I can’t help but look forward to Saturdays when I get to take a motor bike taxi to one of the larger towns 40 minutes away from my home. Sometimes my host mother needs to go to the town too for a stop at the larger supermarket or to obtain a loan from the bank, so the motor bike driver, myself, and my mother all cram onto the seat of the motor bike and make our way in an oreo-like fashion over the bumpy dusty roads.
On these Saturdays I meet with the FSD site team and fellow intern(s). Here amidst white people I can talk as fast as I want and be understood without repeating myself even once. Sometimes even without finishing my sentence. If you want to talk about taking things for granted – this ease of communication would be one. No doubt the teachers at my school feel the same way, as they often have to repeat themselves in different ways until we understood each other. During FSD workshops we discuss topics such as grant writing, creative facilitation, and monitoring and evaluation. We review our current progress and discuss possible ideas for further work. One of the hardest parts about this type of work is the fact that the work to be done is very much undefined. It requires much initial innovation and then much continuing implementation. Altogether this demands lots of devoted energy.
Once we have discussed our progress and ideas to date, we return to our respective work places for another week of sustainable behind-the-scenes facilitation. Often times this means talking with people more than anything else. Talking with teachers about the progress of their school compared to the surrounding schools, discussing with them the structure of Kenyan authorities, and listening to commentary on the varying aptitude of American presidents. Then with regard to the computer instruction I am trying to initiate, I organize teachers for computer learning so that they might in turn be able to instruct the pupils, and type and compile a computer manual for community members who come to learn computers. Also there is the meeting with students individually who requested extra help with a homework assignment, marking of fifth grade homework and class work books, continually observing the environment for its strengths and areas needing improvement, assisting with the class mark lists using either rulers and red pens or if there’s power Excel, and of course taking tea.