Mathew Chesa


Age: 24

The day was Monday September 8th 2008. The moment I had been waiting for had finally come. I was headed for the World Youth Alliance North America office to begin my three month internship. I knew this was going to be interesting. From what I had been told by former interns, I was prepared to learn lots of new things as well as share my experience with other interns. I was also set for the fun that comes with living in an international house. One of my interests in life is going places and meeting faces. I therefore knew I would enjoy the internship since there were lots of new faces to meet and places to go. I was the last one to arrive for orientation at the WYA Headquarters on East 71st Street in New York. I however managed to get there just in time for the start of the orientation. Of course I didn’t get the other interns’ names immediately and had to spend the next couple of hours sorting that out.

I was assigned internship projects which included; Research on the 47th session of the Commission for Social Development (CSD 47) at the United Nations, handling the publicity module of the North America Decade of Dignity and Development (DDD) conference, the North America NGO fair and managing the WYA North America DDD Art competition. Unlike my previous internships in other organizations, working with WYA gave me hands on experience through directly handling the day to day affairs of my projects and consulting with my supervisors where necessary. I learned better resource management skills and really enjoyed the professional approach that WYA took when dealing with issues that affect young people. Participating in sessions at the UN also exposed me to the realities and challenges of advocacy work at international policy making forums. I realized the importance of having the Youth represented by people who know the real challenges facing the Human Person and are committed to helping in developing practical solutions.

with my colleagues on our way from the UN in New York

Through the training undertaken, I learned more about the dignity of the person as well as various international issues and their effect on the human person. I also got to appreciate even more the diverse cultures represented at WYA; I shared my internship experience with interns form North America, Philippines and Lebanon.

Happy Birthday! celebrating one of the interns birthday at the WYA House

The best part about WYA is the people. After one week at the WYA house it felt as though I had known my fellow interns for months or years. The staff members were also great people to be with. Of course I was rather nervous at first but after a while, I realized they don’t bite. Spending time around the kitchen table was interesting, especially when everybody noticed my love for Ketchup. It so happens that a previous Kenyan intern, who happens to be my sister (Tessy) was also in love with ketchup, which left them wondering whether it was a family thing or a Kenyan thing. Hopefully the next intern will resolve the issue :-). Of course the internship had its challenges and for me, the one thing I dreaded most was making phone calls, and all because my after 9 months over here my Kenyan accent is still intact. I owe the Americans in the office for helping me out through the pronunciation lessons. I can now differentiate between ‘world’ and ‘wild’. I also know that in the US cars don’t hoot, they honk, thanks to Casey my fellow intern. I would also like to express my gratitude to everyone at WYA for doing all they could to make me grow bigger. After loosing one pound in my first two months at WYA at least I managed to recover half of that just before I left.

L-R:Mathew(me), Christine (Philippines), Rita(Lebanon) and Casey (USA)

As I move on to the next phase in life, I will always look back at WYA and acknowledge that it played one of the greatest roles in shaping my destiny…


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