So there is no clever theme or well thought out thesis in this post, just a quick here’s what I’ve been up to. I’ve been getting a bit of flack from people (also read my mom and sister) about the lack of any activity here. That’s in large part because I don’t really think of anything here is that exciting or new anymore, but maybe it will be to you. And the things I get excited about are not very exciting to you, I’m guessing. So here goes…
I’ve been keeping pretty busy, mostly still in my teaching business studies at the high school. I’ve managed to fall into a pretty good rhythm with it, think I have a good handle on the teaching thing, and have made some good relationships with my students. What’s new with that is I’m now also teaching ICT (computers skills) classes at night for a few of my students in our school’s new computer room. The idea behind it is to kind of teach them through ICT other concepts as well like communication, presenting, leadership, etc. A big part of that is the kids in this class will be responsible for planning, preparing and teaching the next class. Also in this class I really stress finding things out themselves or helping each other which is having great results. I’ll find that I’ll let them loose on a project and before I know it an entire hour will have gone by with out me saying anything much because the more advanced kids will be helping the slower learners.
Although, that’s a challenge, albeit one I think I’m handling, keeping the advanced ones who may have used computers before challenged while still supporting and going slow enough for those who are still struggling with the double click and whose English is not very strong at all. But all in all I’m really enjoying it and the kids seem to be to.
On top of that I’m using the computer lab and projector to help better teach business studies. Since few of these kids have books, and fewer have been to any sizeable towns, conveying certain ideas has been difficult. Imagine class with no pictures or visual aids besides a blackboard. Now imagine teaching the various means of shipping goods and the business ramifications it can have to kids who have never seen, nor have a good idea of exactly what a plane or ship is. So I show pictures and videos of new concepts. I also download current clips from Kenyan news broadcasts on contemporary topics like free trade, inflation, etc. One indication its working: one of my students approached me after class wanting to discuss inflation (something particularly bad in Kenya right now) more, he said “Teacher, this thing of inflation, its really keeping me up at night.”
I’m also working with another group in a town a little ways away. It’s a very big organization with lots of smaller groups within it. So far I haven’t done much but I did conduct a training with them on project management. Time permitting, I’ll be able to conduct future trainings on projects of their choosing later.
I have a few other things I’m kind of exploring, but I’ll wait to see if anything comes of them before putting them up.
So I just finished another two grad school classes last week. I know I got an A in one (97% in large part to the perfect score on my final paper, which I was pleasantly surprised with) and still waiting for a grade on my paper in the other one. Two more classes to go, wrapping up in mid-December. All that will be left will be my practicum, something I’ve decided to put off until I finish Peace Corps. There is a lot of factors that went into that, but bottom line it will be easier and of more valuable to me to wait until I finish Peace Corps and put my full effort into it. So not able to cap off that Master’s degree until probably next winter.
So I took the Foreign Service Officers Test (FSOT) about a month ago and just found out I passed. So, what does that mean. Well there is more or less 4 stages in the application process for becoming a Foreign Service Officer at the US State Department: FSOT > Personal Narratives > QEP > Oral Exam. For more info on the process check out www.State.gov, under Careers I believe. This is pretty exciting because its really what I want to do and if all works out the timing will come down that I won’t have a hug lag time between finishing Peace Corps and (hopefully) the Foreign Service. If it doesn’t work out, no big deal, I’m young, no rush to hop into my career, I go do something for a few years I find interesting and advances my professional aspirations.
And lastly… Security Concerns
Since I’ve had a few inquiries or people wondering about this I thought I would nip it in the bud right now. For those who have no idea what I’m talking about check BBC, CNN or Al Jazeera for the news on the couple of kidnappings that happened in Kenya and the subsequent advance of Kenyan forces into Southern Somalia, and the occurrence of some “incidents.” I have plenty of opinions and thoughts on this stuff, but frankly I’m sick of talking about it. So here is what matters:
My village is far from all that trouble and I’m being smart about what I do. Peace Corps is keeping an eye on the whole thing and taking appropriate precautions and steps to ensuring my, and other volunteer’s safety. So no need to worry.
If you want to stay alerted to more immediate and breaking news with regard to Kenya (the international news sites are usually a day behind on most things unless its real big), you can check the Daily Nation at www.nation.co.ke or follow them on Twitter. They seem to be the most immediate and thorough on reporting security incidents.
Next time on Lost in Kenya….
I have some more ideas ready to go for blog posts, so sit tight and they should be out in the next few weeks once I get some free time.