COP Ladies Work Camp, Siaya – The Work Camp was Totally Worth It
We all live under the same sky but we dont all have the same horizon. This is a phrase whose meaning I came to understand when I went for a work camp at Ugunja in Siaya with the Community Outreach Program team.
Ugunja town, the area commonly known as Ugenya, took us a whole days journey to reach. The girls from Ukwala Primary School were eagerly awaiting us, showering us with songs and dances upon our arrival. It was the best kind of reception I had received anywhere. Well, one could say it was the kind of reception only an African bride receives from her guests.
We visited a number of primary schools where the order of the day involved; icebreaking and creating a warm conducive environment during the first sessions. Followed by sessions of advice where we highlighted the importance of cultivating good study habits, time management, relationships, character, setting goals and careers.
The students asked us several questions, some of which were controversial and needed to be thought out and advised with a lot of wisdom. We also asked them the challenges they encountered in their day to day lives both within and without the school. The most common problems in all the schools we visited were inadequate resources such as desks and books, lack of enough food, a lot of housework, drug abuse and sexual harassment. We tried to address these problems as best as we could and even alerted the teachers in charge of the schools.
Some of the great lessons gained from my experience allowed me to learn that all of us have challenges and problems that come packaged differently depending on our circumstances. How we choose to deal with those challenges is what makes us who we are. We can never change where we come from but we can and must always choose where we are going. We need to have a drive to always overcome unpleasant circumstances that come our way. In their impoverishment and tormenting life of hardships, the children were hopeful that one day, their circumstances would change and that they would live a better life. Ours was just to fuel their hope with motivation and encouragement-something that I felt we did if the feedback that they gave is anything to go by. We have the pencil with which we can map our future. The work camp was totally worth it!
Artile by Student Anita Cavins Atieno