Amid a difficult week for Kenya, we've been continuing to work and spend time in the community between Kedge classes. Joe's been taking impromptu lessons from local friends in kiMaasai, the Maasai language, and I've been visiting Maasai homes to learn more about what the needs and challenges of the community are.
In our first Kedge class, we talked about the market economy and local ecology; our paritcipants had fun with our first activity in which they each got "mystery bags" that represented skills in the regional marketplace, then got to try to trade/sell those skills in exchange for other goods and services. Afterward, we took the class outdoors to begin conservation skill-building; learning to use and care for binoculars, and learning to identify some common bird species. We also went over concepts of market forces as well as responsibility for conservation and the value of enjoying nature.
As our students have progressed, so have our lessons -- and this week, we worked on writing business plans as our primary objective. Our students have been so excited and eager to learn, and this class was no exception -- we fielded business pitches for milk production companies, local repair services, corn harvesting, etc. -- and the most rewarding part was seeing our students help each other refine their ideas and learn new skills. We went over business accounting, planning for expansion and setbacks, and giving back to the community as a responsible businessowner.
For some of our participants, basic writing and math are still a bit of a challenge, so we've developed an each-one-teach-one approach, pairing students proficient in reading, writing, and Swahili with those who would like a little extra attention. Not only has this helped all the students grow, but it's also reinforced the ethics of self-discipline and community responsibility that we've been working to foster.
We're really looking forward to next week (although it'll be our last Kedge class in Kenya!), when we'll be working on business behaviors, the perosnality traits of successful businesspeople, and wilderness first aid!