Not a day has gone by where I have not reminisced about Kenya. Honestly, I left a piece of my heart in Kenya, but God is close to the broken-hearted. Granted, we have been back only a few days, but the friendships and memories made will last a lifetime. Since our return, many people have asked,
“How was Kenya? How are the people there? Did you feel welcomed?”
The day is not long enough for me to describe the trip as a whole, but a few things do stand out:
- Every time we met someone new, we were greeted with a handshake along with “Karibu”, which means, “Welcome.” Honestly, after going to new places and consistently being greeted like this, we really believed our company was welcome. I felt both needed and wanted, which is a wonderful feeling to have, especially as a foreigner.
- The community valued teachers. When people found out I was a teacher in Wisconsin, I had multiple opportunities to teach. The children soaked in the knowledge with a razor sharp focus and an eagerness to engage. Teachers at Beacon of Hope valued education for the children’s future and for theirs as well. There are at least two teachers that are in the process of becoming certified in another area within the profession. Education also empowers women. In Kenya, many women are dependent on their husbands’ earnings, but for the woman who teaches, respect is given. Knowing this, these women can make a living without their husband – God forbid anything happens to him. Education not only empowers, but it brings freedom to women who are vulnerable.
- One day over a tea break, a couple of teachers and I brainstormed on how the eight National Goals of Educational in Kenya align with their new Competency Based Education Training (CBET) curriculum. The eight National Goals of Education are:
- To foster nationalism, patriotism and promote national unity
- To promote the social, economic, technological and industrial needs for national development
- To promote individual development and self-fulfillment
- To promote sound moral and religious values
- To promote social equity and responsibility
- To promote respect for and development of Kenya’s rich and varied cultures
- To promote international consciousness and foster positive attitudes towards other nations.
- To promote positive attitudes towards good health and environmental protection
Overall, the educational goals are important in maintaining quality education. Similar to the United States, Kenya faces overpopulation of students per classroom. For example, one of the classrooms alone has over thirty students. The rising population in Kenya includes forty-two ethnic communities, with each community having even more sub-tribes. At Beacon of Hope, both teachers and students consisted of various tribes.
These goals bring awareness to the educational department…and sheds light on the darkness that makes or breaks thousands of teachers.
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.St. Francis