by Danielle Ortiz, a member of the SkillCorps Kenya January 2016 team

In the states I have become so ingrained in my day to day schedule that any out of the norm event causes me to become Anxiety Girl. I can jump from calm to anxiety in three seconds. Thus I signed up for the Global Autism Project! Seems like the best choice right? I had reached a point in my life that I decided this would not prevent me from living, so I took a chance and applied for The Global Autism Project. I wanted to experience something beyond my comfort zone and the minute I landed in Nairobi I experienced that! I joined a group of women who through many text messages felt like I knew but never actually met in person. I was greeted at a warm, muggy airport that was filled with tons of people who spoke another language. I was completely overwhelmed!

As the week progressed I began to meet the staff and children at Kaizora. I felt at home the minute I walked into the facility. The staff were so welcoming and the children were amazing! I became so excited to be able to come there every day for two weeks. I soon learned that most people in Kenya were welcoming.

Within a few hours of landing I began to feel sick, I assumed it was the prescriptions my doctors had suggested for preventative measures. As the days went on I continued to feel this way. I was becoming concerned; I was in a foreign country, not feeling well and worried about what type of medical treatment they could offer me. I was starting to become the Anxiety Girl I thought I left in Florida. My SkillCorps group members and leader were beyond supportive. I felt like I had a family to lean on when my anxiety got the best of me. After a few hours at a local walk-in and meds in hands I returned to the daily adventures that come when you sign up for a SkillCorps trip. I am still amazed I did not have a full blown panic attack in a foreign country’s walk-in clinic and continue to trust that this experience is changing me for the better. I now have more confidence, less fear, and an overall greater sense that this trip was exactly what I needed to help grow me as a person.

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