Kenyan teachers make their first visit to Ireland

22 April 2016

After a successful week in which Kenyan teachers visited schools in Ireland, Rose Hennessy from the FOL Ireland office, has blogged on this inspiring project.  The visit was made possible by Irish Aid’s WorldWise Global School’s programme, a huge thank you to them.

“Wow!  So smart!  Great development!  These were the words that we heard repeated from the visiting Kenyan teachers during their week’s stay in Ireland.  The four teachers, Janeth, Reuben, Caroline & Wesley came from Baraka Secondary School and Sacred Hills Girls High school in Londiani to spend a week in Ireland with their link schools. 
They visited classes, gave talks, taught classes, spent time with the students, gained exposure to the Irish educational system.  They experienced Irish culture from pipe band musicians in Achill Island to modern Irish dancers in Claremorris and boating on the Shannon near Mountrath.  They arrived to our very cold, wet and often windy climate and adjusted over the days with extra layers of hats, fleeces and coats, but they said that what the climate lacked the welcome made up for in warmth and friendship. 

This was a unique opportunity for four intelligent, educated, young Kenyans to experience a culture outside of their own for the very first time. This was their first flight, their first visit outside of Kenya – so many firsts!  They describe Ireland as a place of goodness where the people are so friendly and welcoming and there is a sense of togetherness and hospitality.   These teachers can see change happening in their communities.  They see change as inevitable and that for life to improve they must accept change.  They are committed to putting into action what they have learned from their visit to Ireland both from the schools and from their personal experience.  It is with thanks to Irish Aid’s WorldWise Global Schools programme that this opportunity to experience a different culture and school programme was possible.
The teachers say they have been able to learn a lot and they believe they have left much behind.  I wholeheartedly agree with that sentiment.  The students, teachers, host families that the teachers have interacted with have been touched in different ways by their visit and we have also learned a lot.  I found myself looking at food differently while I had the teachers with me.  On a visit to the local supermarket to buy food for dinner, we checked out the labelling in the fruit & veg section and noted how many countries were represented and how many air miles this food had travelled.  Driving through my local town around dinner time it seemed everyone was carrying take out – pizza, Chinese, fish & chips.  With every restaurant meal we ate everything was served with chips on the side.  The Kenyan diet is very plain, simple, uncomplicated – it was a challenge to find food here that mirrored that.  It was like looking at what I see everyday with a different lens – I noticed more of what choice we have, how much processed food we eat, how everything is spiced or sauced and how far we have come from eating locally grown, in-season, uncomplicated food!  A personal challenge is set!“

Rose Hennessy, April 2016.


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