Greetings from Kenya!

By: 
Kate Brown
Class of: 
2015

I have recently returned from my week-long rural homestay in the agricultural region of Nyeri. This portion of the Kenya Semester Program allowed me to become fully immersed with a Kenyan family. I was completely separated from all the other students and had no contact with the outside world during my homestay. This provided me the opportunity to truly become part of the family and become familiar with Kenyan culture. The families we all stayed with are Kikuyu, which is the largest ethnic group in Kenya.

 My homestay family genuinely treated me like their daughter. I had my own household responsibilities, yet my parents and siblings made sure that everything was going smoothly throughout the day.  My host father is the head teacher of a primary school, and my mother is a small business owner. They have six children, ranging from ages 5 to 28. I was lucky enough to meet all six, but mainly lived with my 5-year-old sister, 18-year-old brother and 25-year-old brother. I taught them card games and during the evening we played for hours.

 My brothers, sisters and parents taught me so much, including how to plant a banana tree and how to make a traditional Kikuyu dish called “mokimo,” which is a mixture of maize, beans, greens and potatoes. I had the opportunity to visit the Kenyan Courts with my host brother and visit my father’s school, where I met with dozens of giggling children. I attended a Full Gospel church service of around 250 people, and stood up front to introduce myself to the entire Congregation. Everywhere I went, the people of Nyeri received me warmly and made me feel most welcome.

 Studying abroad has been a fantastic way to broaden my mind and engage in new experiences. For those who are interest in a full-immersion rural opportunity unlike an other, I highly recommend the Kenya Semester Program.