A Day In the Life of a Nuru International Education Program Manager

I took my first “business trip” today (March 10th) to Kehancha where many of the government officials for the Kuria West District are located.  It is also the town where the Maranatha Early Childhood Teacher Training College where we are sending some teachers to get certificates and diplomas in Early Childhood Development (ECD). We had an appointment with the College but could not secure time with the District Education Officer (DEO).  The DEO is someone we need to work with closely in order to make the sponsorship a reality.  The following is a retro-running diary of this day. (This type of diary stolen from the Sports Guy on ESPN).

0801 – The team gathers in a circle with the Chairman to review what we did yesterday and preview what we will do today

0808 – I explain I will take a trip to Kehancha today.  They are happy for me until I explain it is to meet with Maranatha only since the DEO canceled the appointment

0816 – CEO tells us these check-ins should be quicker.  15 minutes today but try and keep it less than 10 min.  I make personal vow to keep my sharing under 45 seconds

0836 – I leave the house and head to the Junction.  I am supposed to meet Francis, my CDC at 0900 so we can catch a ride to Kehancha.  I realize I may be a little early and decide to walk slowly

0930 – It’s a bumpy piki ride to Kehancha.  We’re about half-way.  The driver is from Kehancha division and asks when Nuru is coming there.  I tell him soon.  He says his harvest averages about 7-8 bags.  I tell him that on average Nuru farmers are getting 13 bags and some even more.

1011 – We arrive at Maranatha and meet with the Reverend in charge of the facility and the Reverend in charge of all of Maranatha in the district

1025 – The Reverend explains his need for a men’s dormitory and asks if Nuru can help. He shows us how much money is required

1028 – Francis explains Nuru’s position about such projects. We don’t give handouts to individuals or organizations.  We try to partner with them to find a sustainable solution.  We are also not working in Kehancha currently and cannot help at this time

1042 – I offer some suggestions about how to raise more funds.  Possibly increase tuition for students since the fees they collect only cover the operational and administrative costs. Possibly using the facilities outside of the months of April, August and December since those are the only months when the courses are taking place.  They can use the land and building they have in the other nine months for some revenue generation

1050 – I am unsure if they are open to such ideas as they say perhaps Nuru can chip in a little, not all of the money required

1120 – After a nice discussion, we received information about the courses starting in April and promised to continue speaking about potential partnerships in the future

1138 – Francis and I arrive at the office of Mr. Wankuru, who is in charge of ECD in the district.  He had certificates for students sponsored by Nuru who took a course with him and the Ministry and we were to pick them up today

1151 – After a short discussion and collection of the certificates, he tells us that the DEO is in his office and we can catch him there

1159 – On our way to the DEO office, we run into Jackson and Mary, a couple of ECD teachers we are sponsoring for the certificate course and two of the directors of our cooperative. They tell us they are there to get birth certificates. Apparently they need them to restart their course this April

1234 – After waiting outside the DEO’s office for about half an hour, I finally meet him.  I saw him from afar at Keborui Primary but he left before we got to formally meet.  I had the impression he was short before and it was confirmed

1245 – The DEO offers some suggestions about how to pick a school for sponsorship.  He had a suggestion we hadn’t heard yet and I was glad to have included him in our planning process

1255 – The DEO promised to be supportive of the sponsorship but was hurried as he was on his way out.  We walk out with him and say goodbye

1304 – As Francis and I were walking back to town he meets his sister-in-law and says hello.  He tells me his brother lives right there but is not home now.  Otherwise we could have visited (we will also run into her father later)

1418 – Francis and I finished lunch at a restaurant in Kehancha.  We discuss the to-do list for next week so we can plan our week together.  The lunch is more expensive than in Isibania by about 30-40 ksh

1512 – We walk out of the restaurant and look for a piki to take us home

1544 – I am a bit concerned as the piki is going very fast and the driver does not seem to slow down for ditches.  I think to myself, it is a beautiful day to die.  But not to get into an accident and live

1600 – I arrive at home and drink some water

1742 – I start this blog

So this was a running diary of my day in Kehancha – my first business trip here.  All in all, I think it was pretty successful.  We got to meet with Maranatha and find out about the diploma course starting in April.  We got the certificates from the Ministry.  We met the DEO and told him we are going through with sponsorship and received his support.  Francis and I got to plan for next week and had other discussions about the Education Program. Indeed a very productive day.

Thomas Hong

About Thomas Hong

Leadership Program Director — Thomas has worked in education and leadership development in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Kenya, India, Mongolia and Uzbekistan. He holds a B.A. in Economics and master’s degree in teaching from the University of Virginia and an MBA in international organizations from the University of Geneva.

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