Inooro FM

Posted on May 20, 2014

Here in Kenya, Inooro FM is huge. It is a Kikuyu radio station and is broadcast all over the country. In the words of Ron Burgundy, it’s kind of a big deal.

So, imagine the excitement of 15 kids from Eburru who went to Nairobi to be on Inooro FM live. Even waking up at 4AM couldn’t deter their energy. This was a chance of a lifetime for many of them, and for some of them it was their very first trip to Nairobi, ever.

We planned to leave the school at 5AM, before the sunrise:

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The plan was to leave at 5:00 because the kids were supposed to be at the radio station at 8:00 to get introduced to the DJ and hear what they were supposed to do. It takes about 2 1/2 hours to get to Nairobi from Eburru–so long as there is no traffic–so we were giving ourselves plenty of time.

Here in Eburru, things almost never go according to plan. The matatu didn’t arrive for the kids until 6:00 which meant we didn’t leave until 6:10 (and that was a record-setting pace for getting loaded and getting going), which left us less than 2 hours to do a 2 1/2 hour drive. Needless to say we didn’t make it on time.

But, we did make it before the show went live at 9:00, so all was not lost.

The kids were taken into the studio and sat around a round table with three microphones:

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The host talked to them about the importance of speaking directly into the microphone to be heard, and the importance of not leaving any “empty space” in the conversation. She described how important it is to help people see what is happening in the studio since they can only hear what is going on. Then she said something that caused all the kids to get really nervous: she told them they were about to be broadcast all over the country and heard by millions of people. They instantly froze and got really shy. It took some coaxing from the host and the teachers to get them to break out of their shell and get excited again.

Before the show started the host was playing some music and encouraged the kids to dance, how I wish everyone listening could have seen the kids dancing and having fun. It was a blast to watch them let loose!

After getting warmed up, the kids did an amazing job! They sang songs, recited poetry, one of them gave a little mini sermon, and a couple of them even read the Inooro news update. I was grinning the whole time watching them do so well, enjoying every moment of them getting to experience this once in a lifetime thing. After the radio program the host took us on a tour of the studio where we got to see a few other radio stations, see where they collect the news for radio, and even got to go into the Citizen TV studios. The kids asked great questions and really paid attention to all the details they were being shown.

After the studio we went to the Arboretum and had a picnic, which was another great treat for the kids. They loved being in a place that felt like the woods even though they were in the middle of Nairobi. After lunch we made the long journey back to Eburru where the boarding students were waiting to greet the kids, cheering them on as if they were celebrities. The kids shared stories of their experience, and as I went out and about in Eburru all people were talking about was how they “heard the kids on the radio and it was great!” The people of Eburru definitely had a sense of pride hearing “their kids” on the radio station, knowing they were being heard all over the country.

Never in a million years could I have guessed I’d be taking a group of kids to be on a live radio show, but I am so glad I was able to be part of this memory making day with them!


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