The Student Gazette -
Student Gazette

Internship in Kenya an experience of a lifetime
Thursday, May 12, 2011

Fatima Ropri is a seventh-grader at The Academy of the Holy Names

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Photographer: Peter R. Barber

Fatima Ropri
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My cousin, Sarah, went on an internship to Kenya, but she explains that it was much, much more than just an internship. While staying with a most authentic tribe of Kenya called the Maasai, she learned to live with the long preserved culture of the Maasai. That means no modem culture, especially electricity. She says that she learned a lot of things while she was on this trip and this was an experience she will never forget.

The reason for this exciting trip, my cousin explained, was that she was involved in the Boston University School for Field Studies. Her group was going there to collect data, give surveys and then analyze them. Part of her project was also to study the scarcity and sanitation of water there. While giving surveys to the Maasai community, my cousin worked with a translator and even learned some Swahili herself.

Even though my cousin learned a lot due to her project, she explains that there were many other surprises on this trip. One time, when she was about to go to sleep, she saw a huge tarantula sitting on the bed. She quickly called one of her group members who took off her shoe and hit the spider with one, good whack. My cousin Sarah also says that there were two mice and a few bats to keep her company as well. Now she feels as if the bugs and insects we have are nothing compared to those of Kenya.

Having very little electricity usage also posed problems. The lights only came on during the evening, and that was it. The water was freezing cold in the showers, but Sarah says that they were lucky even to have showers. Her group always had to use filtered water for everything, too. For food, they had to make their own breakfast, but the rest of the food was given to them.

“Many of the foods were fried, but we got a daily serving of fruit, which was good,” Sarah explains. For clothes, wearing jeans was disrespectful to the local tribe, so Sarah and her group had to wear long skirts.

Despite some of these surprises and differences, my cousin said the scenery was spectacular. Her camp was at the base of Mount Kilimanjaro.

“Every morning I would wake up and see this amazing mountain right next door,” she says. The roads were bumpy though, and the land was a little dry. My cousin also went on a safari in a national park. She had a large exposure to Africa, and she said that she enjoyed seeing many of the things there.

My cousin says this was a trip she will never forget. With an open and welcoming community to guide her through Maasai culture, she found this trip invaluable. From tarantulas, to bats, to no electricity, this trip was hidden with surprises of a lifetime. In one word, she can sum up this whole trip: Amazing!



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