Ceci and Mr. Ajania co-teach today’s PFA meeting

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Ceci and Mr. Ajania co-teach today’s PFA meeting



Pencils for Africa Co-Teacher, Ms. Weitzman, was on a field trip with eighth grade students, teachers and parents in Ashland today. As a result, the PFA Meeting today was co-taught by Mr. Ajania and Ceci.

The discussions began with Ceci telling the story of the recent return of the tortoise Moana after Moana had escaped for several days and was finally found up the street from where she had journeyed.


The intrepid Moana is discovered after her adventure in Tiburon

Mr. Ajania then described how, when he was in middle school in Kenya, he and his classmates would often visit the local reptile zoo where they would see gigantic tortoises, some of them well over 100 years old.

Tortoises can live a very long time, and some tortoises have lived for well over 200 years.

The discussion then turned to the value of zoos versus letting animals remain in the wild.


Emily had recently written a report whereby she expressed concern for the modern zoos and the need for more humane treatment of wildlife. Some of the PFA students had visited the San Diego Zoo, which is a research zoo, and it was discussed that a humane research zoo, managed by dedicated zoologists, was less exploitative of animals. For example, there are several African animals, including an elephant, that have been injured, and are more vulnerable in their natural habitat and often targeted by poachers.

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It is therefore more humane to bring them to a research zoo like the San Diego Zoo, where they are protected, and also have lots of room to take long walks and naps. Mr. Ajania said he visits San Diego Zoo regularly, in order to sketch the wildlife, and has included some of his sketches here in this article.



The class discussion then focused upon the need for protecting wildlife, such as the African rhino and elephant, from poaching for ivory and rhino horn. One way in which Pencils for Africa addresses this important issue is through PFA Fundraisers that support the Wildlife Conservation organization Tusk.


Tusk supports and connects and coordinates the people providing the most promising solutions to the current crisis facing Africa’s wildlife.

Click here for the website of Tusk


Ceci then led a PFA discussion on Harambe the African gorilla, and the treatment of wildlife in zoos.

The PFA Meeting was concluded with a happy wave to Ms. Weitzman and the eighth grade students.

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