robin-schindelka.reismee.nl

Last post on Kenya: Medical camp and final updates

Karibu!

My last week here in Kenya has just started. It’s now Tuesday and I am flying back to Belgium on Friday morning. I can’t think about saying goodbye yet because it’s just too hard and I want to fully live these last days I have here without having to think about leaving. So here it is, my last blog post on Kenya, another country that took my heart and changed me as a person.

As I said in my last post, I’ve been going to Nakuru Hills (the school for special need kids) every morning and everything went great there. They all remembered me and where happy to see me again, even though a lot of them struggle with their memories. One of the teachers there, Sharon, also invited me into her home for the second time and it was nice to spend an evening with her and her family, who all made me feel so welcome.
Also, a good friend of mine from the slums had been struggling at home. His dad left when he was young and his mom is an alcoholic. Since he’s the only one in the house who is working (his brothers and sisters are still in school), he needs to work very hard to provide for all of them. When Lucy, the headmistress from the special school, told me that she needed someone to work in the garden, I arranged a meeting for his mom, and Lucy decided to give her a chance. yesterday was her first day and she has been doing really great, which makes me happy. I met her a couple of times now and she’s such a nice woman, just struggling and taking alcohol as an easy solution like a lot of the people here do. Most of them have very low self esteem and find it really hard to get a job, but sometimes all they need is a little push in the back to make them feel like they are worth something. Now she will be working there five days a week, making some money for her family and keeping busy so she doesn’t drink so much.

After going to the school in the morning, most of my afternoons I go to the slums. On Wednesday and Thursday, I always go with An (my hostmom) to teach classes to the young women there. We teach them an exercise class on Wednesday and give them lessons about topics they request like health, family planning, and other themes on Thursday. The moments I spend with the women have been some of my favourite moments here in Kenia.
The first week, I taught them general muscle training exercises and cardio on Wednesday. I had bought a cheap music box for it and it was so much fun running, exercising and dancing with all 30 of them. They are all girls between age 18 and 25, and most of them are married and have babies. It’s weird for me to realize that these women are of my age, have similar interests, and yet are living completely different lives. They also seem so much more mature, having to take care of their babies and dealing with struggles I will never even have to think about. An and I have started looking for sponsors for these girls, so that they can go back to school, learn a profession and start their own businesses. This way  they can become independent from their husbands and start earning money for themselves as well.

On Thursday I taught them about health in general: how to eat well, exercise, keep their sexual health, mental health and medical health. This is something they really requested because most of them haven’t seen a doctor since they where born. They also have never been to a gynecologist and after explaining to them how important it is to get checked up every now and then, they told me it was simply too expensive for them to go. Health is a real struggle for the people in the slums. There are so many diseases and they don’t have easy access to medicine either. Also to eat healthy can be difficult, since healthy foods are often the most expensive ones… So after teaching this class to them, it became once again obvious for me how important it was to do a medical camp for them and to try and get a gynecologist there as well.
After the class, we all went to see Linda, one of the women, at her home. She had been sick with malaria and TBC for three weeks and was feeling too sick to come to the classes. An had asked the women to each contribute 40 shillings (30 cents), so Linda could buy food and some medicine. To them, 40 shillings is a lot of money and not something they can easily miss. So when we got to a total amount of 1200 shillings, it made me so happy and proud of them. Linda was so surprised that she started crying, and we spent the afternoon praying with her and singing songs. That day for me, was a day I will never forget. It warms my heart to see that those who have nothing, are just so willing to give and it’s beautiful to see how these women stick up for each other in times of need. They’ve also grown a lot as a group. An told me that a couple of years back, they had no discipline, where fighting all the time and there was a lot of prostitution too. Now, since Anthony and An have been working with them, they all changed so much in a good way and have become a big family that looks after each other.

The second week, we did a team building activity on Wednesday: we went to climb the Nakuru crater! I took them for the hike in the morning, and we arrived at the top around lunchtime. We had so much fun and I got to talk to them more since I wasn’t standing in front of the classroom or drilling them on the field. Some of them where telling me that they want to go back to school and get their degree, some of them told me about the places they would like to see one day, and others talked about their kids and husbands. When reaching the top, everyone was taking pictures and joking around, and it made me so incredibly happy being there with them.
On Thursday I also taught them some important life lessons on how to achieve their goals. I told them that to make something of their life, they must think big. If they keep thinking small, big things can never happen. A lot of them have settled with the life they have there in the slums and can’t imagine ever getting out of there. This makes them set their mind to just accepting that things will never change, in stead of thinking big and trying to actually make a change for themselves. If they don’t think about turning their lives around because they feel as if it’s already impossible, they will never be able to change anything. I talked to them about this for a long time to really open their eyes on this. Changing your life starts by changing your mind.

Finally, the last (and biggest) thing I was able to do here, was to organize the medical camp. This took place last Saturday, at the social Hall, located at the slums itself. Anthony spent his entire week planning and meeting with people from the government to get some things sponsored by them as well. I had set aside 600 euros for this myself, but the government also contributed so we could give the people as many different medical services as possible. Eventually, we where able to get HIV-testing, cancer screening, medical check up for kids, gynecologists and family planners, general doctors and pharmacy, where people could also get the medicines and vaccinations they needed. On Friday, the boys of the football team helped me a lot by cleaning the social hall, which was an absolute mess, and preparing the field around the hall so that the medical tents could be set u there as well. The boys where just joking around non-stop and It ended up being a really nice day.
The medical camp itself was a big success. Most of the people from the slum came and got checked up, and I had some time to talk to them as well. I feel so happy that I was able to do this because we felt like this was something that they really needed, which also turned out to be a fun social event too.

For my last days here, I just want to relax a bit, spend some time with my host family, teach the women on Wednesday and Thursday, go see the boys play football one more time, and most importantly: celebrate Maxwell’s birthday! We will have a big party for him at the football field on Wednesday with all the people from the slums, which also gives me the chance to say goodbye to everyone and thank them for the time I had with them. I don’t think I will ever be able to put into words how much I will miss them, but it will definitely be the perfect ending to the most perfect adventure. And though I don't know for sure when I will be able to come back, I DO know that I will.

So Asante Sana Kenya, one more time, for everything I got to experience here.
I will see you again.

Robin

Reacties

Reacties

Sigrid

I am so proud of you!! I can't put it into words! My beautiful daughter ❤️

Astrid Bossaerts

My beautiful niece! Compared to you, I feel so humble. Once you will return, I'm sure!

Beverly Schindelka

You are an amazing young woman and I am both humbled and proud of you! You are truly one in a million and I love you so much!!!!!

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