Our trip to Jolaurabi School, Kenya
Wow what another amazing trip! We landed back in the UK on Monday and I am already missing this amazing school that has stolen my heart.
I was lucky enough to share the trip with new, and more seasoned, volunteers this year. There were 18 of us in total over the 2 weeks and that meant we were able to take 36 cases of shoes, socks, pants, uniform, teddies and lots more goodies over to the school in Kenya. And we packed a lot in over the days we were there.
We fitted over 720 children at Jolaurabi School with "new shoes" and gave them all new socks. The joy they have over their new shoes is so uplifting, although unsuprising when you see the state of the shoes they are wearing when we arrive. Some we recognised from fitting them last year! They are also very proud of their new shoes and take great pride in making sure they look after them, some to the extreme as they take them off as they leave school to make sure they don't get dirty or dusty, baffled as I tell them to put them back on!
We said goodbye to the school where the Kindergarten classes of the school were situated. This was the original site that Ian and Maureen McIntyre secured when they set the school up over 20 years ago. It was a sad goodbye ...
but to see all the children welcomed in one place is fantastic and will have so many benefits.
We took over 80 children on trips to the local zoo - Halle Park - where for the first time they saw giraffes, hippos and crocodiles amongst others. They were so excited and appreciative of their morning out. Hamaton, a 13 year old boy, walked with me the whole way round, expressing his excitement and delight at being given such an amazing opportunity. It is so humbling that a simple thing that cost us a mere £3 per child, could bring such happiness.
We walked around the villages giving out hats, clothes, shoes, pens and pencils and of course some sweets. As we arrived in one of the villages furthest from the school in a tuktuk, the kids spotted my son George and came running up to us, chasing the tuktuk screaming his name - he feels like a mini celebrity as we go round the villages but they are all so excited to see him and it warms my heart to see him growing up with this experience, knowing it will stay with him forever.
We did some home visits to some of the children our friends and families sponsor and also to the homes of those that have just started at the school. This I always find the most rewarding, but also the most emotional. Some of these children get up at about 5am to walk to school for 45 minutes in the dark to start school at 6am. For many the houses they live in are mud huts, with no electricity, the children often sleeping on the floor unless they are lucky to have a mattress or a bed. The toilets are shared by the block you live in if you are lucky, or are communal in the village if you are not. They collect water in big cans from a pump down the road. They truly are living hand to mouth, and with no free education system (there are some government schools but you are still required to buy uniform, shoes and books), without charities like Educate the Kids, these children would continue in this cycle of poverty as without an education they can't escape as they are unable to get a job without their school certificates. That all said, in each house we visited, we are also welcomed with smiles and pride as they show us around their homes. It really is truly humbling.
I'm now looking forward to hosting the choir from the school for a week in Portishead at the end of April where you can meet them at various events we are in the process of planning - school visits, Ladies Night, a concert with Generation Vibe and one with Stepping Stones School of Dance - I can't wait. Details to follow!
If you are interested in sponsoring a child, it is only £11 a month. Visit Educate The Kids to get involved.