Asante Sana, Kenya

I have been in Kenya for four weeks now and this is the second time I’ve had the time to write a story. So much has happened in the last month and every day I love this country and its people even more, which makes it hard to realize that I only have one more week left. This trip has had major ups and downs for me and it hasn’t always been easy, but I have never felt more grateful for everything that is going on in my life. I am grateful for the contributions I’ve been able to make, I am grateful for the new experiences I’ve had that made me realize how lucky I am with the life I've got, but most of all I am sooooooo grateful for the people I’ve met here. There isn’t one single person I've met that has made this trip less worthy. The people are what I will remember most from this country and I hope with all my heart that they eventually all get the life that they deserve.

After the first two weeks, I went on a safari with the volunteers that I met at orientation. It was amazing to see everyone again and hear all about their experiences with their projects and their host families. The thing a lot of volunteers where struggling with was the ‘Mzungu treatment’ they got. Mzungu means ‘white person’, and it means that Kenyan people see money when they see us. Walking down the streets can be difficult because people will ask you for money everywhere you go. The people from some projects had also taken advantage of that and kept asking the volunteers to buy stuff for them. Apart from that, everyone was doing pretty good. We were all really happy to see each other and excited for the safari!
The safari took place in the Maasai Mara, which is THE picture you have in your head when you think of the amazing African wildlife scenery. I can go on and on about all the things we saw there but pictures speak louder than words in this situation so all I can really say is that it was one of the most beautiful and magnificent things I've ever seen. So many animals came so close and we were able to see the start of the migration, which was incredible. After the safari tour everyone had some beers, listened to music, and saw the football final of Croatia vs. France, which unfortunately France won. It was a perfect break from the somewhat hard reality everyone was facing, but happy to be a part of, and everyone went back to their homestay well rested and satisfied.

For the next three weeks I would be working at the special needs school in Nakuru in the morning and going to the slums for the football practice in the afternoon. The three weeks have now passed and everyday got better and better for me. The beginning in the special needs school was hard because I had never worked with special need kids before and now there where suddenly 200 kids peeing their pants, drooling all over themselves and making a lot of noise. The first day was really overwhelming and I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to continue there, yet I decided to make the best out of it and everyday I tried to interact more with the kids. This worked really well and after one week I had gotten used to them. Of the 200 kids, there was a huge variety of disabilities. The worst being the physically and mentally disabled that couldn’t move nor speak and are living like plants, and the best being kids with learning disabilities that could even speak English. They all lived together in two big dorms, one for boys and one for girls. The conditions where okay compared with other places in Kenya, but still far from what they should be. As I said, the kids would just pee on themselves and not get changed for a long time, which made flies inevitable and overflowing. Also, the classes didn’t have a lot of teaching materials, so the kids would do nothing to improve themselves and basically just sit in the class and do nothing all day. I tried to do as much as I could to interact with the kids, teach them how to drink with straws to reduce the drooling, and help out here and there where help was needed. I was also able to buy 25 new uniforms for the kids that where needy, which I am so happy about, and one of the American volunteers that joined us later on donated two new wheelchairs, who were really needed at the center as well.
Today was my last day at the center because the school is closing for the holidays. I went down there at 6 in the morning because a lot of them where leaving early and I wanted to say goodbye to everyone. I shed some happy tears, got to meet a lot of the parents, and went back home with the happy feeling that I had done something good. They all touched my heart. 

For the last week that I am here, I will be focusing on the projects in the slums. The boys of the football team are training everyday and are getting so much better. I watch them everyday and the motivation they have is amazing. They know football can get them far and they work hard for that opportunity. Tomorrow we will go to the slums to do a healthcare project to teach the girls there about hygiene and how to look after themselves when it comes to sex and prostitution. I also finished my sponsor video, which I hope will move people to donate money to the slums or even sponsor a child to go to boarding school. I am so happy that I got to do all the things I wanted to do before I leave back to my 'privileged Western life'.  I feel like I was able to accomplish some bigger goals that I had set for myself here and I am really proud of that. This has been such an amazing experience, with all the ups and downs that came with it, and I am genuinely happy that I was able to be a part of this community. I will do everything in my power to make this last week unforgettable and hope to continue the good work when I go home.

Asante sana Kenya.




I couldn't be happier to read your story about Kenya! You are an amazing person both inside and out!! I always love hearing from you! Sorry I have been silent but I am fighting cancer again on my left ribcage. The cancer really tires me out me too (anď nautious but doing my best to cure it again. Please forgive me for not writing much but that doesn't mean I don't think and pray for you daily!!

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