The Drummond-Muthambi Partnership

Drummond Goes On Safari

‘Safari’ is the Kizwahli word for journey so if you go on safari to see your Granny in Kenya it doesn’t mean that she lives with the lions and zebra! This was only one of the words that 8 S6 students and 3 staff from Drummond Community High School had to relearn on their visit to their partner schools Muthambi Boys and Girls this summer.

The trip far exceeded our expectations both educationally and socially and it would not be exaggerating to say that it has changed the lives of students and staff in all three schools.

After a long flight we arrived tired but happy in Nairobi. The minute you step of the plane everything is different, the heat, the smell, the buildings, the people and you know you’re in Africa. We embarked on a very full programme for our ten day visit which was a combination of working and meeting with the Kenyan students and learning a bit about the life of ordinary Kenyans and the experience was far more fun than the usual ‘Safari’ holiday.

We took part in lots of projects, but here are just a few highlights.

In Muthambi Boys school we converted a motley collection of damp and ancient old books on rickety shelves into the foundations of a school library With 8 boys working as volunteer Librarians we cleared shelves and set up some of the new and exciting books that we had managed to take out with us (packing only 2 pairs of knickers and 3 socks = more space for resources!). The Library will now open for the boys in the evenings and we hope to send out more books in the future.

In the Girls school we taught lessons on Scottish poetry and did cookery demonstrations introducing the girls to shortbread, it was difficult to record their comments as their mouths were so full! We also took part in sports and games, music, tribal dancing and question and answer session on every topic under the sun, plus we made a short film on the life of a Muthambi schoolgirl.

When we weren’t in school we were out experiencing Kenyan life guided by Muthambi staff and students. We visited a crocodile farm and handled ‘teenage’ crocs (yes they do have big teeth!), picked tea and processed it at a Fairtrade tea factory, were entertained by a smallholder farmer and his family, visited a government sericulture research farm along with local primary and secondary schools. The highlight was our ‘safari’ to a game conservancy project where we saw 4 out of the ‘big 5’ must see animals.

What next?

Our S6 have left for work, college and university but inspired by their experiences they would like Drummond students to have the wonderful opportunity of a return visit by our Kenyan friends. Apart from strengthening our curricular links we are hoping to raise £15,000 to bring 8 students and 2 staff over to Drummond in June 2011. Our ex-S6 will be working alongside our new group of students and will be running fundraising activities throughout the year. We are looking for help with ideas for raising money, grant opportunities and hospitality for the return visit.

If you have any ideas or would like to help out please contact Annie Scanlon on Tel: 556 2651, at admin@drummond.edin.sch.uk or pop into the school sometime for a chat.

 We would like to thank the Spurtle and its readers for their support, parents and adult students at DCHS plus the John Watson Trust and Leith Links Community Council for their generous grants.

 Annie Scanlon

Librarian/Kenya Partnership

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The Drummond-Muthambi Partnership

Director of Education welcomes the Drummond students

The students from Drummond Community High School returned from Kenya at the end of June. Details of their trip will be published soon on the website and a presentation to the community council is planned for later in the year.

Muthambi girls get enthusiastic about Scottish poetry lessons

The Mela is coming!

For the first time, the Mela festival will take place in Leith Links this year, a move the community council has been broadly supportive of. You can check out the program for the festival here:

http://www.edinburgh-mela.co.uk/

However, one downside for local residents will be the parking restrictions put in place to help manage the traffic around Leith Links whilst the event is on. Here’s details of what they will be:

The Drummond-Muthambi Schools Partnerships Link

By the time you read this……

Eight S6 students and three members of staff from Drummond Community High School will be on their way to Kenya with the kind support of Leith Links Community Council.

In our first article we told you about our school’s partnership with Muthambi Boys and Girls High Schools at the foot of Mount Kenya. Now we’re ready to go and the students have made some comments about what they are looking forward to, what they hope to gain from the trip and some of their fears!

‘I’m interested in the culture and politics, particularly the debate on the new constitution that the Kenyans will vote on later this summer.’

                                                                                                    Sean Cadger

‘It’s the food, they grow everything that we see in the supermarkets but I’m interested in how it’s grown and why there’s famine in certain areas of Kenya. I’m told the mangoes are fab!’

                           Jordan Russell-Hall

‘I’m looking forward to meeting the students and seeing what their experience of education is compared with our.’

                                                     Chelsea Ewan

‘All the projects we’re doing with the Kenyan students will be interesting but the heat and toilets are a bit scary!’

                                         Freya Stewart

‘It will be interesting to see education from a Kenyan teacher’s point of view. What are the challenges, what sort of training and career prospects are there in Kenyan schools.’

                Matt Annable, DCHS staff.

‘I’m really interested in the differences in the curriculum, especially how they teach and observe religion in school.’

                                                    Valentina Flex

‘Life, I think it’s going to be so different observing and experiencing their way of everyday living.’

                              Kerry Irving

‘I love working in the Library at Drummond Community High School and I can’t imagine a school functioning without one. I’m really looking forward to setting up a library at Muthambi Boys High School, in a day. Laurence Lewellyn- Bowen eat your heart out!’ 

                                                            Annie Scanlon, DCHS staff

‘I’m hoping to work with the students at Muthambi to strengthen and extend the partnership work we’re already doing. I’ll also be doing some sketching.’

                                                                                                   Hannah Reynolds

‘This project is so important, it allows us to meet and learn from exciting and interesting people living a different life to us 8,000 miles away. Not only will we make new friends but we’ll learn what we need to do to make a difference to their lives.

       Jemma Craig

‘I’m looking forward to meeting up with the students and staff we met on our last trip and to finding out how they are using the resources that we sent out.’

                                                                                              Patricia Snow, DCHS staff.

On our visit we will be working on:

Setting up a library at Muthambi Boys High School

Introducing the Kenyan students to Scottish poetry

Making short videos for use at Drummond on topics such as Fairtrade, malaria, a day in the life of Muthambi student.

Doing cookery demonstrations.

Developing partnership projects with the P.E. and Maths departments.

Teaching Scottish country dancing and learning some African dance!

On our return we will:

Do assemblies for students at Drummond.

Develop the partnership projects set up on our visit.

Report back to the organisations that have supported our visit.

Fundraise to bring some staff and students from Muthambi back to Drummond next summer.

Annie Scanlon

Drummond Community High School

A resident writes…

Local resident, Fred Parsons, left a comment on a page on our blog recently, but we thought we should post it here instead. Whilst we should make it clear that these are his personal opinions, we also want this blog to offer a forum for debate. We understand that not all residents can attend Community Council meetings, and so we will take into account residents views expressed on our blog too.

So, if you’d like to respond to any points Fred makes, whether you agree, or disagree, then please add your thoughts in the comments section below. If you live in the Leith Links Community Council area, and would like to write an ‘opinion’ piece on any subject for this blog then please do contact us.

I write to highlight and urge local residents to complain about the proposed Biomass Plant at Leith Harbour. This has been suggested and planned by people who obviously know nothing of our geographical location. Leith is prone to coastal Haar several times a year and in different seasons. This giant incinerator will pump dust, ash, soot and smoke into the local atmosphere. During the times that Leith experiences Haar and sea fog, this smoke and ‘smog’ will hang and choke the air quality of our local communities. I count at least three schools, possibly four locally which are less than one mile from the proposed plant. There are also several nursery schools in the local area close to Leith Harbour. If you are a parent who lives locally, I personally would be concerned about this potential polution. There is not enough scientific evidence to say for certain that there are no health risk implications using this technology. So why are we proposing using it on the doorstep of our communities?

Leith is supposed to be going through a regeneration period with a vision of new housing, trams, office developments etc etc. So who on earth thought that a giant chimney would fit into this new vision of the Waterfront of Edinburgh and Leith? Tourists and visitors who will travel down Leith Walk are going to be confronted by an ugly power station and sixty to hundred meter high chimney dominating the landscape. Who would want to shop at Ocean Terminal with a huge Biomass Plant sitting just across the road?

The green aspects being sold and marketed of the Biomass Plant are completely bogus. Burning fuel is not the way forward. We have been advised to stop burning fuel haven’t we? I can’t believe that there is a special fuel which is okay to burn… suddenly. That is just all too convenient. And why on earth would we import fuel from Sweden? This is a fuel which has to be shipped here into Leith Harbour? Surely that negates any green credentials as this implies a massive carbon footprint left by making this journey.

Should we celebrate the mere handful of jobs which will be created at this new Biomass Plant? These will mostly be skilled jobs to operate the plant and they will probably not go to locals initially. The most likely sustainable jobs will go to the people who drive the trucks of the biodegradable waste which may be burnt at the plant. And who will take out the residual waste from the plant? I cannot see the job numbers delivered by this project as being any kind of triumph for Edinburgh.

As for combating Co2 omissions in Scotland… why were they set so high? Surely we have other methods at our disposal which are far more effective than using Biomass fuel. And why do we have to aim for these unrealistic targets in such a short time frame? It is ironic that Leith Harbour dock area houses companies who create modules for the wave power initiative being pioneered in Scotland. This is a very practical and logical energy solution. Wind turbines are also a very effective energy harness which will benefit Scotland for the future. Burning fuel however is a contradiction in terms. Again, there does not appear to be enough scientific evidence to suggest that this has an adverse effect on our atmosphere.

At least, this is an ill conceived idea and solution to our energy problems. At worst, it is a cancer being introduced into the heart of our community.
Stop it now. Please add your voice of opposition.

Biomass Training Event, Saturday 5th June


Members of the community concerned about Forth Energy’s proposal for a Biomass Power Plant in Leith Docks were invited to attend an event at Edinburgh City Chambers to learn more about the planning process and how to properly lodge any objections. The course was organised by Planning Aid for Scotland and funded by the Leith Neighbourhood Partnership and was well represented by members of all Leith Community Councils, residents associations and other interested parties. There was a lot of information to absorb and it was also a good way of networking between community organisations.

Ally Tibbitt, who is a member of Leith Links Community Council, wrote up a longer account of the workshop on the Greener Leith blog. You can read his post here.

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