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A wonderful start in Kenya

12 May

After only eight hours of flight (7 of them sleeping on three seats) I arrived in Mombasa. Getting out of the plane I was hit by the heat already: 30 Degrees at 5am! 5 visa counters were open (Note: In Mombasa arriving foreigners are treated better than in Nairobi?), the customs officer was still sleepy and therefore only ten minutes later I left the airport. Short negotiations with the taxi driver and I arrived in town before sunrise.

Zazu, a romanian intern working at the coast, picked me up in town and we went to his place. He was able to get a day off and after Chapati Mayai and Passion Juice as breakfast we left to Diani Beach.

As it is the rainy season (it was pretty dry for that name) the beach was deserted (even more than in October) and we just enjoyed ourselves with a cold Tusker, fruits and jokes on the beach for the whole day. When the tide came in in the evening we were swimming and floating in the really warm water for at least an hour watching the sunset behind the palm trees.

Wow, what a start!

Finally and hesitatingly we went back to Mombasa, where I was invited for dinner by Zazu’s colleagues.

Then after a more bumpy than nice bus trip (will they never tarmac the last piece of the road?) to Nairobi I was invited for breakfast at a friend’s place (cooking inside a dorm room in the student hostel…). Then I did some errands in town and finally was able to get my old number back!

Next steps: Saying hello to moooore people, an agenda dryrun for the conference in the evening, moving in at my hostfamily, last preparations for the conference that starts on Thursday.

And then I am out of town for 4 days with all the responsible students from local and national level. Around 80 of us preparing and planning for our year! One year and seven weeks to be precise.

Gotta go, lunch is waiting for me! (“Lazima ninaenda, lunch ananingoja”, at least I think so…)

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First steps of a new job

9 Apr

There are these momens which you will remember for a long time. The feeling of getting something large and powerful started. Seeing people for a first time knowing that you will have to work with them closely. Eyeing each other carefully. Speaking consciously not to leave wrong first impressions. Giving that up after some days. Diversity is not easy to handle.

I have just spent 6 days with my new colleagues in a small town outside Nairobi. It was an experience… But probably I will start introducing my new job to you:

“And what are you going to do in Nairobi?”

AIESEC is a worldwide student organisation. In over 100 countries around 35.000 students live the idea. In Kenya there are around 450 in 9 universities. At university level some take the responsibility and form an executive board to lead all the actions done in that Local Chapter.

And in all the countries it needs a National Office to coordinate and support the activities which take place on local level, lead the organisation in a strategic way and represent the organisation towards stakeholders in Kena and inside the AIESEC network.

This group of people is called a Member Committee, and ranges from 4 to 8 people depending on the realities in the different countries. Responsibilities like Finance, External Relations, Information Management, Exchange, Talent Management are distributed between the members of the team. For us students to practice leadership skills while still young we decided that in AIESEC the whole leadership body changes every year or ever second year latest.

In Kenya we are 7 people, out of which 4 will be working full-time and three are still at university. I will be responsible for Talent Management, which basically means ensuring that the right person with the necessary skills is on the right job in order to to reach organisational goals and personal development. It will include the streamlining of usual HR processes enriched with a strategic approach to ensure that the goals of the organisation can be met and at the same time focus on the learning of all members in AIESEC Kenya.

In AIESEC language: I am MC VP TM 09/10 in Kenya!

Team Transition

When the whole leadership team leaves at the same time and a new one takes over it is important to transit the knowledge and experience. For this purpose the old and the new team got together for 6 days and we even had alumni visiting us.

We were getting to know each other, seeing the current reality of the organisation and planning for our term. We also defined the rules how we want to work with each other. We collected lists of things we need to discuss with our members to ensure we are planning according to their needs and wishes.

I still remember how 3 years ago I started my first one-year-leadership team experience in my local chapter in Darmstadt… wow. And now another one is just about to begin. It couldnt be more different from the first one. And yet it cant be more similar to last time!

And now?

Now I am back in Germany, writing my Diploma thesis. Keep your fingers crossed that I hand that in in around 4 weeks!

Back in Kenya

31 Mar

Queuing for the visa, picked up by friends, roads are still the same, chapati for breakfast, 29°C, skirt and flipflops, waving kids on the way to the bus stage, matatu to town, still feeling at home in Nairobi, meeting friends at university, beer with claudi, rain, ugali and skuma wiki for dinner, good to be back, good night.

Getting up early, traffic jam anyways, returning to my slum, meeting friends, seeing my primary school again, heat, back to town, beer with AIESECers, leaving home late, sunburn.

Nitarudi Kenya

25 Mar

For those who are still working on their swahili: “I will return to Kenya”

After the good news in January it has been a bit quiet in my blog. My thesis is taking most of my time.

Having in mind the current German weather I would like to water your mouths a bit: Guess what I will be doing next Monday! The plan is to chillax with my friends, hold a cold Tusker in my hand, not to move to much in order not to sweat (this freaking heat, you know) and just enjoy the equatorial sun…

You got it: I will be in Kenya next week. Apart from attending the MC planning week I will have some free days to meet friends. Then I am returning to Germany to finish my thesis.

Summer, I am coming 😉 (“nitakuja”)

Wenn´s läuft, dann läuft´s!

27 Jan

There have been some great developments in the last two months and I would like to update you now 🙂

I have found a flat, a diploma thesis and two jobs. Let me start from the beginning:

November and December

I had a great time “between the chairs”: Talking to so many people about what happened in Germany when I was away, reintegration shock, falling in love with Germany again, experiencing great hospitality of my friends who let me stay at their place, sharing dreams about the future…

In November and December I was visiting flats to find a place and talking to a lot of people about my diploma thesis. Unfortunately without to much results. Was I too ambitious? At the same time I prepared my application for the MC in Kenya, which took most of my time. Around mid December I felt very uncomfortable for not having solved any of the pressing issues yet.

Just the days before christmas things started clearing up: I moved to a great flat in the eastern part of Frankfurt. New years eve was just a great start to 2009: I spent  it in Düsseldorf with a friend (of course from Kenya) and gained a lot of strength for the next steps.

January

Just some days later I found a great topic for my thesis: I am involved in Logistics again, its a very interesting topic and a nice Institute to work with!

The National Conference in Kenya came closer… I wasn´t able to travel there, so we decided for a virtual process. The review boards were challenging and it was also fun to record videos that would be shown to the voters instead of “real” speeches. On the 18th of January (big election day ;-)) I was selected for the MC in Kenya 2009/2010 and will be the Vice President for Talent Management for a whole year starting at the 1st of June!

Then my flatmate (I love you, Mina!) helped me in finding a side job, I started last weekend. I really enjoy working there, it is a good alternative to 7×12 hours in front of the computer for my thesis. And the money issue for the flight is set.

The last great news is that I can stay in this amazing WG longer than expected, so I won´t have to move again. I guess now you are getting the title of the story 😉

The next months

Apart from writing the thesis and preparing for leaving to Kenya I will be doing some more activities in AIESEC that help me getting the knowledge for the MC position.

I want to hand in the thesis mid of April. Then packing my things, saying goodbay will take some more days and then I will fly to Kenya again.

Am looking forward to a lot more great evenings with friends and family in the next weeks. Knowing that I will leave Germany for at least 13 months soon makes me use my time more effectively than ever before.

I hope.