Where do I begin…? October 1st 2011 was the first day of the best year of my life. At home in Chicago, I was stuck in a rut not really knowing what my next step should be. I went online looking for some volunteering opportunities and GVI was the first thing to pop up. A dream I had my entire life was to go to Africa and I saw the south coast program in Kenya. It took me a total of five minutes to decide that this was what I wanted to do. The next day I sent the GVI office an email with my intentions to join. Waiting six months to start the program only built up my excitement and the time finally came. I was on a plane ready for the 36 hour journey to Mombasa.
|Eric doing what he does best - teaching choir at Matunda Bora|
I signed up for the six month community internship and immediately fell in love with the small town called Shimoni. My first three months consisted of me doing a lot of community work and a couple weeks of marine and forest research. From my first day, I knew I wanted to get a teaching placement in Shimoni. I couldn’t be happier at the end of December when the senior staff put their trust in me to lead the teaching program in this amazing town.
|Eric with Shimoni Primary pupils|
Work could be a little overwhelming at times but there was a strong feeling of satisfaction at the end of each day. I was able to train and take new volunteers to the five different schools here and loved every minute. From English classes to choir, everyday was full of new experiences that have helped change my life.
I was beginning to feel sad to leave in March when my time here was nearing the end…or so I thought. Sophie Lemberger, the Community Officer, offered me a position to stay on for another three months through a scholarship and I jumped on the opportunity. There was more hard work to be done and I couldn’t wait to get started. Unfortunately the months flew by and the time has now come for me to rejoin my friends and family back home.
GVI Kenya has made me feel welcome in more ways than I can begin to explain. I’ve met some truly amazing people who have not seen the last of me! If I could change anything about my time here it would be…absolutely nothing. Everything exceeded my expectations by far and in turn will make it very difficult to return home. It was perfect.
Eric Schrock – Shimoni Community Field Staff (Community Intern)