Identity Poetry

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My greatest challenge I find when I’m doing creative writing and poetry workshops is the time element – trying to squeeze everything I’ve planned (which always includes fun warm up exercises and small group discussions) into the timeframe – not easy. This school I go to fortnightly in a suburb of Nairobi is such a joy – the children are enthusiastic and motivated to learn and I was hugely surprised when I turned up today and they said they wanted to recite a poem to me. The whole 25 of them stood up and chanted in unison a poem about terrorism, of all things, that one of the ten year old’s in the class had written. It was an amazing poem but sobering and I suppose these children are at the age now where parents can’t protect them so much from hearing about what’s going on in the world.

Inspired by the workshop I participated in at Storymoja last week, we did a session on identity today. The children talked about where their names come from and what they mean and then they drew round the outlines of each other’s hands in pairs before writing notes in the middle about their identity. It was interesting helping them to think about their identities on a deeper level i.e. not just where they were from, their names and height etc but also all the aspects that makes them unique. Next step: gathering together and filtering the ideas on their hands to start shaping this into a poem!