Sunday, October 4, 2009

An Update! Believe it.

I know we're not in Kenya anymore. Not in body anyway. I think we are both still there at least a little bit in spirit, and as the weather in Seattle gets steadily colder and the nights get longer, I know we're both missing life near the Equator more each day.

I wanted to post an update just to let everyone know where we stand with the work we started while we were in Africa and what our current plans are.

One of the major moves for us this year is co-teaching a research writing course with an East Africa theme. Our 27 students are reading and researching issues that effect the region of East Africa and working toward a major paper that synthesize their research. It is early (we are only in the third week of classes) but already the students are learning a lot about a part of the world most of them knew nothing about on the first day of school. The class is also involved in some service-learning projects, including managing a Kiva loan to an East African entrepreneur .

Since we returned to campus, there has been a lot of interest in our trip. We have give a couple of talks to small groups of faculty and plan to do a larger slide show and talk once we have a better idea how the next year will look for us in terms of returning to Kenya with students on a study abroad plan.

We are currently slated to meet with the people from International Student Services, the department on campus that awarded us a grant to help offset costs for our last trip to Kenya, to go over the logistics of a trip that includes students. Our goal is to take up to 10 students back as soon as June of 2010, and we aren't giving that goal up without a fight! But an interesting new wrinkle has presented itself since we've been home, and we are also investigating the feasibility of doing an initial trip with faculty. Several colleagues have already told us that if we set it up, they will go. Maybe this will turn into a hybrid plan in which we take a few students and a few teachers. At this point, we are open to many options.

We (mostly Hayden, let's be honest) are still working closely with Creative Visions and the people in Cura on a variety of projects. But it is so hard to do anything tangible from a distance. The time difference and the complications of communication make it hard to make quick work of even the simplest task. Being in Kenya makes getting actual work done so much easier that the travel time and costs seem increasingly worth it.

When we got home in July we were ready to head back. So we will both admit to spending a fair amount of our daydreaming time thinking about how to get back to Kenya and how soon we can do it. If anyone has some neglected frequent flier miles sitting around, let us know.