Let’s also hear from Suheon and his first impressions and experiences in Nairobi.
“I was a little bit worried when I heard first time that I will be working in slums. It is a completely new environment for me and I didn’t know what to expect. It took only short while to adjust though and now I am really enjoying the field experience and the people I get to meet. After all, people is what makes the place and I can feel the positive vibes and fun every time I go.
Together with Yunhee, we work with local youth leaders to make them better coaches and instructors. We also help to organize and run sports events in various communities. I really enjoy it although things are not without challenges here. In a very short time I’ve learned that hardly anything goes according to plan over here. You can spend weeks on planning and preparing an event, yet at the end you have to improvise and free-style to make it happen. Like in December, there was supposed to be a volleyball tournament which was being worked on for weeks prior to the event. Yet it was almost cancelled last minute as suddenly there was a construction going on precisely on the volleyball court. Luckily, the tournament went ahead as the community came together and prepared make-shift court in just one hour in a nearby space. I was really impressed – the true meaning of “nothing is impossible” came out!
I’m not saying we should stop planning in advance, just keeping in mind that things may change at the end. A similar thing happened to me two weeks later as we were getting ready to host “Christmas Cantata” in one of the communities. But improvisation seems to be the strong-hold over here so it all worked our well at the end. It was actually amazing!
Unfortunately, during the week there is not so much field work so we spend most of our time in the UN-HABITAT office, catching up on some paper work. Apart of research work, we put together databases and prepare concept notes of our future projects and activities.
As the time progresses, Yunhee and I are ready to take on more responsibilities. We want to organize more sports events and activities. We want to coordinate them, not just help out. At the moment we’re preparing a Sports Day, a multi-sport event to promote Sustainable Development Goals, E-sports tournament to utilize the local craze about play-station and other video games and some fundraising activities to support these projects.
Working here in Kenya on sport for development projects is an amazing experience that is teaching me a lot. Part of the learning journey is also to overcome culture shock and learn how to interact and cope with different people and different cultures. Korean style is very particulate and it takes a lot of adjustments for me. But sport is making it so much easier and enjoyable. It has been an incredible journey so far and I hope to learn even more in the coming weeks”.