Vicki Burton talks us through a busy and emotional Tuesday in Kenya as she and the NCS graduates and volunteers continue their work.
Jambo and welcome to Day 8 of the trip blog. Another day at school today with a visit into the local community this afternoon.
We had spoken to Susannah yesterday about what to take for our community visits and she said that as the weather is cold at the moment (what!?), it would be helpful to purchase blankets. We gave Leah 3000KSh (around £24) and asked if she could visit the market and purchase some blankets for us.
We met up with Gilbert again and he told us the plan for the day. We needed to continue sieving the mud until we finished the whole pile, as well as moving wheelbarrows of soil to the doorway of various classrooms in order to improve the walls and floors.
While some people helped with the manual labour, a big game of football was taking place. There are some unbelievably talented footballers at the school and the playtime matches are so much different to England. They are so creative and unselfish; I’ve never seen so many passes taking place in school yard football! Alex and Isaac are stand out players with an incredible first touch, great stamina and impeccable bravery. Evans is only 11 but makes some great saves in his favourite position between the rocks! These boys have never been coached and play on a dusty surface with shoes that we wouldn’t dream of wearing, but their raw talent is scary.
As our students left the match to help out with the labour and play with other children, two of the older boys who I don’t even think go to the school but are related to the staff, took the ball to play themselves. Alex and some of the other boys went and sat on the ledge looking really disappointed. I decided to try to engage them in something else as they are a bit old to join in with the singing and dancing so I brought out a pack of cards and asked if they wanted to play. We went inside and played pairs. Lots of other children wanted to play so I had to keep rotating the players.
Gilbert told us they were planning to do another classroom floor so we needed to chop the top layer off again and sweep it away so we could add soil and cement to level it. We had to work quickly as they were keen to get this floor done today so everyone worked really hard; adding and flattening soil so the final layer of cement could be added.
Lunch arrived and we had a small rest while we ate. After lunch we set off on our community visit with Susannah, Edith and three of the children from school. We weren’t sure what to expect but it really shocked our students when we arrived at Catherine’s house. She lives with her mother and father and three siblings in a tiny one-bedroom house. The kitchen is a pile of rocks outside and they have an outdoor alleyway/garden that they share with the other families within their ghetto, as it is referred to here in Kenya. We met Catherine’s mother and gave her the blanket as a gift from the group. Catherine’s mother is disabled and has to use crutches to be able to walk. Edith told us that the family do as best as they can under the circumstances.
Next up we followed Alex on the short walk to his house. Going through a metal door, we passed some baby goats and came out onto a block of one-bedroom properties. Going into Alex’s house, we met his mother and baby sister. We learned that Alex’s father is blind and, because in Kenya there is no benefit system, he still needs to earn money. This is difficult because he can’t get a job due to his disability, so he has to go out begging in the street in order to feed his family. This really upset some of our students, seeing the hardship that some of these families are going through every single day.
Last on our visit was Caleb’s house. On the way we gathered a huge crowd of children from the local area who were keen to see us and hold our hands. Caleb’s family live in one tiny room, with five of them sharing a bed and some cooking pots on the floor. We met Caleb’s mother and father and gave them our donation.
We made the short walk back to the school and the children were delighted to see us back. Gilbert asked me to wash the tools in the wheelbarrow using the hose pipe. As I started, a group of children gathered round me, washing their hands and having a drink straight from the hose pipe. Gilbert said it was fine to let them do this but looking round and seeing the children snatching for the hose pipe and a drink was really quite overwhelming. The hose pipe had been stuck in mud and cement all afternoon but it didn’t bother the children who were delighted to play in the water and get a much needed drink.
Meanwhile, Ellie L and Taylor were playing with some children when they noticed two children who were struggling to keep their shoes on as one shoe had no laces. They decided to take the laces out of their shoes to give to the children, then gave their spare shoes to two of the other children, much to their delight as their current shoes were falling apart.
Due to the heat, our students decided to go to the swimming pool at Hotel Cathay again. At the end of the school day we quickly popped back to our hotel for our things for swimming and headed off for some fun and relaxation. It began to rain so we didn’t stay in for too long but a good time was had by all. Waiting for the bus, we had a fantastic sing-a-long which continued on the bus and back in our hotel. Our rendition of Bruno Mars gained us smiles and high fives from hotel staff and guests!
We had tea which again included potatoes, pasta and a form of meat, before settling down to watch Manchester City vs Liverpool!