Being a volunteer in Africa (& what it means to me)

By Kathleen W., Voluntourist, IHF Kenya
Kenya
For a very long time I knew I wanted my life to involve caring for, and working alongside,   the poor of this world. I also always believed it would be a life of countless sacrifices and few joys. The last three weeks at IHF have been a pleasant surprise and have shown me that you can have an incredibly joyful life while caring for the poor of this world.
It is not an either/or choice that involves either sacrificing all of your comforts while serving the poor OR having all of your comforts and not serving the poor. You can have both! I can still do the things I love to do…. go on adventurous hikes, go camping, read at coffee shops, watch episodes of my favorite tv show etc. It is also surprisingly easy to make friends with both local people and expats from around the world. 
Yes, we take showers with a bucket and eat a very simple diet, but the joys far outweigh the sacrifices.
Kenya2I have only been here for 3 weeks and the kids have so kindly welcomed me into their lives and their IHF family. Despite their unique and painful pasts, the kids are generous, kind and hard working. I genuinely love spending time with them and working on their behalf. They make me laugh and it brings me so much joy to see them happy.
I have been able to get my fill of engaging conversations with the teenagers, while enjoying plenty of hugs, games, and silliness with the younger kids.
This is also a very talented bunch of people. Since I have arrived I have watched David win his football match, Nelson and Peter win their school athletics races, and heard about Elvis winning a dance competition! I am already dreading the day I will leave in a couple of weeks and hope to one day return.

 

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