Ken-ya play Music?
Rachel Yan ‘14
On July 21, the St. Ignatius Kenya Music Exchange group departed for a two week experience in Kenya. Nine student musicians, Chris and Matt Jereza ’16, Ben and Jon Chew ’15, Annie Lee ’15, Coco Suen ’15, Stephanie Woodford ’14, Florence Walsh ’14, and Rachel Yan, traveled with three chaperones, Mrs. Walsh, Mr. Guilbeaux, and Rachel Nesvig. After sightseeing in London, the group flew to Nairobi, Kenya.
The main goal of our trip, was a music exchange with the private boarding high school, Mount Kenya Academy. Here SI students performed an hour long recital, gave music lessons to the students, repaired instruments, and, most importantly, made many new friendships.
Matt Jereza ’16 said, “I was blown away by how alike the Kenyans really are to us; they know more about American pop culture, actors, and artists than I do!”
The best times happened spontaneously, especially at the night jam sessions. Whether SI and Mount Kenya students improvised, or Coach Guilbeaux and students rapped, people of both cultures came together with the universal language of music.
As part of the sevice project, SI students painted classrooms and played with the adorable children at impoverished public elementary schools. High fives, waves, and smiles were the only way to communicate, but it was a special and unique connection. Flo Walsh ’14 said, “I need to get back to Kenya, and I need to work with those kids.”
Coco Suen ’15 said, “I met some of the happiest people in my life in Kenya; their hospitality, spirit, and smiles are purely contagious.”
Coach Guilbeaux hi-fives kids in Kenya
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