Volunteer Abroad - Kenya, Volunteer Abroad Programs

Looking for a Break Through in the Beautiful Ngong Hills

by Kalie McQuillen, Greenheart Travel Volunteer Abroad Participant in Kenya

Today was my first day back on the job. These kids are so far behind I don’t know where to start. I have a problem with the teaching methods because I believe that the kids are capable of much more than they are being asked. It is also tough because I don’t know their backgrounds. I’m working on learning more there. One girl Grace (who is so adorable it hurts) is deaf. She has been at Tania for two months and this is her first time in school. She is around 10 years old. She can’t add, count, read, or do the ABC’s. She can copy, but she doesn’t connect what she is writing. It is so frustrating because I want so badly for her and the other children to understand. I came here thinking I may end up being so mad at America for being so privileged, but really I’m just so thankful for my education.

Here the only “free” schooling is primary (k-8). And even that isn’t really free so some kids still can’t go. After that you have to pay for boarding school which is about $500 US dollars a year. For us that may sound reasonable, but many people here live on $30 a month. Then university is as expensive as it is in the States, but there is no federal help at all. Aggrey is 28, lives at home and has never ever held a job. I’m 18 and I have had at least five. Here there are absolutely no jobs, not even fast food or janitorial work. I worry so much that after the students leave Tania they will be left lost.

Ngong is a Maasai word meaning "knuckles". photo courtesy of jdkvirus's photostream

I will just keep working to have a break though in the special class. In the meantime I will look out the window at the Ngong Hills. Sun is setting and it is absolutely gorgeous. Reminds of Colorado. I also see kids playing on the concrete outside my door, hear a little boy singing, and see my clothes drying in the breeze. (I did my first load of hand-washed laundry today! It is a work out.)

About Greenheart Travel

CCI Greenheart Travel is personally invested in providing cultural immersion programs that change lives, advance careers and create leaders. We achieve this by partnering with organizations and governments overseas that empower their local communities through experiential learning and practical development. We provide others with the same positive travel experiences in which we ourselves engage. Through travel and cultural exchange, we help individuals reach their full potential, leading to a more tolerant, peaceful and environmentally sustainable world.

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