Volunteer Abroad - Kenya, Volunteer Abroad Programs

Will Doris Become a Doctor? I Will Never Know…The Sadness in Leaving Kenya

by Kalie McQuillen, Greenheart Travel Volunteer Abroad Participant in Kenya

Tonight is my last night at Tania. When this started, I couldn’t even picture this day in my head. Now it is here, right in front of me. I can’t believe how fast the time has gone. It was just like everyone said, the beginning will drag on, then the time will fly by. My bags are packed on the spare bed. My backpack for the coast is waiting to be filled completely. The shelves are bare and everything is stowed away.

I leave Tania at 2:00 tomorrow to get into Nairobi by 4:00. Then I take the train to Mombasa at 7:00 PM and arrive around 11:00 AM the Thursday (the time varies depending on how many animals are on the track to cause delays). From there I will head to Diani Beach to spend the next two nights. On Saturday I will fly from Mombasa to Nairobi. Then Sunday I make my way back to home sweet home. I have a 15 hour layover in London, but I have a hotel booked so at least I’ll have a place to sleep. I will be back into Colorado around 4:00 P.M. on Monday the 26th. That is, assuming I can make it through American customs in an hour to catch my connecting flight in Houston. 🙂 Fingers crossed everyone!

Photo courtesy of africaclimbing.com

The past week has been great. I spent last weekend hiking with Breanne, the volunteer from Canada. We left Saturday morning to head to Naivasha. From there we took a mutatu to Longonot. We had to take a motorcycle into Longonot National Park. That was a site, three people piled on a bike that was barely making it though the sand. We hiked to the top with a guide. I think she said it was something like 4,000 meters high, but I’m not positive. The view was astounding. The mountain is an inactive volcano. Inside the crater is totally green and the guide said all kinds of animals live there. I could have gone down, but I was afraid I wouldn’t come back out! We walked around the crater for a while then made the trek downhill, which was killer on my knees. We both got sunburns even though we were wearing SPF 35. I have never been so dirty in all my life. The dirt was everywhere, but the view from the top made it totally worth it.

Sunday I went to the Maasai market and was harassed constantly, that is what happened when two white girls go there. Every single second someone was shouting “Hey Sista, Over here Sista!” It can be totally exhausting. You have to barter with these people like crazy. Because of my pale skin I am automatically overcharged. But, going there is an adventure I wouldn’t have missed.

So here the end comes in. I still have several days in Africa, but I feel like the real journey here has ended. It breaks my heart to think that I won’t find out what kind of people these children will become. Will they reach their dreams? Will Grace learn to read? Will Doris become a doctor? I will never know. I will, of course, assume the best. I wish I knew if I have left an impression on these kids. I hope they will remember me, because I know I will never forget them.

I knew coming here I would miss the children when I left, I hadn’t realized though how much I would miss the other people. I have spent everyday with Laura and after tomorrow it could be years before we speak face to face again. I don’t really even know what Sabina’s job title is, but it should be something like “Welcome Committee.” Every night we sit for dinner and joke with Grace the house keeper. If she has done exceptionally well, which is daily, she is Amazing Grace.  Benson, Jackie, Fabian, Michelle, Eric, all people who have made the stay here wonderful, and I have to say goodbye.

The only thing I can do is take what I have learned from each and every person here and apply to my life back home. As much as I am sad to leave, I’m happy to get back. I’m ready to start the next stage of my life. I’ll always have a story or two to tell about my adventures here. I hope to tell you all about my trip to the coast, so hopefully I’ll be able to track down a computer. Otherwise, thank you for all the support during the past 6 weeks. I can’t wait to show everyone pictures and share the stories.


About Greenheart Travel

CCI Greenheart Travel is personally invested in providing cultural immersion programs that change lives, advance careers and create leaders. We achieve this by partnering with organizations and governments overseas that empower their local communities through experiential learning and practical development. We provide others with the same positive travel experiences in which we ourselves engage. Through travel and cultural exchange, we help individuals reach their full potential, leading to a more tolerant, peaceful and environmentally sustainable world.


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