Serving with IDCE in Kenya was a great privilege- an expansion of my understanding of the human
When I set out for Kenya, my intention was to make a difference, and experience a different world. Not only was it my first time in Africa, it was my first time in any country with an income level significantly lower than the countries I was raised in- Japan and the United States. While I did my best to help our Kenyan students learn computer programming during our 2 weeks of training, I know that the experience made my world larger.
My favorite memory of Kenya was going to my co-teacher Ouma’s family home in western Kenya, near Lake Victoria. Getting there was an adventure- pushing our car up a slope too muddy for the car alone, monkeys greeting us on the shores of a lake pink with flamingos. However, Ouma’s home and family that left the greatest impression on me. While their dwellings were simple- electricity had yet to find its way there- their life was rich. Ouma’s family greeted us with a fantastic display of song and dance. (My Japanese co-teachers and I tried to return the favor with a poor rendition of a Japanese pop song; Ouma’s family managed to suffer through it without complaining, though they looked a bit quizzical.) I saw, for the first time, the beauty of a starlit sky far from any electric lights. It was a different world from the one I had known, and it was a world that, in some ways, made my world seem quite lacking.
Kenya left me a different, I hope better, person.
Recent news from Kenya has made me sad- sad in a visceral sense than I could not have had I never been there. That, too, is part of the added richness that the IDCE experience has given me.
Thomas Callaghan 2008