My name is Cecilia and I am a new intern here at Wale Wale Kenya. I am studying Human Rights in Sweden and during our fifth semester of the program we are doing an internship to deepen our knowledge in something we are especially interested in, and getting the opportunity to use our theoretical skills practically. I am interested in development work, and how that can be done sustainably. My personal view on that is resembling well with Wale Wale’s vision about the importance of local connections and providing tools for a long-term change. That is the reason I chose to apply for Wale, and I am really excited to be a part of this organization during the spring.
Today, I’ve been in Kenya for two weeks! Time has passed fast and slow at the same time, as is customary when being at a new place. And speaking of new – everything here is new for me! Food, language (a lot of Swahili in addition to the English), country (this is my first time in Kenya), etc. etc. It has been a little overwhelming at times, but Venna has been very good at de-stressing me and emphasizing that it is important for me to take it easy in the beginning. After all, I have five months here so there is no need to rush into anything.
My first week I mostly spent observing the work and activities at the center, started to get to know the kids and my new colleagues. On my first day, Julias took me for a walk through Kibera, the slum area where the Wale members live. It was a rewarding experience for sure. There are some obvious challenges for the people who live there, but Kibera is not a one-sided sad story. Rather, it is a lively community which accommodates dreams, creativity, and hope. This is especially evident with the children at Wale, who I am slowly getting to know.
Last week I started to work with my own tasks, including for example writing a project proposal and preparing for classes. This week will continue in the same way, adding some more tasks and some more responsibility each day. So far everything has been fun, inspiring, and a little challenging. Just as it should be!
Besides being at Wale, I have started to discover this city little by little. I have realized that I will need to learn how to bargain at Toi market, understand the system for the matatus, and learn how to cook ugali. Everything is very different from Sweden! But I think that realizing that there are everyday-lives that are very different from what I am used to is one of the best things about living away from home. It expands my view and knowledge about different cultures, which I think is both interesting and important. I can’t wait to get to know this city and its culture better!