by Elisabeth, Work-Study, IHF Nakuru
Coming here I had to slow down – everything was working so much slower than I was used to. Now I can hardly believe that my journey is supposed to be over in already a week! I feel like I should look for the two months, where they had gone, because it feels more like one month at most, that I have been here.
Never the less, looking back I am sure that I have learned very much. It has become normal to me, to shower with a bucket, not having running water, but actually having to shovel it on yourself with a cup, or washing clothes by hand, being amazed how fast they dry because it is so warm. But I have to admit that whenever I can actually flush the toilet or wash my hands under running water I get excited about it and miss it when I don’t have it.
Back home I will miss the people here a lot. Kenyans to me are amazing people: very open and friendly, but for sure sometimes they can be overwhelming, since everybody wants your attention and that you greet them back. I will miss hopping on a motorbike – or PickyPicky like they call it here – to go to town, or small busses – Matatus – just stopping wherever they can to get more people on – and trust me, a Matatu is never full in Kenya!
Most of all the things that have become everyday life to me now, I will miss the hugs, smiling faces, and questions of the children here. I enjoyed being around children all the time. For sure it has not always been easy, but even the harder times have something positive: they taught me how to deal with it and toughen up. I had to learn to live without running water every day, not working power sometimes for a full day, toilets that don’t flush, bucket showers, cooking over a fire every meal, muddy streets when it rains, etc. and I am really grateful I had this chance, because it helps me now, actually appreciate it, to have running water, or a flushing toilet, for example – little things!
I will miss cooking with the children on Saturdays or Sundays, waking up at 5:45am to give a fixed school uniform to one of the children before school, arguing with them whether or not they may use my phone to play games, or if they could make bracelets and necklaces, watching them play soccer or practicing rugby passes with them,… the list is long.
Deep inside I hope the children learned as much from me as I have learned from them.