As Kenya grows I want to be part of it

As Kenya grows I want to be part of it

Written by Carolyne Wangare, HHFL intern

“One is successful when one does what one knows how to do well”

I think this is what has kept me going throughout my years in the college. As a routine in my school, one has to send an application form, CV and personal documents to an establishment so as to apply for an internship of which most of them result in an interview. That’s the case with me.

At first, I didn’t trust myself so much at a point that I couldn’t believe I could train in Kempinski, the most luxurious and high class Hotel around the world. I feared maybe I wasn’t good enough for that class of a hotel but I decided not to let the past ghosts and failures determine my future. I am now a girl who has turned out to be very professional and responsible. I stop at nothing, and want the best for my career. The past is in the past. With the help of my mentor and teachers, Mr. Amani and Md. Priscah, I applied for an internship at Villa Rosa Kempinski.

After two days I received a call from Kempinski inviting me for an Interview. Fyucks! Little did I know the journey has just begun! The preparation was really hard, especially choosing what to wear because I had to appear presentable and very professional. But with the help of Md. Lucy (HHFL Manager), I was able to come up with a very beautiful official suit. It was really presentable and very professional indeed, thanks to her! At last I was ready for the interview and with all the best wishes from everyone from Hanne Howard Fund, I had a feeling something good was about to happen!

On the day of the interview we were so many. There were 40 of us. Students from different universities and only five from our school. Our school was the only college, something that made me frightened. Competing with university students who have degrees and masters??? But I remembered where I came from and what a blessing to be in such a place with all these people around me. I said to myself, let them see what a college and a HHFL girl is capable of doing!

I walked in the interview room smiling, head held high, and in a lot of confidence just as Alex had taught us. I was interviewed by 5 head of departments in the hotel, unlike the others who were interviewed by only 3 heads. I was asked both general and education questions which were average. They also asked me if I was taken in, what would I benefit from their Hotel? “I am very good in Marketing,” I said. “I know I am convincing enough that it’s hard for someone to resist what I ask of them. I am charming.” “Marketing is the heart of almost every business, and I am sure the hotel will improve with arrivals, which will lead to profit maximization, which is the goal for every business.” I did my best.

After the Interview I was told to wait for 3 days to know if I passed my Interview or not. I tell you they were days full of tension. I hardly slept, carrying my phone everywhere just in case they called. After the third day, I received their call and was told that I had passed the interview. Out of the 40 of us only 15 were taken and out of the 5 students from my school only 2 of us were taken. I couldn’t believe it. I was so happy that day that I couldn’t keep still. I talked endlessly and by the end of the day I thought I would run mad. The excitement was too much.

At last I had proven to them and myself that I can do it. I am capable of doing and achieving anything so long as I have the passion, determination and above all self-belief. I knew this was a kick off to a successful career and a bright future!

I have already started my 6-month Internship and as I write this story now, I am at the Reservation Center. Here I am training to make bookings via emails and phone calls. Next I will train in the Food and Beverage Service, Front Office, Housekeeping & Laundry, Food and Beverage Production, Food cost and Control consecutively. So far my experience at Villa Rosa Kempinski has far surpassed all my expectations.

At the end of my training, I am sure I would have gained a lot of experience that would enable me to face and work with Hospitality gurus as I work myself towards their ladder in future. And who knows, at the end of my training I will be among the chosen few to join the Kempinski fraternity. A job opportunity that will enable me to pay the loan HHFL has leant me for my upkeep during this internship period and act as important step to fulfill my dream of living into the middle class and living a better life.

Life hasn’t always been easy. As I look back since my childhood until my turning point, I am proud to say I have achieved something very big. My mum used to do laundry for other people in the slum where we only afforded one or no meal at all. I lived a single room. Life was really, really hard. HHFL came to my rescue in 2006 and since then my life took a great different turn! I was a very shy, low-esteemed girl. I didn’t know how to speak English let alone writing. HHFL clothed me, gave a me shelter, offered food and took me to school. It was very hard for me to catch up with the other students, which resulted in poor performance no matter how hard I tried. This was something that really discouraged me. Mother Hanne and Father Ted and other volunteers really helped me with my English and they were always encouraging me and believed in me even in the lowest moment when I was at the edge of everything until I was through with my High School still with low grades.

I didn’t know what career to do with my low grades. I had a couple of fields to choose from but I didn’t qualify in any of them. With the help of Alex, I was able to know where I really belonged. Throughout her training and mentorship she brought out the best in me, I was able to discover more about myself that I didn’t have an idea about. A lot of qualities that I didn’t know I possessed. With that, I was able to highlight my interests, passions, etc. Some qualities fit a Hospitality Career and decided to settle for that career. Using Tr. Isayah’s help, I was able to secure a place at a reputable Hospitality School known as Amboseli Institute of Hospitality and Technology. Due to my grades I applied for a certificate in Hospitality Management. Soon enough I started my classes and I worked very hard indeed. I needed to prove to myself that I was not a loser and failing once doesn’t mean I was a loser. Picking up the pieces and moving on determined is what counts. I tried my best and at the end of the certificate level I emerged the second best student in my course, something that left everyone surprised, myself included. So I can do it? Never giving up and self-belief were the right words to explain all that. With the results I qualified for my Diploma class and I am proud to say that I am graduating come 22nd of August 2015.

They may have experienced a difficult past, but Carolyne & Mercy will always eachother and the HHFL family for support

Carolyne and Mercy




They may have experienced a difficult past, but Carolyne & Mercy (right) will always have each other and the support of their HHFL family. They couldn’t be more excited for the future, and that is due in part to our amazing child sponsors.





So far what I have achieved is satisfying though I won’t stop working until I attain the best. I will start as a simple employee and as the time goes by a lot of experience would have been achieved which will enable me to climb to higher heights by becoming e.g a Front Office Manager or an Executive Housekeeper etc. Lastly, I will be able to live the life of my dreams and also working in the Hospitality Industry, an industry that I have passion for. Attendung to international guests and improving the state of my country since Hospitality is the backbone of Kenya. As Kenya grows I want to be part of it!

Special Thanks goes to the HHFL family and all the donors especially Mrs. Somerville who have seen me through my school, for always believing in me, and the great mentorship they have offered me. To the Amboseli tutors especially Mr. Amani, Md. Priscah and Md. Rose, for bringing out the best in me and lastly to my Mum Nancy, for always encouraging me and always being there for me.

Education is HHF’s top priority as the primary means to achieve self-reliance and break the cycle of poverty. Sponsor an HHFL child today click here 


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