20 Things I’ve found in Kenyan Cassrooms but probably won’t in Canadian Ones

1. I’ve taught an entire PE lesson with a small baby in my arms. Did I have to? No, but I couldn’t leave her crying! 2. While prepping my lessons on the staff room floor, a little chick (I’ve ironically … Continue reading

Football: Community and Spirit

“Who’s brilliant idea was it to set up a football match at 2 pm, the hottest time of day?” Josh whines, prompting laughs and blame to be passed on to Dan and Pete for the sweaty, exhausting afternoon ahead of … Continue reading

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

An Orphanage is not a Tourist Destination nor am I in ‘Africa’

I took a week long camping safari with Intrepid Tours where I traveled from Nairobi through to the National Parks and sights. I was more than happy to see the Maasai Mara, the Great Rift Valley, Hells Gate – among … Continue reading

Celebrating ‘Official School Status’ & My Leaving Ceremony

Nyota Ing’arayo became an official school and today we celebrated. There was pilau, singing, dancing, smiling, and definite laughing going on at the school amongst teachers, staff, volunteers and especially the students. With Nyota becoming a school, the Students of Standard 8 are able to sit their Kenyan Certified Primary Education (KCPE) exam wearing uniforms representing their school. Now it’s official and Nyota is moving on from it’s child care centre days to a government recognized school. Continue reading

The Commute to School

Commuting to school here is much different than at home. At home you’ll find me behind the wheel of my small car with Siri navigating me turn by turn, cursing horrid radio stations as I drink my hastily made coffee.  … Continue reading

What am I doing here?

“Why on earth did I sign up for two months here? What am I even doing?
I shouldn’t be here!”

Dread, a bit of panic, and an overwhelming amount of doubt was there to greet me when I was driving to the project site from the airport in Mombasa.

I always thought it was cliché when they say,  ”you’ll never know what poverty is until you see it in person, face to face.”  But they are entirely right. To see it that close. To see it seem endless with every street, every corner, every sea of garbage you see a child and animal picking through, every crowded market, every person you see lying in the streets, every shack that you would never want to call home, every burning pile of rubbish, every repugnant smell that wafts into your nose, every broken down building, every child wandering alone, and the excessive amounts of people living in conditions that you would avoid even walking through will overwhelm you and help you understand exactly what poverty is.

It will make you too aware of your own fortune. Of how well off you are. To be coming into this entirely different world with the culture and history you carry with you. To hate where you’re from and want to forget that you even came here. To feel ashamed of the good hand you were dealt in life.  To want to hide away and not be here ‘to help.’ Which now, as you’re driving though it – seem so minuscule, conceited and ridiculous. Selfishly taking an ‘experience’ away from this place. And what are you really giving back? Nothing can ever be enough so you should just turn back now. Continue reading