I will try to tell you why Korando is one of the richest places I´ve ever seen. It may surprise you because we are talking about a school in the marginalised outskirt of Kenyas 3rd largest city Kisumu. Most of the people live in huts made of iron sheets, skinny cows are crossing the streets, the rate of literacy is low and HIV is a big and ongoing problem in this area.
I am not talking about material richness. Money is always rare in Korando, even for the most necessary things like food, clothes or teacher fees. I am talking about another kind of richness. It is in the laughter you hear every time of the day from somewhere; in the warm and welcoming atmosphere spread by every person that lives or works at the centre; in the natural habit that there is no reason of not being happy although you have nearly nothing and in the self-evident way you become a part of this big family right from the first day.
My decision to come to Kenya and volunteer in Korando was kind of random. I didn’t know any of the lovely persons living and working at the centre or in the dome. I just saw a facebook-like of a friend in a moment when I really needed some change in my German life made up of to-do-lists and contacted Better Me to ask for a possibility to volunteer. After few skype and mail conversations I decided that Korando and Better Me was a good idea and this turned out to be more than true in the end.
I had no special expectations and maybe this is the best way – just let the wave of kindness, curiosity and vitality rush over you. I know it sounds cheesy and I thought the same when I read some of the volunteer reports before I came – but this is really the way you feel when you experience Korando and its beautiful people. My dad came to visit me for some days and “papajana” was welcomed as warmly as I was. Home in Germany he said the few days in Korando had been more impressive to him asclimbing up Mount Kilimanjaro what he did the days before. Just to try to explain the dimension.
Although I had no experiences in working with little kids, the sweet, cheeky monkeys of the baby class and Miss Nora welcomed me as their teacher and I had a great time with them. They challenged me sometimes but in the next moment they can be so smart and ambitious, full of motivation to learn new things that you are nearly speechless. We once did a funny skype interview with one of the elder classes and a school in Sweden. When some of the Swedish kids said that school is boring and they don’t like to go there the pupils at Korando couldn’t believe or even imagine it and asked astonished “Why??”. I really hope that most of the children and youths don’t lose their urge to learn and to gather new experiences on their way.
I don’t have to say how much I miss all of them. The lovely and tireless team members and volunteers of Better Me and all their nice, helpful friends around, the motivated teachers, Mama and Pamela and of course all of the unique and wonderful kids ranging from big inventors to creative artists and brain surgeons of tomorrow. Thank you for sharing your richness with me!
By Jana Hepperle