Notes From the Field: Why I Love My Job

Hello! I’m Milkah, and it’s my pleasure to introduce myself to you! I’m many things— wife, mother and counselor with Village Impact. When I began pursuing a career in counseling, psychology was considered a study for those with “problems.” The stigma for those with mental health issues in my country, and in particular, in the town where I lived, Nakuru, remains.

People in my community are often not very supportive and don’t understand why I chose to study counseling. However, the negativity of others did not stop me from what I had grown to love. As one of our traditional sayings goes:

“The croak of a frog can never stop a cow from drinking water in a river.”

My thirst to be of service to those in need was incredibly strong, and it was always my belief that I would ultimately be in a role that would make a difference in the lives of others.

As a young child, my parents taught us compassion for others. I grew to love and share what I had with those less privileged.

I remember one day, I took a pair of my brand new shoes and gave them to a friend who did not have shoes. It used to pain me a lot when I would hear someone had a problem. I thought if I studied nursing I would help a lot of people with problems or pain.

This was how I thought as a child.

But, I didn’t become a nurse. I left high school and pursued other courses, though, in any position I worked at, I served clients with passion and compassion. It is because someone noticed these characteristics in me and recruited me to their organization that marked the beginning of my journey to become a professional counselor.

“Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes time. Vision with action can change the world.”
-Joel A. Barker

It was time to realize my vision of serving humanity in a professional way.

After completing my studies, I started my practice. I’m proud to say that I’ve been able to have a significant impact on the students and clients I have attended.

One of the most memorable times in my professional journey was during the post-election violence in Kenya 2007/2008.

Our nation was plunged into bloodshed and destruction. I had to leave my eight-month-old baby home to go out and offer my support. I met widows, widowers, orphans, the elderly, hungry and countless wounded citizens.

Having worked in the midst of such atrocity, I tell you without a shadow of a doubt, if a helper wasn’t emotionally stable themself, they could collapse.

One day, as I reported into one of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps, I was confronted by a suicidal client. The session was long, but eventually, he calmed down and that day he chose to live.

Through Village Impact schools, today I serve some of the most displaced communities.

It’s such a joy supporting them through their recovery journeys and seeing their faces brightening up.

Through the support of our Manager, Psychologist Supervisors and the Board, I am able to reach out effectively–this gives me more joy beyond measure!

Transforming lives and impacting them with positive vibes has been my greatest satisfaction. – Milkah, Village Impact Counselor

When I meet clients who I have empowered, now doing better than myself, it makes my heart glad…,

I always say counseling is a calling more than anything else.

Sitting down (at times for hours longer than expected), listening to clients with various issues, carrying their emotions, feeling with them, it’s important to remember that the counselor too is human and is not immune to challenges–we too have our issues.

This is why I need to reiterate: You need to be skillful to help.

“Theory without practice is sterile, and practice without theory is both sterile and blind.”
-Rolly May

Thank you, Village Impact, for giving me a chance to serve my fellow citizens!

-Milkah, Counselor