A letter to your doubts about volunteering

Dear doubts,

We have known each other for a long time and, at times, you have seemed reasonable but I want to tell you that this time it was not necessary for you to appear. But hey, since you’re here, let’s talk…

For a long time there has been a restlessness that circles my mind, it is a hum that I can not silence. I feel that something is missing in my life, it’s a strange feeling that I’ve struggled to put into words but today, at last, I think I’m sure about it. I feel the need to leave my comfort zone and contribute to society. To leave my career for a while, my life, my future and focus on working for people who have not been as lucky as I have. I was already quite sure about it and today, when I saw a post on KUBUKA’s Facebook page, I saw the light. I want to go on an international volunteering program! I know, I should make a list of pros and cons to be able to make a more conscious decision, but I think this time it is not necessary.

Why not follow my instinct, my heart?

So, goodbye doubts. I’m going to register right now in the KUBUKA website to be a volunteer this summer in Kenya or Zambia.

And, from here onwards begins the excitement, and my head doesn’t stop asking questions…how will it be? What conditions will the people live in? Will I be able to face this challenge? Will I be happy there? Will I adapt to their traditions? Can I really help? Will my work make any difference?

These questions don’t have one single answer but as many as people who go volunteering. But we can offer you some clues on what you are going to find once you’re there.

For example, in Kenya we work in the community of Kibera and when you arrive in this slum, it is quite shocking to see that they live surrounded by garbage but, after this first impact, you feel the warmth of its people very quickly, their affection, their joy and their desire to fight; and the filth becomes secondary. You get to know Patrick, who is in charge of the Kibera Cinemax project, and as soon as you start working with him you feel very comfortable because of his good disposition and drive. Nearby you can greet Wambugu, who always welcomes you with a smile while he grinds plastic in Kleanbera Recycling. You are then amazed by the super recording studio the guys in Made in Kibera have, and by how much they move their business in social media. Before leaving Kibera, you pass by Grace Humanitas School, where the children are delighted with the visit and Elisabeth, the headmistress, updates you on the progress. At some point in your journey you will surely meet Steve, one of the coordinators who will talk to you about a million projects. Ah! and you can’t not stop by Jacky’s store where luckily you will find the girls chattering and plotting new strategies to progress. You will leave Kibera impressed and, if one of those days you have the opportunity to get on a “matatu” (Kenyan public transport) to Tala, you will fall in love with each and every one of the boys and girls in Lisha Children’s Home, and also with Eric, the director of KUBUKA in Kenya.

In the event that your destination is Zambia, the feelings will be different but not less exciting…You will soon meet Joyce, the director and soul of KUBUKA in Zambia, an incredible woman who exudes with wisdom. Surely you would have never thought that Livingstone is how it appears to be, don’t worry, you will soon discover the impressive Victoria Falls. On a morning walk you will go to greet Beatrice and the other women who run the Maramba farm and who know perfectly when is the best time to plant eggplants, tomatoes, etc. A little further is the community of Mwandi where Mary, a woman who was given a microcredit and who sews like the angels, lives, works, takes care of her family and studies. I would not stop going to the Mwandi Community School and its sports program, you can maybe participate in a football, volleyball or netball match; you will meet the sponsored children and you can also visit the tutoring center. Visiting the Safe House is also a must. You will see how the girls live and how the chicken and the garden which provides food and income evolve. You will of course spend a few days in Kasiya, a community quite far away from Livingstone city center, where a school was built so that the kids who live around the area didn’t have to walk miles to go to class.

You now have more information to let your imagination fly, but it is time to experience it. We don’t know what your impressions about the projects will be but what we do know is that, if you have hope, an open mind and desire to work, the experience will be unforgettable and you will feel what all of us who have been there have felt, you will receive much more than what you give.

We are waiting for you!

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