The anxiously awaited results of the YESS interview were finally here; “Mitchell you will go on exchange to Rwanda” said the caller. My heart skipped with joy, in a moment I could draw the map of Rwanda in my mind, imagined the green country, its fresh air and the mimics of birds and burps of gorillas beside me. My guiding journey did not start then; it began way back in 2005 as a peer educator on alcohol sensitization against drug abuse in my motherland – Kenya at Kenya Girl Guides Association. I departed for Uganda on 21/01/2020 for a preparatory training and one week later landed at the heart of Africa-Rwanda for the program under Association Des Guides Du Rwanda.
I am not disappointed, the hospitality, cool smiles and memorable moments with the girl guides at AGR, other citizens among them and my fellow YESS participants make me linger with laughter even when I walk the streets alone. It was my first time on a ladder installing a gutter during one of the green-tech campaigns which was one of my best initiatives, my limbs were shaking but my heart was strong at it, is this giving back to the community? Yes, this is an action orientated way to positively impact the society embedded in the Guide promise.
The feeling of being in one’s traditional wear ‘mushanana’ was incredible, I felt like a dual citizen to the latter, what of the melodies of guiding energizers in Kinyarwanda language during the field activities accompanied by dancing through raising of hands and tapping of feet, I bet I can win a gold medal on it. The meals are exceptional, fried Ugali with vegetables-dodo cooked in groundnut soup are my best. The country has a sloppy topography and cool weather too, the feeling of trekking up these grounds spices up the whole guiding fieldwork adventure.
The effect of the pandemic, COVID-19 that emerged in the mid-March rendering us to work indoors, virtual programs are highly exploited with ‘surf-smart’ lessons. This enables me enhance my planning skills as I have a mass of time at my disposal to exploit.
My future project is to enlighten girl guides to exploit much potential in partnership with like-minded stakeholders, creation and managing of varieties of community based micro-projects besides doing more good turn projects to the society.
My advice to girl guides and to the globe at large is that there is no limit to what you can do, plan for it, stay focused, work on it a step at a time and achieve it. This begins with being an accelerator of unveiling your star to giving back while learning in and with the community. YESS -exchange equips one with exceptional life time virtues and experiences wholesomely. My gratitude goes to all; NOREC, WAGGGS, home and host Associations and parents; who make this experience memorable, enabling me to harness my potential to serve the society.
By: Mitchell Akinyi
Edited by: Pascaline Iyodusenga