Members of CAU Blue Dragon Volunteering Team visited Samaria School located in Namanga, Kenya from December 30th, 2016 to January 17th, 2017. In order to share the knowledge to children in Kenya in the fields of math, Korean, taekwondo, science, K-pop and so much more, the volunteer team led active cultural exchange programs.Let's hear the voice of the students who participated in this visit to Kenya.
CAH: What is the education environment like in Kenya?
Park: The biggest feature to point out is the lack of supply aids in school. Black boards in the classroom are in very poor condition. Parts of the black boards are carved out and are out of shape, which makes them hard to write on. Also, there is no way to connect electricity in the classroom, which prevents visual media education for the students. There is also a lack of stationery goods like pencils and pens, a lack of light that makes the classroom dark, and many other areas that need a hand for improvements to theclassrooms overall. Like this, compared to the education environment in Korea, classrooms in Kenya are not modernized and are again, very lacking. Next, I realized that the Kenyan education system does not emphasize the development of artistic areas like creativity and emotion among their students. A Kenyan teacher mentioned that students are more exposed to the arts outside of school where they are free of educational stress. What I realized from my teaching of Kenyan students is that they are interested in the arts, but the education system of the Kenyan government does not support this. Thus, my goal for the next visit to Kenya is to provide those Kenyan students with educational materials that have links with the arts.
CAH: Four weeks of volunteering in Africa must have been a great challenge. When was the most difficult moment?
Gu Jae-Yeon: First of all, the steaming air and sunrays made for extremely dry weather. Every member of our team went through the hardships of getting used to this new environment. In this vicious circle, we had to withstand the burdens of completing our busy volunteering schedules. Many had difficulties, especially during the first and second weeks since many required physical labor. Despite tiring schedules, without the support of my teammates given at every evening meeting, I may never have made it.
CAH: What does volunteering mean to you?
Min Soo-Young: I am personally interested in volunteering. However, as a person who doesn't like to appear in other people's sight, I like to volunteer in an individualistically. Volunteering is something that is beneficial for others, while paradoxically being beneficial to myself. During the last volunteering in Kenya, I prepared various activities for the children there, and in return I received pure love from them. Like this, I was able to obtain both spiritual and emotional support from volunteering - and I believe this is the motivation for volunteering. Furthermore, one of the most important roles of volunteering to me is that it helps me realize how important I am as a person in my life. It is quite interesting to ponder on how my minute ability can help others a lot. Thus, volunteering provides time for me to not only live cooperatively with others, but also to think about my personal self. I recommend you all to take time and try volunteering like I do.
CAH: Could you give advice to students who are hesitant to try out volunteering abroad?
Choi Seung-Hee: Volunteering in such special events was a priceless experience for me. Also, I learned to value small things, develop conservative thinking, and improve my challenging ability regardless of which environment I belong to. Moreover, I learned from the elders a lot and made extremely valuable relationships. If you have never experienced this before, I strongly recommend you to do so. However, you should take note that the time preparation and the amount of work put in is very challenging. If you are willing to devote double to the amount of hardships, don't hesitate and apply!
Instead of simply being thankful for what we have, why not visit places where people desperately need and want your help? Keeping in mind that things that we use withoutconsidering their value could be one of the precious properties of people in Kenya, developing countries need more care and help. After the 4-weeks long journey sharing love with children in Kenya, CAH hopes every member of CAU to participate in personal volunteering for a better world.
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