July 22 to August 5, 2020
New York City- JFK Airport
After spending the first day visiting an elephant orphanage and a giraffe preserve in the Nairobi area, the group will travel to Meru to begin its work with our non-profit partner, International Peace Initiatives (IPI). The project work primarily focuses on supporting IPI’s efforts to build and sustain the Kithoka Amani Community Home. This home allows economic and AIDS orphans to remain close to their extended families while also providing them with a safe and healthy home environment.
While in Kenya, the SStS group will stay near the orphanage in order to build personal relationships with the children living there. In addition to teaching and playing with the children, participants will work on projects such as improving the existing bio-intensive farm and building eco-cottages or other structures at the Tiriji Eco-Center. Students will also participate in daily workouts led by experienced coaches, meet with Kenyan runners, and learn about the deep culture of running in Kenya. To gain a deeper understanding of the area, students will spend a night with a family in a rural village, and visit schools and homes with IPI’s community liaisons. Finally, the course concludes with a safari in a world-renowned game park, where students are likely to see a range of animals (giraffes, elephants, zebras, lions, and antelope) as they finish their course in athletics and ethical leadership.
The Kenya running course will allow students to dedicate time to both service and training. Training highlights include:
- Dedicated time each day for workouts on the dirt roads of rural Kithoka, Kenya.
- The chance to train at altitude (Meru County is over 4500′ above sea level).
- Coaching from both SStS and Kenyan coaches with backgrounds in cross country/track and field.
- Opportunities to run with local Kenyan runners in Meru.
- Workshops focused on training, leadership, and Kenyan running culture.
The mission of International Peace Initiatives is to promote peace by supporting sustainable initiatives that improve livelihoods and enhance quality of life. To learn more, please visit their website.
While at the Amani Children’s Home, the group will work on expanding and improving the facilities at the Tiriji Eco-Center, which is an organic, perma-culture farm as well as a training and retreat center. They will also visit other children’s homes, schools, and community organizations.
Prior to their travels, students complete a series of online activities (30 minutes each). While traveling, they also read engaging articles, participate in cultural experiences, and create presentations in small groups.
Because a majority of the course occurs in a rural agricultural area, the students will spend an afternoon doing a lengthy walking tour of the village surrounding the children’s home. If the weather allows, another morning will be spent hiking to a nearby waterfall.
For a majority of the course, the group will either stay at the Amani Children’s Home or one of the eco-cottages at Tiriji. The last night is spent at a wonderful safari lodge.
After spending the first couple days on the outskirts of Nairobi, the group will drive for several hours to the county of Meru. After over a week in this area, they will drive for a couple hours to a game park for the safari. Then, on the day of departure, they will drive past Mt. Kenya on their way back to the Nairobi airport.
In addition to spending most of their days either at the children’s home or the nearby Tiriji Eco-Center in order to develop relationships with the children, the students will also spend an evening, in pairs, with a rural farming family.
After spending the first two days of the course on the outskirts of Nairobi, the remainder of the program occurs in the rural agricultural village of Kithoka or in a Kenyan Wildlife Reserve.
During the travel phase of each SStS course, students spend time reflecting about the learning that occurs through their immersion and service experiences. These posts capture the impact of our programs on individual students. Explore the posts below to learn about the SStS Kenya program from the important viewpoint of our students.