Education Opinion

Back from Kenya

By Barbara Purn — July 19, 2006 1 min read
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I am now in Heathrow Airport, once again waiting out an 8-hour layover. Yesterday I had an hour flight from Malindi to Nairobi, where I had to spend about 8 hours as well. I actually got some sleep on the flight to London, about 3 hours I think and I feel pretty good this morning. I’ll be here until afternoon, fly for nine hours and arrive in Seattle only one hour later than when I left London!

I can hardly believe that I’ve actually left Kenya. I keep reliving memories and smiling to myself. I see those sweet faces as we passed by on the van, children waving as they walked to school. Each school had a different, colorful uniform. They looked so clean in them. The schools have benches only, about 70 students to a classroom and they have no writing materials. They only recite and read off the teacher’s blackboard. When we went to the Gede dancers compound, we saw a blackboard set up under a tree with multiplication tables written over it. Apparently that was there classroom.

The Kenyan people speak a very exact British-style English. Their hands are beautiful, with long graceful fingers. They move deliberately and slowly, with poise and grace. I marveled each day watching the women walk with large buckets (water?) on their heads. Yesterday on my drive to the airport I saw two children carrying their books that way, practicing, no doubt.

Our Earthwatch Team hopes to keep in close contact, share photos with Kodak EasyShare over the net, and have a reunion. We complained at times over the hard work or difficult circumstances, but each one of us was profoundly touched by the experience. We enjoyed laughter and tears as we worked and lived for a short while in a very beautiful and untouched culture so different from our own. I will always remember my summer in Kenya and hope that my students can benefit from my experiences, stories, and mementos that I carry back into my classroom.

Fellow teacher teammates from top, left to right: Andrew, Meredith, Allison, Karin, Marsha and Kiara.

The opinions expressed in My Summer in Kenya are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.