See what I did there? Kenya = can you? Didn’t discover that little trick until we were there but we certainly overused it by the time we left!
I was browsing through the photos on my phone and came upon our trip to Kenya last month. Photos never do justice. We had been talking about visiting our Kenyan projects for ages. Finally meeting two of our oldest partners on the ground was nothing short of amazing. We even got to attend and participate in two uniform distributions! This means calling the children up one by one and handing them their uniform – it was worth the wait!
Our first stop was Flying Kites. We drove about two hours out of the busy, congested capital of Nairobi and into the mountains, to Njabini. The contrast was incredible, but all along the way there were of course certain constants. One of them was the sight of schoolchildren walking to or from school, dressed in their uniforms. Another constant was the sight of children sitting on the sides of the roads or behind kiosks or with smaller children on their backs; this second subset of children were not dressed in uniforms and they were not headed to or from school. We went to Kenya to learn how we can get the latter set of children to school.
Upon arrival at Flying Kites we toured their beautiful campus and had a most warm welcome from their students! We met Warucu, the School Director who we were told makes everything happen and we visited one of the local schools that Flying Kites will soon be partnering with. If all goes according to plan, so will Tailored for Education 🙂
The rest of our trip was spent with Dignitas, who we have been working with since 2012! We visited eight community schools in the slums; some we have provided uniforms to in the past and some are upcoming beneficiaries. We thought we had somewhat of a grasp on poverty after traveling to other developing countries but the poverty that we saw in the Nairobi slums was the worst we had seen. This trip more than any other truly reinforced that education is the only way out for children of the developing world.
We walked into schools that if you had to guess, you’d say they served maybe 200 children, when in fact they served 600. Classrooms that would hold 20 children in the US hold about 80 children here, the grades separated by thin partitions. Desk chairs or benches meant to seat two, seat four or more. Classrooms with thin potato sack walls. Muddy floors. Sloped floors. Tin roofs, few windows and no electricity so even seeing what you are supposed to be learning can be a challenge. Leaking latrines. “Playgrounds” with murky puddles of trash and sewage. It wasn’t the first time we saw these school conditions on our site visits, but they are worth mentioning because it’s truly shocking every.single.time.
We left Kenya with full hearts, lots of new friends and a deep desire to expand our existing Kenyan partnerships. Stay tuned to see what Kenya has in store for us for the rest of 2018 and beyond!