Nikki Hodges and her Kenyan school children.
Collegian Delays Graduation, Puts Helping Hands to Work in Remote Kenyan Villages
Would you delay your college graduation for a year, forgo
leadership roles on campus and within Chi Omega, and
accept additional time away from your family to continue
helping villagers in remote areas of Kenya?
That was the question posed to Nikki Hodges, Chi Kappa/
George Mason U, at the conclusion of her teaching job in
Kenya last summer.
Recognizing that she could accomplish more by staying,
Nikki accepted the invitation. Today, she is living and
working in the remote villages of Shimoni and Mkwiro.
“I work primarily with the village schools,” Nikki reports.
“Here, children attend primary school for nine years, graduating
with an education equivalent to that of a third- or
fourth-grader in the United States. Only a few students
will go on to attend secondary school.”
In addition, Nikki is working on a personal fundraising
project to benefit the Mkwiro Primary School Library.
“While I knew I would learn a lot, I had no idea how enlightening
this experience would be. I see and have been
part of the locals’ day-to-day struggles,” she says. Those
struggles include poor sanitation and poor water quality,
and Nikki finds the lack of electricity a personal challenge.
Working in remote areas of Kenya required Nikki to learn
the Swahili language. “After intense study, I am understanding
most of it,” she says, “but when a local starts
talking quickly I have no idea what’s going on. ‘Pole Pole’
(Slowly . . . slowly!) has become one of my favorite expressions.
Coincidentally, just one ‘Pole’ means ‘Sorry,’ which
I say too much anyway. So it works nicely.”
Read more about Nikki’s life in Kenya on her blog at