On Mandela & My Hope

It wasn’t an unusual morning. The sun was brilliant by six am, my bedroom was beginning to bake in the Mombasa heat and my washing was still left forgotten on the line, swaying in the breeze. It was when I … Continue reading

Dear Student Teachers: Go Outside.

The bell has rung and after a flurry at the door you’re left with an almost empty classroom. There are a few scragglers (as always) still trying to fill in their planners or stack their chairs so you don’t waste any time; you look around the room and start compiling your mental to-do list that seems to grow and grow but never be ‘to-done.’ Even before you finish making that never-ending list, even the most distracted student finally needs you to sign their planner. You do so, reminding them not to forget their gym strip on Monday– and boom – like a flash they’re out the door.

My advice to you? Go outside.

Walk the playground. Join in on a basketball game. Play hop scotch or jump rope. Ruffle a few tops of heads and talk to the kids out there. They’re the reason you’re here and when you’re Continue reading

Support our ‘Swimathon for Textbooks’ on November 8th, 2013


Support our student’s ‘Swimathon for Textbooks’ by donating pledges for every lap they swim! On November 8th 2013, our students will be heading to a local swimming pool and will be swimming the height of Kilimanjaro with the support of pledges from around the world! All the money raised will go towards providing much needed textbooks into our classrooms.

If you and your class want to participate in this fundraising event, please email me at: monikastahlstrom@gmail.com for a fundraising package!

Donations can be made through our ‘Just Giving’ and ‘Charitable Trust’ Pages:

Just Giving:http://www.justgiving.com/GVI-Mombasa1
Charitable Trust: http://gvi.org/

Mr. Mutunga: Jail Bird & Principal

mutungaMutunga (Brian) Kimanthi, head of Nyota Ing’arayo school, had graciously invited me into his home and allowed me to interview him regarding his experience in a Kenyan Prison. I’ve been calling him a jail bird and an aider and abettor but I wanted to know the full story. I wanted to write about it for others to hear a bit about what it’s like trying to do a good thing – run a school educating those less fortunate – and getting imprisoned (even if for a short while) for doing so. He was happy to tell me the story over chapatis and soda.

Mutunga is a very sweet man. It is hard Continue reading

Beginning to Understand the ‘Terror’ in Terrorist Attacks

I was sitting in a cafe just outside the major mall of Mombasa. I trekked out early in the morning to make the time difference and Facetime my family and friends at home. I ended up staying for a lot longer than I anticipated as I got carried away with conversations and those I was having with myself in my writing. I sat beside a window and throughout the day I noticed some changes. The guards were doing more than thorough security checks than when I first walked through this morning. Trunks of cars were being opened and the underbelly of cars were being searched . The pat downs on pedestrians and the metal detector use was different. It wasn’t the usual wave of their detector – hear a beep – and say ‘Asante’ as you walk through. No, now they were really checking what was beeping and what you were carrying. The only thought Continue reading

Observing a New approach to Composition Writing Lessons

GVI Volunteers have these students up until Standard 6. After that, our volunteer presence is lifted and shifted back into Kenyan teacher’s hands.  Once they reach Standard 8 they have to take a national exam, their KCPE,  to see if they can move on to Secondary School. Without passing this exam, the students cannot move on in their education or have a certified & documented education. The attainment of certification means more open doors from documented jobs to bank loans. This certificate means a lot in guaranteeing a bright future for our students.

Not all of our students will pass this exam, attain certification and move on. But we’re hoping Continue reading

Promoting Education Through Community

Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Olives Church in Bombolulu is a busy, busy time. We have Madam Grace leading her Kiswahili Lessons, and we have volunteers teaching Maths, English, Computer Literacy, and Creative Arts to the adult members of the … Continue reading

Six Weeks Turns Into Six Months

I was pulled away on a Thursday afternoon to have a chat with the project manager. Not really sure what it would be about I went in without any expectations. After a short while I realized what was happening and was beginning to feel hopeful. “Monika, we love what you have done here and the work you’ve been putting in with resources and how to change the programs.  I know that you are going on Safari this weekend – take your time and travel if you like – but instead of flying home after that, we’d like you to stay here as the Education Officer for our project.” Before she finished asking, my heart had already said yes. Continue reading