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My Leap changed my life!

I went on the September 2009 Leap to Kenya and had the most incredible time.  It was, without a doubt, the most amazing experience I have had and one that will never be forgotten!  The variety of projects my group took part in made the whole thing so rewarding and interesting.  I really feel like we made our mark and we definitely made a difference. 

I graduated from university in the summer, worked to save for Kenya then left in September not knowing what I wanted to do career wise.  I didn't have a gap year before going to university so decided to take time out after.  Going to Kenya was definitely the best choice I could Jenny Amy with her students in Kenya with The Leaphave made!  Whilst out there, we worked in three different schools.  We painted educational diagrams on the outside of classroom walls, we played with the children, helped put together a new netball court and volleyball court and helped with two different tree nurseries/gardens.  The most incredible opportunity I had in two of these schools however, was teaching.  The thought of teaching had crossed my mind in the past, but I thought it would be something I came back to later on, but my experiences in Kenya have altered this decision. 

In Makongeni, we got to teach an after school club, classes of up to 50 children from the village who came for extra lessons after school.  As they just turned up when they wanted to, they were all different ages Jenny's classes could be fifty or moreand ultimately varied in ability.  We had no time to plan.  We were just given a book and asked to teach a topic of our choice.  I loved the challenge of thinking on our feet and coming up with exciting ways to work with the children.  Finding means of breaking the language barrier was really fun.  We came up with themed games, physical activities such as acting out words we were learning, we also made great use of the black board.  We took the children out onto the field by the school where we all had a run around and every afternoon was finished with the hokey-kokey, a definite favourite!  We had our project manager, Both arms in, both arms out, you do the hokey kokey.. Rosie on hand to help with the naughty ones and to translate when needed, but considering the circumstances and lack of planning, all our lessons went fantastically well.  I loved every minute of teaching so when later on in the trip we were given the chance to teach again, this time at Kiteghe Primary School in the Taita district, I jumped at the opportunity.

This time, we were given time to plan ahead.  I taught science with James and Matt and Helen took English classes.  It was really good to be able to plan ahead, especially with science because we even managed to find resources to do demonstrations and experiments.  Kenyan schools obviously do not have the same equipment as we do in England, it was very limited, but everything we did was so hugely appreciated by the cJenny, fellow Leapers and students in Kiteghehildren.

Talking to the children and staff out in Kenya was intensely inspiring.  We met children who walked for hours to get to school and studied till late at night only to get up at the crack of dawn to return to their books.  Education is valued so much out there; it is often the only way to escape the poverty of village life. 

My experiences lead me to making the decision to become a teacher back in England.  As soon as I got back I started to apply to do graduate teacher training next September, squeezed a week of work experience in at a local school (where I interestingly sat in on a science lesson teaching 10/11 year the same lesson James and I There was also time to enjoy the Kenyan coast with other Leapersdelivered in Kiteghe.  Noting the difference in experiments shown and resources used really emphasised the poverty I had witnessed out in Kenya).  I have now got myself a job as a teaching assistant in a primary school and have a set idea of exactly what I want to do, who knows, maybe one day I will be a head teacher!!  It is all down to the Leap and my trip to Kenya.  To anyone who is thinking of going, I would say DO IT.  I am clearly biased, but I would 100% recommend the Kenya Leap to anyone, it is AMAZING and may just change YOUR life!

Jenny Amy's placement in Kenya was arranged with The Leap