Volunteerism - Previous Volunteers

 

From our recent volunteer Ruby!

I arrived on Rusinga in November of 2013, 17 days before my 18th birthday. I had heard about Kenya from my grandparents and family through their fond memories of many trips on safari and having never been myself I came to volunteer and travel. I finished secondary school in June of 2013 and had no idea of which career path I wanted to take; my interests were broad and I needed some time before making any decisions on post secondary education.

I connected with Alphonce Okuku through a family friend involved in the Kolunga Village Foundation and arranged that I would rent a room with his family and volunteer at the local clinic. In the first weeks I spent my days walking to the clinic learning how to read malaria slides and HIV tests and cooking ugali or rolling chapattis for lunch. Having no professional education beyond high school, I was not much help in the field of health care, though I learned a lot during my time at the clinic, I moved to the computer literacy program to better use my skill set to contribute to the community. Though I was not trained to teach that either I found that the computer skills I had simply from having access to a computer throughout my life were at a level that was helpful.  A new cyber café had just been opened at the community center so I started to help there connecting printers, helping teach typing and photocopying for local customers. In my spare time I germinated eucalyptus seeds for a tree planting project that would continue after I left, took photographs and bonded with my home-stay family. I helped to start health clubs in some of the primary schools nearby and started an email exchange program with a class of students in Canada. There was also plenty of time to travel around the island swimming at beautiful beaches and searching for hippos or fishing by boat.

I have learned so much in my stay on Rusinga, traveling alone has shaped me into a more independent person. The welcoming community and all those involved with RIT’s projects have inspired me with their generosity and ambition to make their lives and the lives of those around them healthier and happier. The beautiful people and culture have really opened me up, making me more flexible and adaptable to new situations. I wish to return to Rusinga in the future once I have finished with more of my schooling to see what I can do to help the community further.