Editor’s Note: This is the last Dispatch from Kenya for 2013. The group from St. Gregory College Prep and Catalina Foothills High School in Tucson, Ariz. and the Atlanta Girls School left Kenya on June 25 ending a three-week adventure where they taught in rural schools around their home base at Batian’s View, helped build and maintain classrooms, and learned about life on the other side of the world both culturally and geographically.
June 25, 2013
By Jake Rogers, St. Gregory Class of ‘14
I woke up this morning bright and early and walked out to the showers at Batian’s View. I walked past a group of 18 middle schoolers from Nairobi and the 15 schoolgirls from Australia and thought, “These people are making our home way too crowded.”
We have come to feel this place has become our home over the last three weeks. Grant, Fin, Pierce, Noah and I have made our little two-room home our place to have some quality man talk. The eating area has become the place for everyone to meet up and share their stories and experiences of the day. The library has become our hangout area at night, where everyone will meet up to play poker or war, share snacks or watch The Wire.
All of us on this trip have come to accept Batian’s View as our home, and the people living here as one big family. After our time living in Kenya, we’ve all collected different stories to tell our friends and family back at our real homes. But overall we have all come to one conclusion about our trip; it was a life-changing experience.
When we look back on everything we’ve done here, we can never look at our lives in America the way we did before leaving our comfortable little bubbles. In writing this last blog I knew I couldn’t do justice to the feelings and memories we all have of this place, so I asked my peers for a bit of help.
From Bella Newberry, Atlanta Girls School Class of ’14: “Kenya was so much more than I could have ever hoped or expected. These weeks here have generated some of the greatest times of my life, and everyone who has shared this with me is now a lifetime companion whom I will always cherish. Moving forward I will remember the life-changing experiences this country gave me. I have realized that my impact on this world is greater than I could have ever dreamed.”
From Quinelle Bethelmie, Atlanta Girls School Class of ’13: “My time in Kenya has given me a new outlook on the world and my place in it. The memory of this trip will be a reminder to me to never take anything for granted and that when you open your mind and your heart to new people and places, life-changing experiences are guaranteed.”
From Mr. Roberts, St. Gregory Dean of Students: “While I love Kenya and all that it has done to enrich my life, the greatest gift I can offer is to share this experience with others. I admire the sacrifice and effort the Americans put into coming here, but I know that with each trip what they see and do will have a lasting impact on their lives. I also deeply appreciate the support we receive from the schools and students here, for without them this would not be possible. I hope that forever I can be a link between Kenya and America, and facilitate the growth and insight that this experience brings not only to the Americans, but to many Kenyans as well.”
From Pierce Maguire and Finian Lowery, St. Gregory Class of ‘14: “Our lives in America are so simple and easy compared to what some of the people we have met here in Naro Moru have to go through every day. We have easy access to food, water, electricity and clean sanitation, and some people here don’t have access to those things at all. They will struggle at times, but what is most impressive is that they always seem happy and content with what they do have. We are truly lucky to live in America, but it is important that we learn first-hand about the cultures around the world who do not have the things we do in America, the things we take for granted.”
Now with this experience of Kenya, we can use this knowledge to try to help others in less fortunate situations, much like what we have done with the children in Kenya. Every single one of us has come to the single conclusion that this trip has been an eye-opening experience, and for that we thank all the people that helped make it a reality. Our parents, our families, the staff at Batian’s View, and all of the wonderful people we have met in Kenya allow this opportunity to become a reality.
Now that we are leaving in a few hours to get on a plane to London, we can start to appreciate the true meaning of this trip and how it has enriched our lives. I now pass the Dispatch from Kenya responsibilities to next year’s group. You can bet that I will be reading each and every one next June, and reliving a time that has meant a great deal to me and my peers.