Submitted by Community on Tue, 2012-10-02 11:44
- STORIES FROM MAAI MAHIU, KENYA -
We don’t know whether or not to say “It’s October already?!” or “Finally, it’s October!” after our busiest year yet. From April to October, we’ve had seven volunteer teams and, including individual volunteers, have hosted over 80 people ranging in age from under 17 to over 70. Volunteers have worked on far-ranging construction projects such as schools in the Maasai community, goat houses and Café Ubuntu, our brand new café coming soon. They’ve treated hundreds of patients, planted hundreds of trees and even climbed a mountain or two. Well, one physical mountain - Mt Longonot– the rest were metaphorical. They even participated in our less-than-glamorous waste management program. Yes, people paid money to pick up rotting trash, among other things.
For the first time since 2004 we hosted a team that stayed for an entire month. This was a first for many of the staff at CTC. Three of the teams joined us through the Whole Foods Market and Whole Planet Foundation, the last of which spent the entire month of September with us. This was also our largest team of the summer with 15 people. 15! That is 15 different personalities from 14 different U.S cities, all volunteering with us in Maai Mahiu for 30 days. That’s a lot of potential days for something to go terribly wrong. We could have left someone at the airport, van tires could have burst during the many kilometers the team traveled up and down the country, and who knows – someone could have caught on fire. I’d be lying if I said that everything went according to plan. But when things didn’t, we could count on the team members taking it all in their stride. Their easy-going natures and up-for-anything attitudes made them a joy to work with.
This last team has been such a sterling example of what drives us to do what we do. As hard as it is sometimes, we’re still conscious of the fact that it is not every day and not every job where one has the opportunity to work with a community to make a difference. Sometimes this involves sitting at a desk for a long number of hours, or following up with missing equipment or picking up disgusting garbage. So when you get to watch 15 people fall in love with your small community over a month, it gives the work that you do that much more depth. Because you truly realize that it’s not just a small community that’s being transformed but a community that extends across oceans and beyond borders. I imagine that our team members don’t mean it lightly when they call this a life-changing experience, when they say it has been the most valuable experience in their lives so far, that it will be carried in their heart for the rest of their days. What an honor it has been to share this moment with them, and to expand our CTC family once again.
Teesa Bahana, CTC Kenya Executive Assistant