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"It’s been over 50 days since I returned from what was the best experience of my life. I find it very difficult to explain to my friends, colleagues, family, how the experience went when they ask me ‘How was Africa?’ It would take me a long time to answer the question.

In order to explain my experience, I have to go back to May 30, 2012 when I went to pick up my partner at Madrid’s airport. Maitane came back from her trip to Afrikable after being on an island called Lamu for a month. I will always remember her first words when she saw me right after passing the automatic doors: ‘I have to go back.’

During the next five years, every time we had to plan our vacations, Maitane always said: ‘Another year that I’m not going back to Afrikable, Visu we definitely have to go together next year’.

After five years of ‘holding on’, I finally decided to make the trip with her to that island in Kenya about which I had heard hundreds of stories, flavors, smells...

The unforgettable experience starts from the moment you hop on the boat that will take you to the island of Lamu. There it was. After such a long time, there was only a five-minute journey between us.

David y Maitane camino a Lamu

When you set foot on Lamu, you notice the special charm it gives off. To get to Afrikable, your bags are carried by the unforgettable donkey, Pantoja.

In the first walk from the harbour to the Shamba, you quickly realise that the island of Lamu will leave a mark on you. During the scarcely 25-minute walk, I remember greeting more than 100 people. Everyone with a smile on their face. When we got to the Shamba, we were ‘attacked’ by a crowd of children whose only desire was to hug you, kiss you and touch you... Consequence: first moment I had goose bumps.

From the first time I passed Afrikable’s door, I felt like Maitane had lied to me on her stories about the little and homely NGO. What I had in front of me and was able to enjoy is a great project that grows step by step, bit by bit. That’s what we went there for, to do our bit.

In my case, I had to help Madame Joice within the school department. In my professional life, I teach adults and I had not dealt with so many ‘little monsters’ at the same time before. After ten minutes, I had them controlled with a couple of ‘Sasa hapana, sasa school, na after we kucheza’. The mixture of languages all volunteers speak from the first day, and after three days you don’t even know what language are you speaking when your colleagues look at you strangely.

David en la escuelita

The project grows every day, every hour, thanks to the daily effort of the women there. They are an example of self-improvement, bravery, courage. Each one of them has a story that makes you shiver just from hearing it.

Just like everyone else, we leave our comfortable life behind to go contribute. I think I did my bit, but I must admit that I’m taking with me a whole bag of bits. A bag that will be with me for the rest of my life and I will forever carry in my heart.

After five years, I understand Maitane’s words perfectly. Now I am the one who wants to go back.

David en la escuelita

Asante Sana.

Nakupenda Lamu.

Nakupenda Afrikable.

 

Author: David Martínez | Translator: Sonia Moscardó

Read 653 times Last modified on Monday, 18 December 2017 23:20
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ABOUT AFRIKABLE

Afrikable is a Spanish charitable organisation, registered in the National Register of Associations under number 1/1/594088 and in the Spanish Agency of International Cooperation for Development (AECID)'s Register of Non-Governmental Organisations under number 2033.

 

In Kenya our association is called Afrika Able Organization and is registered with Kenya's NGO Coordination Board under number 10976.

WHERE ARE WE

  • Lamu, Kenia.
    Madrid, Spain
  • +34 605 722 162