by Joslyn Howanyk, a member of the SkillCorps® Kenya October 2018 team

Kaizora, a place for learning, teaching and growing. Not just for the students, but for the staff as well, including us. I had no idea what to expect and I was greeted with kindness and an abundant amount of delicious food. I was nervous at first, I wondered if people would like me. If they would respect what I had to offer. I spent my first day observing everyone and really taking the time to learn everyone’s names. I think that really helped us bond.

By the end of our first week, I really felt connected to not only the kids but the staff as well. One of the goals that I specifically worked on was naturalistic teaching training. I spent time observing the schedule figuring out how I could talk to everybody one on one within two days. I wanted the rest of the time to focus on answering questions and giving support however the staff needed.

I started off nervous like I’m sure everybody feels in the beginning, but I gained so much confidence and stamina as my days went on. I felt my heart explode with joy watching the staff immediately implementing what I taught them. I was so proud. 

Putting our heads together and brainstorming with each other produced some productive ideas. It also sparked another fire inside of me. I have never felt so driven and passionate about the ABA field before as I have now. There is something about sitting at a large table with your skillCorps friends, staff, and students while eating lunch, laughing, sharing stories and bonding. 

I am not sure if it was the dedication of the lovely staff I worked with or our laughter during our time together, but they sure made me feel like I was home and welcome in their space.

These lovely people sure know how to take everything I thought of and make it culturally relevant for the kids. They generously taught me some Swahili and I couldn’t help but teach them a few Hawaiian words as well. I am so excited to see what the next week brings but I’m absolutely devastated at how fast time is moving.