VOLUNTEER IN KENYA: My name is Ángela, a 28 year old Spanish girl and nursery teacher in Madrid, Spain. Since I was very young, I knew what I wanted to be in the future; kids are my passion and I love teaching them, educating them, and being with them most of the time.
I always wanted to do an international volunteering, and after last summer, I realized it was the moment to do it. My life was more or less settled, and I thought I couldn’t wait any longer. I talked to Leti, my best friend and my companion for travel and adventures, and who I share passions and ways of looking at life with, and we decided to start looking for information about different projects to live that great adventure, the best of our lives.
A friend of hers talked to us about “Cheap Trip Big Impact” (Now Better Me) and since that moment I couldn´t be more grateful. From the first moment we received very personalized, loving and motivational answers to our emails, which made us look forward to the leaving day even more.
Today, 4 days after coming back, I don´t have anything but beautiful words for everything I lived through during this time. I have lots of mixed feelings: on the one hand, I feel sad, halfhearted, because I want to be back there, I want to continue being surrounded by those children who have completely changed my life. On the other hand, I am happy and proud for having been a part of this project, and have been able to live so many things in so little time.
Without any doubt, “Korando Educational Centre” has changed my life forever. I will never be the same after my experience there. August 2015 has been and always will be a before and after in my life. I went to Kisumu with the idea of helping, teaching, and giving the children as much as I can, and I came back to Madrid with more things learnt than I taught. I have been a student of the subject of life. I would never have thought that someone can learn that much in only 4 weeks.
Korando, Kisumu, Kenia, and all the children and people who have been around me during this time there will be in my heart forever. All of them made me a better person. I still can´t believe that all this is over.
When Leti and I landed in Kisumu, we were so nervous but at the same time very excited. Everything started when we came out of the airport with our luggage and we saw three children with a banner saying: WELCOME TO KENYA ANGELA AND LETICIA. From that moment, we knew everything was going to be more than fine. When we arrived at the school, 200 students were waiting for us and singing a sweet welcoming song. Fortunately, I have a video which will help me to remember that special moment forever. The song goes around my mind every day, and it always makes me smile.
The second day, we went to the school; we saw the classes and we helped the teachers in whatever they needed. It was there where we started to see the multiple differences there are between continents, countries, and cultures. Children in Kisumu greet you by shaking your hand every morning, smile at you, and whenever you enter the class welcome you with their affectionate: “thank you teacher, welcome”. Those words will be forever in my mind. I wish the children of Spain were at least half as polite and grateful as they are. There they value education, are grateful to be able to go to school and beg you to keep learning more and more.
Going down the street and feeling special, constantly hearing the word “mzungu”, seeing how they take pictures of you or smile for no reason, or how the children get excited and run to you when you pass with the car… it is something that doesn’t happen in Spain. In Africa you see, live and feel things so differently. I am already missing all of that.
Now I would like to talk about Mama Dolfine, who does extraordinary work. In addition to providing education to nearly 200 children from the surrounding areas, she welcomes almost 25 of them at home, giving them education, food and a home as if they were her own children, making them part of her family and giving them a better future. They, in turn, help her working with the animals, cleaning, cooking , and the maintenance of the whole house and school. Better than anyone else they know what “Mama” is doing for them, and all they do is little to thank her for everything. It is impressive to see how the children are fully aware of their reality, and they are so responsible.
I don’t want to leave aside my great Kenyan family: Mareile, Danielle, Nicky, Leti, David, Dan, Torsten and many other people who have been by my side for this amazing month. My dear “sisters and brother”, thank you very much for all the contagious laughter, walks to the hill and the river, trips in the car, chapatis, singing together, lunches, dinners, smiles, visits to the supermarkets… my “African father”, a million thanks for everything you have done for us, for your humor, your jokes, the car trips surrounded by “your women”… personally, I am very grateful to have had you with us, for everything you have helped us with and the love you gave us from the very beginning. Torsten, it has been short but intense, I only hope to see you soon and enjoy and laugh (of course we can´t not do this) again all together. I couldn’t imagine this adventure without any of you. Now I have a new family, you already are a part of my life, and I couldn’t be happier for it.
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After a few days at home, I have been able to think, feel even more, miss so much… and realize that receiving audio messages on the cell phone from Korando´s children saying “te quiero”(I love you in Spanish), “I miss you”, “come back soon, please”, “thank you for everything you did for us”, “we are very lucky to have met you”, “gracias”(thank you in Spanish), and so on, makes me happier than any material thing I can find here. Being in contact with them, I’m happy. Please do not stop doing it.
I can´t stop thinking of all the adventures lived with them: helping us climb the hill, going to the river and seeing them enjoying that very much, their “sorry” whenever you fall down or scratch yourself with something, their “Buenos días” (good morning in Spanish) every morning in the school… because they wanted to be close, as close to you as they could.
Yesterday a friend asked me if this month I’ve fallen in love, and my answer was YES. I have fallen in love with Kisumu, Korando, the 200 children studying there, the project carried by mama Dolphine, their way of looking at life and the world, their generosity and smiles from all of them when you pass them… This is something that people who have not lived this experience can´t understand. It is something that, of course, each and every one of us should experience once in life.
I can only feel lucky and grateful for having been a part of such a beautiful project. It has been a great professional experience, but above all, it has been an unforgettable personal experience. Thank you Cheap Trip Big Impact, thank you Torsten and Mathilde (I hope to meet you very soon) for giving me the opportunity to do the best thing I’ve ever done in my life. I couldn’t be more proud.
I am sure the 27th of August wasn´t a “goodbye”, it was a “see you later”, because I know I will be back. A part of my heart is in Africa, and I will be back as soon as I can. Promise!
As I said, sometimes I feel sad, because I would like to be back. But I am a cheerful person who loves smiling and laughing and I won´t let this feeling change my personality. So, the only thing I can do now is be happy for the experience I have lived, and think about the next time I have the possibility to go.
ASANTE SANA KORANDO!
See you very soon,
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