Experience Kenya: An International Mission/Cultural Immersion Program

Experience Kenya
An International Mission/Cultural Immersion Program
July 5 – 17, 2019

Program highlights

 13 days of total cultural immersion (includes travel) in Kenya
 Tour the many natural attractions in Kenya
 Taste local cuisine
 Live with a local host family in the village
 Facilitate or participate in a 2 day teacher development conference
 Join locals in the physical refurbishment of a classroom
 Teach, work alongside teachers, or just play ball with the kids in a primary village school
 Enjoy a three-day full package excursion into Maasai Mara/Serengeti Game Reserve during the Wildebeest migration season


The intent of this international program is to provide participants with opportunities for international and multi-cultural experiences through immersion in Kenya’s world-renowned culture. By placing participants in local homes for a portion of the program, and participating in a school development project in partnership with parents, this program has global intercultural competency as an expected outcome.

This program offers a comprehensive sampling of Kenyan culture and the vastness of its diversity. To help build some basic competencies, the program begins with pre-departure orientation sessions that will introduce participants to the nation of Kenya, its peoples, languages and geography.

Participants may depart from various international airports but will all converge in Amsterdam for the final flight to Nairobi, Kenya. Upon arrival in Nairobi, participants will experience a gradual introduction to Kenya through a guided exploration of the city and its many cultural, culinary, educational, historic and shopping attractions. We will examine shopping as a social/cultural experience by visiting local markets. Here, participants can purchase cultural artifacts and other items of interest as they learn how to barter and use their newly acquired local language skills. We will be sure to visit the Bomas of Kenya mostly known for its non-stop traditional entertainment, and other spots while sampling local dishes.

This next step marks the transition to the village, the beginning of the total cultural immersion program and the commencement of the service learning/mission activities. We will start by visiting Thirikwa Primary School where we will donate some books for their library. This is one of the village schools where I have launched a school development project that included the construction of a library. The school is accessed through a very beautiful but tortuous and hilly terrain. Though it is very humble, the students are very ambitious and hard working. If we have a dental/eye specialist team, we will provide some complimentary services to the students.

By late afternoon, we will drive to Karatina township, about one and a half hours away to spend the night at Omega Hotel. This is a decent and fairly new establishment on the outskirts of Karatina. In the morning, we will visit Ngurumo Primary School, another village school where I have deployed teams to support education. The school is very humble, sits on a very beautiful hillside and has some of the most hardworking kids that I know. At this school, we have, in the past, build a school cafeteria, run a lunch program and donated lots of books. We have also helped renovate a classroom into a library. We will have a chance to donate more books to the library as well as provide some complimentary dental/eye care services. I am a graduate of this school.

We will then depart for Nyeri, the capital of the county and lodge at one of the premier hotels. We will be in a hotel that allows animal watching at night or in the morning. After breakfast, we will proceed to Mwichuiri village in Naromoru, Central Kenya. This is an agricultural, rural community on the slopes of Mt. Kenya, about a three hour drive from Nairobi. We have current and active school development projects that include a teacher development program, merit scholarships, a library project and classroom renovations. During this week, some participants will be hosted in Kenyan homes while others may elect to stay at a local hotel. The homes are in relative proximity and all breakfast and dinner meals will take place at the home of the host. Participants will take part in the daily life of the host family as much as possible. This is a prime opportunity to really get to know Kenyan people, right where they live.

On Thursday and Friday, participants will choose between facilitating a two- day teacher development workshop in a nearby township or joining the locals on the classroom renovation project. The focus of this workshop will be on nurturing school climates that promote student success. Specifically, we will address such topics as effective behavior management tactics, teaching and learning strategies that promote learner engagement and developing effective partnerships for student success.

Our service project in the village will involve renovating and refurbishing a classroom at Mwichuiri primary school. This is a village school that serves children in grades K-8 with an enrollment of about 300. The project involves an intentional partnership with local people who will work side by side with the American group. Participation in this project provides an opportunity to cement bonds of cross-cultural friendship and understanding with Kenyans as wells as the chance to give back to the community that will have hosted us. For those talented in teaching, there will be ample opportunity to interact with students and teachers inside and outside of the classroom. Previous groups have done some renovations but more classrooms still have dirt floors, leaking and dark roofs and lack doors or windows. The work is very physical and participants are advised to participate as they are able.

On Saturday, we will take part in the dedication of a village clinic that we have been constructing during the last five years. The dedication will be preceded by some complimentary health services and will include participation by the local community.We will conclude with a three-day excursion to the Maasai Mara Game Reserve, located about 5 hours from Nairobi. This is a transnational vastness that stretches into Tanzania (where it changes its name to Serengeti) and home to the ageless Maasai people. Participants will take daily guided drives into animal territory to gain an appreciation for wildlife preservation and ecological practices. This Safari is planned to coincide with the annual wildebeest migration. To further enhance cultural study, participants will have optional opportunities to visit original Maasai villages.

Tentative Schedule
Fri. July 5. Departure Tickets are purchased economy class. Individuals can ask to upgrade at their own cost.

Sat. July 6. Arrival. Lodging details to follow. Transport from airport to hotel in Nairobi is provided. Accommodations at a well secured, comfortable facility on the outskirts of Nairobi city. If you have not applied for and received your visa before arrival, you will need to apply for the visa at the desk on arrival. Have $50 ready.

Sun. July 7. Rest. Visit Bomas of Kenya A day to rest, acclimatize, sight-seeing and take care of basic logistics. Accommodations in Nairobi

Mon. July 8. Scenic travel to Nyeri via Muranga. Visit Thirikwa Primary school. Inspect library and donate books. Possible eye/dental clinic. Spend at Karatina This is a very scenic drive through some of the most beautiful places in Kenya. Team should plan to donate at least $1000 worth of library books sourced locally. I will have received the list of books beforehand. Dental/eye clinic is contingent on having such specialists in the group.

Tues. July 9. Visit Ngurumo Primary school. Donate library books. Possible eye/dental clinic. Spend at Treetops Hotel, Nyeri. Team should plan to donate at least $1000 worth of library books sourced locally. I will have received the list of books beforehand. Dental/eye clinic is contingent on having such specialists in the group.

Wed July 10. Visit Mwichuiri Primary school. Donate library books. Launch classroom renovation project. Start homestay program/ Some will stay at nearby hotels. Start eye/dental clinic Classroom renovation project is estimated at $5000-$7000.

Thur July 11. Teachers conference/ Service Learning/eye/dental clinic Conference expenses are estimated at about $5000.

Fri. July 12. Teachers Conference/ Service Learning/eye/dental clinic

Sat. July 13. Dedicate Foundation clinic. Return to Nairobi.

Sun. July 14 Start Safari

Mon. July 15. All day Safari

Tues. July 16. Safari. Depart for US in the evening.

Wed. July 17. Arrival

Program outcomes:
This transdisciplinary program will provide participants with international, multi-cultural experiences through immersion into the full diversity of Kenya’s cultural, political, economic and religious diversity.
Specific Objectives – Participants will:
1) Demonstrate an increase in cultural competency
2) Enhance their understanding of important aspects of Kenyan history and geography
3) Practice various aspects of leadership and team work
4) Apply interdisciplinary approaches to studying issues of race and racial identity.
5) Understand the interdependence of Kenyan culture with other cultures
6) Develop a basic understanding and appreciation for k-12 and higher education in Kenya
7) Apply service learning pedagogy by refurbishing a couple of classrooms for learners (optional)

Cost of the program
The cost for this program is $3900. This cost includes your round trip airfare, all room and board, ground transportation while in Kenya, access fees to any parks, and all safari costs (exclusive of alcoholic drinks and personal items).

Participation and contact information
The program is open to any interested participants. If you are interested, just contact me on my email at pgngatia@gmail.com

Kenya 2019 flyer Mission&Cultural Immersion program

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