” It is said that the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. My journey from rural
America to rural Kenya was far more than 1000 miles—it was the journey of a lifetime and it
began with a dream.
I’ve always been interested in other cultures and began dreaming of traveling outside of the
United States as a junior high student. In my final year of college, while browsing online for an
NGO to work with, AHADI NGO based in Kericho, Kenya, caught my eye. The organization’s
director was quick to respond and helpful. I was sold. Although I knew very little before coming,
I decided to take a leap of faith and set off for Kenya.
I arrived at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi to the sound of announcements over
the speakers in English and Kiswahili. Outside, I was met by the city’s busy streets, before
travelling through the picturesque Rift Valley to Kimori village in Bomet County, where I spent
the bulk of my time.
Those 7 months changed me. I saw many new things, met new people and learned about a new
culture. I also learned lessons for life, saw the side-effects of poverty first-hand, and learned
From the moment my hosts met me at the airport, I felt welcomed. Throughout the next 7 months
we learned from one another. They taught me to eat ugali (a stiff food made by boiling maize
flour in water) with my hands, to milk a cow and to speak some of their local language as well as
Swahili. I shared my culture and skills with them.
I volunteered as a teacher at Kimori Academy, teaching lessons in mathematics, English, and
P.E. The pupils were fun and respectful. My colleagues were extremely welcoming and helpful.
I could not have asked for a better experience. There were challenges to be sure, but they were
growing experiences and have broadened my perspective. With deep appreciation, I thank the
members of AHADI, my host family who welcomed me with open arms, the teachers and pupils
at Kimori Academy, the local community, and all those who supported me and made it possible
for me to work as a volunteer in Kenya. ”