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New Country, New Culture

YAC2019

I have always had this dream to travel the world since I was a child. YMCA gave me the opportunity to start it. I was selected as Young Advocates for Change 2019. I was so excited because, for the first time in my life I was going to travel outside my country Madagascar to discover another county.

Our first destination was in Uganda; we resided in Kampala the capital city of Uganda. It’s a bit difficult to leave your comfort zone and move to another life. everything was new, food, language …I remember there is a time I was confused, I usually wake up at six in the morning at home, so I woke up and watched outside it was still dark seems like 3 am in the morning. It’s totally different.

The country is heavily influenced by one of the world’s biggest lakes called Lake Victoria. It’s a cool place we really had fun. During my stay in Uganda I made a new friends who are all from different countries, we exchanged ideas and learnt from each other. We also had a cultural evening where each country that was represented in the camp presented their culture (traditional dance, dressing…).

A part from the training that we had in Uganda I also learnt a new thing called Diversity. Which encompasses acceptance and respect. It means understanding that each individual is unique and recognizing our individual differences. Do not judge any culture, maybe it’s not good for you but it’s not also bad, its just different.

Kenya, Just near Uganda has 3 cities, the first city is Nairobi, the second city is Mombasa and the third one is Kisumu. Nairobi is the capital city of Kenya. Nairobi is also the political centre of Kenya, which is considered a Republic, and home to its His Excellency head of state.

I was hosted in Mombasa the second city of Kenya. Mombasa is a coastal city of Kenya along the Indian Ocean. And its been controlled by many countries, especially Arabia and most of the people who live there are Muslim. From the story it is the oldest city in Kenya. I learnt Swahili, also known as Kiswahili, it is a Bantu language …In Mombasa, it was common. Everyone communicates in Swahili; they don’t use English often.

That was a good opportunity for me cause now I have a new language skill which is one of the widely spoken in the African Great Lakes region, which comprises of a huge swath of Central, Southern and East African.

I learnt about the culture, and every weekend I am always discovering a new place. One of the best thing that I’ve done in Mombasa is Hiking in a National Park. It’s called Simba hills. It is a small National Reserve in the Coast Province of Kenya, 33 km from Mombasa and 15 km from the coast. For the first time in my life I saw an elephant, Lion and giraffe it was a good experience for me.

There have been confusing situations too, like for example when you eat at a public space, people don’t use a spoon they use their hands so I have to be flexible with that as well. I have learnt so many things, cooking traditional food, adapting to many things. For me a new country has given me the space to be more open, explore, experience and learn new culture.

Thierry Randrianarison 

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