Almendra, also known as Mendi, came to Kenya from Punta Arenas, Chile last month to volunteer in education. Mendi recently finished her high school education in the Deutsche Schule Punta Arenas German School and next year, she looks forward to attending the Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile. Before joining the college community, she wanted to come to Kenya, volunteer, and have experiences that will help prepare her for the next phase of life.
We asked Mendi what made her choose Kenya for her volunteering……
Mendi notes that since she was very young, she had wanted to come to Kenya and see what the country was all about. She has seen so much on television and in books about the culture and people but wanted to see it for herself. She wanted to learn about how life is in other places of the world and Kenya was her number one choice!
Over the last month, Mendi has worked in the Hope Missionary School in Nairobi and also the Ark Children’s Center so she can experience working with various age groups of our local youth. She really enjoyed learning about how the education system works in the country of Kenya and also loved planning fun activities and teaching the students games from her home country and culture.
We asked Mendi what she has learned so far…..
“I learned how different life can be for everyone. It took my traveling abroad to truly understand just how different life is. I have a different perspective about what a need really is and I have taken the time to rethink my goals in life as a result.”
“The food is good, but different! I liked the chapati and mandazi, but who doesn’t?! When you come to Kenya, you must try it! I also learned how to hand wash my clothes and by the time I leave Kenya, I will be an expert with it! After washing, it hangs in the sun to dry all day!”
So Mendi, what has been your most favorite moment in all of this?
“I have two moments I can share with everyone that have been my favorite. First, I loved spending time at the local Monkey Park on the City Tour. I was able to see the wild monkeys live in freedom and they were friendly enough to interact with up close and personal. The other best moment was the dancing with the students and Hope Missionary and Ark Children’s Center. The students taught me Swahili songs and while singing and dancing with my students, I felt happy and peaceful! When I get back to my home country, I am certain I will see the more simple things in life and one of my goals is to better appreciate those smaller things in life.
Mendi, if someone was thinking about coming to Kenya but not quite sure, what would you say about that?
“I would say to go! It is an experience of a lifetime! Embrace the culture as much as you can, don’t be afraid! Talk to the locals, make new friends! It is always important to be careful no matter where you go, but don’t be afraid! Go!