I am quickly realizing that the kenyan education system does not teach any creativity. these children do not seem to be able to think independently at all. they are used to learning new material by rote memorization and do not seem to make connections between what is being taught and their own experiences. this has become a point of frustration for me, as my teaching style is based on creativity. i love posing questions to instigate exploratory thoughts. but not here. these kids just stare blankly at me if i assign any work that is remotely creative.
not to oversimplify a terrible, cross-continental issue, but i think that a huge factor playing into africa’s lack of development is the void of quality and meaning in education. sadly, these children will (for the most part) grow up into adults who follow exactly in the ways of their parents–many of whom do not have jobs, live in desperate conditions in the slums, and only do what it takes to get dinner on the table each night. change will take years and years.
this is a difficult concept to have slapped in my face…somehow it makes my efforts here seem so futile and counterproductive. at the same time, this realization has given me a new determination to encourage and motivate these children in the areas of initiative and creativity. i want them to understand that there is a world beyond the slums that is well within their reach, and that even in the midst of their current situations, in these places that are so full of desperation and suffering, there is another way to live…a way of community, of peace, and common purpose.
this afternoon i decided that instead of becoming frustrated by everything that needs to be accomplished and my lack of time, resources, and ability to change things, i am going to sponsor a child through LLK. i had one child in particular that i already have formed a connection with, and found out that he is not yet sponsored, so i said i would be happy to do it. his name is Collins Otieno Juma. he is six years old and is one of the most adorable little guys i have ever met. he is an orphan and lives with his grandmother and two sisters. he has such a charming personality–every time he sees me, he’s right at my side, ready to escort me to wherever i am going, holding my hand and giggling all the way.