By: Kenzo, Work Study Kenya
Although it feels as if I have been here for far longer, I arrived at the Nakuru centre just over a week ago. Now that I’ve settled into the swing of activities that happen at the centre and more generally in the Nakuru’s way of life, I can reflect on my experience here so far.
In many aspects the children at the centre live a life filled wih similar interests and aspirations I used to have when I was at school. All the children are now back at school, leaving the centre relatively quiet during the day and free for the herds of livestock which come to graze on the centre’s land. When the children return in the late afternoon and evening they studiously get on with their homework and revision, without complaint (This is different from what I used to do when I was at school :P).
Once they are at home, and all the work and revision is done, many of the children relax by playing football (trust me, everyone are crazy about this sport here) or socializing with each other and staff.
In spite of the interage group living and socializing at the centre there is a strong community spirit in which everyone is ready to pull their weight by doing different tasks for the centre, like buying supplies or cooking on the weekends.
e me being the only international volunteer here along with the amazing co-director Joyce, the proactive help from the children, and the local staff ensures the smooth running of the centre. Nevertheless, the weekends here can be a little bit chaotic as the children let off steam from a hard week of school and only settling in the evenings when we watch a movie. I have been trying to introduce them to some movie classics, like “The Shawshank Redemption”, but I fear many of them still favor the action and their superhero movies ( Can’t blame them for it, can we? )
However, there are some differences between my childhood and the childhood of children here. Having enjoyed a comparatively sheltered and a somewhat spoon-fed upbringing, it was only upon leaving the nest to go to university that I learned how to be independent. And even during my first week at the centre I had to be told how to: a) wash myself without running water; b) wash my clothes using a bucket; and c) navigate the country and town safely; along with countless other life hacks! In my defense, I was initially somewhat overwhelmed by all the new things during my first few days here in Kenya, this being my first time living in a developing country, especially in Africa . In contrast, all the children here have the maturity well beyond their years, and are able to live independently within the wider community.
I haven’t traveled extensively as of yet. I am looking forward to this experience, especially exploring the beautiful natural scenery and wildlife of Kenya, some of which we are lucky enough to wake up to every morning at the centre in Nakuru.
Kenya has already made quite an enormous impression on me, especially the children. I look forward to the rest of my time at the centre this month and with that knowledge I know, I will be reluctant to say goodbye at the end to my new friends here.