Reflection from: Julie and Ben Allen | Gone Fishing Immersion participants 2016
Twice a year, a small group of diverse professionals from around Australia are challenged to experience the Gone Fishing Immersion program in Nairobi, Kenya. An awakening While we had been warned, there is simply no life experience preceding that can prepare you for the challenges and growth that this program provides. We flew half way around our world, just to walk with the beautiful people of Nairobi who try and survive in some of the worst living conditions on earth.
To be honest, the purpose of the trip was a little undefined before we left,other than a genuine intent to try and help some people in desperate need. But the deeper purpose of the program revealed itself the more we ventured into the slums and the homes of some of the 2 million people that live in Kibera and surrounding slums. This experience was one of extreme sensorial bombardment and even more uncomfortable internal reflection. Continue reading Julie and Ben’s reflection here
Reflection from: Mark Sawle | Gone Fishing Immersion participant 2016
I Am Because We Are
‘Welcome to my palace!’ These were the words echoed by Sammy as he invited me in to his humble dwelling in the Kibera Slum, Nairobi. It is difficult to describe in words his dwelling, in Australia we would probably describe it as a chicken coup, but for Sammy and many others in the slums it is their home.
Along with seven other professionals I recently attended the Gone Fishing Kenya program, an immersion conducted by the Edmund Rice Foundation which supports Christian Brother projects across the world.
One of these projects is the Mary Rice Centre in the Kibera Slum. The centre caters for 40 disabled students from the slum. The teaching atmosphere is centred upon core values of care and respect, witnessed within two aging sea containers called classrooms.
Having been to many schools around the world, this one was special. With limited resources, training and equipment the staff’s effort counteracted the stench from the open sewer, faeces and food scraps. In an educational age where we seek and look at faults, these staff celebrated individual student gifts.
There is no doubt that the community is more important than the individuals to people in the slums. They do not compete against each other, compare fashion or discuss reality tv; the focus is upon sharing and doing what is right for the community.
The Kibera slum has 1.1 million people jammed into a 10km strip of red dirt. When it rains, this tends to turn to sludge. Just like other challenges in the slum people accept these conditions and continue on with their daily lives with a smile and wellness that many people in Australia would envy.
It was a privilege to be welcomed by so many different people in Nairobi.
“I am because we are” is an old African saying that means a person becomes a human through their connections with others. This is so true in the slums of Nairobi where connecting with others is the oxygen for life. There is much to learn from the Kibera humanity.
Reflection from: Kylie Lang | Gone Fishing Immersion participant 2013
My eyes have been opened, my heart marked forever, by 10 disturbing, exhilarating and exhausting days in East Africa. Along with nine other Queensland professionals, I upped sticks for Kenya on the Gone Fishing program, an immersion run by the Edmund Rice Foundation, which supports eight Christian Brothers’ development projects in this impoverished part of the world. We saw three of them, in Nairobi, and didn’t they make us think.
The Mary Rice Centre cares for 17 disabled and utterly adorable children from the nearby slum. Kibera slum has up to one million people jammed into a 10km strip of red dirt. Shanties stretch for as far as the eye can see; mud huts no bigger than a small Australian bathroom house families of up to 12 people. Continue reading Kylie’s reflection here
Reflection from: Karen Hanna Miller | Gone Fishing Immersion participant 2013
“During the course of early 2013, I began to realize that my children were being exposed to a range of amazing social justice programs at their schools. It made me wonder what I was doing in my own life. I wanted to show my kids that I too could walk the walk. I wasn’t doing my part so I decided to go on the Gone Fishing immersion trip to Nairobi, Kenya. I was confronted and shocked by the level of poverty and hardship, the challenge to provide just the basics. There was no food, limited water, no sanitation, make-shift homes, if any, and no means of employment. I was astounded by what a mother would do to feed her child, to clothe them and shelter them. It was an attack on all the senses but more than anything an attack on the mind and spirit. This experience changed me forever. If you get the chance to be a part of a Gone Fishing immersion, grab it with both hands, be brave, say yes! Be a part of a group of extraordinary people doing extraordinary things to make change.”