UN International Volunteer Day

Ah…the UN International Volunteer Day. Sun shining, grass growing, wind blowing, dead rats and piles of poop. The day has a great idea in place. Clean up an area of Nairobi river and plant some trees. Execution and planning and purpose not so great.

No. 1 – Things get started an hour later than originally expected

No. 2 – Use of surgical gloves to pick up trash with sharp objects…not enough gloves

No. 3 – Poop everywhere

No. 4 – Other side of river is an actual garbage dump that goes into Nairobi river

No. 5 – Our side of the river is people’s backyard and is their own personal dump

No. 6 – Plenty of trees already here…why plant more here?

No. 7 – 1 hour of actual trash pick-up followed by a presentation (I skipped) and photo op

No.8 – ‘Snacks provided’ includes water…

I apologize for my cynical view; however, this has been a common outcome of most events. The thought is there, but there is rarely a plan in place to make it worthwhile.

Trash Pile
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We salvaged the day by spending the morning playing with some of the local kids. Played some football (soccer) and monkey in the middle…I show them my sweet moves. As a result, the kids got numerous cuts on their feet…the game changed to playing some doctor, cleaning up their cuts and fixing them up. Gloves now actually become useful. The kids helped collect some trash and we give them our t-shirts…I don’t need another t-shirt I’ll never wear.

Kids Playing
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  • December 6, 2007
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