As a volunteer in Kisumu, I was welcomed incredibly warmly into the Make Me Smile Kenya community. Because I was able to live right next to the office complex, I always had my contacts on my doorstep who patiently supported me with everyday questions such as shopping, washing clothes or getting rid of insects. I spent most of my time with Paul, the volunteer coordinator. I was allowed to ride along the adventurous roads on his motorbike and he showed me all the projects that Make Me Smile Kenya is carrying out in Kisumu County.
The project employees took me into their everyday lives, be it to the local schools and kindergartens, the training center for young women, the sustainable farm work of a youth group or the comprehensive health center. After getting to know the different areas, I looked after children in the region in the Safe Park project, most of whom do not attend school and do not have a specific place where they can be children without responsibility. One of those days I wrote in my diary:
It was one of those magical moments that you won’t forget. There I am, a Viennese girl, sitting on a stone step in the most beautiful nature somewhere in deepest Kenya and telling a group of children whose language I don’t even begin to speak (a staff member translated for me). Incomprehensible. The children helped me with the dishes afterwards, they are so nice. Many of them are so strong because they have to. I would like to hug them all.
My enthusiasm and respect for people and the resources they carry has grown massively during my time in Kisumu. I have never had such a valuable, all-encompassing, incredibly impressive experience as my internship at Make Me Smile Kenya.