My initial goal was to go to Africa without being a tourist, discover what I could of local culture and hopefully help some people.
Too many programs that I found just seemed like this cliche "build a house or teach english"; the cost of these programs seemed to me too high and the actual value created was dubious in my opinion.
I found IPI through Ecologia Youth Trust, and after reading extensively about it I decided it was this or nothing. Ultimately I found that I was very much encouraged to take any initiatives I wanted and very free, so independence was key here. I noticed that quite a few projects had been started but not finished, so decided to follow through on those that interested me: production of methane/biogas from cow dung before using it as fertilizer or their solar photo-voltaic system.
The most remarkable feature of IPI is how it is just such a magnet for fascinating people. Without leaving Meru I was able to meet the most interesting of people from all over the global north and eastern Africa. The diversity of conferences held during my time there were a great complement to the more manual work that had been my primary focus initially.
I came to Kenya as Kilian, a foreigner in an unknown country. Seven months later, I left as Mwongera with a new place I know I can come back to, what some would call a home.
What would you improve about this program?
Hard to say, it was pretty perfect.
Be prepared for the most serious rains of your life if your staying long enough.