I’ve always had a dream of going abroad, whether it was through an Erasmus program or an internship. The destination itself wasn’t the crucial factor; I simply wanted something new and different. Curiosity has always been the driving force behind my life, naturally leading me to envision myself in various countries. However, I never imagined that I would end up spending nearly four months in Nairobi, Kenya.
Hi everyone, my name is Erica Marchesi and after a bachelor degree in Economics and Business Management, I got a master’s degree in Management for Business, through which I learned to love subjects like corporate strategy and private banking. Furthemore, I am an avid reader and a passionate dancer. When the opportunity to fly to Kenya for an internship with E4Impact Foundation initially presented itself, I made an impulsive decision to leave behind the life I knew and embark on a new adventure. From that point on, I started dreaming of Kenya.
I had heard numerous things about Kenya, but this travel ended up to be an entirely unexpected and astonishing experience. As Wilbur Smith beautifully wrote in “Leopard Rock: The Adventure of My Life,” Africa is an ancient, vast, and majestic land, characterized by the cycles of death and renewal. Although we often consider ourselves the dominant species, life on these timeless plains, under a sky that seems to shimmer from the scorching sun’s rays, possesses rhythms beyond our comprehension.
In this environment, we are granted freedom, and our spirits can find solace, but only if we reciprocate with respect, loyalty, and humility. In Kenya, nothing and no one remains stagnant; everything is in a constant state of flux and transformation.
It was here that I found a second home, a place where I felt a profound sense of belonging: Kenya’s breathtaking nature left an indelible mark on my soul. The landscapes stretched before me with a magnificence that words could scarcely capture. I experienced incredible things. I witnessed herds of graceful elephants wandering freely across the Masai Mara, I saw a flamboyance of flamingos, towers of giraffes, dazzles of zebras and lots of lions as well.
In Kenya, I was privileged to witness the harmonious coexistence between humanity and nature. The conservation efforts, the delicate balance preserved by the people, spoke a lot about their profound connection with the land.
Not only beautiful landscapes, during my three-month internship, I was fortunate enough to also encounter remarkable individuals whom I never expected to meet, first of all the President of the Italian Republic, Sergio Mattarella. It was a delightful surprise, and it was very thrilling. He visited the E4Impact Entrepreneurship Center on the 16th of March, and I know I will forever cherish that moment. It was very special. I had the chance to shake his hand and explain to him what I was doing there. There’s no proof of that moment because nobody took us a picture, but believe me, it has happened for real and I’m still in shock!
Prior to meeting the Italian President, we had the honour of meeting Mrs Letizia Moratti, the President of E4Impact. She was very sweet with all the interns and took a genuine interest in our aspirations and ambitions. It was my first time meeting her, and on that day, I discovered a formidable, passionate, and compassionate woman, overflowing with experience and stories to tell. Getting to know new people is one of my favourite things, and such encounters are commonplace at the E4Impact Entrepreneurship Centre in Kenya.
During the internship, I have had the opportunity to work on several projects, I have learnt how to write a concept note for a project proposal and I also gained valuable experience in managing the application process for startups.
Throughout these experiences, I sharpened my skills in project planning, research, and coordination. I also gained a deeper understanding of the importance of effective communication, attention to detail, and effective teamwork in successfully executing projects.
But the most important thing for me has been understanding my future goal: I’d like to empower female entrepreneurs. I’ve understood that during an event that we have organized for the launch of the Wonder Program. Many special guests gave speeches and one of them said: “When you empower a woman, you empower a village”. Thanks to this powerful statement I understood what I would like to do in my life.
As I reflect upon my time in Kenya, the memories remain vivid in my mind. The sights and sounds continue to stir a deep sense of reverence within me. Kenya’s landscapes and captivating wildlife taught me the invaluable lesson of our place in the grand tapestry of the natural world. It is a lesson I carry with me, a reminder to cherish and protect the extraordinary beauty that exists all around us.