A new family in Kenya – by Khristina from Russia

On the same wavelength…

They say that real fun is unexpected. It comes from nowhere. The only thing you need is two people who are roughly on the same wavelength.

And it happened to me. My trip to Betterme was spontaneous, unpredictable, but not uncertain for sure. I didn’t hesitate over a choice even a single minute.

Imagine, a Russian girl from the North decides to achieve her dream and in 6 weeks she’s already in Kisumu. Does it often happen in real life? I strongly doubt that. Most probably it is because I live in the country where for most people Africa is an unknown and dangerous world.

Stereotyping can lead people to live lives driven by hate and anger. People are free to do what they like, for all I care. But I don’t want to stereotype the world. It’s all so wrong for me!

Hello! I’m Khristina.

Well, it’s high time to become better acquainted with each other. Do you agree?

My name is Khristina. I’m a teacher and I’m from Russia. I live in the western part of Russia that is a part of Eastern Europe. I’m a volunteer in my hometown and I also took part in voluntary projects abroad (for ex., teaching in Taiwan).

I was waiting for the end of that school year so bad. I knew that something special was waiting for me…

So, on the 4th of June, I felt like a real Russian pioneer and a myth buster of a new world already fully inhabited…I left for Kenya.

Everyone asked me why Kenya? Why Africa? But up to now I can’t give a clear answer. I was always dazzled by the thought that I would join a new family.

New family

The 5th of July…Hello! Here I am.

The new world that suddenly came out in its true colors made me fall in love with it in no time.

I was volunteering for a month, but that was the best decision so far. I don’t remember myself being so happy and smiley.

The kids from Korando are from poor families, some of them are at risk. But do you know what distinguishes them from, let’s call them, “our” kids? Poverty or fear? Not at all. But happy sparkles in their eyes and amiability, open mindedness and sincerity.

I was a Creative Arts teacher. Frankly speaking, I had never been involved in Arts before. But in my hometown I visit oncologic children as a medical clown weekly. So, I decided to mix Arts with art therapy and let the kids do what they hadn’t done before. I put a lot of emotions in our teamwork.

During those weeks we mixed flour, salt, water and colors. We didn’t use brushes, only our fingers and imagination. We outlined our hands on paper and cut them with scissors. Finally, we glued our paper hands on the posters we had prepared before. They were our imaginary worlds. The places we wanted to live in.

I tried to teach them to ask for permission if they could live next door to each other. For example, “I like football. Can I live next door?” The answer could be different: yes or no. You never know. I wanted to show them that we should respect each other, our decisions and likes/ dislikes. Most of the time it worked, especially with older students.

The most appropriate time

After classes and during school breaks we played together. I was braided million times 🙂 I also love to capture the naturalness with my camera. I took hundreds of pictures of kids. I learned to live my life to the fullest with what I have now. Without any regrets.

Now I’m back home. Almost ready for the next project. But when I look through the photos of my new Korando family, my heart beats faster and a happy smile appears on my face.

I had been hankering for travelling to Kenya for almost 10 years and that was the most appropriate time to do it.

Thank you so much, Betterme!

From so cold and so warm Russia with love. Khristina


Curious About Volunteering?

July 3, 2018

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