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Updates from the Last Chance to Paint team

Precious Africa Day 4 - Today, it’s all about the children

Updated: Mar 12, 2023

We knew that today would

be a special day - it was time to visit and paint with a local primary school, Enkii. Most of the children at this school are Maasai and live in a Boma. This is a school who Born Free work with. We were going to meet the children and get them to paint the animal that they like the most.

We had such a warm welcome, with lots of children waving and saying hello.

We were introduced to the Head Teacher, who listened to what our project was all about. The Senior Teacher, George, took over and started to explain the issues they have regards living alongside nature. Unfortunately, the school has been built in the middle of an elephant corridor - this means that it is an area of land that the animals use to move from one area of their habitat to another while on their way to find food or water. The school have chain fencing all around its grounds, but this is no match for an elephant or two! The elephants are forever trampling the fence and wandering around the grounds. It isn’t an uncommon sight to see a giraffe wander past the window and occasionally even a lion!

He explained that sometimes the children come across a wild animal on their way to school, making them late for lessons Can you imagine arriving at school and saying, “Sorry I’m late Miss, there was an elephant in the way, and I had to take a long detour” Maybe try it next time and see what your teacher or boss says!

Born Free Foundation has been working with the school since 2019 by running conservation clubs to teach the children about animals and how to live safely side by side with them.  They have also supplied desks when the school needed them and an annual supply of sanitary products for the girls. They have provided small trees to create a better environment and, eventually, more shade. This is another good reason for keeping the elephants out, as they will trample them and eat them all! Phoebe pointed out the upturned plastic bottles planted right next to each tree - these are filled up and turned upside down so the water can filter slowly into the soil and water the plant for a week at a time.

The class of children we met were so pleased to see us - they don’t have many opportunities to do art of any kind, and the school has no art materials. The children were delighted to be given a pencil each to keep! But unfortunately, we did not have enough of the sharpeners they all wanted so badly.

To start the session, John did a quick and simple demonstration to show the children how they could go about their painting. Their faces were a picture as it slowly came together and an elephant and a giraffe appeared on the paper under an acacia tree! They were delighted! And then it was their turn. John told them specifically not to copy his picture but to paint something that meant a lot to them. Interestingly a few of them chose to paint a cow - cows play such an essential role in their lives it shouldn’t have been a surprise.

The paintings they did were terrific. They painted some of their favourite animals. Some painted their school or home; no two pictures were alike. And they were so absorbed in their work - some at desks, some on the floor, as we discovered some of the desks were too sloped to be able to balance their water. My favourite sight was two boys lying on their tummies, side by side, concentrating so hard!

When they had finished, the children were all so proud of what they had achieved, and each had their photo taken holding their pictures. We took photos of their work and returned them so they could take them home and show their families. In the UK we often talk about hanging our children’s work on the fridge… I wonder where in the Boma hut a child would hang theirs?

The day’s project was a huge success! The children had all enjoyed and learned something new, and we had learnt about some of the problems a school like this has to contend with.

We headed back to the lodge where we were staying, passing a giraffe by the side of the road eating from an acacia tree! It’s amazing how things start to look normal, even to us, in this beautiful country! However, this inspired John to choose the giraffe as the subject of today’s painting.

It was lovely to sit back at the lodge finishing our work - blogging and painting. It was a very quiet afternoon as we sat on the terrace. A family of elephants wandered by at the end of the Lodge garden - what a treat! And the perfect end to a busy but very positive day.

Go to to watch today's video and see all our previous Precious Africa videos.

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