by Kirstin Rodrigues, a member of the SkillCorps® Kenya October 2018 team

Backstory: I’ve been to Kenya twice before, but never with SkillCorps, so I’m a little familiar with Kenyan culture. Part of the reason I took this trip was to see what autism in Kenya looked like, and how ABA worked in this culture. Here’s my post begins.

Kenya has a rich culture that is full of laughter, stories, and communal living. Kaizora is no different. Though the staff is delivering ABA to children on the spectrum, it’s all still very Kenyan.

I see the staff firm with their instructions but soft in their approach. They help one another in daily tasks, lovingly tease one another, and constantly laugh with each other. This same level of respect and joy is used when working with the kids. There’s a sense of community and belonging at Kaizora, amongst the staff, between the staff and children, and amidst the children as well.

Joy is the pulse of this center. Every child is familiar with one another, allowing them a safe place space to stim, cope, or engage. Each person has a role and serves a strong purpose though they are quick to offer help, clinical advice, and assistance when needed, including the cooks! It is evident that the staff loves these children and take sincere joy in seeing them grow.

As I observe the students, hear about the progress that’s been made, engage with staff members, and participate with the kids, I am inspired by this level of communal joy. It is infectious and steers my level of clinical determination to new height. Well done Kaizora and thank you SkillCorps for allowing me to be a part of this journey in Kenya.