Lizzie Brichard was a recent Kithoka Amani Children’s Home volunteer. Read her story and the incredible memories she’s made here.
“WOW I cannot believe it has been a year since my trip. I am listening to my ‘Kenya’ playlist and referring to my journal as I sit and write this extract, wondering how on earth I will be able to sum up my experience in a few words! I flew out to Kenya in July 2019 to stay at Kithoka Amani Children’s Home in Meru. I was extremely nervous and very excited. I have never travelled solo before, let alone lived for 7 weeks in a different country on my own! My trip was incredible, and has definitely changed my life forever (something I never dreamed possible). I made so many friends who I still talk to regularly and I feel so blessed to have met Dr. Karambu Ringera, listened to her stories, admired her work and experienced the Kenyan culture first hand. I have a lot of dreams to achieve in life, and Dr. K was one of the very few people who has inspired me to believe that these ARE possible.
Some of the projects I worked on whilst there included making curtains, building an outdoor gym bench and weights, construction (hammering a metal roof on!), cooking, teaching keyboard, teaching sewing, fishing, shopping for food, making furniture from bamboo and most importantly to me, teaching dance. I am a professional dancer in the UK and I was honoured to be given the task of choreographing two dance pieces and preparing the kids and adults to perform these routines at the 10th year anniversary of KACH. This was a great challenge, extremely different to teaching in the UK, but one of the most rewarding memories that will live with me forever.
My day started every morning at 6am by going for a run and working out with some of the guys who I was living with. Their determination, passion and commitment was sensational and if I woke up one minute past 6am I would have let them down! This was followed by lots of productive activities, and my day usually ended at about 1am after sitting and talking about anything and everything for hours whilst fishing under the moonlight, playing pool or dancing around a fire. 5 hours sleep later and I was ready to repeat it all again! Each day I learned something new about myself and each day I was able to contribute my skills and teach something to the children.
I would go back to this wonderful place in a heartbeat, and have promised Dr.K and others that one day I will build my own house in Meru and live there for a period! I still stand by this as 7 weeks is simply not enough time to wholly absorb this loving, selfless, inspiring culture. I have started, and will continue to always support this charity, my family. My only advice to anyone reading this is:
GO!!!…. Go and create your own story. BE THANKFUL, GENTLE AND FEARLESS