On Monday, we were lucky enough to have the opportunity to take our 4th grade class to the United Nation's Headquarters in Nairobi! Our new Country Director, JM, set up the trip in part as a gift to the girls for placing number one in their district examinations.
It was also a wonderful opportunity for our girls to widen their views of what they can be when they grow up. Many of our girls want to be doctors, teachers, lawyers, and pilots -- and many will be exceptional at those professions. However, we also want them to be exposed to a wide array of other possibilities. We want them to know that, if they set their minds to it, they can be computer programmers, architects, or, as they discovered yesterday, a delegate to the United Nations.
We had a great tour of the vast UN compound. The girls were treated to an exceptional presentation about the UN's history and what it is that the UN does around the world. During the presentation they were challenged to say what problems in Kenya needed solving. Many of the responses -- "We need to create more jobs for people." "People don't have food and shelter." "Our environment needs to be protected" -- made you ask, "Are these these girls really only in Fourth grade?!"
After the presentation and discussion, we walked around the grounds, seeing gifts that other countries had given the UN in Nairobi, learning more about what the UN offices do, and even touring a new state-of-the-art 'green' building, completely energy and carbon-neutral, equipped with solar panels and specially designed to recycle all water and provide abundant natural light. The girls even had the opportunity to go up on stage in the general assembly room, where large scale international meetings happen. Everywhere they went, the girls, always inquisitive and eager to learn, were constantly shooting up the hands to asks questions. It was a wonderful day!
Early Monday morning as we were driving to the site, JM asked the girls who had heard of the UN. Nobody had. "Not to worry," he said, "by the end of the day you'll all be experts." Sure enough, after their tour there's no doubt in our minds that our girls will grow up to be leaders in charge of promoting peace, justice, and well-being in Kenya -- and around the world. Just take a second to imagine that world.