Perseverance: Intern Post by John Keiter
It’s officially been two weeks since my group arrived in Kenya. Needless to say, some of us are at our breaking point. Whether it be the heat, the stomach aches, the noisy highway we sleep next to, or in my case, the mosquitos. Last night, a mosquito found the only place on my body that hadn’t been sprayed by bug spray… my eyelid. And for some reason I have started having allergic reactions to the bites, so my eyelid has swelled up like a balloon. Even for the “rich” white Americans, life seems to be tough in Kenya. And yet, how can I complain? I am surrounded by people whose sufferings and hardships far surpass anything that I have gone through on this trip or in life. And the most amazing part is they bear it all with a smile. Every hardship that I am going through here is detracted by the fact that it barely covers the surface of the struggles the locals of Kenya experience on a day-to-day basis. If there is one thing I know I’ll take home from this trip, it will be a new sense in the meaning of the word “perseverance.”
I have been amazed by the stories I have been told by some of the locals about how they persevered. Most Kenyans have an admirable sense of value in their lives. Primarily, they base it around education. And they go to great lengths in achieving a good, educated life. One man that stands out is the Head Teacher or Principal at a Primary school called Fuleye. This man scored second highest in his district on the KCPE, a standardized test given after Primary school to determine if they can continue their education onto secondary school, or high school.
However, his family, whose father had passed away, was not able to pay to further all of their children’s education. So, they were only able to send the eldest son to secondary school. After this son graduated, he obtained a job as a teacher and used his money to subsequently pay for his brother’s education. Moses, the Principal of Fuleye, started high school at the age of 22. Upon his graduation and employment, he paid for the education of his younger siblings until finally the full family of 7 had received a full education.
I am sure that if I can harness even a fraction of that perseverance, I will be able to make it through the next two weeks.