One of the main reason I was attracted to my current job was the opportunity to travel. Needless to say in five years I had not done as much as I would have liked. I was very pleased to find out that the organisation I was attached to would be travelling to Kenya for six weeks. The purpose was to administer healthcare aid to the rural areas of the northern counties; Isiolo, Samburu and Laikipia. The first thing that I noticed about Kenya was the Landscape. It is absolutely breathtaking. Even though I was mainly there for work I was very keen to explore as much as I could. Most of the time was spent in Nanyuki, even though I was not in the main “cities” there was still a lot be seen and experienced.
Fun fact, most of Kenyan’s on the first impression assumed I was a native. I remember one lady being quite upset with me because I could not speak Swahili. Of course, she understood why when I explained to her that was Ghanaian. Another fun fact, most of the Kenyans I interacted with mentioned Kwame Nkrumah, the moment I said I was Ghanaian and not Kenyan. To see that his legacy continues to live on was a pleasant surprise. For those who may not know, Kwame Nkrumah and the Big Six along other significant individuals fought to gain independence for Ghana, then known as the Gold Coast. He was the first president of Ghana, he famously said, “Ghana has not gained independence until all of Africa has”. Kenyan’s are very proud of the country as they rightly should. They were friendly, courteous, ready always to engage in conversation and willing to offer help whenever they could.
- Value of Life
One thing that I experienced which I found to be very disturbing; was what seemed to be a lack of respect for the value of life. On my way from Nairobi, We saw kid roughly in his mid-teens or even younger laid on the motorway. It was very clear that the kid had sadly lost his life. It was very early hours in the morning, but a lot of people were out and about, yet no one moved to attend to His body. It was shocking to see how nonchalant the people seemed to be. Even though I only had one experience of this, other colleagues related back to me similar stories on their travels to the northern counties mentioned afore. However, I do not wish for this to taint what a great place Kenya is and all the things it has to offer. I want my reviews of places that I visit to be as genuine and candid as possible.
WILDLIFE (ANIMAL ORPHANAGE AND OL PEJETA SAFARI)
Another exciting thing about Kenya is the wildlife. Since my job was very different from that of the medical staff I was not out on the ground as much to see some of the wildlife. however, the places that we visited for adventure training at the end gave rise to the opportunity to see some elephants. I also visited the animal orphanage and Ol Pejeta Safari. I really enjoyed both trips and would recommend them highly. At the Fairmount Mount Kenya Safari Club, the animal orphanage took in animals that were too injured to be in the wild, nursed then and sometimes if capable returned them to the wild.
Wind of Hope Charity
My most memorable time in Kenya was when I visited the Pepo La Tumaini Jangwani (Wind of Hope in the desert ) Charity. This is a non-profit organisation that was put together by the local women of the town in Isiolo in the response to the rise of HIV. The charity exists “Providing education and healthcare to vulnerable women and children affected by HIV”. I love the fact that they were willing and engaged in their community to see the need and rise to the occasion, especially without the instigation from external powers. Khadija Omar, the founder fought and demanded healthcare for the affected women by protesting in the streets with the sick in wheelbarrows. Her story reminded me of a quote from Christine Caine about compassion; “Compassion causes action”. A quote illustrated beautifully by Mama Hope as she is dearly referred to. The opportunity to teach these kids the little that I knew about first aid was such a privilege and a pleasure. It was a moment I will carry in my heart forever. The children were so engaged and happy to see us. There were also so bright. I was very happy to see that through the hard work of these local Kenyan women, these children were given an opportunity to live a normal life.
At the end of the six weeks, we were able to relax and have some fun. I went to Rift Valley with a group to partake in some adventurous training. I learned some bush skills with a Maasai Warrior, abseiled down a water full and tested my swimming skills with gorge jumping. This was a lot of fun and really allowed me to try activities outside my comfort zones. Gorge jumping was by far the hardest but most rewarding. We started off with a 3 Metre height and finished off at 10 metres high. I am proud to say I did 4 out of 5 jumps. Not that I need to explain myself but the one I missed out had all kinds of branches in front. Getting tangled in it was not on part of my plans.
Would I visit Kenya again?
Without a doubt, I most certainly will visit Kenya again. I met some amazing people. I would like to go on my own without work in order to have the flexibility of really exploring the country and experiencing all that it has to offer. However, I will not go in the rainy season. It literally rained heavily every day in the month of April.
Like any other country, Kenya experiences affluence and poverty, but it is developing and will only continue to improve. Travelling really does help to open your eyes and see life in a whole other perspective and so I am glad that I have had the opportunity to be able to have this experience. Thank you, Kenya for allowing to be a part of your country and culture.