First of all, it is located in the countryside of Kisumu, a city less international that the ones you may be very familiar with. So you will encounter some interesting local culture and people. And the school is surrounded by mountains where you can go hiking with the kids and enjoys a spectacular sunrise or sunset. There is even more around that you can discover. I was so lucky and happy that when I was there all of us went to a breathtakingly forest. It is awesome because it involved group planning, group craziness and some unexpected gift from the nature. You may also have one such great experience.
Second, I truly felt that I belonged. I know it’s thousands of miles away from home, and we are from different cultures and speak different backgrounds. But it’s amazing how your hearts can be connected. People I met there are so warm and accommodating. They always encouraged me to devote what I am best at into the community and I would always have their support. For example, when I was there, we found it would be great to celebrate the Chinese New Year while introducing a new culture to the kids. So I had the help from all of my African family there to paint cardboards with Chinese symbols, to do origami and even to make dumplings. I started to believe that individually we may be small but collectively we could achieve some interesting things.
And you would always be engaged in inspiring conversations there. People are always thinking about how to improve the community, which involves how to improve the way of teaching, how to bring positive impacts on the kids and even how to build a stove in the kitchen to benefit the people who are cooking there. You know that you are a member of a group who is trying to make things better, to create values to other people. And being exposed to those problems might ignite your own creativity which will even amaze yourself.
So in conclusion, I feel that my soul and my heart grew a lot in Africa. They say it’s the experiences you had that define you, not your material possessions. The volunteer experience in Africa with Cheapimpact is one of those, and I really cherish it.
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