While I was in Kenya, I experienced so much more than what I anticipated. Before departure, we were trained in culture shock to prepare us for the trip. However, I think this was completely unnecessary as there is nothing that can really prepare one for an experience like this. I thought that I was ready for how different the culture was in Kenya, but there isn’t much you can do to prepare yourself for seeing people throwing their feces in the same river that they wash their clothes in. Of course, I was also not prepared to see how beautiful Kenya was. On safari, it was like being in the middle of the ocean. Whereas in the ocean you look around and just see the blue water as far as you can. When we were on safari, it was miles and miles of grasslands as far as the eye could see.
Aside from the sights that I saw, I learned so much about the culture in Africa. For example, America is an individualist society but Kenya is a collectivist society. One time, EduAfrica bought a gift for our entrepreneurs and did not tell us about it. We did not know this happened until we got to our entrepreneur’s site and she was thanking us endlessly for this gift we gave them which we had no idea about. Turns out, because they function as a collectivist society, the gift technically was from us although we did not purchase it.
The most enriching part of the trip was visiting Kibera, which is the second largest slum in the world. We visited a local business that consisted of women with HIV who had begun a small shop where they sold all types of clothing and jewelry. I hope I get to return to Kenya someday, it was a beautiful country and I am so happy that I had the opportunity to go. I would love to visit other parts of Africa as well. We were told on our second day in Kenya that Africa has so much to teach the world and I believe that to be true.
Shelby Musselman is majoring in Chemical Engineering. She participated in a faculty-led trip to Kenya through the College of Business and Honors College in May, 2018.
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