Earlier this week I hung out with some of the volunteers at St John’s in the Gender-Based Violence office. I had a little gap in my plans for the day and the girls are a fun group to spend time with. They’re educated, empowered and working to make a real difference in teaching younger girls that they don’t have to accept being beaten, exploited or abused by the men in their lives.
Thank goodness they don’t need any geography knowledge to do this.
Soon our chats got onto the UK and questions came flying:
Is the UK part of America?
I thought England was an American state?
So England doesn’t actually boarder the USA?
And what about London? Is that a country on its own?
Where are Chelsea and Manchester? I always thought they were in the States?
I soon got out my notebook and a little map of the UK was drawn, showing the girls England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales and marking out the major cities in England. We learn something new everyday, huh?! They learnt a bit of British landmarks. I learnt that you can pass Kenyan secondary level exams without very limited knowledge of UK geography.
I did come away wondering how they’re knowledge could be so limited given that they’re all intelligent, educated girls.
Then I remembered back to some conversations I’d had with friends (who shall remain nameless!!) back in the UK a few weeks ago, asking where in the world Kenya actually is and two good friends pretty confidently believing I’m living in Nigeria. Another thought Nairobi was a country in itself. Maybe our British geography teachers are no better…
Now, be honest, how many of you are googling maps of Africa, looking up Kenya in particular?!