Please laugh at my joke, it’s all I have going right now. Okay well that’s not true because I’m in Mombasa! (Or as my family likes to say, Mufasa. Can you see where my sense of humour comes from?). Before I say anything else, can we collectively marvel at the view from my apartment? Sigh.
Okay, now that that’s done, down to business. 3 flights, 2 days and lots of in-flight food later, I finally reached the coastal town of Mombasa. I’m here to intern with an work on a ICT based literacy program being run in grades 1 and 2 across schools in Kenya and Uganda. (More detail on this to follow).
I was lucky enough to have a family friend who lives here and was nice enough to pick me up at the airport at 1am. While I thought I was tired enough to sleep for the next 3 days, jetlag had different plan for me. The weekend went by in a blur of setting up the house, navigating grocery stores and figuring out where the office was, all while trying to stay awake and functional.
On Monday, my manager took me around and introduced me to everyone, gave me an office and told me to get to work. Once the excitement of having my own office died down, I realized I had been left to my devices to get all the items on my TOR done, with the assumption that I knew how to do all of those things. For the next few days, I spent a lot of time with my friend Google, and after lots of research and frantic texts to my IEDP colleagues (shout out to Sharanya, Colin and Claire) I felt better prepared got to work.
In the last 2 weeks I have had several conversations with the manager of this project,and have managed to gain significant context of the project, its history, the several stakeholders as well as where she felt my contribution would be most valuable. I moved out of the little office they gave me and into a more central space, allowing me to actually talk to people and interact with more colleagues. Aisha even teaches me a sentence of Swahili every day, which is great!
For the first half of my internship, I will be reviewing 75 stories that are meant for grade 1 and 2 students in Uganda and Kenya, and will be delivered via tablets to students in an interactive and illustrated form. Currently, these stories are not contextual, age appropriate or holistic, and so my job is to re-write them as well as craft comprehension questions for them, both of which I have really enjoyed doing. This week, I will be a part of a meeting where 10 of the stories I have worked on will be presented to a government curriculum body to get their approval – something I am both excited and nervous about. I’m also going to be visiting schools in Mombasa, as well as Kilifi and Kwale, two districts close by, to get a better idea of how this project is currently being implemented and what recommendations need to be made for the next phase.
In the midst of lexile levels, Flesch-Kincaid grades and critical thinking comprehension questions, I have managed to explore the city a little bit too, eat way too many cassava chips and even make a trip to a national park for the long weekend!
Overall, a great 2 weeks in, with lots of learning, unlearning and sea breeze in between. Stay tuned for updates, and check out my other peers’ posts about their internships here!