My time volunteering
I volunteered with the ICS program in Kenya in a town called Wote in Makueni County. This was my first time volunteering with a big organization and to be honest one of the best feelings i have ever had. Moving to a new town with different cultures and different weather (Makueni can be very hot). All these factors did make the experience worthwhile and meeting up with other volunteers just made everyday an adventure. I was hosted in a home which a far distance from town with the most lovely family i've met. Mama Rose, Baba Tevin and Andi were amazing host who for some reason always overfed us. I got a crazy fun rooomate Harrison from Newcastle he was a delight to live with always teaching me some british slang and some cockney rhyiming slang which to be honest i dont think he was very good at.
My work placment was with ActionAid a partner organization in Kathonzweni(deep into Makueni), which was an organization that dealt with community development and empowering the locals who lived in poverty with projects to help them get out of poverty and live meaningful productive lives. At ActionAid we were working with youth groups, womens groups and a farmer's group where we had training on Climate Change (it being a very predominent problem in the area), Marketing skills for the farmers group which had farm produce but did not know how to get a decent earning from it. The youth group had sessions on Enterpreneurship and employability skills.
During my placement activities i played a huge role in translating our presentations to swahili because most of the audience had a hard time with English. I was also in charge of cordinating workshops with dates and venues it was quite difficult because some of the places we went for work were so interior with no roads so it would take us hours to get there. As a member of the Community Action Day Committee I was often in charge of coming up with posters and graphical design for concepts we had which was so fun and i enjoyed.
The CADs were one of the best moments where we had a lot of fun especially the 'Color K' which saw us run a 2k marathon to bring awareness on gender based violence in the community.
The impact of my placement
One of the most significant successes we had was during a session with a
youth group in Kithuki where we had approximately 90 teens show up for a
session. It was the session on financial management which had a practical
session that involved using locally available materials to venture into
business. Teaching them to be entrepreneurial, we used plastic bottles and
glass bottles to make vases (decorative vases). They were fully taken in by
the session and this was a big success to us.
The recycling of bottles for making of vases was a fairly innovative activity that
we undertook. Most of the community members in the area were unaware of
the various application of readily available waste materials they have. I
believe the sessions sparked a creative mind set and opened their minds to
My unforgettable moments
One of my favorite memories was one of a social that we had at the dried river bank. We had a
social which involved the team having a fun day at a dried up river bank where we organized
many games and a picnic. The weather changed suddenly and it was pouring down and we had
to try to get to my host home which was the closest place for shelter, the trip to my host home
was filled with slippery terrain and people getting mad all over themselves and the team was in
laughter genuine laughter and I felt that it was among the best socials I had. We got to my host
home where we had tea and continued with the games and people had lots of fun and enjoyed
the day fully. This one memory taught me about the uncertainty of life and how to adopt to
changes that happen and make the most out of it. Resilience was skill I feel I gained that day.
The impact my placement has had on me
This whole experience has made me look at my life and reevaluate my goals and dreams.
Interacting with the UKVs made have a little appreciation of the simplicity of life in our country
and back home. This however made me think deeply about the chances we miss out in our
country due to the state of things economically and politically which oppress the young people
more or less. This made me consider travelling the world and experience more of the different
cultures all over the world and learn as much as I can from people I meet and find a way to help
the issues I come across.
Career wise the experience has made me want to explore a more hands on career like
community engagement and positions that would allow me to work directly with the
community and the people. I would like to a team leader so as to further challenge myself to
grow as a person and grow my leadership skills because I saw that the team leaders really had a
lot to work with and deal with and high pressure situations are my favorite.