Here’s How a Trip to Kenya Changed My Life

“If I have ever seen magic, it has been in Africa.” – John Hemingway.

These words are so true!

It’s been five years since I came back from Kenya, but there are moments when I still miss it deeply! Africa holds a special allure, with its mysteries waiting to be discovered. I think it’s a dream destination for every traveler, a place to explore at least once in a lifetime!

Honestly, when we think of Kenya, the first thing that comes to mind is probably elephants, giraffes, zebras, and lions! It’s no surprise – that’s the image we’ve seen since we were kids, and it sticks with us. But when I visited this stunning East African country, I was amazed by its beauty. I was surprised to find out that Kenya has so much more to offer beyond just its wildlife and wilderness!

Unlike others, who usually have game drives at the top of their Kenya bucket list, I visited the country for a completely different reason. Fortunately enough, I got the opportunity to volunteer for a childcare project and got to spend a month exploring the country, apart from serving the tiny tots at the Makimei Children’s Home.

Here are some of the beautiful lessons that I learned while I was there and to be honest, my trip to Kenya completely changed my way of looking at life.

The journey taught me to appreciate the simple things in life.

Being born in an urban middle-class family, life for me has been quite smooth & I’m extremely grateful for that. But when I traveled to Kenya, I realized that things there are very different. Not better, not worse, just different. I was living on the outskirts of Nairobi, in a small town called Kikuyu where I was volunteering with a bunch of other enthusiasts from different parts of the world. All of us, together, were trying to help at this Childcare Center which was providing shelter to 70 little ones, with just 4 people to take care of them.

Living in a remote place, working selflessly for the happiness of those kids, and taking breaks over the weekends to explore the rugged nature & pure wilderness of Kenya made me realize that there are certain things that we need to experience to understand them. It taught me the fact that we don’t need much to live a good life – and that happiness lies within us. Being surrounded by like-minded, genuine people and doing valuable work felt more satisfying than money could ever fetch me.


Volunteering in Kenya 2019

I learned that compassion can connect cultures & language barriers is just a myth!

While traveling to a faraway country, we’re always bothered by the thoughts of culture shock & ‘How will I communicate?’, ‘Will people speak/understand English there?’ etc. However, during my month-long journey in Kenya, I learned that the free flow of compassion can surpass any cultural differences and the fact that the language barrier is just a myth because we can always communicate through emotions. While we were working at the childcare center, the kids would come running to hug us and keep blabbering in Swahili (the local language) while we’d continue talking in English/ Spanish with them. But that, in no way, hindered the moments of love.

I still remember that day in Amboseli, where I was staying at a camp with a gorgeous backdrop of Mt. Kilimanjaro, and this Maasai lady who used to come and work there, smiled at me every morning. One day, I walked up to her to say that she looked beautiful. She said something in her language, and my guide told me that she was saying I look beautiful too. We laughed thereafter, and I had tears rolling down my cheeks. It was one of the warmest moments that etched a mark on my heart & soul.


I learned that while we crib about little things in life, there are bigger problems that people are dealing with, on a day-to-day basis.

For most of us, being born in a privileged society and getting to enjoy the basics of life seems normal. We often tend to take things for granted, for we feel that these things are meant for us and we can use them the way we want to. Doing this, we often end up wasting a lot of resources, not being mindful enough & of course, not even thinking for once that someone, somewhere, probably doesn’t have it. I was no different either until I traveled to Kenya and came closer to real problems like scarcity of water & food grains, lack of medical help, and so on.

There have been days when we saw heaps of clothes to be washed, utensils to be cleaned and there wasn’t a single drop of water. A man used to fetch 10 liters of water from a nearby village, on his donkey and we had to wait until he came. Often, there would be nothing but just potatoes for the kids to eat and my heart broke to see how happy they were to find food. We raised funds to buy rice, vegetables, and eggs for the children & even though the meal was basic, it felt like we were having a celebration.

While we millennials who’re hooked onto social media otherwise, make a conscious choice to go for digital detox at times, there are several parts of Kenya where the internet is still a matter of dreams. People live in their community lifestyle, happily soaking in the sunshine & nature’s vibes, surviving on minimal consumption, and quite literally, not bothered by what’s happening around the world.

It does make a difference, as it reduces a lot of woes & anxieties that we often invite into our lives while peeping into others’ lives, through social media.


Makemei Children's Home in Nairobi, kenya

The journey convinced me that we’re all capable of doing great things if we dare to step out of our comfort zone.

When you witness people worldwide doing incredible social work, whether it’s protecting the environment, fighting poverty, tackling illiteracy, or combatting human trafficking, it can feel like these are things beyond our reach. But often, we underestimate our potential because we haven’t explored certain aspects within ourselves. Believe me when I tell you, all it takes is stepping out of your comfort zone and embracing the unknown, being open to whatever may come your way. That’s when magic truly happens.

I used to wonder, “Can I really do this?” – like traveling to a country thousands of miles away from my own, living with strangers who barely understand my language, adapting to a different culture, and then immersing myself in meaningful work for them. But when I arrived, all my doubts disappeared as I was welcomed with warmth, and before I knew it, those people became like family to me. Though my contribution may have been small, they say, ‘Every little bit helps.’

I’m certain that all of you amazing people reading this will consider visiting Kenya at some point. Let me share another secret – Kenya is more than just wildlife, as we’ve always been taught in school! Go ahead and discover all that this beautiful country has to offer, and I’m confident that, like me, you’ll return as a more humble and enriched person.


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