Denise Oberndorfer and Angelika Radkohl

Our internship at the Port Reitz School in Kenya.


During the course of our Occupational Therapy training, we decided to do an internship abroad and opted for the Port Reitz School in Mombasa, Kenya, a school for children with physical and mental disabilities complete with an attached children’s home. The internship cannot be compared with a vocational internship in the western world. It is less about conveying professional expertise and much more about submergence in a completely different world with a different culture, history, climate, mentality, way of life and other social situations and behaviours. In May 2014, we started out on our six-week ‘Africa’ adventure with the aim of expanding our horizons.

And it certainly was an adventure. Initially, we found it very difficult to get used to the Kenyan ‘Pole-Pole’ (Swahili for ‘slowly slowly’) and ‘Hakuna-Matata’ (Swahili for ‘no problem’). At no point during the six weeks did we hear the phrase ‘Haraka-Haraka’ (Swahili for ‘hurry hurry’). Despite the prevailing poverty, the people of Kenya exude a zest for life which was infectious. Every individual experience we had along the way made this trip worth-while – the gratitude of every local child, the friendships we made there, the vast expanse of the Kenyan National Parks, the roaring lion close to our tent, the welcoming female elephant and her calf, the Masai dances in the villages, the view of Kibo (Kilimanjaro) and the monkeys which stole the sugar from our rooms.