Discovery classes at Iten, a meeting with great athletes!

At the end of the third term, it was the turn of our CM1 classes to leave the school for a week to discover Iten. The town, situated at an altitude of 2,400 m, is popular with half-distance runners and cross-country skiers from all over the world, and is home to top Kenyan athletes such as Eliud Kipchoge and Joan Chelimo. For the duration of their stay, the students were hosted at the High Altitude Training Center (HATC), which welcomes athletes from all over the world to train at Iten.

Classes left the school on Monday morning, bound for Jomo Kenyatta International Airport! We flew to Eldoret, then took the bus to Iten. They first went to the Kechei Training Center where they met world-renowned athletes such as Joan Chelimo (winner of the Boston Half Marathon and Seoul Marathon), Agnes Jebet Ngetich (10km world record holder) and Leonard Bett (set the 3,000 m steeplechase world record in 2018). After a presentation of each athlete, a masseur gave demonstrations of his craft, after which the students asked lots of questions.

On Tuesday, the classes went to St. Patrick High-School, a breeding ground for champions in sports, math and chess. On their way there on foot, the students were impressed by the number of runners they met along the way! At the school, students toured the campus, then two groups were made: the first took a tour of the farm adjoining the school, which is used to feed the students, while the second visited the school museum and learned about its prestigious history. The students then put their journalistic skills to good use, interviewing students about their school and sports lives, as well as the coach. Finally, a soccer match was played.

On Wednesday, in glorious weather, the classes hiked to incredible waterfalls. On the way, the students stopped off at Kamarini Stadium (inaugurated in 1958 by the Queen of England, Elizabeth II) to watch athletes train. They then followed a route through the woods, between puddles and small muddy passages. After lunch, several workshops were offered to the pupils: for the CM1As, work on the flower of languages, fractions, and writing the travel diary, and for the CM1Bs and CM1Cs, cross-country running to prepare for the Thursday morning race, team sports and observation drawings (science).
On Thursday, everyone watched athletes training in the village of Iten. Iten Fartlake’s training sessions take place every Tuesday and Thursday. What speed over long distances! This performance encouraged the children to be humble and to surpass themselves, as they had the great opportunity to run with them over a short distance. After a well-deserved break at the HATC, the group paid a visit to the children of Simba for kids (a cultural and sports leisure center open to village children when they’re not at school). The students took part in various activities (adventure course, soccer, basketball, board games, bike course) with these children whose daily lives are not the easiest (one meal a day, very modest living conditions, etc.). Tolerance, empathy and sharing were the key words of this beautiful afternoon.

Finally, on Friday, we’re off. After packing up and clearing out the rooms, the students interviewed the security guard, a cook and the HATC center manager. Future journalists… Then it was time to head to Eldoret airport for a 1.30pm take-off, arriving in Nairobi at around 5pm, where our parents were waiting for us with bated breath.

A great adventure for our students, who returned home with stars in their eyes!
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