Visiting the University of Chuka in Kenya opened out perception of attending college in this country of 47 million people.
We traveled to the University in Chuka on the tour of Kenya. This was a pleasant and fulfilling experience that we as university students and their students could interact. For an hour and half drive on a bumpy road that was under construction to make a better road. We passed by a rock quarantine and a market place along the road to Chuka.
When we arrived in Chuka, the buildings were out of a 1980’s film with the casual trucks delivering soda bottles to stores. Also, that my family and I were short on money, we decided that with he extra time we had we would go to a bank and exchange the U.S. bills to Kenyan Shillings. You see from one U.S. dollar is equivalent to 99 Shillings in Kenya.
That was the best part due to the beverages, food, and entertainment being very cheap and low to other countries. The bank was open spaced with light walls and accountants behind large glass. We waited in line and decided to give one person all the money to exchange to shillings. After, we exchanged back our Shillings that was about 10,350 Shillings and that was split between four different people, so about each of us received 2,587.50 Shillings.
Arriving at the public university which housed about 10,000 men and 9,000 women. Buildings were being built for classes and even had its own police force that were armed with assault rifles. The campus is about 2,000 feet above sea level and 186 Km (115.6 Mi) from Nairobi.
We were introduced with the Director of the university and along with the headmasters of health, science, literature, and history. They welcomed us and gave us souvenirs to take, and a tour of the campus with sightings of happy Kenyans and a garden they grew for feeding the university students; from potatoes to banana trees that had hundreds of bundles of bananas to livestock of goats, cattle, etc.
Once we arrived at the conference room that was five flights of stairs, we were told we would talked to the university students. There were mixture of young men and women that came into the room and greeted us with smiles and waves. We discussed schooling in Chuka and the US. They talked about their tuition with fees being about 68,500 Shillings per semester [change that to U.S. dollar it would be $661.84.]
This was a shock to several of us Utah State students. We told them about our tuition with fees. [$5,000 USD and converting to shillings of 517,500] They were blown away and spoke in their mother tongue to each other. It was a great interaction. Several were in the nursing program and others in business. Most of the nursing students were either becoming doctors or midwives.
Then, after an hour and half, we said our goodbyes, and some asked to comeback with us. My Navajo aunt was crying by the time we left. As we got back on the bus, some of us spoke about our interaction and how we felt. We drove back to the Kajuki Lodge, the sun struck three o’clock in the sky. That night we had dinner while reflecting on the day and resting from the heat that made everyone grumpy. The pool was cool and the sky was lit with stars that I have never seen before. The moon shined every night after night. I was at peace and ready for the next day.