Exploring the theme of active, mutual engagement through cross-cultural encounters and service learning.
The "Ubuntu" philosophy found in many African cultures is based on the importance of community and mutuality - "I am because We are." Similarly, the Swahili word "kutana," that means "to meet, encounter or come upon," indicates a mutuality or reciprocity in that it is not one sided or in one direction. Thus, when one says, “tunakutana,” one is saying, “we are meeting each other, we are fellow-shipping one with another, we are encountering one another.” This spirit of "kutana" is what we hope will guide and infuse each of our cross-cultural programs.
Our desire is to provide a context in which old assumptions are challenged on the basis of new relationships with indigenous people, scholars, clergy and cross-cultural workers. We have designed Kutana with ample space for self reflection and awareness. In programs with youth and undergraduates, we hope to approximate the “rites of passage” concept that is prevalent in African societies and integral for emerging adults - a concept that Western culture has all but lost.
A core component of service learning is designed to place participants in development situations where they have the opportunity to transform as well as be transformed through working for, with and alongside local people.
One or more environmental field components will provide opportunities for participants to explore some of the most diverse, rich and spectacular habitats on the planet. Ecological issues will be explored holistically, including a theology of the environment and stewardship of creation.
We hope to promote both a preparedness prior to the experience as well as an integration of the experience into the normal lives of participants upon conclusion of the program.
What We've Achieved
- Establishment of a multi-year "Mission Immersion Program" with Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond.
- Partnered with Passport, Inc. to provide bi-annual cross-cultural engagement for Kenyan and American youth through "Passport Kenya."
- Facilitated service learning opportunities for Mercer University students through "Mercer on Mission."
- Created numerous partnerships between Kenyan communities and CBF congregations through Change for Children and Development Initiatives projects.