Bahati Kukai 0709

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Bahati Kukai, 1 September 2007

Location: Bahati Community Centre Secondary School


On 1 September 2007, the Haiku Clubs of Nairobi held their Fourth Kukai. Bahati Community Centre Secondary School, the home of the Bamboochas, acted as host.

Many photos of this enjoyable day can be seen below on this page, and more have been saved here :

... http://www.flickr.com/photos/
... http://www.flickr.com/photos/page=2

The Bamboochas and Peacocks started to arrive at 10.00, and were registered by Raymond Otieno (Bamboocha). The haijin enjoyed the run of the whole school -- it was the last day of the August holidays, and there were no other school activities taking place that day. Since our previous meeting there, the school had been greatly improved, extended and beautified, and the kukai took over one of the enlarged classrooms for its plenary sessions.

Haiku Club members preparing their hands for the first round of applause
Photo © Isabelle Prondzynski


The Peacocks’ Exhibition

The Peacocks had brought an exhibition of their recent work, which they were showing for the first time. This included haiku on the kigo of “August holiday”, and the themes of “clean water”, and “lunchbreak”. Most of the Peacocks had contributed to the haiku, written up in beautiful handwriting on three large charts, for all to see.

Just a few examples to show the high quality of the work exhibited :

in the school compound --
August holiday

August holiday --
family members gather
to celebrate

clean water --
in a container
I see myself

hang on a vendor’s bicycle --
clean water

the bell rings
students rush to the kitchen

students outside
with plates in hands --

In addition, the Peacocks had ventured for the first time into the world of haiga. Using newspaper cuttings of pictures, they had written haiku to accompany the images -- some from nature and animal life, some from human family life.

The Bamboochas gathered around the sheets, admiring the work of their colleagues and determined to prepare an exhibition of their own next time.

Admiring the Peacocks’ haiga
Photo © David Kimani Mwangi


A brief discussion on computing followed. Many of the haiku club members are now able to send their own haiku themselves, which is making the discussions in Kenya Saijiki much more interesting and lively. David Kimani Mwangi is teaching a second group now -- and he will be available on Saturday afternoons for any haiku club members who may appreciate his presence when sending in messages.


Haiku appreciation

August had been used by both haiku clubs to discuss how to appreciate other people’s haiku. With the help of examples from the Shiki Kukai, they had already discussed haiku from writers in other countries -- and now came the opportunity to discuss their own!

Each haijin had handed in his or her own favourite haiku at the beginning of the meeting, and a time was set to discuss these. Participants formed themselves into five groups of about six people per group, and were given one haiku per person, written by their colleagues who had been allocated to other groups. The haiku were signed only with the group numbers of the authors, not their names.

Groups were assigned a classroom each, and soon, the whole school was buzzing with concentrated activity. The students discussed haiku, while the teachers concentrated on watching a huge flock of white ibises, which flew in, rested on the trees surrounding the school for a while, then took off again.

When the haiku club members reassembled, they were ready to present the favourite haiku which each group had agreed upon, reading it to the plenary and commenting why they had chosen their particular favourite.

The most appreciated haiku of the five groups were :

the car's tyre
deep in the mud --
rainy day

~ Emily Wanga

cold morning
dew is on the grass
my legs are wet

~ Rhoda Mutheu

barefooted baby
walks along dirty water
afraid of mud

~ Ann Njoki

dry season --
women at a borehole
fighting for water

~ Makila Moses

bumper to bumper
Jogoo Road roundabout --
traffic jam

~ Peris Wanjiru

Here are four of the five authors of the most appreciated haiku, with their prizes of Japanese cotton cloths (furoshiki, 風呂敷) :

Emily Wanga, Rhoda Mutheu, Anne Njoki and Peris Wanjiru
Photo © Isabelle Prondzynski


The next item on the agenda was the lunchbreak. Bread and milk was enjoyed by all, as was the chance for a pause and a chat.

Anthony Njoroge, the haiku clubs’ Master of Ceremonies, busily organising a Talent Show for the afternoon, dropped in and congratulated the Peacocks on their exhibition, as well as appreciating the prize winning haiku and wishing us an enjoyable afternoon.

Lunch break
Photo © Isabelle Prondzynski


The Ginkoo

The main item for the afternoon was the much anticipated ginkoo. While the haiku club members settled outside the school to observe and write, the Patrons (the Co-ordinator, Patrick Wafula for the Bamboochas, and Anne Nechesa for the Peacocks) and teachers (Kevin Safari and James Macharia for Bahati Community Centre Secondary School) and I got together for a relaxing chat.

Concentrated faces at the ginkoo
Photo © David Kimani Mwangi

The great novelty of the event was that the hajin did the judging themselves. They split again into the same five groups, each member being given a haiku from someone in another group. Each group then selected their two favourites. There was some animated discussion in the groups, after which the haijin gathered back in the plenary, and excitement grew.

Each group introduced its two haiku, written up on large sheets and taped to the blackboard. The spokesperson for the group read out both haiku and explained what had particularly pleased the members about each of the two.

When all haiku had been read and posted up, a discussion ensued, during which other haijin rose and took the floor in support of their own respective favourites. Eventually, it became clear which of the haiku had more support than others, and prizes were awarded by consensus and distributed until the final two were reached, and a vote was taken on which was to be no. 1 and 2 respectively. By that time, great excitement reigned, and the two top winners were greeted with much enthusiasm. Here are the ten haiku chosen by the haijin as the ginkoo prizewinners :

a thirsty boy
slowly drinking water from
a nylon paper

~ Catherine Njeri Maina

Note : A nylon paper is a very thin plastic bag, which street vendors use to sell their wares

hot sun --
children playing with a skipping rope
sweating vigorously

~ Vivian Adhiambo

Photo © Isabelle Prondzynski

a rooster
seeking shade under a tree --
September sunshine

~ Arnold Malcolm

busy chicken
scratching the ground
optimistic to feed

~ Christine Onimbo

September wind --
acacia flower blown
down swiftly

~ Raymond Otieno

hot sun
an insect under a leaf --
cool shade

~ Khadijah Rajab

boring movements
for non refreshed people --
hot day

~ Martin Kamau

papers blown
plants twinkle and shake
whirling wind

~ Emily Wanga

green leaf
threshing plants --
cool breeze

~ Simon O. Magak

windy day --
my hair blows over
my forehead

~ Anne Wairimu


The Presentation

At the end of a lovely day, the Bamboochas came up with a surprise presentation of appreciation -- a specially woven kiondo (sisal and wool basket), with a text which on one side read “We love you Isabelle” and on the other “Bamboocha Group”. This was so unexpected and so wonderful that it momentarily stopped me speaking! When I opened it and looked inside, it was filled with fruit, as well as a text which read :

haiku is
sharing --
these fruits

Which is what we did -- two hands of sweet bananas, three apples, and a bag of fresh macadamia nuts! What a superb way of ending a beautiful day!

And so, I want to thank all involved -- the hard working Patrons, the management and staff of Bahati Community Centre Secondary School, the students who fetched our lunch from the shop, Raymond Otieno who worked hard all day to register the participants, be timekeeper and haijin in charge, David Kimani Mwangi who photographed events as they happened, and finally the Peacocks for their superb exhibition and the Bamboochas for their very personal gift.

You are all great! And I am already looking forward to our next kukai.

~ Isabelle Prondzynski.

Related words

***** BAHATI Haiku Club, Nairobi

***** Bahati Ginkoo May 2006

***** Tujisaidie Meeting November 2006

***** St Patrick’s Outing, April 2007

Please send your contributions to
Gabi Greve / Isabelle Prondzynski
worldkigo .....

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Anonymous said...

It was most enjoyable to read the haiku and to see the photographs. Isabelle, you are doing a great job. You are admirable - as well as your students.

Zhanna P. Rader

Anonymous said...

Dear Isabelle,

Your children's haiku poems deeply touch me.
Hats off to you and to your untiring efforts.

Your friend from India,
With tons of love,
Kala Ramesh

Anonymous said...

Today Kenya ...
tomorrow, the world!
... haiku spirit

What a simple way you've used to bring poetry closer to people. If only the politicians would do the same.

:>) Ella Wagemakers