Palms Australia Volunteer Bev Watkinson has been working at the Ruben Centre in Kenya since 2016. The Ruben Centre is a non-profit organisation set up by the Christian Brothers African Province and offers educational, health and community development programs in the Mukuru community, also known as the Ruben Slum, in Nairobi. Bev has shared a quick update from the field after a bumpy few months surrounding the country’s elections.
All is well in Kenya, although the Government and opposition would tell a different story. With everything happening surrounding the recent election, it is a merry-go-round of innuendo and gossip, which leaves the non-Kenyans very oblivious to what is actually going on.
Work, although incredibly busy at this time of year, is great fun, and lots is happening with a continual stream of volunteers coming from Australia and other countries to volunteer at the Ruben Centre.
I have had some great weekends away seeing the sights and relaxing, which has given me a renewed energy for work. Currently I’m working with Liz, the Program Manager, to attract new donors and partnerships and prepare the way for long-term sustainability of the Centre.
Many great new things are happening, especially with the Curriculums that I developed last year around our wonderful Shamba (farm) and Urban Farming and Small Animal Husbandry. We’re currently waiting on the FAO’s (Food and Agriculture Organization) final decision to work with a number of young people living off the dumpsites, and to also present in Kaybolie (a refugee camp) in Northern Kenya. It seems to be a daily occurrence that people are coming to the Ruben Centre to develop partnerships or create opportunities for our learning areas to be developed in their particular county or region. As you can imagine, it’s all very exciting, and an ever-extending learning curve.
The team at the Ruben Centre just spent a second year as guests of the Minister at the International Nairobi Show. It was a fantastic week, where we tripled our sales from last year, and made so many contacts with many eager to have the opportunities that Ruben presents in their part of the world. It’s always an amazing time to see what is achieved at the Ruben Centre through others’ eyes.
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