Kisaruni Experience

This summer, a team from Castilleja settled in the Maasai Mara region of Kenya for ten days and began to collaborate with the girls from Kisaruni School, an all-girls school that just opened this past January in rural Kenya. The aim of the trip was to set the groundwork for a new partnership between the two schools. Guided by inspirational leaders, the Castilleja and Kisaruni girls bonded while attending classes, playing games, telling stories, and singing and dancing, only stopping to drink chai. While there, the Castilleja girls were motivated and moved by the passion they saw at Kisaruni.

The Castilleja girls admired the Kisaruni girls’ eagerness to help others and to learn. At the school, the girls from Castilleja observed the Kisaruni girls’ commitment to helping all of their classmates. If one girl didn’t understand material, all the girls in her small group would immediately stop everything to help that girl, going over it until she understood it as well as they did.  The girls were just as keen to learn themselves. Rebecca Merenbach (’14) commented “ the girls wanted to understand both my way of solving a problem and the teacher’s way, working through both problems until they were sure they grasped both concepts.” Although, “one would hardly believe the girls ever needed help in class if they witnessed them confidently conducting debates, sharing stories and leading discussions in class,” said Alex Zafran (’15). Kendall Levison (’13) was impressed “by the eloquence of the girls’ speaking, especially in their third language!” Their confidence and love of learning are just a few of the qualities that make the girls at Kisaruni so spectacular, and was something that the Castilleja girls could relate to.

On the trip, the Castilleja girls felt inspired by the hospitality of the Kisaruni girls. Charlotte Jones (’13), one of the Castilleja students who went on the trip, says “my world view and my view of myself have seriously altered and I know both will continue to change as I live my life, having gone on that trip this summer.”  Many of the other Castilleja girls feel similarly. Saloni Kalkat (’13) mentioned that she was “in awe of the fact that she saw Kisaruni girls repeatedly offer Castilleja girls their only jacket.” The Castilleja girls hope to embody these characteristics of the Kisaruni girls and apply their philosophy to their everyday lives at Castilleja.

Everyone involved in this trip embraced new ideas of learning and living and formed friendships that will continue to flourish despite the distance. Now, Castilleja can look forward to more Kisaruni themed events this coming school year, because it will be the start of implementing the partnership between Kisaruni and Castilleja School to include the whole Castilleja Community.

Written by Cameron Hill ’15

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