I first met Jason and Jenni at a fundraiser right after they acquired Daraja Academy. Their passion and vision for the school was inspiring. Over the next year I watched Daraja Academy become a reality as they welcomed their first class of girls. After hearing about another volunteer’s experience, I was sold! Within months I was on a plane to Nairobi with a suitcase filled with treats for the girls. Upon arrival, I found that my first challenge was to learn the names of the 26 girls and all the staff. Soon I learned not only the girl’s names, but where their families lived, their favorite subjects and what the wanted to be when they grew up. The school campus is spread over 60 acres and houses not only the students, but the teachers, kitchen staff, guards and all their families. In addition there are chicken, goats, sheep, dogs, cats, cows and birds that roam the lands. My accommodations were lovely – a rondoval (a circular building with thatched roof and mud walls) with a big bedroom, bath and sitting area. I felt safe walking around the campus and in the nearby towns. Equipped for any possible health challenge, I ate everything and didn’t have problems at all.
Over the two weeks of my visit, I taught several classes on public speaking. With time I watched some very shy girls gain confidence in their new skills. In the last week, they even asked for an extra class on their day off. These young girls are eager to learn all they can so that they have the skills to become successful doctors, nurses, journalists and teachers. I am confident that Daraja Academy is giving them what they need to realize their dreams. Leaving the girls of Daraja was tough. It was hard to say goodbye to these beautiful girls and the magic of Daraja. We were all comforted by my promise to visit again. I plan to return to to Daraja next Spring.