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Jack Mullen in Kenya Part II

The second half of my time in Nairobi was very different from the first half. A group of around 30 students from Norway came over for something called the Pamoja festival, an annual festival of mainly music. They spent two weeks doing various music workshops with all of the groups that are part of VOCAL. It was usually the job of Mwas and I to warm the huge group up every morning and we also spent some time incorporating the Norwegians into a play that we had been working on in our own drama group.


It was really fun and amazing to see these two groups come together and interact.  A big portion of the Norwegians had cornrows for a while and there was always some kind of game going on, sometimes soccer, and sometimes just some made up jumping competitions. At one point there was a huge and oddly official soccer game between Kenyans and Norwegians which was really fun.


I also did a whole lot of traveling with some of the people from the Shabooya group. I went to a place called Paradise Lost where there was a waterfall and some stone age caves.  I went on a game drive with Mwas and saw all kinds of animals.  I went shopping in a place called Kariakor.  I saw baby elephants at an elephant sanctuary, and to finish it all of I spent my last day in the Masai Mara in a traditional village with the Masai people.


All of this was absolutely unforgettable. Not just doing and seeing all of these things but getting to do them exclusively with local friends that I met in my time here.  I cant think of a better way to really experience and get to know a culture. And what an amazing culture to experience!

At the end of the two weeks everyone got together and we did the performance of the Pamoja Festival. We drew a huge crowd in the dirt lot outside the VOCAL center and all of the bands performed their songs and we did our play and the crowd loved it all! It was so great to see everything come together like that after all of that hard work.


Having been back home for a while and getting to look back on this experience its almost hard to believe that I was actually there doing what I was doing. This was probably the best experience of my life and just absolutely incomparable. The lessons I learned about what it really takes to be happy are things that I will have with me for the rest of my life and the friends I met I hope to keep in touch with for just as long. I couldn’t have asked for a better time.

Written by Jack Mullen

Performing Arts Abroad theatre volunteer in Kenya

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