JESSE! What on earth were you doing in Africa?
Well… to answer that question, I really wanted to go somewhere “exotic” while experiencing a different side of life. Many of us had never thought of the possibility of living without running water, electricity, access to a computer, and many “basic” necessities we rely on each day.
We hear about all the poverty in developing nations, but can’t really think too much of it because we have never experienced it first-hand. Stories will always be different from experience. So I set out on a personal journey to learn that story for myself.
I have grown up in Canada all my life and don’t know any better than the life I live. So this was an extremely valuable learning experience for me. One I will never forget. Travel truly does open your eyes to unimaginable possibilities.
Normally when I travel, I would arrive at a destination and do all the “touristy” things then leave. I wouldn’t stay long enough to truly understand the culture and interact with the locals.
So this time, I wanted it to be different and stay for an extended period of time. As a result, I decided to volunteer at a local school in Kenya. The best way I could truly immerse myself in the culture was to live with a host family. So I signed myself up and everything was organized by a volunteer organization called IVHQ. They offer volunteer placements to almost everywhere in the world and sets everything up for you. (Please feel free to contact me directly if you have any questions)
So I booked my plane ticket, paid my registration fees, and I had never been more nervous.
I was going to leave the country by myself for the first time. It was lots of mixed emotions at first. Then after month of waiting, the day eventually came. I said goodbye to my family as I left into a world of uncertainty. I had no idea what was going to happen, but I knew I would come out of this with some new found knowledge and hopefully a new perspective on “life”.
I was arranged to stay with a Maasai family, one of the oldest yet cultured ethnic groups in Eastern Africa. They have preserved some unique traditions that I would have never thought to exist today.
Maasai people are known for wearing lots of beaded jewelry and many have a stretched earlobe piercing. On the right is a picture of myself and a worker at the home I stayed at.