The Growing Health Seminar – October 2017
Thrive Opens its Doors to 20 New Students
The most recent Growing Health Seminar (GHS) started on October 2, 2017. Our training center located in Kitale, Kenya welcomed 12 student interns and 20 new students. Students came from different locations in Africa, specifically Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda. The Growing Health Seminar is a 4-week training course which involves 40 topics. These topics touch on subjects regarding bio-intensive farming, growing health, natural medicine and hygiene. Due to the Presidential re-election, this October seminar was reduced to 3 weeks for which the training was intensified in order to cover all 40 topics.
A Typical Day at the Growing Health Institute
Each day of training consisted of 6 sessions. The day started with a morning devotion and was followed by GHS lessons. After the lessons were taught, the remainder of the day was filled with practicums, where students got quality hands-on experience. After somewhat of a break, the students finished off the day with a documentary. The documentaries allowed them to better conceptualize the teachings and the main ideas. At the end of every documentary, each student was encouraged to give their sight of review and share what they had learned.
During the 3-week seminar, the students were put into groups of 4 where they participated in discussions that followed each lesson. As well, they completed each practicum with their group. Each student was assigned an everyday chore that helped the institution to run smoothly. Chores involved fetching water, assisting in the kitchen, preparing breakfast, cleaning the bathrooms, classroom and the dormitories. They were also tasked with helping the garden managers to water the garden beds every afternoon.
Another method of learning involved in reading assignments. Students were asked to read books provided to them and then answer follow up questions to increase their learning and understanding.
Learning Beyond the Classroom
The teachings of GHS are always 30% theory and 70% practical. The everyday practicums involved creating tincture for natural medicine, making sack gardens, keyhole gardens, super soil beds, food preparations, and double digging garden beds. The students gained valuable knowledge when they participated in every practical as it made learning easier for them. Practicums also allowed for better understanding of how to apply what they have learned to their projects when they go home.
Organic Agricultural Trainers Are Always Learning
Each of the Organic Agricultural Trainers (OATS) or student interns were assigned 1 topic to teach the new students. During their teaching they were evaluated by the Thrive staff on their teaching ability. Staff would critique and guide them in ways that would improve their teaching skills in hopes that one day they will become GHS trainers.
During the last week of the GHS training, each student was asked to complete a presentation during the evening. These presentations would explain how they plan to organize and establish projects in their home communities. Student interns assessed the new students’ project plans and provided support, feedback and strategies on how to have success in each project. The floor would always be open for discussions and questions to help formulate answers and plans. New students were encouraged to make their project look WOW, beautiful, and consistent. This learning session ended off with student interns explaining the criteria for evaluating the new projects. The evaluations explained how new students could pass the project and have the opportunity to return to GHS training again.
The Thrive “Super Soils”
This batch of students named themselves the “Super Soils” because they made a lot of super soil beds. The entire “Super Soils” group was very consistent, hardworking and they were very committed to learning. Each student was very thankful for this organization for which they were given free education.
A Day of Celebration
Graduation day was held on October 21, 2017, where 12 student interns and 20 new students were celebrated for completing the Growing Health training. The 20 new students received their certificates and the day ended with a blast of celebration, thanksgiving and happiness. All students look forward to their future as GHS trainers.
Ed Jay Espinosa