I knew from the moment I came across Better Me on Facebook that I wanted to volunteer with them at Korando.
Halfway through 2016, I made the decision that I was going to quit my job, sell my house, car, and belongings, and travel around the world. I knew that I wanted to volunteer for at least a couple weeks, and Better Me ignited that spark of an idea.
Fast forward to nearly a year and a half later, and I was on my way to Kenya having already spent about 7 of my 14 months of travel on
volunteer projects between Pittsburgh and Kisumu. I had positive and negative experiences leading up to my arrival in Kenya, but I was confident this project would make up for my most recent project that had left me frustrated.
My assumptions were correct. I was immediately greeted with smiles by the team picking me up at the airport. From that point on, it was 3 weeks of non-stop laughing, smiling, playing with puppies, and fun. The entire staff of the center is as friendly and welcoming as you would expect from your own family. And that’s what you are at Korando, part of a family. Better Me stresses this and it couldn’t be more evident in the way the team interacts among themselves, with volunteers, and most of all with the children.
This was my first time teaching a full class and it was equal parts challenging, fun, and rewarding. I taught them about animals from Africa and North America. Like most children, their attention varied, so they kept me on my toes. I found out very quickly that photos held their attention for a short while, but videos (especially of grizzly bears catching salmon & foxes diving headfirst into the snow) kept them much more engaged.
Adding in activities like cheetah races, lion hunts, and serval jumps added an extra layer of fun for all of the classes.
The Better Me project was everything that I had hoped for. The smiles they share online are only a mere glimpse into the happy family that is Korando.
Our journey started off in the South Pacific and across two continents to get to Korando, Kisumu. A total of 45 hours by flight. The journey was not as difficult as I would have imagined as I was accompanied by my partner who had previously visited Korando two years...
“I know it is difficult leaving the kids but remember we won’t forget them and will work towards supporting and visit them again” I might have thought that message was only a way to give me hope and suffer less on my last day at Korando in October 2017. Back then, I...
One of the first words I learned upon arrival in Kenya is “Karibu.” Meaning welcome, Karibu continues to be a common theme in the way of life in Kisumu, especially at Korando. Nearly two months into my time here, to me one of the most incredible features of the...
While traveling abroad in itself encompasses uncertainty and ambiguity, there are few things that are bound to expose certainty: volunteering abroad is one of the experiences that reinvigorates you to a new altruistic direction, and I had my share in Korando!. After...
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...
I had planned to give the students of class 7 a short computer lesson by focusing on the basics. The class I walked into was insulated by a tin roof, its crackling reminding me of the searing heat outside. I introduced myself and watched the curious eyes of the...
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