"I've learned though this whole experience that you don't have to have a lot of money to change the world or have a lot of things to give people because that's not what changes the world."
Kenya. Was. Incredible! It's hard for me to sum it up in just a few experiences because everything was an experience. Before I went to Kenya it was hard for me to even fathom how these people survive, how these people live without things that we think are essentials. The main question I've been getting asked is what I did and how I spent my time. I also keep getting asked, "Tell me everything!" And as much as I wish I could explain everything that I experienced there, I can't. Not because I don't want to or I don't have enough time, but anyone who has been to a third-world country knows you can't put those feelings into words. I can, however, try to tell a few stories and explain what Youthlinc did down there to help improve the community.
We went to Kajuki, Kenya. It's honestly in the middle of nowhere -- it's not even on a map! The closest town is Chuka. We stayed at a Catholic boarding school and became more familiar with the Catholic culture. The people in this community are astounding and are seriously striving to improve their city.
We had five different committees we broke up into: First, Education. In this committee we taught English to the children at the Nutenbara primary school. I was able to teach a lesson to four classes and shadow three other teachers as they taught. The children were extremely respectful. They love school and you can see it in their faces as they politely listen and learn. Second, Health. I was never a part of the health committee, but I heard it was successful. This committee focused on teaching health lessons to those interested.
Third, Business. This committee taught business lessons to whoever wanted to come. A lot of the time the vocational woman came to the business lessons to use the skills they were just taught to start their own local business. That leads me to the fourth committee, Vocational. This was one of my favorite committees to be a part of because the women are so sweet and are there to have fun and learn some new skills. Many of the women actually knew how to sew and crochet before we came, but lacked necessary materials, so they were thrilled to have the opportunity to come sew with us. At the end of the two weeks, we had a boutique with the items the women sewn. All of the money earned through the boutique then was split up between the women to help them start their own businesses.
Fifth, Cultural. This is the last committee and the one I was honored to be a part of. This is the party committee. The main thing I did while serving on this committee was plan and orchestrate three "Fun Fairs," which are similar to field days. The kids there don't own much -- all of their possessions can fit into a little box. They don't have things to play with, only their hands and feet, so we brought the things we as American kids love to play with -- bubbles, chalk, nail polish, face paint, parachutes, jump ropes, and of course, soccer balls and volleyballs. It was so fun to see the kids playing in ways they've never been able to play before.
Everyday I miss waking up to the kids singing and going to see the amazing woman working hard to improve their lives. I even miss doing construction. I met some amazing people and was changed by the way they so gracefully live. All of my goals that I first went out to achieve, I achieved and then some.
Kenya will always hold a place in my heart and the lessons I learned there will forever help shape who I am becoming. The biggest thing I learned while in Kenya is that I can do anything, I can be anything, I can achieve whatever dreams I want to achieve. I am a strong woman who has rights that most woman in the world don't have and I should embrace those rights and use them to my advantage.
I loved getting to wear my Go Change the World graphic t-shirt throughout this experience for one solid reason: I went to change the world and no, I didn't solve world peace and I didn't change the entire world, but I had the opportunity to make a small difference in people's lives. The lessons I taught will help the people in the town in the smallest ways, but it will help. I've learned though this whole experience that you don't have to have a lot of money to change the world or have a lot of things to give people because that's not what changes the world. We didn't make Kenya a first world country; not even close, but I changed a community in a small way. I helped give them hope and a way to become self-reliant. Changing the world is addicting and I'm already searching for ways to continue my journey.