Six weeks have past since I arrived at Morogoro and started the voluntary work with another Finnish volunteer at MEHAYO centre. My first experience with MEHAYO was an astonishment of the beauty that surrounded me; the green land filled with different vegetables, fruit trees, flowers, butterflies and a variety of singing birds. Some happy faces on the field were welcoming us with warmth and joy. I could hear a loud trumpet sound from a cowshed – a greeting from the cow called ASANTE -(which means: thank you)– and from that moment I knew that MEHAYO is quite a good place to stay for 2½ months, perhaps even longer.
The next few weeks passed as a time with a lot of questions and uncertainty. What could I do for the people so that I would become more a helper than a burden? The answer is still in process. I feel every day that I receive more than I give. But certainly the time will come that my skills and knowledge that I have gained here will be of use when I am a nursery teacher or a teacher in special education. My study at the University of Helsinki still continues.
With my poor Swahili I try to get to know the youth better and better every week. The best way is to spend daily life with them; work in the garden, play, sing and help them to make postcards using banana leaves, fabrics and sand. I admire their amazing ability to concentrate and be in peace when working or making art.
I have heard from every youngster that they enjoy being at MEHAYO. Some of them are eager to come and live here. No wonder this centre makes everybody feel important and special.
Jenni Ruoho, Finnish volunteer