Thursday, 5 April 2018

Kenya - Day 4 Opening Ceremonies and a revisit

Day 4

So today was spent visiting schools that we had previously built at. The two from the last summer's building and also the school I built at in 2015. I always feel humble whenever visiting schools that we have built at and also when driving past people in the street that are excited to see Mzungu (white man). Today was no exception from this. The first school made us feel really welcome and put on a great display of gratitude for us. The students sand and made us feel like we had changed their world. The simplicity of this is really amazing. Students from the Weald sacrifice a something small by taking on a walk to provide a community with the ability to improve generations of children a better future.

Visiting KoyKoy again was an emotional trip. Instantly recognised by 2 of the teachers that are there and seeing the transformation of the school into a beautiful place for students to learn. I was really happy to see the teachers and students and although they have had a lot of classrooms built in the last 5 years they were still packing over 100 students into a single classroom. This brings through a really mixed set of emotions as the school is now in safe buildings, overcrowding in class is still an everyday part of life in order for students to access the education that they all deserve.

The last visit and official opening was another interesting school. They are in desperate need of more help to provide a safe learning environment for the many students in their school that have to learn in temporary buildings in another part of the community as there is a massive shortage of classrooms for them. However, we were concerned to find that one of our classrooms was being used as a temporary staff room. It is really difficult to enforce rules about usage of rooms when you are not on the ground and also having so many schools that we start building at but don’t get the time to complete before we leave is difficult to ensure that the space is being used for the students benefit in a way that our cause is designating the funds for.

How much of a difference does a double classroom make in a country where education is going on where teachers have over 100 students in their class every day? The simple answer is a positive difference as the students and staff of both the Weald and Kenya are getting a new perspective on life. The Kenyan students, I worry, have the sense that Mzungu still come and bring prosperity with them whilst the Uk students get to appreciate how lucky they are. Where we are born shouldn’t dictate how our future will become but the stark contrast of free education in a wealthy white country and the poor communities in Kenya struggling to provide school fees for their children is huge. Our students are incredibly privileged and to take them to Kenya and show them the differences is an important lesson in life.

The cars and roads have been another interesting part of the puzzle of this trip and hopefully tomorrow we can focus on the schools and other missions around Kitale rather than worrying about getting to places without the car breaking down.

I am also looking forward to meeting the local scout troops tomorrow and seeing what links we can forge with them and my group back in Worthing. Tomorrow will be the start of something that I hope will grow over time and provide a source of community within another organisation that will benefit students from both the UK and Kenya.

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