The Round Square International Conference

By: Sylvie Gill ’26

The Round Square conference was separated into three major event days: An adventure day, democracy day, a service day, and a day for the opening and closing ceremonies, as well as an arrival day. On arrival day, our delegation drove to the Runda campus of Brookhouse Schools located in Nairobi, Kenya for registration and activities. Just on our first day at the conference, we met many people from many different countries including Australia, Germany, Canada, India, China, Argentina, Kenya itself, and many others. That evening we watched a musical performance to welcome us all to the conference. After the performance, we proceeded to the Hostels where we would be staying.

On the day of the opening ceremony, we woke up bright and early at 5:30 am and got ready for the day. We then traveled to the Karen campus of Brookhouse Schools for breakfast. Both of the campuses of Brookhouse were incredible. The Runda campus was newer and resembled a giant luxury resort, while the Karen campus was older and more homey, with a building that was practically a castle! After we had breakfast at the Karen campus, we traveled to a large stadium building in the city where we were to have the opening ceremony. The opening ceremony was amazing, consisting of a speech from the former first lady of Kenya, an introduction to the conference by the leaders of the RSIC board, and multiple Kenyan cultural performances. That evening we returned to the hostel to get some sleep before the next big day.

The next day was our group’s adventure day. This meant that we traveled in buses to the national reserve that is located in the city Nairobi. Nairobi is the only capital city in the entire world that has a national reserve in its city. The nature reserve was very extensive and had many different animals roaming around. We saw tons of rhinos, ostriches, giraffes, lions, and countless zebras. That night, we arrived at the campground where we would be staying. We ate dinner and watched an amazing cultural performance shown to us by some members of the Masai Mara tribe of Kenya. That night, we slept in tents surrounded by the Kenyan wilderness. 

On the second activity day, we traveled to the Runda campus once again for our democracy day. We watched a conference-like presentation of over five different activists, teachers, politicians, and scientists talking about the concept of New Africa which was RSIC 2024’s theme. New Africa is the idea that Africa and the countries in it are much more than the preconceptions many people may have. Kenya and many other African countries are working towards, and in many cases already are, innovative, sustainable, fair, and democratic. After the presentation, we split into different groups, called barazas, to discuss the topics we learned about during the presentation. Then, to get a real taste of Kenyan culture and hospitality, that night we stayed with parents of some of the students from Brookhouse schools. It was very interesting to see how life in Kenya was different to life in the USa. Many things were the same such as the cars people drove and the use of technology in households, but there were also differences such as the type of food that was eaten, and the way the houses were set up. 

On the final activity day, it was service day. This meant that we went to a school in the poorer part of the city and helped out to improve it. We worked all day to re-cement floors, paint walls, and clean the school. It felt very good to help out those in need by doing hands-on work, and it was nice to meet all the kids that went to the school. It was a truly inspiring experience and I enjoyed it very much. 

Attending the Round Square conference this year was incredible and a completely amazing opportunity for me and the rest of the group. It inspired me in so many ways and it was a truly valuable and inspiring experience. I took so many good lessons and new ideas away from my trip to Kenya. This trip helped me to realize the importance of service work and giving back to my community and those that are less privileged than me. It also gave me a new perspective on a lot of different matters by hearing the ideas and thoughts of so many other people from so many other places. It was definitely a trip that I will never forget and that has impacted me in so many positive ways.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *