Kevin takes on Germany

Kevin takes on Germany

I have been a member of Ghetto Classics, since 2012. As soon as I finished High school I had a dream, my dream was to learn how to repair the music instruments, I didn’t know how this would work but I knew there would come a way. When I completed school in 2016 I got a job as the assistant manager, where one of my main tasks was organising Skype lessons with the Stephanie and Salut Salon. I engaged Elizabeth into so many talks about instrument repairs and she promised to look into it and help me find a way out. That same year Stephanie Schiller (violinist with Salut Salon and friend of the Art of Music) came up with the idea of having someone get to Germany to learn how to repair the music instruments.

Of course you know where the tree of fortune landed…. I was really happy that at last I was going to have a chance to do what I have always wanted to do.  The big smile I had was taken a way slowly by the hustle I had to go through when looking for my papers.

One of my biggest hurdles was getting a birth certificate, it took me over 2 years. I kept pushing and with time I got a genuine birth certificate and was later bale to get my passport. Applying for a visa wasn’t that hard and since within three days I had my visa, which means I was finally able to go.

I saw the worry on my mom’s eyes when she got it right that at last I was going to leave for three months. With so much assurance that I would return, she gave in to not worrying and wishing me a safe flight. I left Kenya on the 22nd of March and the next day 23rd of March I was in Hamburg. The very quiet environment of Eppendorfer Landstraße welcomed me. This was very different from my very rowdy Korogocho.

Stephanie who was to be my parent in Hamburg assured me of her help in anything I would want. I entered into my room and it was awesome. Very big and spacious. I felt at home. Stephanie introduced me to my host, Ameli Winkler, 73 years old but still very strong. We created a bond between us and it was always awesome.

My first month was with the brass and woodwind repair, I was introduced to Michael Danner, the owner of Brassiere Hamburg a company that works on woodwind and brass instruments. A very friendly man and my best man in my entire time in Germany, we would spend time having Dad-to-Son talks when I was not working in the workshop.  He would cook for me and make sure I had enough to eat. In the workshop was Mio, a Japanese lady who was specialised in repair of woodwind and Arno, who was specialised in brass repair. We spent much time together and they were really helpful.

In the second month I went to Anneke Degen, a violinmaker. She had her co-worker by the name Lenah Sejaloli. It was also really awesome. I had a chance to explore a lot in string instruments making.

My third month was a bit divided. The first two weeks I met a man by the name of Frank Bogle. He is a woodwind repairer and we spent our time learning different technics in repair of woodwind instruments. He was really great and I learnt a lot as well from him.

The third week I went to visit Dr. Thomas Tuschen, a cellist in the Ensemble Medici who took me to a meeting with the Rotarians who offered to buy me some tools, so that I can start an instrument repair shop in Nairobi . I went back to Michael Danner for the last days and finished up my time in Hamburg.

I can’t forget the different days we would go out with Stephanie, Benjamin (Stephanie fiancé), Anneke, Lena, Frank Bogle and of course my big man Michael Danner. The highlight of the trip was the German cultures. I was really happy to understand festivals and experience some like the harbour birthday where people come all over around Europe to celebrate the Elbe harbour in Hamburg. I’m excited to bring the skills that I have learnt and also train up others.