Inspired Words

These are the experiences of our volunteers in Kenya.


June 11: Last day on the project

Posted in Kenya on June 16, 2009

Everyday we make the same walk to Ngaya, bypassing the same shops and butcheries, and being greeted by the same faces. But this time, I feel so much more reflective than usual, knowing that this is our last day at the project site, and the last time that we'll be at Ngaya.

I notice that the clouds look different than back home. They're not puffy and round, but vast and jagged, almost as if someone smeared a paintbrush across the sky. In the streets, none of the shops are open at 9am, but the butcheries are - always ready to sell a decent piece of mbuzi or bbq goat. I also notice that the children wear thick sweaters or winter jackets, even though it's 20-something degrees outside and the sun is blisteringly hot. They're things that I see everyday, but somehow, I seem to stop and appreciate them today.

Once we get to the worksite, we're greeted by Daniela and John, who are already sifting sand. We wheel barrel the sand to the classroom, and then mix the huge pile with cement and water. We have the system down pat, and Daniel jokes that we've become teachers in building classrooms. Though somehow, I don't think classrooms are built with shovels and wheel barrels back in Canada.

After lunch, we mix the final layers of cement and water and let John level out the floor. We visit one of the classrooms, and the 75 children go wild as we snap pictures. I feel bad that we've disrupted their lesson and there's little chance of the teacher regaining control.

We take a last group photo at Ngaya, proudly standing outside the block of newly renovated primary-grade classrooms that we've completed over the past five weeks. We walk back to Transit, still laughing at our Daniel impersonations and imitating his famous, 'Oh my God' line, which he says whenever the slightest thing goes wrong at the worksite. It's bittersweet knowing that today is our last work day. I'm grateful that our muscles can finally rest, but I will forever miss the jokes with Daniel and John, being surrounded by thousands of gawking children, and the feeling of accomplishment after completing a classroom.

Working at Ngaya has allowed me to experience and appreciate a whole new dimension of hard work, as I have watched the fundis exert their bodies beyond what I thought was physically possible - doing so constantly, effortlessly, and most of all, without complaint.

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