The 3rd Kite Festival

Mr. Kimani of Juhudi Children's Club giving his Opening Remarks
Opening Remarks by the Local Community Representative Pastor Solomon
Mr. Nakamura Yasunori Director of JICC Giving his Opening Remarks
A Cross Section of the Children Holding onto their Kites
The 3rd Kite Festival was held at the Ngong Hills on Saturday, 1st March 2014. About 400 students from 9 schools in and around Nairobi gathered together for the Kite Festival. The Kite Festival this year was organised by the Japan Information & Culture Centre (JICC) in conjunction with Juhudi Children’s Club.
Mr. Futaki of the JICC Demonstrating how to Fly a Kite
Students Setting Out to Fly their Kites

During the week preceding the Kite Festival, a Kites Workshop was held in the various schools that participated in the Kite Festival. Here, students and teachers from the participating schools were taught how to make the Japanese Kite, Wadako, using locally available materials. The Wadako is a kite that symbolizes the wish of parents and guardians for their children grow up brave and strong. In fact, it is believed that the higher the Wadako flies, the braver and stronger the child will grow up to be. With this in mind, the children eagerly made their kites with the hope that theirs would be the highest flying kite in the blue sky over the Ngong Hills.

The day of the Kite Festival arrived glorious and sunny with just the right intensity of wind for kite flying. In close succession, the students, accompanied by their teachers, started to arrive and gather round the site. Mr. Kimani, the director of the Juhudi Children’s Club welcomed everyone to the festival and encouraged the students to interact with each other. Following Mr. Kimani was Pastor Solomon who welcomed the participants on behalf of the local community. He expressed his pleasure at hosting very many children. In his remarks, Mr. Somo, a Kenya Forest Services Ranger, said that he hoped that the Kite Festival would be organised every year. Mr. Nakamura, Director of the Japan Information & Culture Centre expressed his excitement at the thought of seeing 400 Wadakos flying in the beautiful Kenyan sky and his hope that the children would grow up in the spirit of the Wadako, brave and strong.

After the Opening Ceremony, Mr. Futaki of the Japan Information & Culture Centre demonstrated how to fly a kite. Following the demonstration, the children and their teachers spread out and flew their kites around the site. It was a joy watching the children send their kites soaring by catching the wind using their kites. To some, this came easily while others struggled a bit.  While observing a kite that was flying exceptionally well, one of the students commended the owner of the kite by commenting that his kite was flying really well. To this remark, the student, barely able to keep the pride from his voice, replied that that was because he had spent a lot of time and put a lot of effort in making his kite. Clearly, the importance of hard work and diligence was not lost on this student.

Mr. Somo of the Kenya Forest Services Flying a Kite with some Children
Children Flying their Kites
For those whose kites got damaged as they flew them, a kite repair centre was set up so as to patch the kites up. At the end of the festival, each of the participating schools received a certificate of participation and a pamphlet commemorating 50 years of Diplomatic Relations between Kenya and Japan.
Some of the Children getting their Kites Mended at the Kites Repair Station
One of the School Representatives Receiving a Certificate of Participation from Mr. Nakamura
The children were definitely pleased by the success of the Kite Festival. This was eagerly expressed when the students were asked to share about their experiences of the day. One student took this opportunity to thank the students from the other schools for coming to the Kite Festival. She went on to say that she had had a good time and that she was definitely going to share her experiences with all her friends. Another student said that making the kites and flying the kites was a very moving experience. She said that she thoroughly enjoyed the view and concluded by thanking the Japan Information & Culture Centre and the teachers for allowing them to have an opportunity to interact with students from other schools.