Kenyan Diaries – Day 4

It’s actually 9:30 am on Day 5, and it’s national independence day here in Kenya, so we have today off teaching, hence the late start, and late night.

Yesterday started with a 6 am wake-up, which in Vancouver would mean I would have to set about 4 alarms to finally drag myself out of bed, but here, I wake up before my alarm and bounced into the kitchen to make myself some breakfast. It’s funny how things work like that. We spent the day teaching again, and I was so happy to see that about 90% of the previous students had returned, and I started to recognize names and faces. While it was clear that some people were there to jeer, joke, and get free food, I felt most were actually there to learn and create. We split up into groups multiple times and as I walked around and helped people out, I felt that I connected with the students more and more as the day went on, and their ideas were emerging into truly great business ventures.

We have one Kenyan from UBC on our team, and she got up to teach the students about target markets. “You want to know who you are selling to, isn’t it? If you were selling a weaving basket you would not sell this to a man, true?” “True,” the students said in unison. They seem to do that, along with saying good morning or hello back to everyone who comes up to speak whether a teacher or student. Pretty cool.

Finishing class, we concluded with some preparation for Fridays class, and then set out to Strathmore University where we were given a tour of the campus buildings. The classrooms were almost identical to those at UBC Sauder, and the buildings were very modern, the only difference being the intense security check prior to entering, a common step in Nairobi. We stumbled upon three students playing guitar and singing and got a live impromptu performance from them which convinced our organizer to invite them to dinner (organized by the Dean of the school) to give us an encore. I’m not sure exactly what the feeling is when live music is played, but I know that it’s positive, energizing, and brings everyone together. Over the gorgeous dinner, we spoke to a few MBA and Ph.D. students about their University, Nairobi, and life as a student, and then headed back to the apartments where we drank more Tusker (a common theme on this trip, I think) and bonded by the pool.

Again, I’m excited for today.

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