The tiny, gated community of Brakenhurst was the most picturesque little corner of the world I’d ever visited. Small huts and cottages were dotted around a steady green hillside, each separated from the one next door by rows of perfectly trimmed hedges and beautiful flower beds. A thick woodland lined the driveway to the village and beyond that, lush green fields in every direction.
The driver dropped me off at a large white cottage, near the back of the settlement and I was introduced to a shy but friendly young woman, who would be the coordinator for the volunteers staying here at the cottage.
I was introduced to several other volunteers, but they all seemed to already know each other and be working on different projects to mine. My colleagues for the coming week were all yet to arrive.
I discovered from these brief introductions that the organisation who had placed me here, African Impact, had a number of projects in the area, ranging from health care in the local hospital and community to youth and play work projects based in numerous other locations in nearby towns – mine, teaching at the Limuru Children’s Centre, a cross between a school and an orphanage. Most of the other volunteers already here were trainee doctors, nurses and surgeons on placement… I was a little out of place in this crowd, and certainly under-qualified!
After brief introductions and a good feed, I was delivered to my quarters, where I found 6 empty bunks. My choice? The window, naturally – That view is MINE!
I mean, look at it!
I had no precise expectations about the project or about my accommodation during my time volunteering, but I know that this… This was a very pleasant surprise.
Assumptions and expectations should always be left at home when travelling.
I wondered what my fellow teachers would be like, and whether they would like me. As with most social situations, I gave no thought at all to whether I would like them.
Jumped in at a weird place? Try Part 1 First!
Ready to read on? Head on to Part 9!