Expectations. If you were to ask me what I thought I was going to experience in Kenya, compared to what I actually experienced here… they would be completely different. Honestly, I am not even sure I can put into words what I was thinking before I came here now that it is the end of my trip. I am at a loss for words thinking back on how much Kaizora has changed my life. I thought I would leave here talking/bragging about changing other people’s lives, when in fact, it was mine that was transformed.
Passion. I cannot think of a better word to describe this group of humans. When the staff at Kaizora asked me to explain the biggest difference in our field (comparing America to Kenya) I immediately used the word passion. The staff at Kaizora puts every ounce of their heart and soul into every single session with every student. There was never a moment where I walked into a room and there wasn’t a trial being ran, reinforcement being given or laughter heard across the building during pairing. With that being said, there was one more difference. There were more men in this one clinic doing direct therapy than the amount of men I have worked alongside doing direct therapy in the three years that I have been in this field.
Hunger. A craving to learn. I had the privilege of working alongside Kevin (OT), Conrad (OT), Umair (OT), Daniel (Speech) and Hussein (Clinical Director). After interviewing them, they all had one thing in common. That one word again. PASSION. They were all so passionate about “changing lives” and wanting to spread awareness about Autism in their country. Not only that, but they all spoke about the necessity of gaining experience across all fields that their clinic offers. This includes Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy, Special Education and Applied Behavior Analysis. Every single man I spoke to had a fire underneath them to expand their knowledge and skills. No matter what training we threw at them, they jumped into it head first, and pushed to learn even more.
Growth. Don’t get me wrong…the women here were just as passionate as the men. But if you were to ask me what shocked me the most about this clinic, it was the PASSION from the men. The drive. The hunger. The want to help. The NEED to change the lives of these students. I came to Kaizora expecting to change the lives of these therapists. But I was wrong. THEY lit a fire under ME. They reignited a passion I did not know I was missing. Sometimes in America we forget how lucky we are. We forget how to be humble and how to fight to get more for others. The main thing I take back from Kenya is that we need to be more like them. We need more people in this world like the staff at Kaizora.