Habari yako (How are you?) from team Kenya! We are all great by the way, Asante sana! (thanks very much!)

We’ve been packing so much in on our last project in Nakuru, what an awesome 3 weeks to finish the tour. The week before our Nakuru project we took a much needed week off with some taking a Safari, we saw so many beautiful animals including some beautiful lionesses. On our week off Hector and Fer went to Uganda to see the amazing gorillas that live in the forests.

Whilst others in the team visited places like Karen in the Ngong hills and Lake Naivasha, Elena in our team had the opportunity to stay with one of the wonderful acrobats Anne who we met at the Sarakasi dome in Nairobi. After feeling refreshed and reinvigorated to start our next project we traveled to the dusty city of Nakuru only 2 hours north of Nairobi.

Once we arrived in Nakuru we settled into our flat in the Viwanda district of Nakuru, and anticipated starting our next project

The team has been teaching with our partner organisation Gabriel Learning Centre in the area of Kaptembwa, its been an exiting couple of weeks sharing all of our knowledge with the children here. I can say this is one of our favourite projects in Kenya as we get to teach all the physical education classes here at the school which, with over 250 students, was a challenge!

The school and teachers have been so supportive by translating and jumping around with us in our crazy classes. We’ve included lots of acro, clowning, and throwing, spinning and twirling all of our kit here! We’ve been so amazed at the dedication from the children at the school, all of which come from difficult life circumstances, with some experiencing challenges in getting basic human needs including safe housing, adequate nutrition and access to healthcare. We are so happy to be the face of PWB to bring the joy of play though learning circus and performing arts. We have really felt welcomed and valued here and we can see the difference in which running around, catching juggling rings, playing a tiger and sharing a hula hoop trick can bring encouragement, confidence, team building and creative play.

We’ve packed in so many workshops at Gabriel Learning Centre but we’ve also been able to perform our show, a fire show and a show for another centre called Mission in Action and a school called Mwigito Primary School here in Nakuru.

But as it’s our last week we’ve done lots of reflecting on our tour, so I thought it would be a good time to share our thoughts on our journey. Here’s a bit about our before, during and after journeys to share with with you!

I asked each member of the team to answer 4 questions and they came up with some interesting answers.

The Experience through the eyes of Abi;

“Before this tour… I was nervous about continuing the legacy of PWB in Kenya, as the coordinator of my 4th tour here I felt I had to prepare so much, 5 years after my first visit to some of these projects it’s a daunting task to be leading a group into a 3 month project. Booking my flights always gives me the most butterflies as it means that the trip is real. I find packing now so easy as its my 6th tour there isn’t much that I can’t be prepared for.

When I arrived….I remembered how much I love the smells of Africa, its hard to describe but for me its like hot earth. Its so nice to land in a place you know seeing the smiling faces and one of the first things I did was eat one of their amazing bananas.

My favourite memory of the tour…..ohhh thats a hard one, it would be definitely walking into the Sarakasi dome again, even after such a long time it feels like another home to me. Oh and definitely all of the running jokes we had; ‘what’s for lunch? oh beans and chapati again! What a surprise!’ and definitely ‘Is this the hottest day of the tour so far?’ All of these had me in stitches even when times were tough.

Now….I am so proud of the tour, we’ve reached thousands of people and all have memories for life, I’m so glad I took the opportunity to go on a tour (thanks Andy G!) Its defiantly double as well because not only do these teams get to experience Kenya but some of Kenya gets to experience PWB.

 

Through the eyes of Elena:

I was very nervous about teaching children and working with people that are in difficult and vulnerable situations. Nervous, but very excited going to another continent and to a completely different country that I don’t know at all. When I arrived I felt overwhelmed by all the new impressions. I couldn’t stop looking outside the taxi window on the journey. I felt like such a stranger.

On tour I had an unforgettable moment of see the reaction of an elderly man to the little puppet I created with my contact poi in the show we performed in Mlango Kubwa. It was so moving to see how engaged he became with this tiny, smiling creature. I still enjoy looking at everything. The streets, the little shops, the matatus, tuktuks, and boda bodas.

I feel at home now and I will leave this country with beautiful memories of teaching awesome children and meeting lovely people and all the wonderful experiences.

 

Through the eyes of James:

Leading up to the PWB journey I was incredibly excited and anxious to travel across the globe to work and perform with children in a different country raised with no knowledge of my type of life.

As soon as I arrived, the airplane was sprayed all over the interior with disinfectant bug spray to illuminate any contaminants that may be brought in or be carried out. The sweat began dripping down my face and all the people around me began to gloss over from the heat. All I could think was, “yep, this is Africa”.

The amount of memorable moments during the tour over flow my mind. I wish I could think of just one specific, but the tour in its entirety was phenomenal. The fire show that we collaborated in for Gabriel Learning Centre was what stood out the most though, made us all feel truly alive.

I am very excited to go back home but also extremely sad I have to leave. I have learned an exceptional amount about myself in the process of being here.

 

Through the eyes of Fer:

When I found out that I was going to be a part of the PWB Kenya tour I was very excited. This would be my second time coming to beautiful Africa.

Arriving after an extremely long journey of flights I was beyond tired but still so happy to be starting a new adventure with a new group of people. There were so many unexpected stories ahead. Couldn’t wait. What really made the journey incredible was starting it off with an amazing performance in Diani beach, and being able to see the reactions and the smiles from all the children was amazing.

Throughout the tour we also witnessed an endless amount of “a-ha” moments from the kids that let us know that they had accomplished something spectacular. It makes me so happy that we got to experience all of this, and to have been able to teach and perform for so many children. I am sad that it eventually comes to an end.

 

Through the eyes of Hector:

Prior to traveling to Africa I was deeply stuck in a lousy streak, my nerves and expectations about the tour were all over the place. I was unsure if it was really what I wanted but soon found out it was what I needed. The trip here was hectic but the excitement of going to Kenya helped me push through. I consistently thought to myself, “what have I gotten myself into?”.

When I close my eyes all I think of are the smiles of all the children that I affected while here in Africa.

Now that I have done this trip, I know some Swahili, learned to spin a plate, grew closer to my beloved, met some of the most interesting people ever, and learned a lot about myself in the process.

 

Through the eyes of Benjamin:

For the past few years I began to realize how over active my brain was becoming. I had a wandering purpose, I needed a new place to spread my wings, I was becoming short tempered, and I know that I could change all this by making a piece of the world smile.

Landing in Kenya gave me a deep breath for a new beginning. The opportunity to create something and be something new. It was a chance to funnel all my past knowledge and share it with a world that otherwise would never see the light that I witness every single day. I was able to become the change that they may need to have a more productive life. Kenya brought a lot of new experiences from the incredible safari we all went on as a team, I visited Naivasha and saw a new part of the country but this all happened on our time off. It was all just icing on the cake. During tour we saw something magical everyday.

For me the first days of Sarakasi, Mlango kubwa, and Kibera made a mark in my heart forever. Everytime I felt like I actually made a connection and was fully appreciated. I will get to walk away with the thousands of smiles I traded for over 20 years of collected knowledge. I view the world in a different sense and will never forget the children and adults who hopefully will never forget me. Jua inawaka.

Written by Benjamin Kirsch & Abi Cooper, March 2019

 

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