About this blog

Hello friends,

Welcome to my blog, "A Guy in Kenya." I'm not normally a guy in Kenya, but I am for summer 2010, so I guess that's why it's worth documenting here. My name is David Watterson. I'm a 24 year old graduate student at the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service, located in Little Rock, Arkansas. As part of the school's Master of Public Service degree program, students spend the summer between their first and second years at the school doing field work throughout the world. It's called the International Public Service Project

This summer, thirty six of my classmates and I are spread throughout the globe - from St. Lucia to Australia to New York City to Shanghai and all in between. For ten weeks, each of us is living, eating, working, and playing with those who we are serving, our fellow human beings all across this great Earth. It's an amazing privilege to be given the opportunity to do good, important work while also experiencing more of what life, in all its shapes and forms, has to offer. I couldn't be happier or more excited to share this journey with you.

For my project, I am working with an organization called Kijana Educational Empowerment Initiative, a non-profit that is near and dear to my heart. It was founded and is directed by my high school social studies teacher, Jim Cummings. I've followed his work in Kenya with much interest for several years, and I even traveled to East Africa to volunteer with the organization in 2007. I knew that I had to come back. 

Kijana is dedicated to empowering Kenyan youth ("kijana" is the swahili word for youth) by improving the infrastructure and conditions of their learning environments, and by creating opportunities for meaningful cross-cultural interactions between Kenyan and American students. The scope of my project is focused on that last part - cross-cultural interaction. I am working to develop a program called "Student Summit," which will essentially be a Model UN program that will engage Kenyan students and American students in cross-cultural dialogue surrounding issues of global importance. For the first pilot year, students will discuss sustainable water use policies via videoconference, and eventually work together to write and submit policy proposals to their respective governments and the United Nations. Kijana is aiming to have the pilot launched this fall and running throughout the next school year, so my job is to get everything ready this summer to make sure it is a success.

So that's the story. Accompanying me is my friend and classmate, Patrick Banks, a former teacher from St. Louis and an all-around awesome guy. He's also working with Kijana, albeit on a different project - I'll let him tell his own story. On that note, I encourage you to also read and follow all of my classmates' blogs (most of us are keeping one over the summer), which are listed on the sidebar - we're doing a lot of amazing things all over the world!
Thank you for visiting, and I hope that through reading this blog, you will catch a glimpse of what public service in action can look like. It's a true blessing to have the opportunity to serve others for ten weeks half way across the world, and as much as this blog is for you, it's also for me - to keep as a memento of what could very well be a life-affirming summer and a truly unforgettable experience. 

As you read, I invite you to post a comment or to leave me a note at dswatterson@clintonschool.uasys.edu.

Yours in service, 
David Watterson


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