About My Trip

For years I have listened to students tell stories of their lives in Africa. I have worked with parents who have no frame of reference for school in the US, and I have read essay after essay on what it is like to be living in different worlds. I decided to take a six month leave of absence from my job and go to Africa myself to experience life there first hand. I want to feel what my students feel and know in my bones what it is like to be a foreigner in a culture where I am the minority. I want to be surrounded by languages that I don’t understand. I want to see the schools where my students and their parents attended. I want to be an observer, so that I can come back and do my job with more of a in-my-bones understanding of their experience.

I will be visiting five countries between February-May. I begin in Zambia with a visit to my niece who lives in Lusaka, and then a trip to the Copperbelt region where I will be staying with friends of my colleague Alain Nkulu. Next I travel to Rwanda where I will be staying with the family of Paul Runyambo (2013) and Letitia Runyambo. Next I will travel to Burundi where I will be staying again with friends of the Runyambo family. Over a year ago Paul and Letitia’s father Norbert put me in touch with Dr. Freddy Kaniki, who has built the Burundi-American International Academy, a new school that will open in September. Recently, Waynflete’s Friends of the Library packed up over 100 boxes of used books that will be sent to this school and I will be going to visit the school. In April I will be working with a library in Bungoma, Kenya as a result of French teacher Lindsay Kaplan connecting me with her sister who is the Director and Co-Founder of Maria’s Libraries in Busia, Kenya. While there I will be working with teachers to bring computer literacy and ipad use into their curriculum. My trip will end in Ethiopia where I will first stay with family of sophomore Abel Aleymayo in Addis Ababa and then travel up to Gonder and visit with the family of sophomore Nadia Aman.

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3 thoughts on “About My Trip

  1. I hope you are living life n seeing things that I have dreamed of. Im not sure where I get my traveling blood, for know one in my family but me dreams of it! If people could just see,touch,smell just a little of what the world share’s with us they would hold there breath! To many people can’t see what we have wright in front of them! I love life in all her glory! Don’t forget to hug a tree!!!! Love Judy:-)

  2. Dear Susie, You took me back to my young days. In one picture it looked like my Blue Mtns were in the background. Sounds like you were experiencing your teaching job and you could be happy with what you have in Portland. Your time there also brought back memories of people and places of your youth. Remember that I always told you that what you learn and experienci can never be taken from you. Also, I admire your diplomacy. Patiently will wait for the rest of the syory.

    • Love you, Mom. I am glad you had some good memories reading the post. This trip has helped refocus me and you’re right–I’m very grateful for all I have in Portland and that I had the chance to take this amazing trip. And no one will take this away from me–just like you always said.

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