My heart is full of love, of gratitude, of joy, of sadness, of hope, of un-cried tears and etched with memories that will last a lifetime.
The reason? Africa. Kenya, to be more specific.
The majority of my friends on Instagram and Facebook will be aware of my recent adventure but many of my blogging followers may not know that I had a volunteering trip booked in Africa.
Friday 8th February is the first time I stepped onto the continent when I arrived at Nairobi airport. I’m not a clairvoyant but can predict that it will not be the last time I do. *spoiler alert – I plan to go back in February!
Prior to embarking on my trip, I had read and re-read the volunteer programme agenda, which gave examples of how each day would unravel during my time there. This did NOT prepare for the experience that I had or how I would feel – I don’t believe anything could prepare me for that, nor would I want it to.
I am currently sat staring at the mainly white space of my blog, looking for the words that will rightly convey the experience I had and do it justice. Other than ‘Amazing’, ‘Incredible’, ‘Blown Away’, ‘Fantastic’ – the words do not come. I have chosen to persevere and write anyway.
I made notes most evenings of what had occurred in the day but writing a play by play account is not the blog I want to write. An example of what I wrote is quoted below:
“Arrived at the school to ALL the children in the courtyard by a tree, along with the teachers. Lined up with the smallest children at the front. My heart – so many young ones. All of them singing – welcoming us. They sang about 4 songs. The little ones staying in line, trying to remember the words and the actions, as well as focusing their eyes on us. They giggle, they huddle together. They look great – red and white dresses and shirts, black shoes, red socks and huge smiles. I see them. I see their innocence. My heart.”
Reading my notes back, I am transported back to the first time I stepped into the Memusi School grounds, a place that would feel like home for me during my stay. A place where I would feel the heat from the ever present sun and from my tears which would continuously burn at my eyes.
It would be a long and repetitive blog if I was to go solely with my notes as detailed above, so I have therefore decided to challenge myself and over the course of the next 2 weeks I will delve into lessons learnt and what I have taken away from my time out in Kenya. In smaller manageable chunks.
I’m not going to lie, there is a small part of me that is dissecting my travel story this way as I am stuck at what to write and this is my creative way of procrastinating. The main reason I am doing it this way is – I have A LOT to say and I feel that as this was a trip and experience of a lifetime, I am giving it the respect and airspace it deserves.
A few themes have already started to circulate in my mind as I think of the lessons I received whilst delivering my volunteer sessions, visited the communities in their villages and church and got to know the teachers and children.
My heart first began to swell sometime before I even got on the plane as I received underwear and money from friends, colleagues and acquaintances after I asked if anyone would be interested in making a donation.
Underwear to the children, many who only have 1 pair and/or money to go towards basic household goods for a ‘Free Shop’. Well I was absolutely over joyed when I received over 200 pairs of pants and over £500 in cash. Humanity had given a huge wave that it was here and that there is a lot of love and generosity in this world no matter how hard the media tries to hide it – there it shines.
I am now trying to battle with the travel blues that are trying to sneak in. A mixture of tiredness, overwhelm and disillusionment [of the space I occupy in the world] is trying to fight for prime position with how fortunate and grateful I am and the determination to make a bigger dent in helping the charity – and others in need in the world!
For now though. I’m going to sign off by sharing just a few pictures of my time out there – with more to follow with my future posts.
Love and gratitude to each and every reader,
p.s. to find out more about the charity, please visit Memusi Foundation
p.p.s. if you like this or any other posts I have made, I’d love you to join the conversation in the comments below or like/share the post.