A few weeks ago I arrived from Kenya, although it seems it has been longer… and there is something in the rhythm, the tempo and the use that I make of them that in a short time my body, once again, has a lot of “noise”, many “things”. It’s something I did not intend and which I even wanted to avoid, but here I am, in the midst of a somewhat accelerated dynamics, so I can say that this is the first shock I have experienced between both countries. How we live the tempo.
There is an expression in Swahili that says “pole pole”, it means little by little, slowly, without hurry…and I admit that it is a saying that I especially liked. I believe this is because, in some way, it gives us permission to do things “with time”, allowing ourselves and others to face situations and life itself at our own pace, to become more aware of “being” rather than “doing”, and being able to stop in the way if needed and to continue whenever ready and prepared to do so.
I have also been able to live something similar with the projects in which I have been working on over there. In KUBUKA we work on projects and with people who have their own process. Educational, social and entrepreneurship projects that require many ingredients but above all, the conviction that what we do is well done and makes sense. This can be seen in the process of the people and of the projects themselves, in the work dynamics and in the decisions that are taken both individually and as a team. So, I could say that this is one of the great lessons that I take away from working with KUBUKA in Kenya: to respect the course of things and accompany with dedication, patience and trust in teamwork.
This work is carried out alongside great people, these being the Kenyan and Spanish colleagues in field, who, hand in hand, shape the projects responding to the needs of the community, working side by side, celebrating, facing challenges and difficuties that may arise along the way, and accompanying, with an immense welcome, those of us who go to share with them a phase along the way.
It has been a real luxury for me to have the experience of joining the KUBUKA team in Kenya and especially the Grace Humanitas School, Good Samaritan and Lisha Children’s Home projects.
Being a psychologist and having worked in Spain in a Foundation with children and their families for the past years, my job was, on one hand, focused on supporting the processes in which Lisha (home shelter in Tala) was immersed in. After a few months of getting to know each other and becoming familiar, the job was much more fulfilling, rich and productive. During this time we have been working on the exit protocol for the children once they finish primary school. It is a complex process and one that will require more reflection and decisions within the team, but the days we have shared have been very valuable since the team itself has been generating spaces for meeting and reflection which are super necessary when working with a topic as important as the care of children.
Grace Humanitas School, on the other hand, has conquered me. The center has a faculty made up of young motivated people, committed and very artistic, who not only accompany the students in their academic learning, but it is also them who share the time for extra school activities such as scouts, dance, drama and sport, thus creating a close and trusting relationship with them. These lessons take place in classrooms built with wood and clay, with hardly any lighting and whose corridor is only one meter wide. With them I have learned a lot and I have been able to prepare different workshops where we could share and learn from each other to continue enriching our work. Something very nice that has happened before returning, is that we have inaugurated together the space for the building of the new school, which is already under construction, and which they are wishing to start using.
Now, above all, I am very grateful for the vital lessons and for the faces of so many people with whom I have shared these months. Especially Pau, Myri, Itzi, Cris, Blanca, Luli and Álvaro, my co-workers, flatmates and friends, companions of laughter and mutual support. Erik Chyalo (director in Kenya) who is charming, familiar, close, and has an altruistic interest in improving the living conditions of the people in his community. And the women: Maria, Mum, Corazon, Jackie, Ann…and Elisabeth, headmistress of Grace Humanitas School, who, for me, has been an example of courage, effort, trust, daily respect for the work she performs and that one of her co-workers.
And in the midst of all this, the boys and girls…I love to remember the moments of celebration, dancing, football, singing and performances with the students of the school in Kibera. Moments of achievements, songs, meals and hugs in Mathare. Moments of play and games, of workshops, walks in the garden, visits to the chickens, shared prayers, the “good night” in the girls room, the arrival after school, healing wounds, the English chick, the swings and the meetings with families in Tala. And in Tala precisely lives Erik, the boy who appears in the photo with me. Although I have worked in teams, I haven’t been able to avoid choosing it, Erik has stolen my heart with his authenticity, his laughter and mischief. This is what I will miss the most…
I could tell you many things about the cultural differences, the present challenges and the achievements, about my feelings, impressions and experiences during these months, but this entry collects a bit of everything that I have lived and I hope that a bit of what I have felt during this time can reach each one of you, so that I can share, in the distance, a little of KUBUKA’s essence and of what you can breathe in the projects in Kenya.
Thanks to the project coordinators in field, to the teams, to my unbeatable teammates ;), to Isa, who introduced me to the KUBUKA passion in Kenya and to the team in Spain for making it possible for me to live this experience, at this moment and with company. It has made grow as a person and broaden as a human being!