CHANGE YOUR LIFE, CHANGE YOUR MIND
The beauty and the problems of Africa
Despite global and national recognition of children’s rights, Africa is still dealing with many problems such as poverty, lack of drinkable water, and brutal violence against children, old people, and women. I was 19 years old when I went to Kenya for the first time, with the association “Un ospedale per Tharaka”.
Kenya is an astonishing country with spectacular landscapes, white sandy beaches, amazing mountains, and huge national parks hosting thousands of animals. Most importantly, a place inhabited by kind and curious people, belonging to more than 50 tribes, speaking many different languages, and having various religions and traditions.
I did my best
As I was there, I did my best in order to “be in the game” as much as I could (even if I am definitely not a doctor). On my second day, I met Rita. She is an Italian woman who adopted around 40 African kids and started living over there with them. She introduced me to an Italian man called Omar, who left Italy when he was young and started a new life in Matiri. Omar and I started working together every morning to build new houses for the children. I still remember how hard and tiring it was, because of the high temperature and the heavy bricks to lift. The funniest part was staying with Rita’s kids during the afternoons, helping them do their homework, or playing together with different games such as football or hide-and-seek. Having all these activities to do made me think about how our lifestyle is different and reminded me I had always known I wanted to do experiences like those ones. Once, because of the warm weather and the lack of rainfalls, we couldn’t use any more water for approximately 4 days. Also, even if we still had provisions remained from the first grocery shopping, we had to be really careful not to waste them. Living without running water and constant electricity makes you understand that things like good healthcare, hot water showers, and electricity twenty-four-seven are not normal things for everybody.
The most powerful tool of knowledge
That experience influenced me in so many ways. I really hope I will be able to keep in touch with Omar, Rita, and the kids I met. Many people want to go to developing countries because they desire to make the world a better place or at least try to make a change. But I believe it is not like that and also the residents might think their help is actually a selfish and useless thing. I started to understand this when I spent one school year in Ireland and thanks to all the experiences I have made, such as the one in Africa, and all the people I have met so far. What I think is that the most important thing you can change is yourself. If one becomes aware of that, they understand that a journey, either through rich or poor countries, is the most powerful tool of knowledge that can change yourself and your life’s routine forever.