Ken-ya Dance? by Bella Garcia

Ken-ya Dance?

Bella Garcia

Today was definitely our most chaotic day, and despite the need to be very flexible in terms of the itinerary, I can confidently say these high school girls have already taught me a great deal. Our day began with a very bumpy bus ride to Joska High School, which is the boarding school for high school girls outside of Nairobi. Once again, our bus driver thoroughly impressed me with his abilities to find his way through the Nairobi traffic and extremely rocky roads. Upon arriving at the school, we were welcomed by the dance team as they sang and danced to us, and eventually danced with us. One thing that has been consistent throughout this entire trip is how welcomed I have felt at every destination. The girls not only made me feel so appreciated just by my presence, but also always had such inquisitive questions and thoughtful comments. Apparently, hearing our ages is very surprising and brings lots of excitement.

After being welcomed, we were taken on a tour of the entire school campus and learned there are over 700 high school girls that live full time on campus, 700 primary students, 300 of which also stay at the boarding school. We went inside the boarding rooms, classrooms, science lab, library, staff lodging, garden, and finally the worship room that holds the entire school every Sunday. Seeing where students my age spend almost the entirety of their teenage years was very eye opening. The hardest concept I had accepting, was how much these girls love being in school and learning, even if that means having class until 9 o’clock at night. However, seeing every girl’s passion to learn changed my perspective on the way I view my sometimes dreadful school days. This has been apparent at every school we have visited. It seems as though every student here not only has a strong love for school, but also a sense of determination and outlook on education I sincerely need to adapt.

After the tour was my favorite part of the day. This consisted of a presentation from the dance team, chorus, and Primary School group. The dance team is just extraordinary here. I have never seen any type of dancing like it, especially not from girls my age and younger. I am definitely not the strongest dancer, and am not able to move the same way these girls do, but their passion and talent simply cannot be replicated.  Everyone in our group was blown away by Stacy, an 18-year-old student at Joska with a dancing ability I have never seen before. Aside from the talent, the beaming smile from every girl dancing just warmed my heart, and made me realize why our Steps of Faith teachers constantly express the importance of smiling while performing. It certainly made a remarkable difference as a participant in the audience.

Then came time for the activity portion of the day. We were all put in groups either dance, sports, or music. For some reason, I thought dance would be a good fit for me but I quickly remembered my lack of coordination and rhythm, which was a constant reminder during my Steps of Faith career. Nonetheless, we started by teaching the high school girls which ended up being over 100 girls (this made for an interesting teaching experience) the dance “Up”, one we did during Steps of Faith this year. Despite our technical difficulties, it was the coolest thing seeing these girls of a completely different culture, dancing to a dance all of my friends and I did back home. I am very confident that my steps teacher, Caroline, will just be beaming to know her dance has made it all the way to Kenya.

After teaching our dance, the Joska girls returned the favor and taught us one of their dances. As one can assume, this dance was very different than any Steps of Faith dance. I cannot say I was able to really dance the same way they did, and even though some girls were laughing at my failed attempts, dancing with those girls was the highlight of my day. I’ve come to realize that even though dancing is really not a skill of mine, and one I probably won’t pursue, it can still be so fun, especially when you’re with girls that are able to bring all of the energy.

After our 3-hour dance session, we had our usual chai time (my personal favorite time of day). This was followed by our daily devotion and sharing time. After which we had dinner:  chicken, amazing noodles, ugali, and pineapple. I cannot describe how much this trip has already impacted me, but being with high school girls has been an entirely different experience. As we finish teaching tomorrow, I look forward to the lessons these girls will continue to teach me. I think I may be learning just as much, if not more than the people we have encountered throughout this trip and I can’t wait to see what God’s plan will be for when we all arrive home. - Bella


Tom Hatch - June 14th, 2024 at 2:44am

Bella you really captured the spirit of the day and looking forward to worship today!

Linda Flowers ( Shayne Flowers Grandmother). - June 14th, 2024 at 12:37pm

What a wonderful visit with everlasting memories of this amazing trip to Kenya for my granddaughter, Shayne Flowers. I know she, & all those fortunate to travel & share their love of Christ through song & dance with the children of Kenya will forever remain with them close at heart. I am so proud of Shayne & her commitment to this mission trip. Love the photos & ❤️ this wonderful mission trip with ending “ I can’t wait to see what God’s plan will be for when we all arrive home”. - Bella 👏

Marcia Johnson - June 14th, 2024 at 4:50pm

Ken-Ya Dance? Love your title! All of you have been amazing on this trip. The pictures are priceless and tell so much more than words. Yet, your written words have conveyed an excitement, a learning experience, and beautiful hearts! To watch all y’all as you grow following this trip would be fascinating! God bless you!