Kenya 2016 Blog: Changing Lives
The Albion Foundation are currently undertaking their third trip to Kenya in three years as a group of over 20 volunteers and Albion Foundation members of staff travel to help improve the lives of those less fortunate than ourselves.
Day by day, they will be submitting a diary entry. Read about their adventures below:
Day One and Two:
The first two days at Jubilee Academy has seen the group split in two with one of the groups with Anna Pincher and Jay Willis lining the walls of a newly constructed classroom with mud as well as levelling off the floor in the classroom ready for the walls and the floor to be plastered and cemented. Meanwhile Harley Simpson and David Moore have bought paint supplies to repaint the entire building white before adding colour to it with the message ‘Welcome to jubilee academy’ for the children to enjoy. Amongst the highs there was a humbling defeat for the Albion team against the Jubilee Academy team on Monday. We have been promised a rematch.
Over at Ronaken Academy the team have been working hard to put up an outside wall to replace the fence to make the academy safer. They started by clearing the thorn bushes and trees on day one before the group cleared the fences on day two ready for the wall to begin construction tomorrow.
Day 3 at the projects saw the team at Jubilee completing many jobs such as filtering the cement ready to concrete the walls and floor tomorrow, plastering the walls of an outside classroom that had some holes in and levelling off the floor in both classrooms. Whilst this was happening the painting in the nursery building was completed with the ‘welcome to Jubilee Academy’ sign ready to welcome visitors alongside the Albion Foundation badge.
Meanwhile at Ronaken Academy the group started by giving gifts to the children before moving large heavy bricks along the site and into place to begin building the outside wall.
The group at Jubilee Academy mixed the mud with their feet before covering the outside and inside walls with mud. After this they mixed the concrete and covered the gaps and holes in the walls around the building. As well as this the group played the school football team again and this time managed to draw 4-4.
At Ronaken today the group moved gravel all morning, moved the bricks to help continue with the building of the wall. The group also went on visits to some of the school children’s homes. The houses ranged in poverty, with some children having; a sofa and a table; a tv; or nothing but a concrete floor. On one of the last visits, a young girl took the group to her auntie’s house, as she was too ‘ashamed’ to show them her house. When they realised this, they told her how proud they are of her and she agreed to take them to her home.
When the group arrived, her house was a tiny room with absolutely no furniture in but a single sheet to sleep on. As you can imagine, they were all deeply upset by this and walked back to school in a sad silence. Once back, they discussed how much this girl touched their hearts, and how they felt that they could not leave her like this. The group all came together and brought her and her family a brand new mattress. At the end of the school day, they took the new mattress to her home and presented it to her family. The gratitude her mother showered them with, will always stay in their hearts.
Day Five, Six and Seven:
On Day 5 both groups went to their projects to continue with their hard work of building the wall at Ronaken and repairing the classrooms at jubilee. As well as this both groups took large amounts of clothes to the children to take home. Their faces were filled with so much gratitude and they were clutching on to their clothes like they never wanted to let them go. At midday both groups were picked up from their projects and taken to the Nakuru dump site where bags and bags of rubbish is sent their regularly and piled up in huge mounds for as far as the eye can see. The dump site is home to over 8,000 locals who live in abject poverty and search through the bags of rubbish to find food as well as materials to make things with. When it rains the smell at the dump site is unbearable and there are huge amounts of insects in the air. Whilst there, the groups donated a large amount of clothes to the people at the dump site as well as buying items that the locals had made from things that they had collected in the rubbish bags. One heartwarming moment was when a packet of biscuits was handed to the oldest boy but instead of snatching them and keeping them for himself he shared them out equally to the other children. For most of the group it was certainly one of the most humbling experiences of their lives and what stood out above all was that despite their horrendous living conditions the people still had smiles on their faces.
Day 6 was a day away from the projects for the group. The group awoke early on Saturday morning to head off for a safari at 7.30. The safari took place at Lake Nakuru national park and continued all morning. It proved to be a really enjoyable experience with giraffes, rhinoceroses, monkeys and zebras among the animals spotted. After this the group headed over the equator where they saw the experiment that showed north of the equator water goes clockwise down a drain whereas just south of it, it turns in an anti clockwise direction. After this their final stop was a huge waterfall where most of the group climbed down the bottom and back up to the top getting absolutely soaked in the process. It was an early start and a late finish but the day proved to be very enjoyable for everyone involved.
On Day 7, Anna Pincher, Jay Willis, Harley Simpson and David Moore visited Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewa Jatha temple in Kericho to see some of the work being done by Nishkam in the local area. Nishkam is an organisation that funds projects all over the world and the Albion Foundation is familiar with this though work that they do in Birmingham. Today the group first visited a women’s prison where a number of the prisoners have new born babies and children living with them in prison. Nishkam has funded a new building which is near completion for the prisoners to use which is much improved on the current conditions that the prisoners use. Upon completion this building will be used for a number of reasons including educating the young children and the prisoners. The second place that the group visited was a children’s home where children are taken in after being abandoned, left without parents and at times left to die. The home educates the children who stay there all the time, the centre has once again been funded by Nishkam and it was clear to see the joy on the children’s faces despite their difficult histories. Finally the group went to The hope centre which is a centre for children who all are HIV positive, the whole day was incredibly moving but this centre particularly affected our staff because of how awful it must be for these children dealing with such an illness. The day was certainly eye opening for all staff not only for the wonderful work that Nishkam do but also for the potentially huge difference the Albion Foundation could do in the future with all of these centres.
Days eight and nine:
The final days at both Ronaken and Jubilee proved very eventful and emotional for all of those involved. Both groups continued to work on their different tasks including the wall at Ronaken and the classrooms at Jubilee. Among their hard work the groups went on some home visits to give some food packages to children who would most benefit from the gifts, what struck the group most when walking through the slums was the gratitude of the families at the homes as well as the kindness of the other people as the group passed through the slums.
On the final day both academies prepared final farewell performances and upon leaving there were tears shed from both staff and children alike. In the evening of the final day staff from both academies and the group were invited to a farewell dinner to celebrate the achievements of the past few days.
This trip has been truly life changing for many on the trip, it has seen the Albion Foundation continue their strong relationship with Nishkam, it has seen it strengthen their relationship with Ronaken and begin a special relationship at Jubilee. The whole group should be really proud of what they have achieved and the legacy they have left will continue to be seen for the foreseeable future.