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Abby_P

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Review for Kenya Connect Inc, Elkridge, MD, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

After graduating from Arundel High School in May of 2015, unsure of what I wanted to do at University, I embarked on a year-long solo trip around the world. I had a plethora of incredible opportunities from living amongst the picturesque rolling hills of Sicily to learning how to scuba dive in the beautiful reefs of Southern Thailand. However, my absolute favorite experience that I had was volunteering in Wamunyu, a village in Central Kenya, with Kenya Connect for three weeks during January of 2016. The small on-site staff has some of the most genuine and dedicated people I've ever met. There was Patrick; he accompanied me on a trip to Nairobi with his wife. First, we stopped at what Kenyans refer to as a 'muzungu' restaurant; Muzungu being a Swahili word, roughly translating to "white foreigner." They both ordered the chicken breast, but when they bit into the chicken fillet, they began yelling in the middle of the restaurant, 'Where are the bones?!?! This isn't chicken! It's got no bones!!!' and I could hardly contain myself. James was more reserved but hard-working and dedicated with a quiet, tender smile that makes it appear as if he knows something you don't, which he probably does. Then there was Cyrus, who chauffeured me on his motorbike to different schools every day, where we would set up new book clubs, or simply check in on existing ones. Everyday, and I mean every day, as we sped down the bumpy dirt roads he would turn to me and scream excitedly over the noise of the bike '100% free African Massage!'. It never got old. I will never forget the first school we visited. We were starting a new book club in Sofia Primary school, the students were all waiting outside in the dirt courtyard when we arrived, murmuring excitingly to each other as we got closer. The students performed a song and dance for the occasion, and I was able to meet all of the teachers and administrative staff at the school, there were roughly six of them. Once with the selected students, I introduced myself, and we read a children's book called 'We're going on a lion hunt', it is meant to be read as a kind of song and dance so we read it together. The students were shy at first, but once they understood the words, they really got into it! After we finished the book, we answered some questions about it together to be sure everyone understood the story and could discuss what they liked best about it. After I had said my farewells, I was followed out by a stampede of giggling Kamba children, who laughed and waved until we were out of sight. Luckily for me, I had the opportunity to repeat this incident with little variation as I traveled to a collection of primary and secondary schools throughout the rest of my time in Kenya. One of those secondary schools being Nyanni whose book club I had had the pleasure of skyping with throughout my Junior and Senior years at Arundel high. We were even able to hold a Skype session while I was there, on the Kenya side of the Skype, standing in the very resource center that we had fundraised at Arundel so much to help build, it was unreal. It's been ten months since I was in Kenya, and I still think about it, about them, every day.

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