ENSA: How does the pandemic affect your daily life – also outside of school?
Mr. Njuki: Social distancing is a new phenomenon in our society. In our culture, social living is part of us. The pandemic has limited the way we relate with our families and friends. We cannot visit our relatives in fear of contacting the virus or infecting them. The curfew in place from 7 pm to 6:30 am also makes our movements difficult to and from school. Transport has become a challenge too. Public transport means have had their passengers reduced to four only. This has also increased the cost of transport.
ENSA: Unfortunately, your trip to Germany could not take place this year, but you were able to participate in the ENSA conference with your partner school. What did you think when you received the invitation?
Mr. Njuki: Initially we got information about the online conference from Mr. Max Shilling, teacher of our partner school, and we were extremely happy to be invited. The invitation was received during the period of the total lockdown and we had communicated that the teachers would attend and the students would not. However, with the partial lifting of the lockdown and the re-opening of schools it became possible that we would attend with some students. I was so thrilled and at the same time nervous. I imagined how it would work, to attend a virtual meeting, which I had never done before. The fact is this was the first virtual meeting I have ever attended in my life. Also my colleague Passy and the students were ecstatic to be granted an opportunity to attend the conference, for all being the first time too. Thank you Limes and ENSA team for granting us the opportunity and for the exposure. I was also looking forward to meet my colleague Mr. Max Shilling for the first time. I am happy this was possible too.
ENSA: Was it easy for you to participate?
Mr. Njuki: The participation in the Online Conference had both positive and negative elements as shown below: The Online Conference was via Cisco Webex, an app which made connection to the conference easy. It did not require so many steps to join the meeting. We had a challenge of interruptions in our internet connection. Sometimes the video system stalled and we relied on the audio only to communicate. In some instances both stalled requiring the user to re–log on into the meeting. Sometimes the video and audio did not relate that is the video would be seen and the sound would come a bit late. Some students lacked basic computer skills, which affected their participation. We had an abrupt power disconnection in our district for 2 days. This affected our participation in the on line conference especially on Saturday.
ENSA: Thank you for participating despite the technical difficulties. We all learned a lot about online communication this year and are happy that we could have our partners from the south with us at the next conference.
Mr. Njuki: We shall all be eagerly waiting to attend the next meeting in February, 2021.