Children in Kenya are getting a rare chance to look at the stars through a telescope for both fun and educational purposes. This follows the introduction of the traveling telescope in Kenya by a company with the same name.
It is the brainchild of Susan Murabana, a Kenyan astronomer who wants to change the way young people interact with the cosmos while at the same time encouraging the love of a different science, astronomy.
As the sun goes down in Kenya’s Kikuyu area, Murabana and the travelling telescope team prepare to set up the telescope as excited school children cheer them on. Before long it is all set and one by the one the children peer through the telescope.
Susan and her husband Owen Chu take turns to educate the pupils of Musa Gitau Primary school about the various planets and stars. They have been doing this in Kenya since 2014 – when they set up the Travelling Telescope.
“We know it has been around for more than 400 years and very few people have had a chance to look through one, so we are very keen to get as many people especially young children to look through the telescope and to appreciate science through that,” said Murabana.
What the children see through the telescope remains etched in their memories and even inspires dreams to pursue this rare science.
Susan started off as an economist but when she attended a lecture of African traditional sky knowledge, her curiosity spurred her to study astronomy.
Her work has taken her to several rural schools in Kenya. It is an opportunity the children would have never dreamed of.
“We expose kids and teachers to alternative ways of learning that compliments what they already learn in the classroom,” she said.
She hopes to inspire home-grown astronomers and women scientists through her work. She also would like to expand across Africa. In the meantime, she is working to build a public observatory in Kenya, where school parties can come and understand more about the planets.