Merging My Summer 2019 Sojourn Experiences In Kenya And A Lassalian Point Of View Part 1
Editor Note: Please enjoy the latest from our contributing editors…..
I am a student at St. Mary’s College of California. I first heard of the De La Salle Brothers in 2014 through a person who took me under his roof, at a very nice apartment in San Francisco, CA. Pardon me, I was a live-in care provider who according to my first contract was only to live-in during the weekend.
As it turned out, pretty much the way life can turn about, the gentleman decided I stay until one of us departed. I was grateful for this gesture and kept on praying for his longevity.
This blog, is my testimony of how my life as a new American has been imbued with catalytic enthusiasm and focus. This is not to say that my life in Africa was any lesser as far as enthusiasm went. I guess, one can say that life anywhere brings with it challenges, necessities, battles, victories, foibles, intricacies, motivators and demotivators.
I got the opportunity to meet and study under the De La Salle Brothers finally in 2016. I was introduced to the Lasallian Core Values at St. Mary’s College of California.
However, I shall be amiss if I did not start with a story about the gentleman who allowed me to become his live-in care provider and one who allowed me to look at life’s twists and turns positively.
As a new American, I am so happy I got to see the parts of life that give one the glimpse into an American lifestyle that is so empowering.
To work as a live-in care provider, affords one opportunities to learn the intricacies of American life that is hard to know of unless one is set in a home. A home, where one learns to use space, time, intellect, hands and interpersonal relational skills as well as forming the emulable attitude of a survivor.
I learnt how to prepare Texan Ranch/Farmer meals, the difference between lunch and dinner and all those Texan kitchen and table chores that make foods available. The notion of food security is very central to a meaningful existence. This galvanized both of us even further.
You guessed right, my host was a Texan. He was a retired Berkeley Professor of Calligraphy and Art. A well traveled person, who told me he regretted why he never went to any African country at all. Yet, he had gone to all other continents, not once or twice but many times.
I re-assured him that Africa lives in everyone of us. Because, we were all the African Eve’s children. This reassured him and he set about reading anything and everything on Africa. The two years I spent with him, made me rediscover myself and instilled in me a respectful fearlessness to lead a better life every minute. This man, taught me to dig deeper, strive harder, laugh heartily, venture further and always learn something new as well as courting humility. He always said: To be humble is the next breath of life.
He also introduced me to the De La Salle Brothers! They also go by two other names: The Christian Schools Brothers or The FSCs.
The Brothers taught me further, the richness of God, the bounty in form of talents before us and how as humans we can proactively love each other even if we are not known to each other. All it takes for a happier life is manners, good conduct, dignity and respect for one another. I thank the Christian School Brothers for that inertia and love.
I traveled to Kenya for the Summer. I got the chance to work with refugees, students and people living with HIV in Africa. I lost most of my luggage and with it all the pictures where I was with the refugees and Persons Living With HIV.
My sojourn, was split into two episodes.
So, I was lucky the pictures where I worked with St. Mary’s Secondary School in Nyeri, kenya were taken by a Brother. I am so grateful for his kindness!
My story will be more around my work within and around St. Mary’s S.S. which is headed by Brother Peter Kembo, a very energetic, focused and benevolent mentor to all who meet him. I personally, am so happy to have met him and the opportunity to meet and live with three other Brothers who ran the institute as a team. All the Brothers, have a long list of achievements behind them. All of them have been teachers, mentors, directors and friends to many all the time they have served as Brothers. St. Mary’s S.S in Nyeri is a complex right in the middle of Nyeri Town. The school provides both liberal and Vocational Courses. When you get the chance and time, visit the Brothers or if you can take time off and spend your holidays at St. Mary’s S.S. & Child Rescue and Vocational Training Center
I know how to evaluate social development entities, I have skills in training communities to address self determination and economic issues and engage in Poverty eradication drives.This time around I was interested in linking student vocations to communities. I set out to work with a Brother who was in-charge of the Vocational Department. My goal was to contribute to organizing the Vocational Department into a catalyst stimulating quality learning. My tips ranged from how to make schedules, work plans to writing blogs.
I hope through the pictures and more blogs you will walk with me and enjoy the experiences I share with you. More blogs are on the way. Enjoy!