Volunteering, that term that combines different perspectives, feelings and experiences based on the eyes that visualize the same reality that you face when you decide to be part of a charity project. With that idea in mind, on July 3 we arrived in Nairobi and after landing on the ground, we were aware that the adaptation period had just begun.
Pick up your bags and with the maximum enthusiasm you just want to live intensely each and every one of the moments that are about to arrive. You hear the word «matatu» for the first time, you negotiate the price and in a few minutes you are heading to Kibera. While making contact with the «slum» is unforgettable at the same time shocking. As you go visiting the different projects of which you will be part during the stay, you realize the feeling of community that its inhabitants have and strangely you begin to feel like one of the family for the continuous greetings accompanied by smiles.
You cross the river jumping from bag to bag avoiding falling into the water and in the distance you can see how the children of Grace Humanitas come out screaming impatient and excited by the arrival of the group. Speakers and dubbing in Swahili come together on the main street where Patrick is responsible for giving life to the neighborhood with his films and football matches, we talk about Kibera Cinemax and Social Club. A few meters away, Wambugu selects and crushes plastic, promoting Kleanbera, while in the production studio Made in Kibera, local artists give free rein to their imagination trying to gain a foothold in the Kenyan music scene.
During the first two weeks we spent the mornings sharing time and ideas with the local workers reserving the afternoons for the camp with the children of Humanitas or moving to Mathare, the oldest slum in Nairobi whose interior is the Good Samaritan orphanage. Recycling workshops with plastic bottles that become toys, bracelets or shelves. Cardboard boxes, balloons and paintings to overwhelm happiness among the little ones. From the first moment, what is most striking is the ability to have fun of these children together with the illusion that comes along with laughter and laughter as a token of appreciation. Little time is enough to perceive the daily needs and challenges that people face here, difficult situations that face with great positivism leaving to those who know them a deep feeling of admiration.
After the activities, it is time to meet, share personal experiences and take stock to draw conclusions of what the day has been and how we have felt with the work done. These special moments create a bond between the members of the group that result in fun and enjoyable coexistence. There is time not only for the planning of coming days but also for leisure where a good film always welcome.
The third week takes us to Tala and with it the contrast between the big city and rural life. Lisha Children’s Home has everything you need to feel at home and who generates this environment is precisely its people. The local team welcomes you with open arms and children who live in the foster home even more.
In the mornings we have time to know the day to day of the polytechnic school of Kyawaa where training in carpentry and sewing is imparted and contribute our bit to extend the complementary training of students and teachers. The second destination is the St. Francis school where children with disabilities show you that attitude is everything and that conformism is not a concept within their vocabulary.
In Tala what you considered basic becomes a privilege. The light does not always come from a lit light bulb, you do not have that virtual friend called «Google» to solve your doubts and the water goes without warning or call to return, this reality makes you realize in a short time of the alterations that of our priorities.
They have been thirty unrepeatable days for the life of each one of us. Between sadness and satisfaction come the farewells, but at the end of everything when you think this stage is over, you realize that the trip has only just begun.