How long have you been hearing about WISER?
Since your first trip, I was about 9 or 10. Then I did my bat mitzvah project to raise money for the school. All my friends came over and we did a car wash. But being here and meeting the girls is a whole different thing. I felt an immediate connection.
So, what is your impression of WISER?
The girls are very intelligent. I am impressed with all of their skills. I know that getting into this school is a big deal so that's not a surprise.
What are your impressions of Kenya and Muhuru Bay?
Everyone you meet in Kenya is always smiling and so friendly. I got to visit the homes of a few of my friends. They live very differently than we do in the U.S., but there is no shortage of love and pride. They welcomed us so graciously. I also got to play soccer. The field is mostly dirt and has some rocks. We played in the hot sun and my teammates wore flip flops without missing a kick. I never thought I'd play soccer in a skirt, but I did my best.
What did you bring to WISER?
My brothers taught me to play chess last summer so I brought some chess sets so the girls could start a chess club. I also taught them the Harkness Method which I learned at The Lawrenceville School where I am a Freshman. It's a great way to develop and express opinions, learn from your peers and treat others with respect when you agree or disagree. The rest of the volunteers on the trip are adults. They can really teach. I'm the same age as the girls, so this is more of a chance for me to share things I love from home and make friends.
What kind of perspective did this trip give you?
I've come to appreciate things I take for granted: Affording an education, consistent electricity, clean water, not having to sleep under a mosquito net.
How do you plan to stay involved?
I got really close to the girls my age here at WISER and I would love to come back for their graduation. I would also like to start a partner school chapter at Lawrenceville and do a trip here with them. I plan to advocate and raise money. I feel like WISER is my school now, too.
How can others reading this get involved?
We are doing a fundraiser during the trip. People can donate here.
|Annie and the Chess Club|
|Home visit with some of her peers|
|The kids are too cute for words|