Working with teachers in Kenya brought home the reality that education is the only way out of poverty. Kenyan people are bright (they speak at least three languages), hard-working (small children rise at the crack of dawn to walk an hour or more to school) and highly spiritual (they believe that life is fundamentally good). They continue to smile broadly and study hard despite their circumstances. They are optimistic about the future. Drought, famine and large class sizes (+100 per teacher, in some cases) are some of the challenges faced by teachers and students in many parts of Africa.
The Kenyan teachers are grateful to Teachers Without Borders for sharing our ideas, especially methodology and learning strategies that they plan to incorporate as appropriate for their unique communities. With rapidly expanding internet access, I am confident that some of the friendships we struck up will endure the tests of time and distance. Truth be told, I think we learned more from the Kenyans than they did from us. There are many ways of knowing the world, and our North American approach is but one.
Returning to Canada, the environment seems rather sterile after the red dust and back alley campfires of Nairobi. Already I miss the hearty handshakes and hugs of the Kenyan people.