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This is so cliché but true. To all the high school students, never be afraid to stand up for yourself. Sometimes I was a bully and sometimes I was bullied and not just by strangers but friends. School is a place where you find who you are and I am by no means the same person I was in high school. My past experiences and life lessons have although moulded me into being Adam. There are so many things I wish I would have said even if that meant losing a friend because I would have been true to myself.

Figuring out the direction life would turn

Adam working in safeguarding department

If I were to go back to high school as the same person I am now, I would have been an even better person. Bearing in mind, success is not for the chosen few but for the few who have chosen it.

I came home after my final exam not knowing what the future held for me. I was ecstatic for I was now embarking a new phase of life that is adulthood. I mean who isn’t looking forward to growing up? All I wanted was to do something constructive that would keep me occupied. Should I start up a business? I did not have capital to do that. So I was still trying to figure out the direction life would turn, I learnt of the Graduate Assistant position at Kesho Kenya. So, I scribbled down my Curriculum Vitae and cover letter and threw in my application to try my luck.

Kesho Kenya: the sense of belonging

Eventually, I was selected after a very tough interview among finalists. This gave me confidence and hope for the future. Green in the employment field, I came into Kesho Kenya not knowing where to start or how my life here would turn out. All thanks to Bobby who was then the outgoing graduate assistant, he introduced me to other staff members who were very welcoming and I felt part of them. This gave me a sense of belonging to Kesho Kenya.

Shift from comfort zone to be bold

To get me started, I was attached with the Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Officer who assigned tasks to me. Oh! My, so where do I start? I kept asking myself. Fear of the unknown engulfed all over me and I kept wondering how I should proceed. Should I ask him how all this is done? What if his response isn’t pleasant? Things weren’t easy at first I say but I had to shift from my comfort zone, be bold and ask for clarification where instructions were not clear. The M&E officer, Joshua Mlolwa guided me well and helped me sharpen my computer skills which were by then not so satisfying.

Twice as brave whilst speaking in public

Adam at Eza Moyo primary school

Once in a while I would be expected to break office monotony and head to the field. This offered me an opportunity to connect with my fellow youths. An instance came up when I was required to talk about Kesho Kenya before the students of Bahari Girls Secondary School. Imagine standing before so many ladies when you are a young man. Can you imagine? I was so scared and didn’t even know what to say besides being flushed the whole time. The Officer I was with instilled confidence in me.  “A boy in the midst of girls has to be twice as brave.” She always said to me.  Eventually, I managed to surpass the stage fright and shared with them Kesho Kenya’s overview. From then on, I visited more schools and this made me bolder, built my confidence and improved my public speaking skills as well as my way of articulating issues in matters youths.

Sealing bonds during a teambuilding exercise

They say work without play makes Jack a dull boy. The same applies to Kesho Kenya.  At least once in a year, staff take time to unwind, seal bonds in relation to work and get to interact amongst themselves out the office. This year was no different. We went to Bahari Dhow Beach Villas in Diani. It was my first time on a team-building exercise. I was very curious to know what happens during such activities. The ambience of the place was so surreal and welcoming. We were warmly welcomed and checked into our rooms. Good thing there were no plans set for that day so I familiarized myself with the place and enjoyed swimming with my team members.

Breaking the gap between co-founder and me

Adam playing volleyball during team-building

The teamwork was excellent, the meals, sports and all the activities were perfect. Actually, it was an eye-opener on how team-building activities are conducted. I learnt crucial aspects of team building and the importance of having teamwork. I got the privilege to play an intellectual table game with the co-founder of Kesho Kenya. This actually made me break the gap between Mama Zena and I. I found out that she is such a friendly person and we had fun together. I learnt a lot of things from her such a being confident and pro-active.  I would advise everyone to interact freely with her.  I also had an interesting chat with Anthony. It was in an informal environment but he majorly advised me about campus life, opportunities out there, how to deal with obstacles among others. Anthony has brought fulfilment in my life.

Connecting with the community and making it a better place

I believe that once you have the momentum, making new friends is easier. I have made new friends who have built up my social relationship skills that would help me in future. Actually, Kesho Kenya has given me a chance to connect with my community and make it a better place, see the world from a different point of view and provided me with a sense of purpose. It may not be the best candidate to stretch your professional muscle but the perfect place to give a hand and help the community.

Understaffing and underfinancing has been a thorn in the flesh for me but I have the passion to help the community. Some of the facilities are few and very old. These facilities in most cases have huge challenges that impede me from executing my duties perfectly. However, these overlooked functions play a critical role in the provision of excellent service to clients and the community at large.

Why I volunteered at Kesho Kenya

Kesho Kenya office has lots of laptops for its beneficiaries, though old. Though the resource Centre is small, it has had a positive impact on our lives. I’m looking forward to seeing Kesho Kenya expanding its services to the youths nationwide. My decision to volunteer at Kesho Kenya is not solely a community service endeavour, but partly gains experience. I am hopeful that I have left an indelible positive mark whilst am a student.

What next?…

Adam and friends attending a youth training

We all had dreams and aspirations when we were young, about where we would like to see ourselves in life when we grow up. I have always wanted to be a pilot since my childhood. But this is not the case right now. I am going for Community Nursing because I admire the life where a person will always be connected to his community bearing in mind that the world cannot change on itself, it needs people with great goals and holding themselves accountable for it.