Children's Writer seeking to talk to a PCV from the 1960s in Kenya

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Kenya: Message Center for Kenya RPCVs: Children's Writer seeking to talk to a PCV from the 1960s in Kenya

By Kate T. ( - on Tuesday, July 20, 2004 - 3:03 pm: Edit Post

My name is Kate Tuthill and I am working on a novel for teens about a teacher in Kenya in the 1960s. While the book is fiction, I'm working to create a realistic setting and narrative.

I have some specific questions re. what a typical classroom would be like, what barriers to teaching existed because of cultural taboos or traditions, what types of teaching materials were provided (or improvised) ... and any anecdotes or vignettes you would be willing to share.

Please contact me at We can correspond by e-mail or I would be happy to contact you by telephone. Thank you!

By L. Michael Klungness ( - on Friday, November 10, 2006 - 7:49 pm: Edit Post

Jambo Kate Tuthill,
I assume you may have had responses to your inquiry, but I just got on this bulletin board, so I am offering my obervasions for Taita Hills in 1968-1970.
I am also trying to reestablish my contact with Kenya. I work for the USDA, and we are trying to formulate a training project to advance fruit fly control among the wakulima.
I speak Kiswahili, so if you need words or expresions, I can help you out.
Most of the schools were simple, usually mud, occationally brick, with tin roof, and no glass in the windows. At that time, They had a program to feed the children lunch, which usually consisted of whole corn and beans boiled into a kind of soup. Mostly, they were not able to cook the favorite food at school, ugale (stiffly boiled corn meal). An interesting note, in the Coast Province, somehow some organization had funded the purchase of cashew (roasted without salt) for the school program. They came in glass jars, as if they had already been packaged for sale in Europe. I always thought it humerous that watoto were eating nuts that cost big bucks in the west. I am not even sure that they liked them, but it was food and most of them needed food!
If I knew how to contact her, I would put you in touch with Dolly Walker. She was a PCV in Voi when I was in Taita. She taught high school. She was an Afro-amercian in Africa, so she has a unique perspective. We used to have long discussions about the difference between being a Mzungu (white person) and an American black in Kenya.

Good luck,

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