French Club visits the Mitahato Francophone Library

By Coralie Irenge

The USIU-Africa French club had the wonderful opportunity to visit and volunteer at the Mitahato French Village in Githunguri, Kiambu County, a non-profit organization focused on bringing French education to school children in Kenya starting with its residential area, on Saturday March 18, 2023. The Mitahato French village hosted an event to celebrate the Day of the Francophonie on Saturday March 18, 2023, where our members were honored to have esteemed guests such as the ambassadors of France, Angola, Congo Brazzaville, and the United Nations (UN) Ambassador in attendance amongst many other recognized French officials, French clubs, and French students in Kenya.

The founder of Mitahato French Library, Chris Mburu, converted his backyard into a French library in 2020 during the COVID-19 period as the children in the village were idle. Mitahato is known for its free and unique fun way of teaching French to both adults and children. They use fun methods such as singing, dancing, playing games and village walks.

Chris organized a reading competition for the volunteers to encourage fluency and literacy in French, with the winner (Martina from Kenyatta University) receiving a two-way ticket to Congo Brazzaville to practice their French skills. In addition to this, the two best-performing children (Ian Mbugua and Lydia Wangari) from the program were also selected for the same two-way trip, which was an incredible opportunity for them to immerse themselves in the language and culture they had been studying.

Zeus Bamporineza, one of the French Club members, participated in the dix mots French challenge in which he composed his poem titled ‘Lydie, Ma Belle…’ with required 10 French words for the challenge: année-lumière, tic-tac, dare-dare, rhymes, synchrones, déjà vu, hivernage, plus-que parfait and lambine.

USIU-Africa was well-represented among the volunteers, but we also had volunteers from other schools who were just as passionate about this cause. The Day of the Francophonie celebration was a momentous occasion, with the banana tree theme and decorations adding to the festive atmosphere. It was heartwarming to see the children enjoying themselves, engaging in games, singing, and dancing in French.

As volunteers, our representatives were excited to participate in the events of the day, but our main goal was to contribute to the efforts of Mitahato French Village in promoting French education in rural Kenya. We were committed to taking this mission seriously, but that did not stop us from having fun and letting our hair down. It was a wonderful chance to collaborate with other like-minded individuals and to positively impact these children's lives.

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