Blog: Kenya Schools Project 2018

Oakham School students are returning to Kenya for the eighth time during February half term to support primary schools in rural Kenya. The groups will be helping to improve classroom conditions by renovating rooms and building desks, and they will also be supporting the staff by teaching some lessons.

Below are updates of the trip:

15 February 2018
After a fantastic meal at Carnivores last night, we had an early start to go on a sunrise safari, where we saw hippos, giraffes, rhinos, buffalo, vultures, warthogs, lionesses, hartebeasts, impala, zebra and eagles. Then we went to an elephant sanctuary where we met 28 orphan baby elephants. After lunch we visited a giraffe sanctuary and we fed and kissed the giraffes. 
Later in the afternoon we stopped at a mall to pick up some Kenyan snacks, and a market to do some more haggling. 
At our final dinner we said thank you and goodbye to Grace and Charles (resident tour representatives) without whom the trip wouldn’t have been possible, and then headed to the airport to begin our journey home. 
Leaders of the Day: Alice & Luke 

14 February 2018

Group 1
It was the most relaxing day we’ve had so far. We left our camp a little later than normal to travel back to Nairobi where we visited a market to buy souvenirs and haggle with the buyers. After that we went back to Wilderbeast camp where we had stayed the first night and lounged around the pool all day. We had dinner at the Carnivores restaurant where Alex had pizza and testicles. We also tried crocodile and rabbit which were surprisingly very yummy. Apparently a Kenyan celebrity was eating amongst us at the restaurant.

Group 2

After a lie in, we left Naivasha to head back to Nairobi. We all enjoyed some haggling at the market before arriving at Wildebeest, where we are enjoying an afternoon relaxing in the sun.

13 February 2018
Jambo Group 2

Today was our final day at school. We arrived early to prepare for our teaching day - it was a long day! However we all thoroughly enjoyed it. We taught a total of 200 children across the morning teaching lessons ranging form drama to physics. The children were very well behaved and listened intently to everything we had to say. We finished our time at the school with a traditional meal. The food was extremely delicious and it was great to interact with the teachers at the school. Before we left we were invited to a farewell ceremony in which the children displayed their high level of talent in the two songs they sang. Nikhil and Clo , our leaders of the day, made a speech to thank the all the staff and the children for their contribution to this fantastic experience. This evening we are relaxing with a BBQ and camp fire before we depart for Nairobi tomorrow.
Leaders of the Day: Clo & Nikhil

Group 1

Here is a video of the pupils singing the song 'If you are happy and you know it' during class today.


12 February 2018

Jambo -  
Today we were expecting a tough day, as we had to finish all the jobs. However, as we arrived at the school, there weren’t that many tasks so we made sure that we had time to play with the children at the school.

We managed to paint the school motto at the entrance of the school and we also had more time to renew the school hall. In addition, thanks to Lily's idea, we painted a creative tree, and as leaves she used the hands of all the Oakham School Kenya team members. At the end of the day, everyone had great fun with the kids. We did 6 different sport activities with them, one of which was 'duck, duck goose'. Overall, we had a brilliant day - one of the best so far.
Leaders of the Day: Moni & Lily  Group 2


Today was our first day meeting the children, and what an exciting, although tiring, day it was going to be! To start our day, we repainted two existing murals (affectionately known to our group as Muriels) on the exterior walls of the school; one a map of the Naivasha district and the other a display of the solar system, labelled in Swahili.

We also finally completed our varnishing of the new desks, which we bought for the classrooms and are now looking fantastic! The early completion of these tasks meant that we had time to accommodate a special request from the headteacher and class teachers to paint two more Muriels on the walls of the other two classrooms that we repainted. We spoke individually to the teachers to find out exactly what they wanted on their walls and managed to paint these in time for the end of the day. However, it proved a challenge to concentrate on painting with a full class of around thirty six year olds peering over our shoulders excitedly!

At break time, we had our first proper taste of what the rest of our day would entail, when (rather naively) we produced two footballs for the children to play with on the field. We were immediately bombarded by a huge mass of children, who took a particular interest in Tamako’s hair and managed to pull Libby to the ground by her plaits! Despite being a shock, every member of the group came away from that brief half an hour with a huge smile on their face and even more enthusiasm for the sport afternoon.

At 3pm we took a group of 162 children out onto the field and split them into groups to do five different activities. Expecting chaos, we were surprised to find that all of the children listened to us and absolutely loved playing every different sport, especially when Emmanuel’s dancing was involved! Seeing the children so happy and enthusiastic has put us in a fantastic mindset to go back and teach our planned lessons to them tomorrow!

Kwaheri, Group 1.

11 February 2018

Group 2

Today at the school we began by varnishing the remaining desks and sieving more of the sand for the plaster.
Whilst art students began painting the mural in the main hall and painted the first verse of the school children’s poem about equality, other students helped builders mix plaster and in turn apply it to the walls.
Listening to the traditional church service throughout the morning was certainly quite the experience.
During lunch, spare food was given to a little girl who also decided to paint herself with the wet walls, resulting in a frantic clean up operation.
When the new paint brushes arrived, work started in one of the classrooms painting the walls cream.
After a hard day in the sun, we returned to Fish Eagle Inn and spent the last couple of hours of sunlight playing rugby and relaxing.
Leaders of the Day: Harry & Abi

Group 1
Second day working and it has been physically tough but enjoyable and satisfying  working as a team together.

The main tasks today were to finish painting classrooms, doors and desks as well as designing and painting a mural in one of the classrooms. We decided on the design of a labelled picture of the body, a clock, a map of Britain with key landmarks on and finally a tree with leaves made up of hand prints from the members of the group.

The hardest part of today has been hand mixing cement and carrying it back forth for it to be placed on the floor in one of the classrooms. It was very physically challenging especially in the heat and being very tired. It did put a smile on our faces when having a laugh with the workers over our lack of strength in comparison to them.

One of the most enjoyable parts of today was when some members of the group went and bought some mangos for our break, which were very juicy and tasty!

It was a very successful day and we all gathered at the end of the day to view some of the photos and videos so far that Mr. Russell had taken, which brought smiles to everyone’s faces. We are very excited for our day tomorrow and especially meeting all the children and playing our different sporting activities with them.

10 February 2018

We had a fantastic first day working in our school. We enjoyed spending time with the kids in between work, having made progress painting the main hall and new desks. After speaking about what else we would like to do at the school, we have decided to create a mural using the chorus of a poem that was performed to us on the first day. The poem had a huge impact on all of us, and reminded us why we came on the trip to try and help in the first place. Before our evening meal, we had a nice time relaxing by the pool and playing rugby netball as a group. We are looking forward to making progress with the school tomorrow and to seeing the children again on Monday.

Group leaders 
Bryn & Lily

“Hot, wild and sweaty”. Surprisingly one of the best descriptions of today’s events(despite sounding like the slogan for a Baywatch sequel). Why was it hot? Because we were in Kenya, obviously. Why was it wild? Partly because we (Josh and Emmanuel) were in charge, but mainly because it was such new and alien experience - despite our meticulous planning. Why was it sweaty? Well, because we had a lot to do! Carrying the new desks down to the classrooms; classrooms which we had to scrape, scrub and swish with paint; sanding those desks down until they were smoother than Mr Russel’s sweet jams that we enjoyed for a large duration of our experience. But despite the overall sweatiness of the day, I’m confident in saying everyone valued and enjoyed the beginning of our Kenya project.

9 February 2018

Group 2 Friday
After having a wonderful cooked breakfast at  the Wildebeest Eco camp, we packed our bags and departed for our school-Maua Primary. We stopped en route to look at the views of the great Rift Valley and Mount Longanot. Continuing on our journey we sang lots of songs - even the teachers joined in! We decided to sing ‘Reach for the Stars’ by S Club 7 at the school welcome ceremony. We struggled to learn all of the lyrics and the dance routine was basic at best! We stopped off at the supermarket to buy our supplies for the week mainly consisting of water and multiple snacks! Nikhil however, being careless and slapdash, launched one of the 18 litre bottles of water, which promptly split and flooded a nearby shop. Next stop, the school! We were welcomed with smiles and waves by the children, who entertained us with a few fabulous songs and a powerful poem. Then it was our turn, and i think we did ourselves justice and remembered the lyrics, singing and dancing at the same time - with some hiding at the back! 
We introduced ourselves to a few teachers and excited students and we look forward to starting the work tomorrow. We checked in to Fish Eagle Inn, where we had a much needed lunch, followed by a boat safari and bush walk, where Mrs Titcombe was rather tentative getting into the boat! We saw hippos, zebra, warthogs and giraffes. This evening we were all very tired but we are all excited to starting the building work early tomorrow. 
Ed  & Lucy - leaders of the day

After our long travel day yesterday we set off on our adventure. We went on water safari round Lake Naivasha  where we saw hippos and a variety of different birds. We then stepped off the boats and embarked through the wilderness to see other land animals. It was out of this world. We have had two fantastic meals at a great place to stay and we look forward to tomorrow. 

Group 1

8 February 2018

Thursday - Groups 1 and 2 
After a 6am flight, we arrived in Frankfurt after the first leg of our journey. We managed to work out the menus for breakfast, before our longer flight to Nairobi. We had a good flight with much sleeping and some watching of films. Nairobi airport was quite an experience! After much form filling we collected baggage - only to find one suitcase of t shirts for the schools failed to make it on to the plane. It will catch up with us tomorrow once it has been sent up by taxi. Phew! 
Wildebeest Camp is fantastic! We were welcomed with delicious homemade soup and enjoyed a late supper listening to the crickets and enjoying the peace and quiet. 
We felt refreshed when we woke on Friday morning after a good night of glamping! A hearty breakfast awaits! Our great leaders of the day have done a splendid job getting us all here and sorted!  

Jambo! We are just boarding the flight to Nairobi and looking forward to arriving at our destination.

It’s 12:30am and we are about to get on the coach. We’ve spent 3hours counting and packing t-shirts but finally we have the right number! Everyone is tired but excited to get to the airport. We are all looking forward to starting our adventure tomorrow.


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