When I arrived from a dreamy wild Masai Mara national park on Monday, where I was spotting beautiful creatures in their natural environment all weekend long back to the Fountain Youth Initiative‘s tiny office in Githurai, I realized that this is the last full week of volunteering in Githurai.
I love my weekdays in Githurai as much as the adventure packed weekends all over the country. Let me tell you a bit about what working week looks like for a Fountain’s volunteer.
The days are simple and straightforward. Someone would even say boring, but working on exciting projects, soaking up Kenyan mentality, stories and life, I have more than enough stimuli to be dead tired at the end of each day.
I usually wake up before 6 am to go either running or to kill a simple workout (or both). Then my favorite morning routine – filling a bucket with morning allowance of hot water, drag it to the small and rather chilly communal washing shed, and trying to scrub dust and dirt of the previous day. Breakfast of (mostly) boiled sweet potatoes and hot Kenyan chai sometimes pimped by honey sweet fruits is well deserved.
Some days I handwash my clothes to entertain my neighbours with clumsy moves that definitely cannot compete with the vigor of local mamas doing the same thing in much larger quantities (and with significantly larger success rate) on a daily basis, unless my Kenyan mom Rhoda takes it away from me laughing at my feeble efforts. Mornings are also the best time to blog about my experience, then I am off to the office.
Greeting neighbours and our microfinance Borrowers on the way, it is always lovely to arrive to Fountain’s packed office. That tiny little space, where we stil manage to fit 4 people plus occasional guests, is loud from cars rushing on the dusty road right in front ouf our always open door, and even noisier from constantly yelling Lillian and everyone who is (with not much success) trying to argue her over.
From then on it is all about work (sometimes conducted with my European efficiency, often times with Kenyan ‘pole-pole’ – ‘slowly-slowly’ approach) spiced up by lots of jokes, laughter, philosophical convesations often so funny but so interesting thanks to our cultural differences. With banana-tea break at 11 and a heavy-carb lunch of some combination of ugali, beans or potatoes at 1, the day goes by too fast. Especially, when there is a visit or two to a local primary school for mentorship, pad distribution or the necessary egg collection at our chicken business.
Honestly, there is nothing to do in Githurai after work and so I distrubute this hefty free time between hanging out with my office friends often continuing those thoughful afternoon discussions and learning how different our lives and worlds are. I am telling you, these people have stories to tell!
This is also blogging/ reading/ journaling time for me, as there is always a lot my mind needs to process.
Life is simple in Githurai, but far from boring. Compared to the always packed, fast and busy lifestyles we live in Europe, this simplicity allows to clear and open my mind, fully focus on all-things-Kenya and simply be present. The space that is usually filled with stress and excessive thinking has been free for absorbing and understanding the wonderful culture and mindset of Kenya and its people. It is also an opportunity to contemplate my own role here and the interaction between our two worlds.
I am one weekend and a few days away from leaving, and my heart gets hickups, whenever I think about it. The world outside the sky blue doors of Githurai room is so colorful, raw and rich. My eyes and my heart are wide open trying to soak it all in and take it with me never to forget the feelings I have here once I am back in my world.
And then all of a sudden the panick is gone, because I know more than ever – I’ll be back.
P.S. Just a little reminder – my fundraising project to finance another school year of 150 poorest children is still running. I’d be most grateful, if you share with your friends and/or contribute. Thanks a million for anything you could do. 🙂