After spending 10 days in
Kenya, Africa, students, faculty and staff at Southeast Community College have
a new perspective on life.
“It really opens your eyes to
the world,” said Terry Stutzman, a staff member who took advantage of the
Global Studies trip to Kenya in July. “I came away thinking, what else can I
do? What can I do to help people?”
This was the first time the
Global Studies program offered a trip to Kenya. Two faculty members grew up in
the region, which made it a good fit. Sociology instructor, Dr. Danvas Mabeya,
grew up in Kisii, Kenya. Business instructor, Janet Scott, spent her childhood
in Kisii, and went to high school in Nairobi. Her parents were missionaries.
“It was eye-opening,” Scott
said. “Many of the people had not traveled internationally. The different way
of life over there, students were surprised and their eyes were opened to a
Mabeya said several colleges
offer trips to Kenya, but SCC’s trip went beyond the others by traveling into
the rural areas, so students could get a different point of view. The group was
able to visit Mabeya’s family tea farm and planted blue gum trees on the
“It’s important (to travel)
because the world has become very small,” Mabeya said. “People move in and out
of the United States daily. I have seen people who have never seen an African-American.”
The group was able to visit a
variety of different schools where they would contribute books. They were able
to see every aspect of education, including an elementary school, high school,
university, and a technical college. Scott said the technical college and SCC
shared many qualities.
“I was surprised it was as
similar to SCC as it was,” Scott said. It had computer labs, libraries and a
“Education has come a long
way,” she said. “There’s a lot of advancements, and the government has put a
lot of resources in education, and it’s showing.”
The group also was able to
learn more about one of the subjects Mabeya teaches in his classes: Female
genital mutilation. In Africa and other countries, this ritual involves
circumcising the female between the ages of nine and fifteen, when they are transitioning from childhood to adulthood. Mabeya has been
involved in the prevention of FGM.
“One thing I’m interested in
is trying to educate people about this practice,” Mabeya said. “The government
has come up with a ban, but it still is done. They are only educating women,
not men. The approach is not very good.”
There was a conference about
FGM, and the group was able to meet women and hear stories about their
experiences with the ritual and how it has affected them. Many times females
are exposed to social exclusion if they don’t take part in this practice.
“We met women who had refused
to take part in the practice and the experience of what happened,” Scott said.
“That experience for us to meet the women was eye-opening.”
A surprise trip to the United
Nations headquarters in Nairobi was a special bonus. The group spent two hours and
were given a tour, saw the general chamber and learned about the UN’s role
They also were able to get a close-up
look at African wildlife, including zebras, warthogs, baboons, wildebeests, and
exotic birds. They visited an elephant orphanage and a giraffe sanctuary.
“We saw hippos out swimming
in the water and got within 100 feet of them,” said Stutzman, who took a boat
ride on Lake Naivasha.
Twelve people took part in
the Global Studies trip, including Stutzman and his daughter, Heather, who
lives in California. She was able to make a special connection during the trip.
“For the past six years, she
has sponsored two girls (ages 8 and 12) in Africa. The highlight was meeting
those two girls,” Stutzman said. “One family had to walk three miles to get
An avid runner, Stutzman said
another highlight of the trip was the opportunity to run with a Kenyan. Many of
the best distance runners in the world hail from Kenya.
“If you have the opportunity
and there’s a global education trip, I would take advantage of it,” Stutzman
said. “You get a more personal experience when you go with people like this.”
Mabeya and Scott said they
would like to plan a future trip to Kenya. In the meantime, trips to Guatemala,
Italy, Cuba, and Haiti are planned for next summer. Scott says one of the best
times to travel is when you’re a student.
“You have freedom and energy
that you may not have when you’re older,” Scott said. “It’s a cultural
immersion experience. We looked at daily life, business, economics, and agriculture.
It was a glimpse into another world for our students.”
“People need to understand
these things when they’re students,” Mabeya said. “It opens up a lot of people
and the way they think.”
Persons interested in SCC’s
Global Education opportunities can click this link for a schedule. https://www.southeast.edu/globaleducationopportunities/