Kenya 2016 – Cementing friends for life

Kenya 2016Our Kenya trip is not for the faint-hearted or the lazy, and it was wonderful to see the trip re-instated for this year. On 1st July, 19 students and four members of staff landed in Nairobi, ready to embrace the challenges ahead.

Much of the group’s time was spent at Ndogo Primary school where each student had the opportunity to teach students from 4-16 years of age. With the language barrier,  they had to be inventive with their pedagogy, and it was wonderful to see their creativity and confidence grow throughout the week. The content of the lessons to the older pupils varied from Physics to English to Geography, but it was Sophia Rondon’s active lesson on how to draw graphs from height measurements taken with pieces of wool that caught the Head Teacher Mr Job’s attention;  he insisted that she taught it to Grades 6, 7 and 8….  praise indeed! The younger years, to help improve their English,  were introduced to traditional nursery rhymes, songs and games as well as being encouraged to draw, and practise their writing and numbers.

While some taught, others helped to build the new toilet block – the main building project for this year.  Mixing concrete and laying blocks for the structure of a new girls’ toilet, and making and pouring the foundations for a similar new boys’ toilet block, the pupils worked tirelessly in hot conditions. None of the work undertaken was particularly glamorous but it is very much needed and will be hugely beneficial for the health and wellbeing of the hundreds of children educated in this poor, remote, rural school.
Exposure to the differences in cultures and opportunities was no more profound than when we visited and interacted with the children at the Saidia Orphanage and the Restart Centre.  Life for Kenyan children is often very hard, a far cry from the privileges an Ardingly education brings, and both of these encounters were very moving for all involved. To witness such hardship first-hand was tough for many of our students, but the appreciation that some help is at hand was encouraging.
The bonds and memories formed between the Kenyan children and Ardingly students and staff will last a lifetime and the experiences encountered were, for many, life-changing.

Huge thanks must go to members of staff Gwilym Batchelder, Joan Gall, Dale West and Anthony Lovat,  who were instrumental in the running of the trip.