Tuesday evenings, after the dining hall empties, is a wonderful time on Daraja’s campus. The sun drops below the gently rolling hills just west of school and the air actually glows a warm amber. Baboons can be heard in the dense trees by the river settling into their roosts for the night while neighboring Maasai children fan out across the rolling grassland surrounding their boma to collect the last straggling goats and sheep.
It is during this Tuesday twilight hour that the volunteers from Denmark visiting Daraja tutor the Kenyan students. I personally cannot say enough good things about this group of Scandinavian twenty-something’s. They are passionate, intelligent and very eager to make a difference in the world. They are very bright and simply put, our students love the tutoring sessions.
The Daraja students get to choose the class they feel they need the most help in while the Danish volunteers decide the subject they will tutor based on their academic strengths. Interestingly, the sessions balance out very well. A group of five Daraja students and two Danes are working on biology in the science lab, while seven girls and three Danish volunteers are breaking down the structure of a “3 paragraph essay” in the library.
Before I sat down to type this, I walked outside the classroom block watching unseen from the dark into the light classrooms as something perfect happened. It is true, Daraja Academy has only been running for three weeks, but what is happening is truly spectacular. Young people from all over Kenya are sitting, reading, talking and laughing with young people from Europe. They are together, they are sharing, and all of them, in one way or another – are learning.
Perhaps, in a little less than a month, when the Danish volunteers move on to their sites in South Africa and Uganda, contact between these two groups of young people will be lost, but my guess is the memories they have created will not be.