Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Beginning of a Journey to East Africa

Hi everyone! Shortly, Britney and I are driving to Chicago, where I will begin my journey to East Africa! I cannot believe that it is here already; it came so fast! For those of you who are not sure of my summer plans, I will be participating in the ThinkImpact Institute in rural Kenya. If you are curious about what the program offers, feel free to browse their website - www.thinkimpact.com/institute/ or to keep reading! I am also traveling to Zanzibar, the Mount Kilimanjaro area, Nairobi, and Uganda with some other girls before and after my program! I have been asked by ThinkImpact to answer three questions that people have frequently been asking me about my summer. 1) What are you doing exactly? Good question! The ThinkImpact Institute is a social entrepreneurship and international sustainable development program. I will work with other college students from across the country and world to design innovative projects in our rural Kenya communities. We will live with host families and truly live life as they do throughout this 8-week program. I have no idea what project I will work on, and I am completely okay with that. Once we have time to adjust to our new communities, we will begin building partnerships and testing innovative ideas. We are to provide no start-up capital to our projects, and everything will come from our local communities. I am looking forward to working hard and seeing what can happen when students from across the world come together to make an impact! I hope to not only make an impact on my rural community, but I also wish to apply meaningful lessons from my experiences back in my day-to-day life in the United States. 2) Rural Kenya?! How are you going to survive? I am going to open my eyes to a completely new culture, and I live as the locals do! While I am not sure what conditions that will exactly entail yet, I am confident that my ability to adapt to new situations easily will serve me well. Plus, those many outdoors and backpacking experiences from the last few years certainly help, too! I cannot wait to share with everyone the customs and traditions of my host family and community that I will learn. 3) You are always doing cool things, how did you find out about this opportunity? My International Relations professor, Dr. Lindsay Cohn, posted about applying to the ThinkImpact Institute on Facebook this winter. When I checked out the ThinkImpact website, I was on the phone with my best friend, Britney, and I screamed in her ear, "I want to do this; it would be perfect!" The tagline on their website, "In Africa, nobody is poor. See what we mean this summer," is what truly intrigued me to look into it further. Previously, I had thought about going to India this summer with the Foundation for Sustainable Development, but the ThinkImpact curriculum, support, and experience is what led me to pursue ThinkImpact. My acceptance into the ThinkImpact Institute in Kenya came as a welcomed answer to what direction I should go with my life (in the short-term at least!). I will check in again with you when I land in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on Saturday! Cheers, Kara

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations Kara. My daughter Katy spent a semester in Namibia her junior year in college. It was the experience of a lifetime. She and her husband Danny traveled to Africa just after they were married and built a basketball court in a village there. They also started a foundation called African Lions to support children at the school in Ndeije village. Check out their facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/African-Lions/212964600329 if you are interested. Good luch on your adventure.