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“Friendship is one of the things we take back from Kenya”

“Friendship is one of the things we take back from Kenya”

Bea, Laura and María together with boys and girls from Kenya.

This is the solidarity story of three girls who, a few months ago, decided to travel to Kenya to collaborate in a orphanage and school. bea and laura they are co-workers, and the experience has “brought them even closer together”. Back in Nairobi, they met Maria. Their friendship is one of the best things that has happened to them on their trip, in addition to the time shared with the boys and girls.

Bea and Laura, you are work colleagues, how did the idea of doing a solidarity trip come about?

Bea: Two years ago, I collaborated with the Kenyan orphanage through Tumaini. My experience was so rewarding and emotional that I really wanted to go back. I have been so interested in this project since I came back that I have tried to communicate it to all my circle of friends, family and work. And this is how Laura was encouraged to come… She had been wanting to travel as a volunteer for some time and, as happens to many people, doubts and fears arose. I suppose that if a trusted person tells you how incredible it is to live this experience, it is easier to embark on an adventure.

Maria, you, on the other hand, traveled alone, what encouraged you to undertake the trip?

Maria: It was an idea that had been on my mind for a long time. In fact, two years ago I was about to leave, but in the end it couldn't be. I had fears and doubts from the beginning. In fact, I even considered canceling the trip, but I got over it by being realistic. Going alone didn't mean being alone, but to be able to meet people with the same concerns as me.

Meeting Laura and Bea, who were just going to travel to the orphanage on the same dates as me, encouraged me a lot. Although it was only by phone, they gave me peace of mind and confidence. Also, I had a lot of support from people who really know me. Having lived through this experience, I can say that most of my fears were absurd: fear of the language, of the lack of security, of not fitting in the project... Everything is much easier and much more rewarding than I could have imagined.

Education is one of the pillars of the Nairobi orphanage.

How was your first day of volunteering? 

Maria: It was a mix of feelings: nerves, excitement and curiosity. It is an indescribable feeling! I enjoyed the experience from day one. Both the boys and girls and those responsible for the project welcomed us with great affection and made us feel at home.

Bea: In my case, it was the second time I had gone, so my first day was very emotional. I really wanted to see the children again, I didn't know if they were going to remember me... What I liked the most was the hug that one of the girls gave me when she saw me. It has been one of the most beautiful moments of this experience: seeing that he remembered me and that he was excited for me to come back. In addition, I was pleased to see that important changes had been made in the orphanage: a new floor for classes, a new building, a well to supply them with water, etc.

How did you meet each other?

Bea: I knew Laura from my work. At all times I knew that this experience was going to be even more beautiful with her. I met Maria at the orphanage. I was already there when they arrived. Since María is from Mérida and we are from Madrid, we didn't know each other, only by phone. The coexistence has been very good. María is a beautiful person who has been aware of the little ones at all times. We have been very lucky to share the experience with her.

Maria: I met them through Tumaini, I spoke with them on the phone and they encouraged me to make the trip. I am very glad to have met them. Both are one of the best things I take away from the experience. They made me feel very comfortable at all times.They are two girls with a big heart. I think we made a good team!

Bea with one of the girls from the orphanage and school.

In such an intense experience, is it easier to make new friends?

Maria: If it is easier, because you share your time with people with your same interests. Also, you spend practically all your time with them and they are your support at all times.

Bea: Having to communicate in another language and having such a big cultural difference, it is important to have support from people who have similar thoughts to yours.

Have you kept in touch with each other after the trip?

Bea: Yes of course. I meet Laura every day at work and the truth is that the trip has brought us even closer. We have supported each other a lot around. We continue talking with María and even though she is in Mérida, we will surely see her again.

Maria: They are two people I am very fond of and I would not like to lose contact!

Moment of relaxation and laughter between volunteers and children.

How was your relationship with the little ones?

Maria: Very good, they are wonderful! As the days went by, they became more confident, they looked for you to play, they made you part of their things and they were also more naughty 😜 It's great to see how they enjoy anything, how they take care of each other, and even us. I remember a very beautiful anecdote. When Laura and Bea left, I stayed one more day. The farewell was very emotional and I felt a bit sad, but as soon as they left, a group of girls came to hug me! It's funny how in the end they do much more for us that we for them.

Bea: In my case, some of the younger boys and girls did not remember me. Others did and they were very excited to see me (and me them) again. The boys and girls of the orphanage are a love. They are very polite and respectful. We were excited to see that anything made them so excited. Those boys and girls are happy with nothing and They really know how to enjoy every second what's happening.

Is there any story of a boy or girl that has marked you in particular?

Bea: Yes, the most shocking thing is knowing his past. Most of the boys and girls who are there have gone through very hard situations. They deserve our help and we give them all the love possible by going there.

Boys and girls are very cheerful, they love to play! 

What have you contributed to the project? Have you worked together or has each one done a different task? 

Bea: Being the second time I went, we had several ideas since I knew a little more about the needs of the orphanage. Before traveling, we made a fundraising campaign and to be able to buy: underwear, towels, shoes, compresses, medicines, hygiene products, a projector, a fridge, mirrors, seeds, food for 100 children for 3 months, etc. Once there, we did a hygiene workshop with the kids.

Maria: The three of us have worked always in team, we have organized and divided the tasks between us.

Would you like to come back in a while and see how the boys and girls have grown?

Bea: Of course. I thought it was going to be my second and last time and I needed to see them again to see how they were and to say goodbye. However, I have fallen in love with them even more. I hope to return next year or at most within two, whenever possible.

Maria: Of course! I hope to be able to return as soon as possible. It would make me very happy to see them again.

Jump rope is one of his favorite games. What energy! 

How has this solidarity trip changed your life?

Bea: It has changed many aspects of my life. When you see how happy they are with the amount of shortcomings they have, you are shocked. The children are happy despite not having a family. They themselves and Julius and Tabitha (the owners of the orphanage) are their family. They get excited about painting a leaf or making a bracelet that day. The most incredible thing is that when they have their drawings and their bracelets... they give them to you! All this gives you a real lesson in the meaning of life. Being there makes me want to be a better person, value everything I have. I feel lucky and at the same time with more desire to help them.

Maria: I encourage everyone to live this experience. It is a unique opportunity to live with another culture, learn, meet exceptional people and above all enjoy playing, walking, dancing and laughing with the children. Every minute with them is a gift..

Artistic photo of volunteers and children.

Comments

  • Anonymous
    July 2, 2018

    My daughter, a teacher, is going to Kenya this summer of 2018.
    I hope it is a good experience and that I return as happy as you are.

    reply
  • Anonymous
    July 2, 2018

    Of course he goes with the same NGO as Tumaini.
    She is very excited with certain fears.

    reply
  • Josema Riderslugo
    August 25, 2019

    Hello, I would like to be able to collaborate with you as a volunteer, although I have no experience. I am a 56-year-old man with adult children, who is always willing to help, and being better with childhood, help empower youth. I am a member of Firefighters Without Borders and also of Save The Children. Mr. Antonio Daza, I think they are related to the neck, you already know me from a project of his from the year 2011. Greetings and thanks for your work.

    reply

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