of water, a student leaned over to me and asked “Can you drink snow?”. When I told him that yes, snow does melt into water, he said “So in Canada, you always have water to drink”. This comment stuck with me, and Hope and I discussed it with Paulette and Heather later that evening. 

We realized that the idea of drinking snow, while perfectly acceptable, is not one that we ever have to contend with. For all four of us, we have running water inside of our homes that is clean enough to drink and bathe in. The fact that the first thing this student thought of was how snow could be used as drinking water was incredibly eye-opening for us, and we realized just how many aspects of Canadian life we take for granted. 

Students waiting for lunch outside the Farmers Helping Farmers sponsored cookhouse

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