Blog: Kenya Schools Project 2020

Oakham pupils are returning to Africa for the tenth time to support primary schools in rural Kenya. The group will be helping to improve classroom conditions, and they will also be supporting the staff by teaching some lessons. Below are updates of the trip:-

Day 10

Having boarded the plane at 11.30pm, we began our 8 hour flight back home. The plane journey back was shorter than on the way there as most of us fell asleep, and although some of us were disturbed by Moustapha’s snores, it was a peaceful journey. After a smooth-ish landing, we made our way to the long line leading to passport control, after which we picked up our bags from baggage claim. Having bought some food for breakfast, we then waited outside in England’s harsh weather for the bus to arrive; which would signal the end of an eye-opening trip.

Chad & Harry
 

Day 9

Today began earlier than usual with breakfast at 6am with lots of dreary faces at the table. Despite the tiredness, there was a sense of excitement as we were about to head out on safari hoping to see the big five.Unfortunately we only saw two, the rhino and the buffalo, but we did have the chance to see lots of other exciting wildlife, such as antelopes and a vulture.

We then headed off to an elephant orphanage with most people sleeping the entire way there, seeing their 5.30am start. At the elephant orphanage we got to see lots of baby elephants and listen to their story and how they ended up there. It was very adorable as some rolled around in the mud and played with the water buckets.

Our next stop was a well earned break for lunch back at camp where we had some chicken, rice, mango salad and spiced potatoes. In the afternoon we had the choice of either going to the local shopping centre or staying back at camp to sunbathe.

We then had dinner before heading off to the airport to catch our flight home. Nairobi was a new experience for many with the airport being vastly different to those at home - there were 3 sets of security and no duty free! We then boarded the plane and as it had been a long day most people fell straight to sleep.

Annabel and Grace.

Day 8

Our last day in Naivasha started with breakfast at 7 am before packing our suitcases onto the bus and leaving for a two-hour bus journey back to Nairobi, driving past Kibera, the largest slum in Kenya, which was incredibly eye-opening. We stopped at a lovely market where we had to negotiate and haggle for prices, which was an interesting experience. It was amusing to see a few students, who weren’t too good at it, get scammed for junk. A short trip back to the Wildebeest Eco Camp and we were reunited with our other group for lunch. In the afternoon we went to a giraffe sanctuary where we were able to stroke and feed the giraffes (from our hands and even mouth to mouth!). Personally I would say this was the highlight of the trip as we were up close with the animals and got some amazing selfies with them. Afterwards, we went back to the camp where we had a few hours to shower and get ready before leaving for dinner at the restaurant Carnivores. This was a new and interesting experienceas we tried a lot of new food such as crocodile, ostrich and even bull’s testicles! It was a lovely evening for everyone and a great last night of an amazing trip.

Day 7

Shermoi School

Today we were left with the task of finishing all the work in school. We split into two groups in order to finish the two classrooms, and to complete the elephant and giraffe murals. We all felt very proud of how we left the school and felt that we made a big difference to the staff and pupils. Following this we had a delicious lunch where we were given the choice of five different burgers, including a local fish burger from Lake Niavasha. Over lunch the girls challenged the boys to a game of volleyball, where they proved their abilities! We were then given the opportunity to go to the local shops up the road, where Mr Russell indulged in buying some mangoes. At 4pm the other group came to our camp to see us for a bit. It was very nice to catch up with them. During this day a hippo turned up which excited everyone. Tonight we had had a variety of curries which finished the day on a good note!

Longonot School

Today we had our final morning at the school and we finished the back wall, repainted windows, painted a mural in the classroom and repainted another classroom. An awesome morning of work! Grace had to mix the paint because Mrs Gomm deserted us (she was actually visiting a prep school).

We came back for a yummy 'chicken wrap' lunch, saw lots of monkeys and then relaxed. Some of us went to the local shops not quite like Oakham high street! Bella and Nez had their hair braided, not sure Mr Mayhew would approve! Then we went to visit the other group, and we saw a massive hippo.

We ended our last evening around the fire pit playing games and then had a quiz organised by Mr Sutterby. We will be very sad to leave Naivasha but looking forward to going back to Nairobi to visit the giraffes, elephants and go on safari. 

See you soon,
Annabel and Milly. 

Day 5

Shermoi School

We started the day very early with a 6:45 breakfast, taking in lots of caféine and sugar. When we arrived at the school we promptly started teaching the lessons. These were very chaotic because we were teaching 60 children per class and even over 100 in one! After this, we moved onto sports day which didn’t go exactly to plan (with lots of hugs instead of sport) but the kids seemed to enjoy it anyway. We then had a final ceremony where they performed for us with some beautiful dancing and singing. We then attempted to sing three songs in return and Phoebe got a special mention for her fantastic teaching skills. Saying our goodbyes, we had a fabulous traditional Kenyan lunch. We then had a free afternoon where we walked to the other camp and had a milkshake. It was a very emotional and tiring day. 

Longonot School

Today was an early start as we arrived at the school by 8. We taught 5 lessons which lasted 25 mins each. Then we tried uji, a  Kenyan breakfast staple, which didn’t go down well as it was a new taste for all of us. After that we took all the children out to the fields and played rounders, football and duck duck goose. Then we had the closing ceremony in which the children performed a song and we sang shine Jesus shine, a classic for all of us. The children were all really grateful for our efforts despite the bad swaying from someone in particular(Dom). Finally, we were given a traditional Kenyan lunch, which resembled a stew and was really tasty. We then returned back to camp and met the other group for some smoothies. We are excited for tomorrow as it’s the last day at the school. 
Thanks for reading. 
Dom and Henry

Day 4

Shermoi School

Our day began with another delicious English breakfast at our table, joined with a beautiful view of Lake Naivasha. The sun was, of course, shining brightly, and everyone was feeling positive, having had an understanding of what was ahead of us.

After a short bus ride to Shermoi school, we arrived to lots of waving children, who were excited to see us again at the entrance. We quickly delegated the tasks that needed to be completed having started them yesterday. A few oakhamians painted pillars in the hall outside the classroom, whilst others worked inside two of the classrooms, repainting and cleaning up walls, doors shelves and blackboards.

Meanwhile, we discussed ideas for the two murals that were to be painted on each classroom wall. We decided that one classroom was to have several giraffes necks sticking out of clouds, with the words “reach for the stars” painted in the sky as the motto. The second mural was two elephants with their trunks intertwined, along with the written phrase “teamwork makes the dream work”. The elephant’s body consisted of a collection of colourful handprints, belonging to both oakhamians and children from Shermoi. Once the murals were sketched out and painting had begun, a few of us fixed damaged desks, sanded and varnished them so that they could continue to be used. Before we knew it, it was time for us to leave, only after a quick game of football with the children, and a mountain of brushes, pots and all the mess were cleaned.

Aside from the work that we did at the school, we also prepared an interesting and perhaps slightly off-pitch rendition of “send me on my way” by Rusted Root, to be performed tomorrow in front of approximately six hundred students. We returned to another tasty supper, prepared for us at the camp, and spent the rest of the evening attempting to perfect tomorrow’s performance. It went SO well that we even decided to add another one or two more songs to sing. 

Longonot DEB Group

Finally not such an early start to the day, as we headed to the school for a 9:30 start. The weather was pleasantly cooler then yesterday but the sun was still strong enough for Bella to be burnt red raw!! As soon as we arrived we launched into action. Moral was as high. We painted the walls, we finished our mural and sanding the floor was done in a jiffy. Class room 8 is almost complete. 
After eating lunch, we painted our hands and smacked the elephant.  It was a fun day. 
Teaching day tomorrow and t-shirts all counted ready to give out. 
Looking forward to a nice of evening of maybe Hippo spotting and then cards by the fire. 
Bella and Clarissa


Day 3

Shermoi School

Today was our first full day at Shermoi primary and after a big full English and pancakes for breakfast and a bumpy journey to the school we set to work!

First off we split our group in half to make our work in both classrooms more efficient. Initially, we removed the old desks from the classrooms, allowing us to sweep the floor, water down the walls, remove chalk from the blackboard and remove any posters from the walls.

As we brought through the new desks there were some very excited children peeping through the windows. We sanded the desks down with some help from a few of the children and started painting the walls, which involved people scrubbing on their hands and knees and was a bit messy. 

We then took a break from work and played a classic English game of football, which would have let England down (it was 19 against too many children to count). Whilst others started playing stuck in the mud with the non-football fans- with Oakhamian being chased by 20 children.

After a tiring break, we quickly got back to work trying to get as much done as possible before the end of the day. There was some strong teamwork with everybody varnishing the desks, adding a second layer of paint to the walls and stripping and repainting the posts.

Arriving back at the camp we tried to clean up (the paint wouldn’t come off) then we met to choose our song all thought is a work in progress. The end of the day concluded with pizza, pleasing everyone and a campfire with marshmallows and beer at the teacher's cabin. 

        

Longonot DEB Group

Right okay, what’s up lads and ladies, it ya childrens coming back at you with another #kenyaupdate . Today was a mad one! We went to Longonot school for the second time and started on the refurbishments: sweeping, painting, sanding, varnishing, mopping, all the good stuff. It was a sunny day and the work was hard, but fulfilling, necks were burning, nosebleeds were bleeding, sweat flowed like the great Naivasha river. We’ve all come a long way from cleaning dishes and taking out rubbish (please hold back your tears of pride). We all especially enjoyed the fresh mangos we got before lunch and dinner tonight was Spag-Bol, Kenya style; dessert is mosquito bites! Can’t wait for tomorrow; love yous lots, g’night ;)
Caleb and Archie

Day 1 & 2

Shermoi Group

After having a delicious breakfast at the Eco Camp, we packed the bus with our luggage and set off on our journey through the busy streets of Nairobi. We took a break at a viewpoint of the Rift Valley, which had some local souvenir shops, from which we bought hats and jewellery. An hour after hitting the road again, we stopped off at a supermarket in order to buy many, many 20-litre water bottles! 

Finally, we got to our destination: Sher Moi primary. We were greeted with waves, dancing and singing, and we attempted to dance along. We discussed our plans for the next few days at the school with the new headteacher, who was very welcoming. Then we headed off to our campsite where we discovered the hole in the ground as the toilet but luckily soon after realised there were actual toilets. Later we went on a boat safari, where we saw hippos and birds. When we landed on the shore we tried to balance across stepping stones to get onto dry land but two people failed and got very wet! On the walking safari, we saw giraffes, zebras, hippos and waterbuck.

Currently, we have just finished dinner and we are all playing cards at the bar. We then saw hippos very close up to the bar. 

 

Longonot DEB Group 

Happy Valentine’s Day!
Today was our first day in Kenya. We travelled 2 hours from Nairobi to Lake Navaisha, where we went to our primary school, Longonot DEB primary. We were all welcomed with a speech from their headmaster and a dance from the students; it was amazing. The kids greeted us with loads of hugs and high fives as they were very excited to see us. Later on, we went on a boat safari where we saw hippos, giraffes and zebras. 
All very tired and looking forward to starting work in the school tomorrow!
Liv and Grace

 

Journey

After waking up in the early hours, we got on a coach in the pouring rain for a long journey to Heathrow. We finally arrived at the airport and had time to grab some breakfast and wander around the shops. At 10 am we took off for the long 8-hour flight, we all watched plenty of films, got lots of sleep and witnessed a beautiful sunset on our descent to Nairobi. At the local time of 10:30pm, we finally arrived, very tired but also excited about what is to come. With help, we loaded our bags onto the roof of our minibuses and set off for the final leg of the day. On arrival at the Wildebeest Camp, we were greeted by a warm bed and a hearty bowl of soup. After the long day, we are all excited for a good night's sleep and for what lies ahead tomorrow! 

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