Usually when the students leave school and return to their homes for the holidays, the Daraja Academy Campus become eerily quiet. Not this holiday.

Over the last 6 weeks the campus was buzzing with activity. Thanks to the incredible generosity and love exhibited by Daraja Academy’s the loving supporters our student body is doubling! It still amazes me that the call went out, “there are remarkable, intelligent young women who deserve something better,” it was heard… AND IT WAS ANSWERED!

Renovations to the newly named “Rich Harley Hall” were needed before the new students arrive on January 9th. The classrooms required cracks to be filled in the floors and paint to be applied to the walls. When large groups of Danish volunteers (20+) visited last year, the dining hall was totally packed. In order to satisfy the addition of 25 more Daraja students we have renovated the dining patio which now resembles a very cool “indoor/outdoor” café. Because her mother works for Daraja Academy, Maureen doesn’t leave over the holiday break… she has already asked if she can “reserve” her seat on the patio for all meals.

A rigorous teacher hiring process has just been completed and 3 1/2 new teachers will be joining our staff. In later BLOG posts I will introduce them to the World, however very quickly: we hired two Swahili specialists Mr. Wycliffe and Mr. Mwambura, which will allow our veteran teacher Ms. Catherine to concentrate on English, her passion. We also hired Ms. Caroline who will also teach English as well as working as a dorm Matron.

I wrote earlier that we had hired 3 ½ teachers. I did so only because our last hire, Ms. Peris has been living at Daraja Academy ever since it opened its doors. In fact, she actually began teaching in September, when she took over Andy Harley’s history class, when he (temporarily) returned to the United States. Ms. Peris will be teaching math and chemistry and is married to our science guru, Mr. Charles, who in addition to teaching the sciences has also been named as the school’s Dean of Curriculum.

I cannot say enough about the group of teachers that we have been able to assemble, and it is very exciting to note that Daraja Academy is beginning to make waves in Kenyan’s academic circles… remarkably, 2 of the 3 newly hired teachers left secured jobs to join our staff! It seems we are doing something right.

This is all such great progress, but in all honesty it is you… the reader, the donor, those who advocate for this school and the incredible girls of Daraja, who have made every one of these advancements possible. You are all angels to us. Please keep the fire; our students deserve it I promise.

* * * Please watch for a post in the next few days about one specific remarkable angel. My greatest hope is that people will hear about Daraja Academy and choose to visit. This is so important to me because I know just how spectacular this school and its students are. Quite frankly, I believe that once a person has seen what it is we are trying to do, they can’t help but return to the developed world as a Daraja backer.

Nancy Hanssen totally “leap-frogged” the role of Daraja backer and is now a full fledge activist. Please check out the Daraja Academy BLOG in the next few days and read about how Nancy just might have pulled off a coup… bringing the campus WATER. * * *

Jason Doherty