05 July 2011

Terran: exposure to education

Terran is currently 16 and will be a junior next year. This is the age when many start considering which particular field of study or future career they might want to focus on. One of the aims of his stay with me was to expose him to some of the struggles of getting an education in Kenya as well as a few ways to challenge his own thoughts.

We visited Turning Point, an NGO in Kibera (one of Nairobi's large slums). Some friends from my church run the NGO and a couple of other friends of mine work there. Many children living is such slums are unable to attend school for a variety of reasons. One of the primary goals of Turning Point is to prepare children for primary or secondary school. During our three visits, Terran interacted with the kids and did a bit of volunteering.

Tony is my friend, Agnes', oldest son. Even though he's 18, due to many circumstances outside of his control, he's only reached eighth grade. Undeterred by being one of the oldest students in his class, he is very determined to reach secondary school! Terran offered to pay for the five "revision" books Tony needs to prepare for his Class 8 exams this November.

We also visited Harvest Secondary School in the Mtoni area of Matunda, where Terran spoke to the entire student body. Not only were they thrilled to hear his answers to their questions, they also gleaned some good principles from what he shared. For instance: "Life is always full of challenges. We should just accept them and move on."

We spent the night with my friend, Mary Alu, at Nzoia Scheme. Terran and her grandson, Brian, had a nice conversation while he was doing his homework. Terran picked up on the fact that Brian's interests seem to be pointing him in the direction of some sort of international work. Terran encouraged him to pursue that field. In the photo, Brian is doing his homework by the light of a single lantern, like so many thousands of youngsters in the rural areas of Kenya.

My Sudanese friends, Mawien and Deng, came over one day for lunch. They shared some of the hurdles and atrocities they have faced in their short lives. They expressed their commitment to completing their education as far as they are able. They often say, "We would rather be in school than eat!" They also encouraged Terran to take full advantage of the opportunities he's been given.

I took Terran to two university campuses. This photo is the Fab Lab at the University of Nairobi. Terran spent 3 hours with the guys there, as they demonstrated an environment that facilitates creativity in manufacturing anything the mind can conceive.

We also went to USIU (United States International University), where my friend, Kim is a student. Kim admitted to Terran that he doesn't particularly enjoy being in the classroom, but he sees it as a means to his goals.

Hopefully these various opportunities (and others that we experienced) will serve as a catalyst in Terran's thoughts as he explores his own future.


Anonymous said...

Cool. Am excited to read about the trip through your eyes now that it's over. I'm blogging "half the story" at Delhibound, with a link to your blog for the "rest of the story" -- hope that's ok ??

Jill said...

Wow - loved following along Terran's Kenyan adventures. He looks like he really enjoyed himself ...

deb said...

I believe he did... and so did I!