Showing posts with label De La Salle Brothers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label De La Salle Brothers. Show all posts

Friday, October 11, 2019

Summer And One African-American Student's Journey in Kenya-2019 (Part II)

Hi there!

In the last blog article, I promised to share with you my sojourns during summer. These sojourns have enabled me get more out of life as well as give more of myself.

I set about to spend this Summer in Africa. I wanted to immerse myself among cultures that use Swahili for communication. I chose Kenya because of its cosmopolitan nature and its being the Eastern Africa hub.

You may want to visit the UN agencies, most of the embassies or just take in the diversity of nationalities? Come to Kenya. You will meet almost everyone from any corner of the world in general.

In my case, I wanted to do the more mundane. I wanted to meet refugees, asylum seekers, people living with HIV, Girls who have had children by the time they were 15 years, communities as they go about their name it. Definitely, I also wanted to sample the local foods, take in the night life and most of all visit the vast Savannah areas from Marsabit, Samburu to Mountain Kenya. 

At continent level, Africa has some very nice spots that one with a Summer bucket list should add or have visited already. At country-level, Kenya has some of the awe inspiring destinations. I went to many but Nyeri took the highest points. One, because while there I got a chance to engage in a social development consultancy on a volunteer basis. I also got the opportunity to live with the Brothers of Christian Schools. It was while I was with them, that the Director of the Brothers' Community there took me around the Center they are running: St. Mary's Secondary School, Vocational and Child Rescue Center, Nyeri, Kenya.

I ended up immersing myself in a task whose outcome was two fold:

1. To consolidate over 40 years of service into a service package that stimulates continued learning and sharing for the students who join St. Mary's S.S. (as they like to call it).

2. To work with the Brothers, develop memoranda through which tracking of progress at the Vocational Department of St. Mary's is possible.

This took me to different places of Nyeri because it was also a time to put in practice the saying: "Work, work, work without play makes Jack a dull person!"

Turning pass-time sports or recreation activities into incubators for professional sports. This is one of St. Mary's S.S., Vocational and Child Rescue Center is doing. There motto goes: "Give a boy, and I give you a man!" Mr. Murithi is the Soccer Coach but at the same time manages a furniture workshop. He has been a great support to the students.
This is poignant! Do you know of a term "Facing Mountain Kenya?" Do you recall who made it famous? It was the First President of The Republic of Kenya-President Jomo Kenyatta. Jomo Kenyatta, described the importance of the mountain to the local communities, saying that it “supplies their material needs and enables them to perform their magic and traditional ceremonies in undisturbed serenity, facing Mount Kenya.

This is one of the vast plains skirting Mt. Kenya. The Kikuyu, called the Mountain by the name "Kirinyaga!" The Egyptians, Romans and Asians had written about this mountain in many of their reports. I had the opportunity to meet a Kikuyu Family tracing their roots so far back before Colonialism. They have tilled the same lands until presently. We used this family land to demonstrate to communities skills in Permaculture. 

The Principles of Permaculture: Soil regeneration, seed bed preparation, irrigation, small plots, crop mixing, fallowing and mixed farming.

Am so happy, I made time to go to Africa and used my time effectively. In this picture, we had just met the community leader of a low cost area. We wanted to be allowed to do activities for 4 days here. Majengo, Nyeri Town, Kenya.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Merging My Summer 2019 Sojourn Experiences In Kenya And A La Sallian Point Of View (Part I)

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 Kombe, 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., Vocational  Training And Child Rescue 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!

At St. Mary's S.S.Nyeri where Brother Francis Ewesit (FCS) introduced to his work with the students. In the background, they are training for a soccer competition with another school which will visit them soon. I was so happy when Brother Francis mentioned that the students are provided space to participate in decision-making on matters such as regular sports activities at the school.