Impacting lives brick by brick
On Monday, 4th of July we set out on a long awaited journey to Laikipia County for a work camp organized by Habitat for Humanity in collaboration with Strathmore University Community Service Centre. The one-week program would see over 20 volunteers from across several institutions including; Eastlands College, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology and Strathmore University build a house for Elizabeth Angela, an orphan and mother of two.
On the first day, we departed from Nairobi to Nanyuki where we visited the Habitat for Humanity regional office for an orientation and then proceeded to Mukima Secondary School, where we were accommodated during our entire stay. That evening, we had the privilege of sharing a sumptuous meal with Kelvin Koome, who hosted us at their residence. For the next three days, we engaged in high intensity construction work at the site, from laying of the concrete ground slab to setting up the walls upto the roof level.
Unity and Diversity
The volunteers consisted of a diverse team of students and young professionals from various fields of studies including; civil engineering, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, agriculture, pharmacy, education and actuarial science. Throughout the building process, we managed to form a formidable team which cooperated with ease to engage in this noble task. Everyone knew what was expected of them from the beginning and we all selflessly poured our hearts to the work. From transportation of sand, ballast, bricks, water and mortar, to setting up the slab and walls, the cooperation and self-drive of each individual was admirable. We got to learn a thing or two in the process as well.
This program was a pioneer program from different angles. It was the first Habitat for Humanity project that saw the organization use volunteers from Kenya since the majority of their past volunteers have been coming from abroad. It was also the first time for Habitat for Humanity to coordinate with Strathmore University on a project of any sort. As for the volunteers, this was the first time that many of us participated in a work camp of this nature. For some of us, it was the first time on a construction site. As expected, we were psyched up for the task that was ahead of us.
Fun and Games
As expected, it was never going to be all work with no play. From the first day, we managed to crack each other up with world class jokes and tease each other just to make sure that the mood was always jovial. Even after a busy day at the site, we always ensured that we had reserved some energy for soccer matches in the evening before taking a cold shower. A fierce rivalry ensued within the teams, and this would act as a fuel for teasing and endless debates on which side is better than the other. After dinner, we would have a small get together to get to know each other better. We would also play some board games such as Jenga and Kenya@50.
The project may have run for only a week, but its impact was instantaneously visible. The feedback and compliments we got from the villagers was really encouraging. One could clearly see that they truly appreciated our enthusiasm. Elizabeth, the beneficiary, was at the site throughout the build and she could not contain her smile as she watched us work. Our hearts were not left untouched by this experience. Our hearts melted with every sweat we dropped, we got tired but enjoyed every bit of it. As we returned to Nairobi, we returned with bigger hearts, happy to have impacted the life of a person who was in need. We also created solid friendships and got to see how much joy can be cultivated when youthful minds, spirit and energy get united for a noble cause. We are inspired to be the salt of our world.
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