Journey of an Intern – Tabea, 17th of November 2022

Hey everyone.
My name is Tabea, I am from Germany, and will be in Kenya for around 2.5 months in total to do an
internship at Wale. Back at home, I do my Masters in Global Studies from Gothenburg University in
Sweden. Since the course focuses on how globalization shapes today’s world, I am here to get more
practical insights into how a non-profit grassroot organization operates. Because I was involved in
planning and conducting different activities for kids in the past, and because other people from my
program have done an internship at Wale before, I just knew that I wanted to be part of this
organization to understand daily-life in Kibera better.


I arrived in Nairobi around two weeks ago. And even though I have already lived in and traveled to
different countries, it is my first time in East Africa, and I did feel a little overwhelmed at the
beginning. How do I get around this city? Where can I exchange money from Euro to Kenyan
Shillings? How do I get a local sim card? What is Mpesa and how do I use it? Where can I buy
groceries?


Luckily, people from Wale and other locals helped me out with all these questions so that I could get
started for my internship. On my first day, I was welcomed by everyone with a big smile on their
faces and instantly knew I was in good hands. During the first week, both the staff and kids showed
me what Wale is doing. I was taken on a tour around the slum and various activities and projects,
such as mobile library, academic support, and art, dance and photography classes were introduced to
me. It is great to see how much fun everyone has and how curious the kids and youths are. Although
I am not a “big dancer”, I truly enjoyed when some of the youths were showing me freestyle dancing.
Trust me, I was sweating a lot. Then on Saturday I got the chance to learn how to cook Maharagwe,
which is a traditional dish here in Kenya made of rice and beans. I already tried to make it myself at
home, but I guess I need some more practice before it gets as good as the one we had here at Wale!
Although it is all yet very new to me, I love to directly interact with everyone at Wale, but also
outside on the streets. When I was walking around Kibera a few days ago, one boy offered me
sugarcane, another girl invited me in her house for tea, and a woman got me fruits and water. Kids
run over to me, call me Mzungu (a term used to refer to white people), and say hi. I feel like people
are making the most out of what they have, living a simple life, helping each other out, smiling and
laughing. And welcoming me wherever I go.


I am very excited to see what I will experience during the next two months here at Wale and hope I
will be able to contribute to the organization and, more importantly, to the youths. Summer holidays
are about to begin and we are currently planning activities for these weeks. I have some ideas in my
mind which I hope I can implement soon.

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