Volunteering abroad is something that I’ve always wanted to do, and I feel so grateful and lucky that I got to experience this with the Better Me organisation.
After seeing their social media posts on Instagram and Tiktok, I applied immediately. I always received very quick correspondence from the Better Me team. From the interview process to the weeks running up to my volunteering experience, I had lots of questions about my responsibilities, the travel, and general life in Kisumu, all which were answered promptly, putting any nerves at ease.
As this was my first time travelling alone, I have to admit being quite anxious. However, my flights couldn’t have run smoother. From the minute I stepped into Nairobi Airport, the staff were friendly and happy to help me with all questions I had. I received my visa without difficulty before getting a connecting flight to Kisumu. The airport is fairly small and easy to navigate, and when I arrived, all my nervousness disappeared when I was greeted with smiles from the Better Me team.
From the moment I stepped through the gates of Korando, I felt joy and happiness. From the incredible kids, to the amazing team and volunteers, I was instantly made to feel welcome. From being warned about the effects of culture shock, I can honestly say that Korando quickly became a place I called my home, and that was down to the inspiring connections I made, as well as the modern dome house.
To make the most out of my stay, I got involved in all the activities organised by Better Me. This included preparing and delivering life skill sessions in Korando and different schools, and attending the Remand Home and other youth organisations.
With special mention to the Remand Home, I left each English class with feelings of indescribable reward.
If I could give advice to any person embarking on this experience, it would be to put time and effort into preparing these sessions, and to really connect with the kids from the Remand. They are smart, loving and so eager to learn, and with some perseverance, you can make the biggest difference to their lives.
From dance parties, to nature walks, to art class, to karaoke nights, every day at Korando was my favourite. So much so that I had to extend my trip and stay longer. On a daily basis, the kids warmed my heart, initiated meaningful conversations, and made me cry with laughter.
I feel extremely blessed for every day I spent at Korando making memories which will stay in my heart forever. I am equally thankful to the child sponsorship programme, which provides me with a personal connection between me and my sponsored child, also helping me to support the children from afar.
I really cannot thank Better Me enough for this life changing experience. As well as making lasting friendships with you all, the experience challenged me to see my full potential and learn new qualities about myself.
Before I left, I would have never believed that I would be able to stand up in front of 100+ children to teach a life skills lesson. But I did it. Korando sparked my fun-loving and creative side, which at most times, we all need.
To every person I met through Better Me, thank you for the love, laughter and tears. I will remember these beautiful moments forever, and I can’t wait to come back to experience it all again.