Being able to make a difference in this unfamiliar environment got me extremely excited as I headed for Africa from Moscow Domodedovo Airport. After twelve hours, I arrived in the land of the colorful moveable dance floors called the ‘Matatus’. “That explains the Kenyans’ dancing talent,” I thought to myself.
Thanks to the Haller Foundation, I have been able to get the feel of the whole local culture of Mombasa. The sanctuary with its exotic animals and vegetation, the farms, the hospital, the library and the IT class, all these places were a learning experience for me as a ‘Mzungu’ in one way or the other. Being a historian I thought that most of my time I would spend in the library entertaining children by telling them various fairy tales. Surprisingly, these little scholars were so concentrated on their homework and competing in the highest number of read stories that apart from collecting their bags at the entrance and arranging the thrown aside after scrutinizing books I had no work to do in the library.
During the holidays, many schools came to the animals’ sanctuary. When seeing the children’s ecstatic faces when they saw the ostrich, the giraffes and other animals made me realize that African children don’t actually have beasts for pets! I don’t even know who were more excited at that moment the children or me for whom it was also the first experience to see these beautiful creatures. Witnessing a wedding where the couple had their photo shoot in front of the animals is an experience that I can never ever forget!
On Fridays, it was the time when we went to the outreach to vaccinate, observe and give medicine to the babies and their mums. It was such a pleasure for me. Each time I had to weigh the babies or be around them, the look in their eyes filled with astonishment gave me great joy.
What I saw in Kenya proves that there is more to life than money! The Haller Foundation are a striking example! I can’t begin to explain how much I have benefitted from this life-changing volunteering experience! Where else would I have tried out being an IT consultant, librarian, environmental teacher in the sanctuary, gardener, and medical assistant all in one place, in the country where humanity begun!”