Summary and Outlook

15 Nov

In the last days I met a lot of my friends and family in Germany. I showed pictures and videos, I even cooked Swahili dishes, was asked 100 questions, explained how Kenya works, talked, talked, talked… Finally found a good reply for “Na, wie war Kenia?”

Now it is time to write the summary of my 17 weeks in Kenya. Of course it is impossible to put it into words. Let me at least try. I Will use some of last days´ questions as structure.

Did you enjoy it?

Haha. OF COURSE I DID! Yes, the security situation might be worse than here. Yes, the living standard is not as high. Yes, it is muddy in the slums and not always enjoyable to be the only white person around. No, there ain´t running water all days.

And yes, I met incredibly friendly people and had nice food. I saw beautiful landscapes, experienced nature I only knew from books. I lived as a part of a 7-head-family. I talked about things I didn´t know they were worth talking about. I had incredible fun in clubs, at parties and with my friends.

What were the results of your efforts at work?

Let me start with the hard facts:

  • We raised funds for the primary school to buy school books, build a new classroom, buy kitchen equipment, provide lunch five times and go on a school excursion to a nearby forest reserve.
  • 20 discussion classes for class 9 to 11.
  • 10 discussion forums for girls from 15-20.
  • We held an HIV/AIDS day for 40 adults.
  • Proposal and budget for the beauty contest
  • One newspaper article about the youth group

But what is more important for me is to challenge people to think differently. Just by talking to them on the street or in the slums. But it´s pretty much impossible to measure the impact I had on people´s minds… When I left so many people told me they would miss my face, the conversations with me and the inspiration I gave them. So I just hope that in half a year a lot of lives have changed, at least kidogo.

And what did you learn for yourself?

Of course I gained working experience in a totally new field like counselling, proposal writing and health education. For sure my english improved. I “relearned” to work with less IT-support. I improved my soft skills such as communication skills, delegation, public speaking and flexibility.  And last but not least working in a different physical environment tought me a lot about my body.

I was reminded again not to take things for granted. Our lifestyle is “normal”, but just for us. That holds true for us and for everybody else in the world as well.

How was it to come back?

Wow…. This is what I call a reintegration shock. Loads of positive and negative impressions: super speedy internet, hot water from the tab, doing 140 on the highway without humps and bumps, a shop assistant that could actually help me. Then the cold and grey weather and the noisy planes from Frankfurt International Airport just above my head. Welcome back to Rhein-Main-Region!

Seeing 5 metres of coke in the shelves in the Supermarket, having a huge and FULL fridge at home, visiting flats of 80 m² for just one person, sitting on a leather couch, eating Tortilla chips with Salsa dip, using fork and knife for dinner. That was normal 4 months ago and is not so normal anymore.

Do I want to go back one day?

For sure! I hope to return for a longer period as soon as I clear university. That should be in May 2009.

Aaaaha. On the same job?

What I did was not paid which is not sustainable in the long run. Plus I want find a job in Kenya with a fixed job description and in a team, not as a lonely fighter 😉

Ok, Manu, you are crazy… I just can´t understand what Kenya did to you.manu-danach

I got a new haircut yesterday and that´s (as everyone knows ;)) an old symbol of girls to show everybody that they want to start something new.

That is all I can say now. Looking for a flat, a diploma thesis, a job, a position in Kenya.

The next six months will bring a lot of new things. I will keep you updated.

4 Responses to “Summary and Outlook”

  1. Joachim November 28, 2008 at 9:48 pm #

    Not bad! 😉

    A new girl in a better world. I wish your dreams come true.

    Greetz
    Joachim

  2. manuinkenya November 28, 2008 at 10:21 pm #

    Asante sana, vielen Dank!

  3. Edwin Kaguri February 7, 2009 at 3:15 pm #

    Wouldn’t have know how different our worlds are. And what you did with the girls, that deserves a lot of gratitude on every Kenyan part, so Vielen Dank (don’t even kno how it’s pronounced, but you get the drill).

  4. Edwin Kaguri February 7, 2009 at 3:23 pm #

    Oh! nice hair do too….

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