Kenya, 2019

I have been so incredibly blessed and I am so thankful for my expierence doing a study abroad trip to Kenya. No introduction can start to describe how impactful and how much I enjoyed my time there. I hope that I can share some of the highlights and my favorite parts here.

Teaching at Tumaini

Most of what we did was with Tumaini Innovation Center, which is a spin-off non-profit from AMPATH, which is a group of US universities working with Kenyan universities to provide medical care to Kenyans. Tumaini is really an incredible organization. They are working with street youth, a population of young kids in Kenya that have left their homes usually due to either poverty or abuse. These kids are often associated with crime and not given a lot of respect, but Tumaini is stepping up and educating and supporting them to get off the street.

Our group broke into teams of two to teach a subject to the students. We spent the first week observing the lessons done by the full time teachers, as well as lesson planning. My two subjects where Arduinos, which was taught to the vocational (generally High School aged) and then 3D modeling to the primary (generally elementary or middle school aged) students. I was overall genuinely shocked with how much the students wanted to learn. If your lesson was engaging, they really did get excited.

Teaching Arduinos

Teaching the Arduinos was one of my absolute favorite parts of the trip. I tried to spend most of the class time doing activities - the first day was spent going over the idea of programming, and how it was really important to give really clear instructions to the computer. We then went on to the starter project everyone does - making an LED blink. They really enjoyed doing that, and even spent time after class doing more, like getting two LEDs to blink and playing with the program and the wires. And after this point, the students started to "get it". They started to ask me questions about all the different ways they can use Arduinos, to solve problems that are completely foreign to me. The way the students figured out the power and capabilities of the Arduino really made me feel like I succeeded in my lesson, even if they aren't fully able to program or create those ideas they have quite yet. Day 2 was more of the same - a brief lecture intro where I tried to explain the idea of a function, then we used an ultrasonic sensor to turn on the light when you put your hand close. At the final presentation, they where able to discuss and articulate their knowledge quite well, and where able to explain their ideas to a large group, which really just made me so happy.

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Teaching Modeling

Teaching modeling was a lot harder. CAD is a subject that a lot of my peers struggle with as Engineering Students, and we have the benefit of powerful hardware and software, and a ton of TAs who can all help. However, we where much more limited. It was just a handful of us, and we where using Onshape, one some really old Android tablets. Now, I am personally a fan on Onshape, but using it on a touchscreen, especially where the touchscreen was bad and didn't register all of the inputs, was really frustration. It was hard to see the students go from being so excited about CAD to struggle to make a box, and we only had a couple hours to try and get the maximum amount of knowledge transferred over. Overall, I do think they have a basic idea about how modeling at least works, and I really enjoyed the challenge of creating and running that lesson.

Moi University

Moi University Campus

There where two really good experiences I had with Moi University, a local university Purdue was partnering with. We had a tour of the university the first week we where there, and I was incredibly blessed to meet and talk with some of the students who are interested in computer science at Moi. They where not majoring in CS, as the job market for that isn't very good in Kenya, but these two kids where working really hard outside of class to learn Python. And I honestly had such an amazing and incredible expierence with those two kids. It was really surprising to talk about how similar our CS experiences where, and I just enjoyed geeking out with them so much. That expierence made me feel a lot more similar to the Moi University students then before, and realize they are very similar in interests and education as US students. Here is a photo of me and Victor, one of the students at Moi

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Moi University Teaching Hospital

One of the other things we did during the week was tour the teaching hospital that AMPATH setup in Eldoret. What was really amazing is the doctor who took us on our tour had been there for a really long time, and tell us all of the areas where they have expanded. The hospital started to treat HIV/AIDS, but once they started doing that they slowly have been expanding in scope to now have things like cancer treatment and other advanced medical care. It was really awesome to see and organization step up and continue to serve the community even when the initial scope had been fulfilled.

Everything else

There where so many other amazing things about this trip. My team was amazing, and I got to know everyone including the leaders really well. I really enjoyed the safari and all of the other hikes and outdoor activities. We did some market research, and are also conducting some actual research, which I have learned a ton from and am enjoying as I go through the process.

Links / Thank You's