My Mentor journey goes to show that you don’t’ need to be highly accomplished to begin your mentorship journey.
Of the different types of mentorship that we have mentioned so far, I have engaged myself in the one to one mentorship, peer to peer mentorship, group mentorship and Online mentorship.
I can say my mentorship journey began when I was a child. Looking back, I have always been a believer in empowering other people and making them realize their own potential. My journey through Primary school was nothing short of a miracle. My family was experiencing financial turmoil and my parents were considering to switch me to a public school. Public schools at that time didn’t have a good reputation. I stayed home for a whole term. Eventually, the owner of the school took pity on me and decided to chip in and help my parents. I suppose that my good performance was one of the motivations behind the decision.
My friend then, in Primary school was struggling with handwriting. The teacher had paired me with her and categorically requested me to help her. I was happy to help. In fact, I enjoyed practicing handwriting with her. Shhh!, this is also how I ended up getting my first best-friend. I taught her to write exactly like me and even more styles of writing.
We would sometimes exchange our homework books and the teacher would never recognize that anything was amiss. Recently, we were reminiscing on the good old times with her on WhatsApp. She reminded me of how she had a horrible handwriting and how much of help I had been to her. Sincerely, I had forgotten about this story until she recently reminded me of it. My heart leapt with Joy because making a difference in other people’s lives has always been in my heart.
In high school, I had a teacher mentor. How we met was another miracle and another story. Besides this, when we met I thought the idea was for him to mentor me. To my surprise, it was a totally different approach, one of me actually mentoring others as he empowering and facilitating it. He empowered me to become a blessing to others. He would often sent other students my way for me to mentor them. Eventually, he paired me with a lady with whom I would teach some subjects, especially the sciences during my free time.
I loved to see growth in other people. We walked the journey of books and sciences with this lady and she ended up being my good friend as well. In the mentorship relationship, I wasn’t the only one giving, she too helped me a lot with languages and she would so calmly and comfortable handle my queries, always leaving me awed. The teacher mentor continued to be part of my life and up to date we are still in touch and meet regularly.
After I finished high school, I needed to wait a while before joining Campus. There was usually a wait of about up to a year till someone joined University. I didn’t know what to do with this year but I most definitely didn’t want to do driving or computer packages. Well, I had learnt some computer through Primary school and High school and wasn’t hard pressed to do the popular computer packages for school leavers at the time. On the other hand, Driving was simply a luxury I didn’t think I would afford, plus whose car would I drive after that? My parents at the time didn’t have a car.
When the suggestion from my parents came in of looking into teaching in a local school, I happily hopped in. There was a mixed day high school not so far away from our home. They proposed that perhaps I would be a blessing to the children there since I had studied in a city school. Possibly, I would transfer some skills and ideas to them. Lazing at home was never my interest, so I jumped on to the train of teaching.
This was one of the most beautiful experiences I have had till date. I was assigned Form 2 but I still taught across the other forms, form 1 to form 4. High school is roughly equivalent to British National Curriculum’s Year 9 – 12 AS level, or the American high school 9th through to12th grades, and is taken in 7/8 subjects from a wide range (Maths, English and Kiswahili are compulsory).
Most of the students in the school were actually older than me. I remember I would wear high heels just too look tall. I taught all the forms and I personally(one to one) mentored about 8-10 students. The mentorship was not only geared to the subjects I was teaching, it was all rounded. I was interested in their individual lives and I was happy to see them excel holistically, not just in my subjects of interest. Majority of them are currently doing well now and every so often reach out to remind me how much of an impact I made in their lives. This unpremeditatedly illuminates my day even if I wasn’t having a good time.
For my University, I never sat back either. I was involved in Technovation mentorship/ coaching program for two consecutive years. I loved the journey. Technovation is program in which high school girls receive mentorship to create a mobile app for a worldwide competition. Technovation has partnered with Safaricom in Kenya, to seek mentors for the high school students (girls only).
I was assigned a school in Kajiado county, Noonkopir girls and I had 2 groups of 5 students each to mentor. Every week I would go meet the girls. My two groups both built very viable mobile apps. One of the groups was actually the winner in the Nairobi cluster. The next year as well I mentored other 2 groups in the same school and every single visit was an honor. I am glad to have shared in the lives of the girls.
I realize that this blog alone will not complete my mentor journey, we shall revisit, soon.
You always have something to offer – Eva Ndanu