By Elizabeth Castillo, a member of SkillCorps Kenya April 2017 team
Exactly one week ago today we arrived in Kenya. My journey from Hawaii to New York to meet the team was an adventure in itself, but once I got to meet the team in New York and go through our training is when it really set in and the feeling of excitement really kicked in.
When we arrived in Kenya, I was excited to put my skills to use but was a bit intimidated as I am an RBT traveling in a group with a BCBA and other RBT’s that have completed their master’s and about to sit for their exams to become BCBA’s and another RBT who is currently in her master’s program to pursue her certification as a behavior analyst. Would I be able to keep up?
After spending all of Sunday gazing upon giraffes and eating a delicious lunch with the team, it was time to get rest for our first day at Kaizora. I was thrilled to meet the kids and staff the following day, so thrilled that sleep was almost nonexistent! The next day, with coffee pumping through my body, I was able to start the day with smiles, hugs and introductions! It was a great day of observation and meeting with the staff and the director, Pooja.
After that day, it was a whirlwind of observations, data collection, meetings, team planning, more data collection and tons of collaborating with the staff at Kaizora. When we all came to the agreement that a presentation on ABC Data collection would be beneficial for the staff at Kaizora we all began to work on it together to make the presentation as great as possible. After presenting the lesson and seeing the staff respond to it well I realized that the feeling of uncertainty and intimidation had left my mind the moment we met as a group on night one. From the first night we met as a team and discussed what our thoughts and goals for this trip were, I felt confident. Confident because I knew that I had the experience, the knowledge, and most importantly a team full of amazing women who would help guide me in the areas I needed help in and who valued what I had to share. With that confidence I was able to meet the staff at Kaizora, have great interactions with the kids and help create and present a training on ABC Data Collection. Since the presentation I have had the opportunity to work with assistants at the center and help them in taking accurate ABC Data and when to take it. In the following week I will continue to support the staff at Kaizora with their data collection.
This week has just been an amazing experience, I have been given the opportunity to be a teacher and a student all at once, and I wouldn’t want it any other way!