2022-12 – volunteer report by Julika and Matilda

Karibu Kenia!

It is September 28th 2022. We landed in Nairobi at around 8.00 a.m. – We have finally arrived and our time at the MCC Maisha Mazuri Children Center can begin. Already on the plane, the feelings mixed between excitement and huge anticipation and we quickly forgot about being hungry or tired after a 10-hour flight. Of course, we had images in our heads what Kenya would be like, but while driving from Nairobi to the MCC, all the images in our heads were gone and built new. Everything was incredibly colorful, people were waving at us from all directions like we were famous people, and the landscape was incredibly dry at first glance.

The welcome that awaited us at the MCC was certainly one of the warmest of our lives so far. Hugs that made us feel right at home and children who ran into our arms as if we weren’t strangers. We would like to sum up the two months here as best as we can.

It didn’t take long for us to realize that dancing and music are two of MCC’s favorite activities. Therefore, Friday evenenings are from now on dance evenings. And after the guitar was fixed, we also got to sing and teach the kids some chords. In addition to music, it was particularly important to us to integrate art into everyday life here. The motivation of the children was always very high, from just painting with pencils and watercolors to printing on fabrics. The children love to draw cars or print on the paper with their hands.

Before we could do art projects, we did homework with the kids. We were very concerned that many of the children could neither read their homework nor answer or write it down themselves. This made us even more aware of what a great privilege it is to learn how to read and write with your parents when you go to school. To motivate the kids to practice, we made letter stamps, for example. With these, we could not only practice the alphabet, but could also print names. They could write down their desired letters from foam and cut them out. Although it turned out to be more difficult than expected, we finally had the whole alphabet together.

As another project, we built a second bookcase for our little library and then we painted it together. The white, blue and red were not only mixed in pastel shades, but also in colors that the children associated with ice cream. Therefore, most of the color was used for the “fake popsicle”. And despite minor problems due to the lack of carpentry training, we now have another beautiful bookshelf and a t-shirt full of handprints. The kids not only had a lot of fun mixing the colors and designing the bookshelf, but also painting us. “Tap, tap”

While cleaning up the volunteer store, we also found a slackline that has now perpetuated itself between the trees. Since the children’s balance was not that good and we only had 4 hands, we were quickly replaced by mobs. Besides slacking, the kids enjoyed joining us for yoga. “Matilda, can we fly again?” was the kids’ favorite question for a while after we ran across the soccer field like birds with outstretched arms in the sunset during a yoga session.

We were very surprised by the children’s weekly schedule. The older ones have to get up at 5:00 a.m. to get ready for school and don’t come back home until 6:00 p.m. Even on Saturdays, some of the kids have to go school. We tried to organize as many actvities outside of school as possible on weekends, like cinema evenings, dance evenings, reading evenings or simply game evenings. Once we tried to bake s chocolate cake. Trying is the correct word, because the oven broke so we fried the batter in the pan for about five hours. In the end, however, we had lots of delicious chocolate crumbs and enthusiastic children who were really looking forward to eating the chocolate.

An important part of the MCC is the farm, which you can reach after a wonderful 15 minute walk. Since the beginnen of the year we have a new farmer, Boniface. He has a very likeable charisma and quickly infects everyone with his laughter. We were always happy when working on the farm and over time we also stayed there as long as possible. The most beautiful thing was the langscape with banana and mango trees, which was new for us, and also the peace and quiet. Most of the time you hear nothing but 1000 differents birds singing their songs.

We have not only fallen in love with nature, but also with the people, their culture, charisma and warmth. “Look, I drew love” said one of the children as they made a heart out of a mixture of water and flour. The thought of it imprinted on our hearts and makes us grin every time.

Overall we had a time full of joy, new beginnings and moments that we will never forget.

Asante Sana! Thank you very much!

Julika und Matilda

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