Simbolei Community Assistance Association

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Our Last Summer Abroad

As the weather turns to fall here in Michigan, we can look back on a busy, productive summer for Simbolei and look forward to our finishing our construction and curriculum planning. By this time next year, Richard and I expect to be on the ground working with staff and faculty to prepare for the opening of Simbolei Academy in January 2020.

In the meantime, the highlight of our summer, as always, was the Literacy Outreach workshops we conducted at six primary schools near Iten. This year, we used a beautiful felt board created by Diane Marable to illustrate the story of Pretty Salma and Mr. Dog. The puppets we have used in previous years are beautiful but they really require a group to use effectively and this year, it was only myself, Felix Sirma and Sister Lucia Treanor, my colleague from Grand Valley State University who conducted the workshops. Felt board figures were much easier to manipulate and move with our limited personnel. The kids loved it and, needless to say, the crayons and coloring were also very popular.

Hard at work with the crayons.

The felt board.

In addition to our literacy programs, Sister Lucia and I also presented a workshop on techniques for teaching academic writing to faculty at Catholic University of East Africa in Eldoret. At the end of all the teaching and learning, I was able to spend a little quality time around Kamariny with our resident cows.

Simbolei Academy cows.

And so, our last summer of long distance commuting between Michigan and Kenya comes to a close and we prepare to make the huge leap from finishing construction to organizing and opening the school. Thanks for traveling with us. We’ll keep you posted.

Nursery classes at Simbolei Junior Academy.





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The Great Rift Valley is part of a huge tectonic rift in the earth's crust that also created the Red Sea and the valley of the Jordan River.

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Simbolei Girls Secondary School, Kenya