Systems engineer – Michael Kwadwo Kwarteng

Choosing a place to volunteer was a difficult moment… more challenging than I ever realized, of course I applied to many organisations via Aiesec, but I was also confused thinking what if this calls me, or no what if that calls me. I must be frank, I didn’t want to travel to anywhere in Africa to Volunteer but it happened lol… it was tricky deciding what type of volunteering I wanted to do; because  I had my first degree in Computer Science and I wanted to Volunteer either as a computer scientist or any teaching field relating to English language, Mathematics, Science or Computer. And I was also considering one with the minimal cost involved and higher future benefits.

So I had plans to travel ABROAD (Russia, Ufa),  I sent them my details, was waiting for my invitation letter but it was taking days and weeks and I couldn’t wait any longer, by then “Be a change agent in Muyog” (Kenya, East Africa)  was hanging waiting for my approval, so I said, okay! If Ufa is delaying, lemme try Kenya because after all madness starts from home… lol so if I can be a change Agent in East Africa, I could be in any part of the world in future.

So I had my Passport, went for the yellow card vaccination, got my yellow card, spent days to buy my flight ticket because I was searching to get a cheaper ticket then I finally got one from Rwanda air lines, It was a roundtrip ticket from 31/07/2019 to 30/09/2019 around $620 if I remember very well.

So I flew to Kenya via Kigali on 31/07/2019 and it was awesome. It was my first experience flying and I really enjoyed flying with Rwanda airlines… aside it being cheaper, they really served nicely during our flight.

On 1st August, 2019 I was in Jomo Kenyatta Airport and was picked up by Samuel (Aiesec representative) although I paid for the Uber which I didn’t know I was going to, I enjoyed the trip to my apartment which was located @ Githurai 45 car wash along the Thika Road Highway. The apartment with

2sqr meal and internet cost me $300. The apartment was booked from Airbnb so it was fully furnished. I resided there for 6 weeks with my flatmates Klara from Germany and Nour from Egypt.

I really enjoyed staying with these girls even though  we had our differences and different values systems. In fact time won’t permit me to share our daily routine and experience together.

Bring on all the challenges and experiences that this Volunteer brought.

Day 1 at Muyog: 06/08/2019

I was feeling a whirlwind of emotions … excitement about my future, nervous about what to expect and anticipation for what may be and who I meet. It’s not what you know but who you know right? I woke up to the sound of my alarm and began to get ready for what felt like the first day in the new environment although I have had this feeling before when I started work in Ghana and during my 12 months National Service as a teaching assistant for GIMPA UNIVERSITY School of TECHNOLOGY. But Kenya is a new environment so you should understand… lol so Samuel picked me from my apartment to join a Matatu (bus in Kenya)… continuous bumper to bumper, via The Mountain Mall, cars on cars, then finally to Marurui where Muyog cyber is located.

To start my day, I met Sospeter the super mind behind the Muyog be a change Agent movement, he was super friendly and welcoming. He briefed me on the day to day activities of Muyog, what they look forward to and what they expect from Volunteers or Interns. There was not match people to meet although I expected a great number of employees or a bigger picture of the organisation, it was still a cool environment to work with. I met, Charles who gave me a Kenyan name (Kamar), Simon, Zaboron, Jackie just to mention but a few. They were all super friendly and hospitable.

I was asked my strengths and weaknesses, challenging moments and others. At the end of the day I was tasked to assist Joram to teach some software packages (Ms Office) and Brian to develop a website. It was a nice experience. I was also tasked to organize a football tournament which wasn’t effective although successful because we had challenges in getting a football pitch.

It was lunch time already, Charles took Klara and I to a hotel ( their restaurant… lol), I took some cooked green grams (Ndegu) with Chapati and it was nice tasting a Kenyan meal for the first time. I actually crush on the hotel manager’s daughter… lol after lunch and to conclude my first day, we went back to Muyog, continued the discussion on the way forward and it was awesome, they had great ideas, they honestly gave me an insight into how this life would be like for me and it looks great. Hopefully, I can impress someone here. My fingers and toes are crossed.

The routine continued day after day, visiting nice places in Nairobi, enjoying their local meals, visit kamakis, carnivore, etc and it was amazing, weeks had gone by and My experience was over…. Lol 8 weeks of fun, new friends, new skills and challenges had finally come to an end. I had completed my first volunteer. I was able to extend my Visa to 1st December, 2019 but I couldn’t change my flight and get a job so I had to go back home, I would have loved to stay and work. As I walked out the Muyog doors I felt a range of emotions, I was happy that I challenged myself and confronted myself to go outside my comfort zone in a world I was not familiar with, but I was sad to be leaving the place that had become my workplace for the last 8 weeks and my employees that had become friends. There have been tears, anxiousness, happiness and excitement on this journey but I wouldn’t have changed a thing. The connections I’ve made, the advice I’ve been given, and the skills I’ve learnt will never leave me and will definitely shape my future career. I can’t wait to make my mark in the big wide world and I know this experience has helped me to achieve this. A special thanks to Sospeter, Joram and Brian. Not forgetting Charles, Jackie and Victoria for the birthday gifts they got me, I appreciate everything.