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Janika has been active since the beginning of the organisation, coordinating, including guiding the other volunteers, for several months a year since 2009.

Janika gathering information

  1. Age
    25 years
  2. Profession
    physical therapist, also worked as a project manager, orienteering coach and shop assistant…and many other small jobs:)
  3. How long time you volunteered in Shianda?
    June and July in 2009 and September-February 2010-2011
  4. Why did you decide to go to Kenya?
    First time: I had always wanted to live in a different culture and Africa seemed interesting and different enough. Second time: I missed my friends in Kenya and Kenya itself and I really wanted to proceed with the projects in WEFOCO.
  5. Why did you decide to volunteer with WEFOCO?
    After meeting Esther, seeing her village, families and people and her huge motivation, there was no question about it anymore.
  6. What do you think about the work that is being done by WEFOCO?
    During one year, there has been created quite an amazing system to cover quite large areas and to reach to many people. The women of the women groups do great work, some of the chair-ladies have dedicated all their days to the volunteer work in their areas.
  7. What were your tasks?
    In the year 2009 we were mainly trying to start the organisation and to figure out the best way and people to do our work. We organised some seminars, visited families, carried out HIV-testing and took some very sick children to the hospital. In the years 2010-2011, I am mainly visiting families to collect data and organising the support for the children’s education, as well as seminars and HIV-testing. I am planning to organise courses for the women in the near future.
  8. What did you like most about volunteering?
    I like to see progress and I like if I see that I can really help somebody who needs it.
  9. What was suprising?
    For me, it was suprising that there are people in Kenya, who are ready to volunteer full time and who really have always time, if I call them and offer some task.
  10. What would you have liked to know before coming?
    I would have liked to know little bit more about how much are people actually ready to cheat you if the feel that they could get some profit from that. But I have learnt and now I am able to deal with those issues.
  11. What are the difficulties that the volunteers should prepare themselves for?
    Difficulties. If there is one thing that I know about, then it is difficulties.

    • people screaming after you constantly, especially children, as well as telling something very funny in their own language about you when you are passing them and just laughing
    • refusing from several requests for the help every day – random people approaching you and telling about their problems in hope to get assistance
    • quiet accusations by the villagers – if you help one, there’s always 100 households who you did not help
    • trying to get the truth out of some people
    • cultural differences – locals being late to everywhere about 2 hours, explaining something for long time and discovering that others understood it in a very different way
    • getting demotivated after all this for a certain short period
  12. Tell about your favorite experience from Kenya.
    Visiting very different people and places – there are amazing contrasts in Kenyan nature, in people’s life styles and traditions.
  13. Do you miss something?
    From Kenya? This is definitely longer list than the ones with difficulties. So, I miss:

    • Communication is simple (until there doesn’t need anything to be organised and no business is included).
    • People are simple.
    • Life is simple.
    • Mornings are the time to start… I do not need an alarm. I wake around seven and want to do things. Never happened in Europe.
    • Motorbike taxies.
    • Eating simple and cheap food in a local caffe.
    • Great persons.
    • There is time.
    • Real communication.
    • Streets.
    • Villages.
    • Mandazi.
    • Parafin lamp and mud hut.
    • The nature.
    • Desert and “desert tribes”.
    • Matatus and the simplicity of travelling.
    • Volunteer work.
    • Sunrise.
    • Warm days.
    • And actually…after certain amount of time, I start missing ugali.
    • Swahili language and the variety of other local languages around me.
  14. Any other comments:)
    Come to Kenya! It’s actually not so big deal, as it may seem. And all those who have came, want to come back.

Read more about Janika (in Estonian)