Mladinska izmenjava Active for future v afriških medijih

SLOVENIANYX(YOUTH EXCHANGE) COURTESY VOLUNTEER ACTION FOR CHANGE KENYA AND THE EUROPEAN UNION

Well this is just the peak of my year. Hi, my name is Muthoni Kirumba or rather,my personal brand name (UniqueMK- initialsMK). I had been in constant prayer for a turning point at that particular point in my life...and I prayed, as often as possible, the prayer of Jabez - I Chr 4:10.It goes, “Oh that you would bless me indeed and enlarge my territory and that your hand would be with me and that you would keep me from evil and I may not cause pain- And God granted Jabez (UniqueMK) what he (she) requested. See I believe God is a Great God of change and I believe in Faith. One day I get a random call and what I hear from the other end is a complete dream come true; VACK-Volunteer Action for Change Kenya was selecting the participants that would represent Kenya in the SlovenianYX (Youth Exchange). I was so excited to be selected especially because I had never been to Europe before. The European Union was funding this amazing program under the Erasmus+ project as an opportunity to get to learn knowledge, skills and competencies that would actually elevate each of us in different dimensions. 6 countries- Romania, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Uganda, Tanzania and of course Kenya; 6 participants from each country, would assemble at one meeting point, Slovenia for the about one week for a project which included exchanging cultures and ideas in order to increase participants skills and knowledge bettering us for the challenging business environment and to spark our creativity and innovativeness by the varied interactions in different dimensions. This was in order to enable us to come up with solutions applicable in our local communities, society and nation at large. Making the world a better place?.., you bet.[thumbs up]..We were all very ebullient {toastmasters} with regards to the venture and all expected that our knowledge would increase like compound interest.

 On top of Celje Castle

The whole learning process was very interesting as we had discussions in the conference rooms but most were outdoor activities where we got to go to the museum, Celje Castle, Smartinsko Jezero lake and tour the city thereafter giving our group reviews. Wish we had some time to visit the capital Ljubljana but it's alright, maybe next time. sLOVEnia is such a calm country, Celje is so beautiful... you would definitely want to go back there. I LOVED IT... too much.

Meetings like this are about making networks too. We had an amazing European night where the European participants got to share their culture (food, dance-e.t.c) and an African night as well. So on African night, we cooked, dressed, danced, interacted and took a lot of selfies. The people were amazed by our culture; It was utterly encouraging.

AFRICA IN SLOVENIA- African Night at MCC hostel HOUSE OF LEGENDS

Europe was a turning point for all of us.I am inspired to the extent that I will continue my hashtag conversations on talent… lookout for this hashtag soon #talentconversations…and guys, we have to trend please.

When I came back home I had a rampage of sending photos so I misplaced the SD card but I hope it will reappear soon. That was a downward perk for me but it has taught me a lesson I would also like you to learn... a very dear lesson at that; That is, always back up your photos or important data immediately you land so if the memory card gets lost you still have the memoirs. #lessonlearnt. We still have so many photos though… but they can never be enough.

We saw very appealing things to purchase but didn't shop immediately. Once you see something nice, just buy it there and then, you might not have adequate time to shop in the end and you totally do not want to get late to the airport and possibly miss your flight.

Either way, we met amazing people, we had amazing activities, so much fun and sweet memories and now we all can't wait to implement what we learnt in our local communities not only benefiting us but also the people around us especially the youth who embody a larger percentage of our population. It is even better now with the networks and collaborations from the 6 countries.So watch out for more amazing activities, inspiring stories and awe-strucking projects right here on maya.co.ke. We will keep you updated... stay tuned.

All in all, as I happily trot along the streets of Nairobi, I smile alone or rather to myself as I reminisce the sweet memoirs I had in the city of calm, love, rich heritage and freshness; Celje, sLOVEni. I have actually been smiling so much when am walking along the streets or just seated somewhere carrying out an activity that people are wondering the source of my joy. Well, the well of joy emanates from a deep source somewhere in the heart of Europe. I think am in love. <3

Tata for now, yours truly, Muthoni Kirumba. Enjoy the photos and for more photos am Muthoni Kirumba on facebook and _soni_k is my official instagram page.Check out and please FOLLOW mayakenya on instagram, Twitter:mayakenya7, Facebook: Market & Advertise you Africa . Barikiwa! (Be blessed.)

 

In Line with some of the 8 European Union competencies of a Youth Exchange program:

Communication in Mother tongue

Tanzanians and Kenyans both communicate in Swahili (our mother tongue language). The difference is Tanzanian's Swahili is more fluent that that of Kenya which includes a lot of sheng (slang) additives. So a Tanzanian came and asked me to give them 'malapa' which are slippers. I had to ask- what are those? Yet we both speak Swahili. Hence, I learnt a new word in my native language. This is one among others such as 'magazijuto'- BODMAS (Tanzanians are even taught Maths in Swahili while in Kenya we are taught in English).

Communication in foreign language

First and foremost, I learnt that a 'j' in Slovenia is pronounced as a 'y'... that was complicating at first. Before we travelled to Celje, we could hear our team leader pronounce it correctly but did not understand why. After we came back, we could even write and pronounce the capital city of Slovenia, Ljubljana because when you think of the j as a y, it all becomes simpler. During breakfast, I also learnt ‘jajce’ is like almost similar to our native language pronunciation of egg 'yai' only again, to Slovenians their j is y to us. The challenge I faced is that I did not get to learn any Bulgarian or Romanian. Plus, even now, the Bulgarian friend I talk to most, I cannot even write her name in Bulgarian or even tag her on facebook something because their alphabetical letters are different. I guess I learnt a bit more of Slovenian because I was in the mother country Slovenia. (Necessity was the mother of invention). I plan to communicate more on social media with my friends so as to get more acquitted to their languages as they also do to mine.

Sense of initiative and entrepreneurship

I am a creative writer and business leader. I was active even before the project but after, I became even more energized. I am projecting on action plans on ground, I run a business blog and I am helping various entrepreneurs on ground with the knowledge I have learnt for example, on best practices on project management. A lot of social impact initiatives which I will highlight on my blog and site as we progress (maya.co.ke). I love travelling and I plan to travel much more especially if I get travelling opportunities where am funded because travelling does not come cheap. Either way, being well aware I am making better financial plans in terms of saving.

The exchange of cultures was refreshing, empowering and an active initiatives spark on my side as I am trying to personally implement one of the ideas that was shared to me, in detail and in person by my Bulgarian friend-Danny.

In line with taking initiative, sometimes you have to encourage yourself and do it even when people don't buy in as some often do not understand clearly the vision in your head at first but then again, opportunity strikes once and if you do not take it, you will only blame yourself later. So leap on the opportunity with Faith.

Teamwork and cooperation is vital as you can share ideas, tasks and encourage each other in tough times. All that is needed is passion towards the same objectives and goal and commitment and you will thrive.

Social and civic competence

Obeying the traffic lights. No littering at all. Their roads had no potholes, I felt I could seat on them and have a meal. Generally, fairly good infrastructure and landscape e.g the bridge near the park. They told us that they had only four poor people living in the street, while for us, they are all over and a large percentage of people live under a dollar. I came back home energized. Am blogging. I am participating in many social impact initiatives, amongst them, one is well underway that involves environmental conservation. I plan to implement one that I learnt from my friend in Bulgaria-Danny's Table gallery. She was kind enough to share with me the details of how to go about it and I even have sample products. I am much more determined to make a change in my country and blessed to know I have contacts in Europe and also in neighbouring countries here in Africa who can support me or even help me create more awareness. I am truly blessed by the experience and I appreciate. Looking forward to many more and there I will definitely be sharing about the successful projects.

Cultural awareness and Expression

Celje (where we were based) has a very rich culture. The church, the castle,the lake, the museum, the people were all part of this rich culture. I was so refreshed travelling to these places, learning about the importance of the architecture during the rule of the counts and how it changed significantly till this very day. It was so rich,so interesting and so refreshing. Around the city was culture everywhere like the statutes of people who made significant contributions to the society e.g ANTON MARTIN SLOMSEK- a Slovene bishop, author, poet, and advocate of Slovene culture. They have a very disciplined culture of obeying the traffic rules which is not so evident in African countries, maybe because of our larger population, I saw an ice-cream culture for real, and I think those ice-creams were home made. I ate so much ice-cream but not nearly enough, wish I had some more. Saying "hi-zdravo'' while hiking up the mountain on Saturday. There was a bicycle riding culture and even a path specified for cyclists, we do not have that in Kenya. So in terms of cultural awareness, I learnt so much indeed. Oh, how could I forget the famous Slovenian soup that comes with every meal.

 

 

 Reviews from some of the Youth participants in the SlovenianYX:

I enjoyed every moment of the exchange program, w very unique learning experience, I made new friends and contacts, I've gained new skills and I purpose to make the world a better place by coming up with ventures that aim at reducing youth unemployment. ~Felix Nzeki #teamKe

Celje youth exchange program was one of the most exhilarating, rewarding and unforgettable experience one could ever be a part of. The dynamics of changing societies and exploration of different cultures was definitely the highlight of the whole exchange. It was an honour to be part of such a mind blowing experience ~Mercy Musyoka #teamKe

Slovenia especially celje is a place I would love to visit again. The hills, my fitness motivation, the serenity, perfect for my introverted self when I just need to disconnect and charge up. Mostly I learnt about good presentation skills, a bit of slovenian language and much about their culture and history. ~Melissa Odingo #teamKe

I was able to articulate my persona in sLOVEni. I came back home much more energetic to thrive in my dreams and fulfill my destiny. Am reaching for the topmost goals and desire to become the best version of myself. My mantra is always together, not alone(Read first article for inspiration of forming MAYA). Let’s Make it happen people. Watch this space ~Muthoni Kirumba #teamKe

 

Learning is a process that never ends. Spending my time in the youth exchange has enabled me to gain various life skills and knowledge. It also gave me a network of youth with various ideas on how to tackle youth unemployment. It was a good door opener to the European country of Slovenia for the first time visiting. Looking forward to put into practice what I learnt in my entreprise back home in Tanzania. ~Peter Msafiri #teamTz

 

It was an amazing experience in which I was introduced to the African culture and was completely impressed by it! And all of this in Slovenia - a country, resembling a picture, drawn by an artist. = )) ~Danny Mavrodieva #teamB

Since day one I was able to say that Slovenia is a lovely place to visit. I enjoyed every single part of the youth exchange program. I met new people, made new friends from different parts of the earth and learned a lot about how to help the unemployed youth in various ways. In the last day I could say that I was right in the beginning. Slovenia youth exchange program was a great experience in a really beautiful country. ~Andrei Moraru #teamRo


I wanted to participate in the project because I love meeting new people, especially from other countries and exchange ideas and knowledge with them. I believe I've gained a lot of new knowledge. I started the project without any expectations and I was really positively surprised of how communicative people have been and of how much I've learned. It felt good to be a part of an international group, I've learned a lot about other nations and cultures, especially about Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. I've never met anyone from those three countries before and talking about their habits, tradition (for example marriage), gender (in)equality, politics, corruption, life standards etc. broadened my horizons. Living conditions in east African countries are much lower than the ones in Slovenia. Especially in Uganda - the poorest country in East African region. The majority of the people don’t have health insurance. There's also a lot of crime and corruption.
I'm trying to be an active citizen, I'm well informed and I know what's happening in the world. I also participate in different projects and try to make some changes. I would like to learn even more about other countries and meet more people from abroad. I still communicate with people form the exchange mostly through Facebook and Whatsapp, I hope we will remain in contact and keep exchanging ideas. ~Evelin Einspeler #teamSlo

Its not how much we have but its how much we learn and have fun that achieves the goal. The moment of learning and fun we had took us by surprise , its not that we seize them but they seize us. #mcc is place to stay# ~Lynette Kahunde #teamUg

Article by UniqueMK,
teamMaya.

Abbreviations of 6 participating Oganizations in full:

VACK - Volunteer Action for Change Kenya

UYSTO- Uganda Youth Skills Training Organization

Amsha Institute - Amsha Institute for Rural Entrepreneurship (Tanzania)

RYF- Romanian Youth Forum(Romania)

NMS- National Management School (Bulgaria)

MCC- Celjski Mlandinski Centre, Javni Zavod za mlandisko kulturo, izobrazevanje, informiranje in sport( Slovenia)

The EU- Europen Union

Vir: www.maya.co.ke/index.php/blog/enterprenuers-talk/87-enterprenuers-talk/126-slovenianyx-youth-exchange-courtesy-volunteer-action-for-change-kenya-and-the-european-union

 

                        

Co-fundeed by the Erasmus+ programme         EUROPEAN UNION

 

This project has been funded with the support from the European Commission. This product reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use, which may be made of the information contained therein.

 

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