Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Red Cross: Carrying the Kenyan flag Solferino Italy.

The first thing I notice about Beatrice Wango, fourth year BBA bias in Marketing is her charming smile and radiating warmth.

I catch up with her in the room to chat about the one week meeting of Red Cross Red Crescent third world youth seminar to mark 150 years since creation of international Red Cross movement.

Beatrice, the former secretary of Maseno University Red cross chapter presented the west region amongst other eight delegates nationwide in Solferino near Milan, Italy where they joined over 6,000 volunteers from 150 counties worldwide.

The Italian Red Cross organized the camp in 23rd – 29th June last year at the Solferino site where Henry Dunant, a young Swiss businessman mobilized Volunteers around one-and-a-half century ago to help thousand of unassisted wounded soldiers.

“all can, in one way or another, each in his own sphere and within his own limitations, do something to help the good work move forward.” Henry Dunant5 recalled in A Memory of Solferino.

Dunant’s inspiration formed the world largest humanitarian organization with 137 Red Cross and Red Crescent societies, with over 250 million staff and volunteers.

It was this mammoth organization that Beatrice Wango joined as a first year in 2007 and was lucky to trace its roots to Italy.

“i was attracted to Red Cross society because of the basis of humanitarian aid ion providing opportunity to help the vulnerable in the society.” Recalls Beatrice about her maiden step to join Red Cross Maseno University Chapter.
The task as a volunteer and the chapter secretary was demanding and took toil on her time but she didn’t despair.

“you have to take your club seriously and put all the effort but not only for the certificates.” Advise Beatrice.

Amid the workload of coordinating Maseno university and the national Kenya Red Cross Beatrice built a rapport with other volunteers.

“The Kenya Red Cross deputy Dr. James Kisia asked for the lady from Maseno University chapter and recommended me strongly during the choosing of delegates.” Narrates Beatrice.

The Red Cross society catered for her Visa and transport while Maseno through the dean of student Dr. Olela aided in getting the passport and gave her the varsity blessing.

Thus on Monday 22nd June this year Maseno University and Kenya was presented internationally when the delegate’s plane left the JKIA to Milan via Dubai.

“I was elated as my fruit of determination and sacrifice was paid off.” Said Beatrice before breaking into a hearty laugh when i insisted on how she felt on her first flight.
“you should ask what you’ve done for Red Cross or even the University, but not what Maseno and Red Cross has done for you” Beatrice gives insight amid laughter.

On their two hours connection at Dubai in United Arabs Emirates Beatrice recalled the place as being very hot. It was hotter than under the equator in Maseno and she recalled Najivunia kuwa Mkenya slogan

“Although we stayed at the airport lounge, Dubai was so hot and I’d rather stay in Kenya.’

The Kenyan delegation was awestruck with amazingly high quality Milan infrastructure without traffic jams. The Italians were hospitable and easily recognized Kenyans because of their tourist connection to Kenyan wildlife and the beaches especially Malindi where a large Italian population reside.

“The only strange thing about Milan was the cigarettes butt that formed the litter on the streets” Beatrice said of the clean Milan streets except of their strange litter.

The international camp was a boast as youths discussed current global issues like climatic change, non-discrimination and racial tolerance together with youth leadership.

Beatrice says she greatly gained from the trip.

“personally I attended workshop seminars in food security, resource mobilization and youth and branch management.”

The Kenyan delegation was back in the country on 30th June and Beatrice says among her dear possession from Italy is the friends she made from all over the world. In addition she bought Confession of a Shopholic by from a duty free shop in Milan airport.

Her dearest souvenir is A Memory of Solferino by Henry Dunant a book she had tried buying in Kenyan bookshops in vain.

“it was the last copy from the international museum of Red Cross and Red Crescent. Amongst the multitude scrambling for the book I was lucky to buy it at about Ksh. 1,100”

The book, an International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC)/Geneva publication by Henry Dunant (1828-1910) his vital step between vision and devastation on 24th June 1859 at the battle of Solferino between Austria and France when he showed impassion appeal on behalf of the victim. The appeal saw the birth of Red Cross Red Crescent societies.

So dear is the book that my request to burrow it fell on deaf ears. I was counseled by a fanciful souvenir ring and mobile phone holder.

“I congratulate the varsity for the support they offered to me in particular and Red Cross Maseno chapter in general. I hope they continue with the sane spirit” Beatrice offers thanks for invaluable assistance by Red Cross society and the University.

For the students’ body the parting shot is Red Cross is the place to be because everybody belongs.

(Birth of Red Cross: Beatrice Wango with a friend at the Solferino Site where the worldwide Red Cross Red Crescent started. PHOTO: Courtesy)

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