The students find friends everywhere in Kenyaby kenya on Jun. 11, 2013, under Life
Editor’s note: Students from St. Gregory College Preparatory School in Tucson are joined on their journey to Kenya by students from two other schools – Catalina Foothills High School and Atlanta Girls School.
June 10, 2013
By Lish Earnest, Atlanta Girls School Class of ’14
It is no surprise that there are countless adjustments one must make when parting from his or her comfortable home and culture and embarking on an adventure in rural Kenya.
While challenging at first, I have found every change to be overwhelmingly positive. For example, if I were to wave “hello!” to every stranger at home or everyone I’m riding in an elevator with, I would probably get some strange looks. Here I learned quickly that not doing so is actually rude, because in this friendly and approachable community greetings are an important aspect of the lively Kenyan culture. It seems like you always have a friend nearby to say hello to, even if they are complete strangers.
Today was my second day of teaching at Manyatta Primary School, and I made sure to walk in with lesson plans in hand so I did not have another experience like Friday. That was our first day and one where we didn’t anticipate teaching. One of the teachers was absent, however, and I was asked to teach an English class for which I was totally unprepared. It was a frightening experience, but the students and I all survived.
The lessons that I prepared for today – finding the area of a triangle, and possessive vs. reflexive pronouns – went extremely well. It was new material for my students but they caught on quickly and were lively volunteers when I asked for answers. However, the challenge I was faced with next made today the most exhausting day on this trip so far.
After finishing my class I looked to see which classroom my teaching partner, Noah Deitch, was in to see if he needed help. It turns out he did; he had been given the responsibility of watching the Standard 1 students, the equivalent to first grade, all 35 of them! He and I had our hands full for the rest of the afternoon, and I realized how much patience I don’t have.
After our time as supervisors passed, we involved ourselves in volleyball practice. The team has an important match tomorrow and Noah practiced with the students while I kept score. We said goodbye to our fellow teachers with a handshake and accepted an invitation to go out for samosas with one of our new colleagues after school tomorrow.
One of the most interesting things to happen today was that our school received a shipment of Toms. If you are not aware, Toms are shoes that for every pair purchased, a pair is given to a child in need in a developing country. The headmaster of our school had a checklist of certain students’ names that were to be given shoes that day. So if you were ever suspicious of the validity of the Toms mission, I can guarantee it is legitimate as I have now seen it with my own eyes! I felt so good that I purchased a pair at home and that I had a part in a student receiving these shoes!
When all of us returned to Batian’s View we spent a good half hour drinking chai and sharing stories, each of us claiming that our respective schools were the best. We had some free time until dinner so many of us took a few rides on the zip line.
After a delicious dinner Mr. Roberts gave us a lesson on Kenya’s colonial era with an emphasis on Kenya’s armed struggle for independence in the 1950s, also known as Mau Mau. The lesson was preparation for tomorrow evening’s visitor, an elder woman who is a neighbor to Batian’s View. She was 17 years old when the state of emergency was declared and her husband was put in detention. She was forced to leave her home and live in a village controlled by the British. That is all I know and I look forward to hearing her story.
Tomorrow it’s back to the chalkboard for all of us so tutaonana kesho! (See you tomorrow.)