Education Beyond Borders

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life that you’ve imagined.”
Henry David Thoreau

“Life is not measured by the breaths you take but the moments that take your breath away.” Unknown

My adventures in Africa started many years ago when I was a child growing up watching old black and white Tarzan movies starring Johnny Weissmuller and Maureen O’Sullivan. I marveled at how strong Tarzan was wrestling with giant crocodiles and rescuing people from quicksand. I was even more enthralled with the fact that whenever he called the animals with his signature call, they all came to help him out. How lucky he was to live such an exciting life.
Later on, I dreamed of visiting the “cradle of mankind” where the Leakeys had made wonderful and surprising discoveries about human evolution. As well, Jane Goodall with her chimpanzee research and environmental work was an inspiration to me.
Being a biology teacher, I have been traveling when possible learning about biodiversity of different parts of the world. When the chance came up to travel to Kenya to work with Kenyan teachers through EBB, it was a perfect chance for me. What an opportunity – to be able to share my passion for teaching and to see the beauty of the country at the same time.
Just recently, I had finished my M. Ed in Curriculum and Pedagogy focusing on “Instructional Intelligence”. I felt comfortable in sharing my learning with both my Canadian and Kenyan colleagues. I was looking forward to contributing to the Nanyuki team and being part of the professional and cultural exchange.
My experience at Nanyuki was amazing. It was far beyond my expectations. The eleven Kenyan facilitators were so welcoming and incredibly dedicated. I first went through a culture shock when I realized that many schools still did not have access to electricity or running water. I wondered how I would be able to cope with these working conditions if I was faced with them. As well, I was able to see how extreme poverty was denying basic needs such as food, shelter and clean water for both the students and teachers. I was astonished and moved by the extreme optimism that the Kenyan teachers showed regardless of their daily challenges.
As we got to know each other, it came very clear that we were not so different. We were all working toward improving our practices for the benefit of our students. Education is a vehicle for positive change.
During the school visits, the warmth of the students and the staffs was very touching. They were so excited to meet the visitors. They were such gracious hosts. I was astonished when I found out that the students were schooled in their third or fourth language. I can’t imagine first learning your tribal language, then kiswahili, and then to do school in English. How difficult it must be. Their perseverance and resilience really made an impression on me.
During our stay, we were lucky to witness a historical event. The rallies leading up to the voting on the new constitution were very interesting. All of Kenya, regardless of age or tribal affiliation seemed to be involved. There was hope that Kenya will move forward to better the lives of its people.
In the final week, we were able to work to plan and run the workshops for sixty other teachers. The workshops included reflective journaling, learning styles, collaborative learning, inquiry-based learning and project planning. As a result of our collaboration, I feel that both the Canadian and Kenyan teachers have been enriched beyond our expectations. We learned so much from each other.
All in all, I would like to thank EBB and Noble Kelly for providing me the opportunity to work with the Kenyan colleagues in Nanyuki. I have vivid and fond memories of the safaris, climbing Mt. Kenya, visits to cultural manyattas, schools, a childrens’ home and a boys’ rescue center. Most importantly, I will miss my Kenyan colleagues who I got to know so well. I will remember: wise Danson, Samuel with his quick wit, thoughtful Emily, intense Joram, philosophical Munga, feisty Jenifer, shy Preston, Peter G with his quiet presence, inseparable Joseph K and Joseph W and hardworking George.
I feel truly lucky. I will treasure my experiences forever. I would also like to thank my Canadian colleagues who gave up a big part of their summer to volunteer for such a worthwhile experience. When I close my eyes, I can see Tracey moving to her Irish dance, Katharine doing her yoga and Bill strumming on his guitar. I will be dreaming of Africa for a long time.

Views: 75

Add a Comment

You need to be a member of Education Beyond Borders to add comments!

Join Education Beyond Borders


Noble Kelly created this Ning Network.

Donate Now!

Translate this page:

Follow us on:


© 2024   Created by Noble Kelly.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service