Contact SLIK Director Fred Roberts: 520-591-1816
email: frob5350@gmail.com

Become Part of the Neighborhood

Cultural Interaction

The SLIK students spend most of their day interacting with Kenyan teachers and students, providing the Americans with a close look at their way of life and culture. As a visitor in a new setting with hundreds of Kenyans, at first some SLIK students admit to feeling out of their comfort zone. Through the welcoming culture of the Kenyans, however, very quickly what once felt uncomfortable soon becomes the norm. Soon friendships are created, and it is not uncommon for a SLIK student to be invited to the homes of their young students to meet their families, share a cup of chai, and tour their small farms.

After learning some basic Kiswahili, the SLIK students venture into the town of Naro Moru where they will learn about the local economy and purchase goods from an open air market. Unlike going to a supermarket in the states, in rural Kenya there are many small shops selling different items. To complete their shopping lists, the students explore the small town and its many vendors, with each stop becoming a fun opportunity for cultural interaction. Batian’s View is also near Lipela Orphanage and Children’s’ Home, where many an afternoon or weekend is spent playing with the children and helping with daily chores.

The Kenyan staff at Batian’s View also play an important role in the SLIK students experience. Along with supporting the program’s logistics and making the Americans feel at home, they are another resource to learn about Kenya’s culture and help the Americans practice their Kiswahili.

While the SLIK students spend much of their school day preparing lessons and teaching, there is also plenty of time for the Americans and the Kenyan teachers to engage in long conversations about their respective cultures and lifestyles. No topic is left untouched, as the dialogue moves from politics, economics, sports, pop culture, and food. While it is true the American and Kenyan cultures are very different, it is the similarities discovered that are the most surprising.

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My Time in Kenya Was...

Sarah Young, 2023

Sarah Young, 2023

"SLIK has given me the opportunity to be a teacher, a student, an explorer, and a more aware global citizen. I have eaten traditional foods in traditional ways, carried on a wordless conversation with my eyes, hands, and smile, and have come to realize that while the world is full of different cultures and ways of life, we all have much more in common than we realize."