Stories and impressions of a volunteer.

#3 discovering Nairobi

My third week in Nairobi was a bit more adventurous. But let me start from the beginning. Office-wise we had a bunch of tasks to do that week. Mainly, I continued working on a new project proposal for more access to information. Then, I looked out for new partnerships with development organisations from Germany. Other than that, I tried to put my first ideas of organizing another book drive into words. Also, together with Happiness I worked myself a bit through Wale’s website, trying to upgrade its public presence. What I am really excited for are the life skills classes that I have prepared for the upcoming school holidays. Together with the kids I am hopefully going to talk about life skills such as dreams goals and motivation; self-esteem and confidence; prejudices; stereotypes and discrimination; sustainability and globalization. Let’s see how this goes. During the afternoons I have had a lot of fun with the kids at the center, as always. What was encouraging to see was their commitment of studying for their exams throughout the week. I really enjoyed studying together with Gilberto (12yrs) for his sciences as well as social studies exam. On the one hand, I was happy to see that I could advise him on how to study effectively for an exam by himself. On the other hand, I also enjoyed having a little throw back into my former school days by myself.  Beyond that, I read a lot, especially with William (10yrs) and Ronny (13yrs), played a lot, for instance a German card game “Studenten Mau Mau” together with Sara (14yrs), Evette and Happiness; and not to forget danced a lot. In the evenings I learned a new dance choreography (it will of course take a while until I feel confident with all the steps) and on Saturday the kids taught me some traditional dance moves. While working at the center, I do not only teach the kids but also learn from them, which is why would not get bored from work at all.

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Next to my time at the center, I also found some time to culturally discover Nairobi a bit more. Together with Venna and my new French flatmate Louis, I have been to an Ethiopian restaurant. Afterwards, we went to a music performance by the afro pop artist DELA at J’s to see Nairobi during night. I also made my own chapati together with Venna and let my hair be braided by Evette’s mum in Kibera. That was a long experience in itself, with a lot of hair and hustling pedestrians stopping by to see a white person getting braids in the middle of Kibera. I still have to get used to my new African hair style and learn how to use head scarves. On Sunday I have seen a bit of the touristy sights in Nairobi, such as Sheldrick’s Elephant orphanage and the Giraffe Center. Although I will never forget this experience of interacting with these animals face to face, it was a bit touristy for me, to be honest. At the end of the day, I went to Bomas of Kenya. The word Bomas was derived from “Boma”-a Swahili word for enclosed homestead. You can see the houses and lifestyles of Kenya’s manifold tribes, mainly categorised into bantu, nilotic and cushitic. These include for instance: Kikuyu, Meru, Kisii, Embu, Kampa, Luhya, Mijikenda, Luo, Maassai, Turkana, Samburu, Kalenjin, Somali and many more. When I arrived at home, Venna already gave me a few insights on tribalism in Kenya and its politics in general. I am curious to learn more about Kenya’s culture in the next few weeks.

 

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