Years ago, my mother and father met in Nairobi, Kenya. Hearing their stories of their experiences there and how they met has naturally drawn me to the country since I was a little girl, but until this July 2016, along with Kingston Unversity – I have never had the opportunity to go.
I come from near Swansea. My home town just happens to be one of the wettest places to live in Europe. From drizzle to torrential, the inescapable rain irritates me every time I visit. Returning to Kingston after my Christmas holidays I complained and groaned this fact to my housemates. You’re probably thinking by now that I sound like a brat…you’re probably right.
I sounded so selfish. I have always taken pride in my generous and considerate personality, and I was always taught by my parents to be grateful for everything I had in life. And it wasn’t until the other day that I actually believed this to be true about myself. It wasn’t until I could hear myself complaining about such a ‘nuisance’ (rain) that I literally stopped mid-sentence: I was complaining about something that caused my hair to wet or my feet to dampen. The same thing that engulfs more than 70 per cent of our beautiful planet, yet only 0.37% is actually drinkable? The thing that people have prayed for, they have danced for. Died for. The thing that in all its simplicity, can determine our very existence in the universe as mankind.
Some say the biggest wake-up call is realisation. From recent experience, I beg to differ. Guilt. I feel ashamed, embarrassed and somewhat humiliated that this is how I have been selfishly thinking for the past 21 years.
There are too many people who sit back and exercise a lifestyle of “out of sight, out of mind”. I would know, until recently I might have been considered to one of them. Imagine what we could do as the human race, if we all took care of one another. If we made one man’s problems our own, and in doing so produce better, sustainable solutions today. Together. Think how idyllic our already so magnificent planet could be if we all, 7.39 billion of us, took a moment out of our own busy lives to reach out to our neighbours in need.
Well, I can’t do much to change those who sit tight with their eyes shut, minds closed and wait for an absolution, but I sure as hell can change a lot about me, and try to make a difference in this world. That is why I am going to Kenya.
While I spend four weeks living in accommodation provided by Agape, the company that I am going with through my student's union, I plan to help in a variety of ways. I will spend my time teaching children in schools, playing games with youngsters at an orphanage, helping out at the animal orphanage and support the families in refugee camps. At the weekends, I will even have the chance to visit a traditional Maasai markets, as well as go biking in hell's gate - to see some of the stunning natural wildlife.
For more information, please visit Agape's website by clicking the link below, for a full itinerary of the sort of things I will be getting up to!
“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.” – Charles Mackay