Stories and experiences of an intern

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Here’s my first blog post, woop woop!

One week in Nairobi

After about 12 hours of travelling from Copenhagen, I arrived to Nairobi Kenyatta airport at around six in the morning last week’s Tuesday. I felt relieved but nervous. It was dark outside and when I made my way out of the terminal building I found Venna, who greeted me with a smile and a hug. That was a warm welcome to Kenya. We chatted while we waited for our ride. I honestly cannot even remember what we talked about, I was so tired and everything felt so surreal. When we arrived to the house Venna showed me to my room and told me to go and rest. We would talk later. I felt weird going to bed at that time in the morning, but I really needed the sleep. I was in Kenya now, and in my new home for the next five months. That felt even weirder.

It has been a week now since I came to Nairobi. My first observations during this week have been that there seems to be a at least four locks to be opened in order to get in to a building, the money smells interesting and there’s always music playing somewhere. If there is no music, it is because of a power cut. Apparently, there are countless of ways to cook rice and when I go shopping I need to take Venna and Happiness to act as my bargaining managers, and definitely leave Evette home because she has no idea how to bargain. And most importantly, the avocados here are delicious and only cost about 10Ksh (0,08€) and December is going to be amazing because mangos are in season.

My first impression of Nairobi and Wale Wale is very good, and I have had a great week here getting to know my colleagues and the kids at the centre. I spent my first days mainly observing what was going on in the centre. I work together with Venna, Happiness and Evette and I really enjoy the days with them. I have met a lot of the kids, but I can see that most of them are not used to me yet and they do not really interact with me for more than maybe saying hi. Last week at the centre was calm because the kids were just starting a new semester, so there were not that many people coming in. This gave me a perfect chance to observe my colleagues working with their classes as well as the kids while they were doing their things studying, reading or playing with Legos etc. Since I have five months here, I have decided to approach this experience with a calm mind and give myself time to get used to my new home as well as for the kids to get used to my presence.

At the end of last week, I started working. I am extremely happy that I chose to apply for Wale Wale for my internship. I chose Wale Wale because it is a small local organisation and because of the importance they give to self-expression and creativity through art, dancing and literacy. I am excited and happy about the diverse tasks I will be working with. When I saw my name on all these tasks on the board in our Monday morning meeting I felt excited about the new challenges waiting for me. I felt good about being able to take part in so many different activities, I felt like I can make a difference and truly contribute to the different activities of the organisation. I will be taking part in the School Fee Drive, the Book Drive, writing the intern blog, following the football team on Saturdays and giving classes on life skills. The atmosphere at Wale Wale is kind, humorous and open. I cannot wait to get to know the youth better and see what kind of inspiring and motivated individuals they are, each with their own personal dreams and interests. It is truly a shame that I do not speak Swahili, but I hope to learn at least some basics while I am here.

It is not the first time for me living outside my home country, so I kind of knew that there are going to be a lot of differences and I am going to be discovering how accustomed and comfortable I am with my Western/Finnish ways of doing different things. Every day I find something interesting, surprising or something that makes me rethink my own perspectives. I am discovering bits and pieces about the Kenyan society and culture little by little every day I am here. I am excited to discover and learn more about the people, the society and the culture surrounding me, hoping to learn new things both about myself and the other people during my time here.

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