Just sitting here thinking.
Having returned to Perth now after three months in Nakuru, Kenya. I sit here in front of my very familiar computer screen, the sun is only just warming me as the temperature is not what I have been so used to in Kenya.
My feet freeze, Ralphy my shadow, my dog, sits as close to them as possible in the hope I will be able to warm him. It is difficult for me to let you know my thoughts and feelings now, but I have a need to share them with you as you have followed this blog along the path that I took with our wonderful volunteers.
Back in 07/08 when I returned from my last stay in Nakuru, I was not a nice person to live with; my husband and children can vouch for that. I felt that I had abandoned those I tried to help in Nakuru, whilst teaching. I thought that I was ‘going to save the world’.
I saw a slight dent where I had paid and laid cement floors for a small school, but I felt that I really hadn’t achieved what I had set out to do. I felt as if I had failed. Unfortunately, those around me, here at home paid the price, I was moody, out of touch, hard to connect with and frankly intolerable.
As a volunteer I know like so many volunteers that have worked with me and I have come to know, you too would have had aspirations to ‘change the world’. It’s impossible. I can only talk about Kenya, there is so much corrupton and volunteer organizations are corrupt, it’s difficult to know if you are merely a pawn that other’s use to sponge money from you to line their own pockets rather than help those that are in incredible survival need.
I had to return to Kenya, I was driven to.
I had to do something for those who needed help and I had to do it direct, not through a volunteer organization which charges an absolute fortune to volunteer, and then nothing is passed on to the project they give you to ‘work’ at, I didn’t want promises! I had to know that my time, my money, the work of volunteers, donations and well wishers reached the destitute, the starving, the illiterate.
The only way I could be sure that this would happen is to begin a project myself. I wanted to be where the people were, where I could make a difference, a real difference.
With a great deal of assistance from Rose Njenga and Chris Makokha, who I consider a wonderful true friends The Gabriel Learning Centre was born. Our Project is in the slums of Kaptemwo, a large area in Nakuru. After placing a strong support and infrastructure to operate on a daily basis we have 48 students whose lives held no hope, learning a trade will be the tool to take them away from the slums, an opportunity to educate their children and a knowing that their family will not be taken by starvation.
Alongside our class room we have a Nursery school for 20 children who will be with us until they go to Primary School, again with our help and we will travel their success though to high school and they will remain in our extended family. Our children are given a daily meal, our families are counseled in bad times and our helping hand is always there fore them.
So now I sit here, not being an absolutely pain to those around me, for my purpose has been defined it is to continue making a difference I am don’t feel that I am abandoning those I left in Nakuru this time.
My time now away from Nakuru, is to raise funding for my Project, so everyday those who study at the Learning Centre and our children are with me. I work for them.
In these days of precarious financial downturns it isn’t easy to raise money, I know it will be hard, but as Chris reminds me…’go with the strengths you have’ and I do daily.
The world is still a huge place, as a favor if you are reading this message and if you know of anyone that would like to volunteer to come to Kenya to assist in our project then please contact me through this site and if you know of anyone that would like to make a donation you can send it via this website as well. Unbelievably even $1.00 makes a difference and you have my personal guarantee that 100% of all, YES! All money raised goes direct to the project. All my personal expenses and marketing materials are not funded by the project they are paid for personally.
The sun is struggling to come out, I can feel it now on my back, Ralph remains snoring at my feet. My mind is in a happy place, I miss Kenya but will be returning, this time with family in February 2010, again in July and then in October, I hope our paths may cross as a volunteer or donor, in the mean time ‘to the world you are but one person, but to one person you just might be the world’.
Asanti sana, Susan x
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