Karibu! I’m Sophia and I’m spending my weltwärts volunteer service with Play Handball in Kenya from September 2022 to August 2023. I am living with my host family in Machakos, south-east of Nairobi. Today I would like to tell you a little bit about the past two months and my new daily life here.
In the morning I assist in teaching French, English and Maths at an elementary school nearby. Especially in French the children have a lot of fun and want to learn new things very quickly. The lessons and the system are different from those in Germany. There is a lot of frontal teaching and the children learn to read and write from the age of 4 in preprimary school, which means that the level in elementary school is much higher than in Germany.
During the breaks, I play with the children and show them games that I played myself in elementary school. I also get to rehearse a dance with the students, which is performed at the graduation in two weeks.
Once a week, I also help to coach the first three grades in handball. You can quickly see progress in the players, however, the training is also a challenge for me because the kids have never played handball or anything like it, so they don’t have an idea of the game yet.
I also go to a high school twice a week for training. I like the training there the most, because the people here are about my age and I usually play myself. Nevertheless, there are difficulties here as well, because often some students are missing because they have not paid the school fees.
I like the life here in Kenya very much. My host family gave me a friendly welcome and I quickly settled in and made friends. The people are very open and I have had many interesting conversations here, especially about politics and faith. It is a bit more strenuous than at home, because here both the laundry and the dishes are completely washed by hand, but at the same time it is much more relaxed because the Kenyans do not let themselves be stressed. For example, if you have an appointment at 11 o’clock, it is still okay to come at 2 o’clock.
I think the mentality here is great. I also notice in myself that I’m more relaxed and don’t stress out if I’m ever late (by German standards). But my view on myself and my life in Germany has changed as well and I appreciate things like a washing machine or pork schnitzel more.
I’m looking forward to the upcoming months here and hope to inspire even more people for handball!