SLIK’s primary focus is to provide an opportunity for high school students to serve as volunteer teachers at one of many primary schools near Batian’s View Experiential Education Center near the town of Naro Moru, Kenya. To help students prepare they have classes about Kenya’s education system from the headmasters of the schools they will be volunteering. Later, Kenyan teachers assist the students at their respective schools in lesson planning, teaching techniques, and classroom management strategies. The Americans eventually prepare their own lessons and teach classrooms of 20 to 35 excited young Kenyans.
The school day begins at 7:45 and ends at 3:00 PM. The Kenyan students then remain at school until 5:00 PM for tutoring, club meetings, athletic and drama practices, or assisting with school maintenance projects. The American are involved in this part of the school day as well, supervising the young students and lending a hand when needed. This is the best opportunity for the Americans to work with the Kenyan students in small groups or in one on one tutoring sessions. At the end of the school day the students either walk back to Batian’s View or are picked up by vehicle.
While the busy school day may be over, there is still plenty to do at Batian’s View, the students’ home in Kenya. Following a late afternoon chai break (spicy Kenyan tea), the students have time for long walks or runs, pick-up games of soccer at a nearby secondary school, or to challenge themselves on the ropes course high in the trees at Batian’s View. The time can also be spent working on lesson plans, preparing lab activities, or simply relaxing and reading in one of the many hammocks available.
After a delicious dinner prepared by the chef and staff at Batian’s View, the Americans have lessons in Kiswahili, Kenyan politics, or to hear stories from elders who experienced Kenya’s colonial era first hand. Several dinners, however, take place in the homes of Batian’s View’s neighbors or Kenyans who are a part of the SLIK program. During these meals the students experience warm hospitality, traditional Kenyan meals, and have another opportunity to learn about everyday life in rural Kenya. The long day often ends back at Batian’s View with epic card or monopoly games, ping-pong matches, catching up with family via email, and hanging out with new friends listening to music.