My time volunteering
Volunteering in Kenya is by far the best decision I have ever made. I made so many amazing friends who I am determined to see again and still keep in contact with regularly.
Whilst in Kenya I worked with 3 other people in CTTI's, these are training institutes for people learning to do things such as: shoe repair; dress making; construction; hairdressing and other skills. We worked with 4 groups each week preparing sessions to teach them life skills such as: CV writing; sexual education and substance abuse. We also had discussions on cultural differences and stereotypes so everyone knew that we were exactly the same. Although our time with the students was short (due to school closures), the students all seemed happy for us to be there and took in everything that we spoke to them about. At first they were shy and did not speak much (possibly because they didn't understand our Northen English accents) but after they got used to us they began to interact more and open up, always asking questions and leaving the sessions with a smile.
The impact of my placement
Working with CTTI's makes it difficult to see an impact on what you are doing, as you are showing them skills that they will put in place in the future and will impact them in the long term. However, you could see the students begin to open up and become more able to talk about things week by week and could tell the information we were giving to them really helped due to the amount of questions they always had to ask on the subjects we were teaching them on.
My unforgettable moments
I have so many unforgettable moments during my 10 weeks in Makueni, so it's impossible to choose just one. One of my best memories was spending time with my new family and friends. Sitting by the river near our host home, lying in the sun on our days off, with my two new 'sisters'. Or lying under the stars outside at night time, listening to music, is something that I wish I could do every day and something I still think about on a regular basis.
Another of my best memories was upon leaving our last CTTI class. It made me realise what an impact we had on them as we were leaving, seeing how sad they were that we had to go. They stopped me by the door, playing with my hair and telling me how much they will miss our conversations and the talks we got to have with them.
I also can not write a scrapbook on my time in Kenya without mentioning the food. The amount of new and wonderful things I got to try out there will stay with me for life, I don't think I have ever eaten so much as I did whilst volunteering out there! Our host mother teaching me how to cook the delicious dishes is a memory that will stay with me forever and will definitely be used to recreate it the best that I can in this country. Hopefully I also inspired her by showing her some English food that she may like to make in the future!!
The impact my placement has had on me
Volunteering changed my life completely. Before going I lacked motivation and was honestly pretty lazy when it came to doing day to day things and getting up in the morning. Now I am back in the UK, I don't mind getting up early for work and I have loved showing my family the amazing things I experienced and cooking them the foods that they would've never even considered in the past.
I have a lot more motivation to go out and do things and see people, and since coming back I have been up earlier every day always looking for something to do as I seem to have so much more energy!
The only shame is that the thing I hate the most about coming back home was having to leave my other family and new friends. Especially my host sister, who was the most inspirational and sassy character I have ever met. But I know one day I will get to see them all again.
Overall, I could not stress enough how much this changed my life and I would recommend everyone to do it. Not only do you get the great feeling of helping out a community but it also opens your eyes to the world so much more to be a better person.