Terri arrived safely in London and is enjoying time with her daughter. I (Danielle) am still in Kenya for another few days, soaking in all I can of everything Nairobi before heading back to Boston. As we mentioned in previous posts, we have had some fantastic networking opportunities arise since being in Kenya.
This week, I met with Miriam, an alumna from Kilimani Primary who has united a group of 80 other alumni to offer support to the school. They are currently working on a few projects to enhance the educational and extra-curricular opportunities at Kilimani, such as updating the school’s sports equipment and repairing the swimming pool. I was really encouraged by Miriam’s enthusiasm, energy, and forward thinking. She has already circulated information about the VIP partnership with her group and is receiving affirmative feedback. It is great to know that the three pillars of support for a successful school – students, teachers & administrators, and parents & community – are in tact at Kilimani as we’ve seen their essentialness at the Henderson. Once again, it is another affirmation for us that even though we are continents and cultures apart, Kilimani and Henderson are so much the same.
As this partnership develops, we are looking ahead for creative ways to get others involved. This week, I met again with the managing director of Gamewatchers Safaris and a representative from EoS Visions to design a few 12-day Educational Tours to Kenya for 2011, one tailored for students and parents and two others for teachers and administrators (more details to follow). EoS Visions mission is to “bridge cultural and political borders through education and exchange, and contribute to sustainable development”. They were quite intrigued by the Virtual Information Project and were immediately interested in collaborating with us. Interestingly enough, EoS Visions organized Bono’s recent April 2010 trip to Nairobi as part of his “One Campaign – A Better Africa for Africans”.
Yesterday, President Obama addressed 115 young leaders from 47 sub-Saharan African nations. He encouraged and challenged his audience not to miss out on opportunities to advance the continent of Africa by supporting good governance, transparency, anti-corruption efforts and equal rights for all. He emphasized that it was Africans who were going to have to lead Africa forward. Obama also touched on the importance of expanding trade and relationships of exchange between the United States and Africa. For us, this was an encouraging validation of our VIP partnership, since the entire nature of our project is about trading information and best practices and bridging the two continents/countries.
My final meeting this week was with the educators from the Giraffe Center. We sorted out all of the details for the Kilimani 4th grade students’ field trips. The Giraffe Center educators are taking 48 students and 2 teachers to four different locations that fit in with our Life Science (Biology) curriculum exchange goals. For specifics about each location, visit their websites at the addresses listed below. The Giraffe Center kindly arranged this itinerary and is covering the cost of admission and providing the students with a catered lunch. All they simply asked us to pay for was the cost of transportation! Once again, we are so blessed by the enthusiasm and support that we are receiving here in Kenya!
As my time winds down here in Nairobi, I plan to spend my remaining days enjoying my family and relaxing a bit. This trip has been wonderfully fruitful and in every way exceeded both mine and Terri’s wildest expectations. Although I am sad to be leaving soon, I am excited to see the virtual exchange take shape. Please look forward to more posting next week as I return home to Boston and meet up again with Terri.
Giraffe Center - http://giraffecenter.org/
Mamba Village Animal Farm - http://nairobimambavillage.com/animal_farm.html
Nairobi Safari Walk - http://www.kws.org/about/training/nairobi_safariwalk.html
David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage - http://www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org/
Photo 1: Sorting out details at Giraffe Center and marking the VIP connections in a big way with my Obama t-shirt! :-)
Photo 2: Meeting with Miriam, Kilimani Alumna (notice that I’m drinking tea!)
Photo 3: Two of my nieces and me celebrating India’s Independence Day a bit early. Indians are one of the largest groups of immigrants to Kenya and have a strong presence in the business and professional sector here. Throughout the month of August, fireworks light the sky and celebrations of independence circulate throughout the city of Nairobi.
Photo 4: Campaign truck for a new Kenya Constitution. This constitution is momentous for women as it gives women the right to inherit and own land.
Photo 5: Celebrating Kenya’s sunny Referendum Day with a friend… an honor to Kenyan women everywhere!