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GAP YEAR | VOLUNTEER ABROAD | WORK EXPERIENCE OVERSEAS

 

Volunteers' Stories

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ANGELA COTTON
British

Teaching Disadvantaged Children in Mombasa, Kenya

Angela not only fell in love with Kenya and stayed there after her project finished, she also fell in love with a Kenyan and married him!

Njeri is delightful, isn’t she? A really lovely, helpful, welcoming lady. Arriving at the house at nearly 8pm was a (wonderful) eye opener. The mararus, the noise, pot holes, people… You will know how lovely the family is, so warm and welcoming and with a ‘hurricane lamp’ I settled in my room and began to unpack.  The bed (very welcome – no sleep on plane of course) is comfy.

The heat, amazingly, doesn’t affect me at all. Of course we all sweat, and face always wet (or sticky with SPF 50!), but I’m not a bit as tired or drained as I was in UK during the heat wave. I feel alive, younger (!), fitter (and HAPPIER) than I’ve ever been, and nothing bothers me. I am used now to washing in cold water. I have it down to a fine art!! Mary who does our washing and usually cooking, is astounded because I always make my own bed and sweep the annexe daily! She is pleased!

The family, all are lovely as I said, and Dr Kiairie likes to talk to me about the UK, about which he knows surprisingly little. He, like Mrs K and Mary are intent on “fattening me up” and I’m quite sure they’ll succeed. I am eating LOADS… cooked meals, first time in 16 years! They insist I have a mug of warm milk (whole milk of course fresh from the cows) plus sugar at night and try to make me have chai (milk tea & sugar) at breakfast too! However I’ve bought coffee (and marmalade) and astound them by drinking black coffee, no sugar. They can’t imagine it! (Love the bananas – to die for!)

Enjoyed the Induction Day with Njeri and her fantastic assistant, Nioki (I just love her). Norma and I were taken to town to buy what we needed. You know how Louise said “You wont be wearing any make-up” and I said “oh yes, I will”. Well, I don’t!! (except mascara / lipstick – have to keep up some standards) unless we go out evenings then I do it properly.

All of us Travellers meet with Njeri weekly as you may know and it is a lovely, friendly, happy evening. Yes, I’ve been out evenings! We attended a Gala dinner in aid of the marvellous Childrens' Center on Friday. Fabulous food, and the kids sang & performed wonderfully.

On Moi Day, a public vacation I went to the beach with my co-worker at Wema – 12 camels on the public beach – such fun. Saw 2 monkeys on the wall en route.

The childrens center, what can I say? It is just amazing, inspirational, mind-blowing. I love it there, can’t get enough. I adore the children and they seem to have taken to me. You will see in my feedback a typical (fantastic) day. I love to love the children and be loved back. I have my favourite, Mercy, who sings like an angel.

Friday (Kenyatta Day) I am going to the home of another teacher, Ann, to eat ‘Ugali’ and spinach (nice). So much to say - I think you get the picture. I LOVE IT, and THANK YOU.

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