Journey of an Intern

Journey of an Intern – Astrid, 14th of June 2019

The last blogpost. It is strange how fast time can fly. You prepare for something months in advance, believe you are going to be abroad for ages, however my three months here have already come to an end. I am very thankful for having had the opportunity to intern at Wale Wale. I have truly learnt much and have mostly had a fun time. I knew from my last stay in Kenya that there are many differences compared to Sweden. However, my preconception was that things would be easier this time. Nonetheless, things are still very different compared to Sweden and I have to constantly remind myself of this.

As my friend Fadhilee said, people in Sweden are precise. We use measurements when cooking, drive on the right side of the roads and things do generally turn out as they are planned. In Kenya however, it is important to remind yourself that things probably won´t be as planned or said. Times, schedules as well as the content will change – mostly often minutes in advance or hours after it should have happened. That plans are not strict can obviously be a good thing but will be challenging if you are not used to it. I have learnt to try to tell myself that things can and will turn out good not in one but in several different ways.

Last Thursday, me and Cecilia went to Lamu and stayed for a couple of days. Due to the weather, it was now low season which meant that there were very few tourists at the time. Because of the rains, the sea was brown and unclear instead of the characteristic blue/ green. We managed to have a fun time even though it rained quiet a lot. We explored, read books, went on boat excursions, watched the sunrise, looked at the stars and enjoyed being at a place with barely no cars (but a lot of donkeys, boats and motorcycles).

I have enjoyed staying at Wale and will miss you. I hope to see you soon!

Over and out from Ashley, Ashy, Astrich, Alicia, Ostrich, Astraline, Astroid and Astrid.

Journey of an Intern – Cecilia, 7th of June 2019

Hi,

This is the last update of my internship here at Wale Wale and in a two weeks from now I’ll be back home in a summery Sweden. I look forward to that, but before I leave I’m trying to make the most of my last weeks here. A couple of weeks ago, Astrid and I went hiking in Aberdare. We walked to see a waterfall and it was really beautiful! Tomorrow I am off for my last trip in Kenya, to Lamu. I’m really looking forward to seeing that place since I’ve heard a lot of good things about it. After that, I will be spending my last days saying goodbye to the people and places I have gotten to know so well the last five months. 

Before coming here I did not at all know what to expect. I was hoping to learn about the organizational mechanisms in an NGO and to experience a new culture. The things I have learned has by far exceeded any of my expectations. From my colleagues, I have understood the meaning of hard work, and realized that it is not a sacrifice if your work is based on your passion. The children and youth at Wale have taught me that talent is present everywhere, and as long as there is dedication and encouragement to accommodate that talent, there is no limit as to what it will develop into.

I am fascinated by the human ability to overcome obstacles and make it work regardless of the conditions. If there has to be a way, there is a way. This mindset is much more prominent among the people I have encountered here than among those I usually interact with in Sweden. This has taught me to be open-minded about trying new things, as well as made me more receptive of and responsive to other people’s experiences. I have learned the value and truth of everyone’s personal experience, including the value of my own ideas, opinions and perceptions. I am certain that this open-mindedness is key when trying to understand people from different social setup. If one enters a new cultural context convinced that they are better and know better than others, there will never be genuine understanding and acceptance of one another. 

Wale Wale Kenya truly is an organization built on hard work and honest commitment from everyone who is involved. This reflects on the children at Wale, who have the great privilege of being exposed to an environment that encourages imagination, dreams and ambition. The children and youth at Wale never cease to impress me with their curiosity, talents, and dedication and I hope and believe that they will all achieve great things in their lives. 

Asante sana, tutaonana baadaye!
/Cecilia

Journey of an Intern – Astrid, 31st of May 2019

Hello,

Time flies and it is only three weeks left for me in Kenya now. The last weeks have been filled with various activities. On Wednesdays, I run an environmental sustainability class for the younger kids. The first two lessons have been dedicated to plastic and their impact on the environment, especially the Oceans. The third lesson was about locally grown food, reuse of plastic waste and planting tomatoes. It will be interesting to see if, and if so, how long it takes, for the tomatoes to grow. The fourth lesson was also dedicated to plastic and we went out collecting plastic waste from the area around the center. Lisa and I have also had a sewing class in which we taught the interested youths the basics in how to mend their clothes. We´ve also had some fun with Play Dough. This Monday, we tried to make giraffes and it went quite well.

Last Saturday, Cecilia and I went on a hiking trip to Aberdare. We went to the wrong meeting point and when we finally found out and did arrive to the correct point we were half an hour late. The rest of the group was even later though and the trip started approximately one hour after the planned meeting time. The rest of the day, however, did actually go smooth and the schedule was followed quite well. I did truly appreciate this trip, the landscape was beautiful and the hike was fun.

/ Astraline, Ashy, Ostrich & Astrid

Journey of an Intern – Matabel, 22nd of May 2019

Hello,

The month of May has been really interesting for me. I really enjoy my current tasks at Wale Wale and unfortunately they will be my last ones here as well. Even though there is a lot that has to be done, I still feel honoured to be apart of the organisational development here at Wale. I am currently working on a grant application that I will be done by the end of this month. I am also working on the constitution of Wale Wale, i am comparing it with the requirements that the N.G.O board of Kenya has for every NGO in Kenya. It is hard but it is an exciting opportunity to be apart of the organisation like this. 

Besides that, me and Cecilia paid a visit to Diani Beach this month. We used the new train from Nairobi to Mombasa. I feel that it is a bit weird to see how much China is investing in Kenya and other African countries, but at the same time amazing how good and needed it is to have functioning infrastructure. Last time I travelled to Mombasa I used the bus, which takes about 7-8 hours while the train ride only takes 4 hours. Using the bus was not the best experience, it was warm and sweaty and I think I saw one or two cockroaches… While the train ride was quite the opposite, we even saw some elephants, giraffes and antelopes. 

Sadly, its only 4 weeks left until I will leave my beautiful country for Sweden, hope time will slow done just a little for me these last weeks..
/Matabel

Journey of an Intern – Cecilia, 14th of May 2019

Hello!

The last few weeks we have been really busy with the preparations for Tambua, grant applications, keeping the daily activities running, and also having the kids here much longer because of the holiday. Since the beginning of May, the kids are back in school and we are back with the regular schedule which means longer office hours in the mornings and shorter afternoons with activities. This is a well-needed opportunity for us to catch up on the admin work that has piled up a little during the holiday. I am currently focusing most of my work on a grant application that I will try to have finished within a couple of weeks.

As Matabel mentioned in her previous post, she and I went to visit her family that lives in and around Kisumu. The city is located by Lake Victoria in the western part of the country. Everyone I met was so kind and welcoming. The countryside was really something else than Nairobi and I’m glad that I got a small glimpse of the everyday life in the rural parts of Kenya. The nature around there was so beautiful! When visiting some of the farms, I also got to see both the biggest and the smallest avocados I have ever seen. Matabel and I was also traveling this last weekend. We took the train to Mombasa and stayed at a resort on Diani Beach. Unfortunately it was raining a lot, but we still managed to get some sun and go swim in the ocean. Also, riding the train was an experience in itself. The train and the terminals were all really new and clean, and the security screenings were almost as extensive as at an airport. So: really different from riding the train in Sweden!
/Cecilia

Journey of an Intern – Astrid, 8th of May 2019

Four weeks have passed and I have learned much. I have joined the activities at Wale and spent time with the children and youths. Moreover, I have had a couple of friends visiting and we have done various activities in Nairobi. Last Thursday, we hiked Mt. Longonot. This was a fun and challenging experience and we met zebras, gazelles, antelopes, birds, insects and chameleons.

I have started to assist the football coaches by coaching the girls’ team. The girls are improving fast and we are trying to create a good team spirit. The rain period has started and with this come black outs, traffic stockings and mud. Of course, the football field is affected as well and the rain results in muddy football shoes, clothes and bodies. However, it is always fun to play and I definitely enjoy being a coach for the girls’ team.

Last Sunday, Venna, Cecilia and I went to Nyeri. The Matatu ride was approximately three hours each way and I enjoyed watching the landscape change outside the windows. The plan was to go and pick and buy mangoes as well as avocados, however, we ended up visiting two orphanages and a Kikuyu museum instead. As a matter of fact, we did not manage to see a single mango during our trip.

Two weeks ago, we made a field trip to the Railway Museum. This was a great experience. Many of the youths had never been to a museum before and it was exciting to see their fascination and joy. When being at the museum, we arranged a photography class which was appreciated. The plan is to continue with the photography classes and also to teach the children how to take care of the pictures eg. transferring them to a computer, sort and edit them.

/Astraline

(Apparently, my name is extremely hard to pronounce so I think I will go with this one)

Journey of an Intern

Hi! Another couple of weeks have passed, and I can’t help but thinking about how fast times flies. I have less than two months left before heading back to Sweden, and it still feels like I just started my internship. I think that this is partly because my days are so varied and I’m constantly learning new things at work and in my free time. So it’s definitely a good thing! 

As I mentioned in my previous post, the holiday program at Wale has now started. The kids come here earlier in the afternoons, and some of them are even here in the mornings to read when we do our office work. We run more classes than usual and we have changed the schedule a bit so the classes run on different days than during our regular program. This week Madelene and I had the human rights class on Tuesday instead of Saturday, and this was the last one that we had planned. It has been really fun to teach the kids a little about this subject that I find so interesting and to get their view on the issue of human rights. They have at times surprised me with their creativity and knowledge, and they definitely have a different perspective on many of the issues and rights that we talked about. This way, I also learned a lot from them during our classes! Besides being busy with the holiday program, there is a lot to do with the preparations for the Tambua Project. We are setting up everything from lesson plans to bank accounts, reviewing the activities we have planned, and getting in contact with the schools that we will be working with. It is an exciting process and I learn a lot by taking part in the actualisation of a project. To see how something that only existed on paper in an application document transforms into actual activities is very informative.

Last weekend, I took a few days off from work to travel. I have wanted to go to Zanzibar, an island off the coast of Tanzania, for years, and now I finally had the opportunity to go. It was probably one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited. Because of the rains, April is low season in Zanzibar. It rained a little bit when I was there, but in exchange I got to spend my holiday at an almost-empty beach. It was a little surreal, walking along a beautiful beach that was not overly crowded by tourists. I had a very nice and relaxing weekend but when I returned, I realized that I had actually missed Nairobi and Wale. 

/Cecilia

Journey of an Intern

Saseni, the holiday activities has been exciting with a lot of activities going on at the organisation. Our programs has been longer and taken more hours because children has come earlier to the centre. The Tambia project has been ongoing and it is still in the basics of preparing the materials and questions that will be used for the classes. I have mostly been working on the documenting process which consists of me giving a weekly summary of how the project is going and the progress of each the different parts of the project. Also I have been going through the organisation’s constitution to match it with the requirements of the N.G.O board of Kenya’s constitution. We also had an easter break where I had a chance to meet my family in Kisumu with Cecilia, it was so much fun because we got to eat authentic, fresh home made food.
Sadly though the rain period has started and it has affected many people around the country. This is actually the first time I have witnessed how rain really affect people, especially in Kibera. Some houses have been flooded and people have been injured in the process, others have even lost their lives. The positive with the heavy rain is that farmers no longer have drought. But all in all it has been a good month. / Matabel



Journey of an Intern

Hello, 

my name is Astrid, or Astraline as the kids who find the pronunciation of the name hard call me at Wale. I am from Sweden and am currently doing an internship at Wale Wale Kenya. My first contact with Wale was almost three years ago when I, together with my class at the Swedish School in Nairobi, followed some youths from Wale for their “Slum Walk”. My interest of their work began and I did spend quite some time at the center during my year in Nairobi. At that time, Wale Wale was situated in another area so to be here again and see the new center is truly exciting.

My experiences from the first few days have been really good. I live with Cecilia and Venna about ten minutes’ walk from the center and the area is really nice. I hope that these three months will be fruitful, with a lot of new experiences and meetings with interesting people. I also hope that it will help me catch up on some Kiswahili, I do feel like I have already started to relearn the language which is satisfying. The youths are curios and friendly and I am sure that there will be a lot of fun during the coming months.

I am interested in development work and have found, through various visits, that this NGO works for long-term change. This is, according to me, an extremely important vision and something I would like to take part of and help out with. I am also interested in photography, arts and physical activities and since Wale is having classes with these themes I am even more happy to be here. It is not yet decided what projects I will run during my time here. Firstly, I have to get to know the organisation better and later my personal assignments will come. These first days have mainly been for observation – I have joined the dance, art, acting and human rights classes, I have been to another Slum Walk and I have been attending the football session for Wale’s girls team last Saturday. It was a great experience, seeing how the girls’ nervousness transformed into happiness and proud as time passed. I have also tried to learn names and talk to as many youths as possible at Wale.


/Astraline

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