Kenya, oh Kenya. Where should I begin? What should I tell you? There is so much. From spending time with the beautiful children at my orphanage, to kissing giraffes. From spending a day with the Maasai and getting maasai burns, to crossing a broad river leading to a big, wild waterfall. From having a tiny little sick girl curled against my chest, to snorkeling in the Indian Ocean. From seeing people live in the most inhumane circumstances, to having 4 amazing days of safari. From seeing a lot of pain in the eyes of some, to seeing so much joy in the eyes of others. I have met so many amazing people, seen so much beautiful as well as touching and eye-opening things, and had so many wonderful experiences. I’ve been living in the slumlike suburb of Githurai, about 45 minutes from Nairobi, in the apartment of my very sweet ‘mama’ Amina, en her 4 years old son. From the very first moment I stepped inside I’ve felt at home. I’ve shared my room for almost the whole period with a nice girl from Canada – other volunteers have come and gone. The orphanage I’ve been working at is the home to 85 children in total. The smallest children are attending the kindergarten in the orphanage – in the afternoon, when the children who are going to primary school and some to high school, have come back there are about 56 children. The others are in boarding school. Three girls of 17 finished high school this year and received their results in the beginning of March. They are now at the orphanage the whole time till the new school year starts. One of them is going to study laws at university, the other two weren’t sure yet. It is beautiful to see that also orphans can get a good future and can make their dreams come true. I doubted the auntie a bit, but all in all I can say House of Mercy is a loving environment. The directress has the best intentions. Contradictions are huge. How can the world be so unfair? How is it possible that some people live a life that is so normal to them but is actually very luxurous, while others barely have a house en food to eat. I’m not only speaking about the western world in contradiction to Africa, but also about the unbelieveble differences in Kenya itself. As a volunteer you experience that at its best. In the morning you are walking through Kibera, or through Githurai, and then, in the afternoon, you are enjoying some good food in a luxurous mall. Kenya is one of the most developed and rich countries in Africa, but only for some. I’m more than ever aware of the priviliged position I’m in, and I’m very, very thankful. We only have one life and these are the things we will look back at later in our lives and which we will regret in the end if we didn’t do them. It’s been my first trip going so far and on my own, and it’s unbelieveble how much self-confidence it gave me. The power I can see in myself now! As well as the resilience of people. I’ve become a warmer person. I’ve learned to give love to people, and to allow people to give love to me, without thinking of myself. I’ve learned to open myself up to people, without being selfish. My belly still feels full and tingling from all the warmth and love. A fuse that is lightened in Kenya is still glowing inside me. And I am very, very thankful. Two fishermen took me and my friend on their boat at Diani Beach. “There are three things we can learn from”, one of them said. “Family, friends, and traveling. If you can afford it, you should definitely travel.” I can imagine how much they would want to leave and sail far beyond Africa with their little, wooden boat. Please, people: if you can, go travel! More stories to come!