By Sumari Barnes

Being at Daraja has been an amazing and life-changing experience. Aside from all the projects we have been working on we have also lived the full life of a Daraja Academy girl. Whether we were sorting beans and singing with the girls, to sitting in a triple biology class for two and a half hours, we really got the full taste of a Daraja girl’s life. I was honored to be partnered with a girl in Form 1 named Pauline. She is so hardworking and always tried to keep me on track in class. I had to wake up with her before sunrise to do sports, help her with chores, go to all nine classes, and top it off with study hall until 9 p.m.

These girls are truly the most hardworking group of people I have ever met in my life. All of my time here I have not heard one girl complain about the late nights and early mornings. Working with these girls in and out of class has really inspired me. I am glad my schoolmates and I got this opportunity. Being so hands on and developing such strong bonds with these girls, they have made a mark on our hearts. If we go back to school with half as much motivation and determination as these girls, we will be the most outstanding students at our school in America. This was definitely the trip and experience of a lifetime for us.

Sumari is a student from Marin Academy who stayed at Daraja for two weeks. To learn more about the students’ time on campus and to read more personal accounts, visit their blog: