One the ground experiences from our Uni student volunteers
Brighter Communities Worldwide currently have a team of volunteers in Kenya who as it happens are all students from University College Cork. We have 4 medical students on placement as part of the Surgeon Noonan student society; Rachel Daly who has just completed her studies in business and Kevin O Callaghan who is studying International Development and Food Policy and is on placement with us at our office in Ireland as well as this time in Kenya. These are Kevin & Rachel’s thoughts on their first 2 weeks in Kenya -
On Saturday the 9th of June we left for Londiani. The long journey was anything but boring, taking in Africa for the first time was fascinating. The 8 hour trip from Nairobi to Londiani was halved by a relaxing interval spent at Lake Elementaita. When we finally arrived at Londiani we were greeted by an emphatically musical welcoming party. After warm introductions were made we were brought on a tour of our new home, after copious amounts of Chai we settled in for our first night and had a well needed rest.
The next day we were on stove duty. Experiencing the reality of rural Kenya for the first time, we installed smokeless stoves for two different families who were very grateful for our efforts, I think. Learning the process by which the stoves are installed proved very interesting. The opportunity to see previously installed stoves was afforded to us after our work, allowing us to really witness the first hand effects said smokeless stoves have on families. We learned that the stoves have several health, economic and environmental benefits. The following day we ventured to Baraka Agricultural College for an open day, where we helped man the Brighter Communities Worldwide stand, answering to the best of our ability questions posed to us by curious youths. We discussed various programs being run by BCW including Menstrual Hygiene Management, Girls for Girls, Alternative Rite of Passage, Lifeskills and HECA schools programme. The next two days were spent installing more smokeless stoves along with the medical students, allowing Rachel and I the time to be interrogated by inquisitive local children fascinated by our foreign looking hair and skin!
That weekend offered a memorable excursion to Ndubusat. On our first day we undertook a long but enjoyable trek where we took in some breathtaking views and scenery. After our trek we entertained a group of children eager to engage in a game of football and learn how to play hurling. Our second day in Ndubusat began with an early start to catch the sunrise followed by a visit to a local school and a meeting with the Ndubusat football team. Everyone had a great time camping and we were sad to leave the scenic Ndubusat behind us.
That Monday we made a trip to Barciele to begin a Lifeskills course orchestrated by the more than competent pairing of Richard and Norah. The first day began with an introduction to those partaking in the course, all seemed very attentive and interested in what we had to say on the different topics we discussed. The Tuesday and Wednesday of week two were spent participating in a very insightful Remote Emergency Care course where we learned the basics of first aid and an array of knowledge on dealing with medical emergencies. On Thursday and Friday we returned to Barciele to continue the Lifeskills course, we delved into topics such as communication and values, stages of development, relationships, sexuality, HIV, STIs and AIDS, nutrition, family planning, maternal & new born health, mental health and drugs & addiction. The group who graduated were pleased with their new learnings and thankful for our facilitation and support. Saturday saw us heading to Kericho for a change in scenery and on Sunday we took a trip to the Equator.
All in all, the two weeks have been very fruitful and immensely enjoyable, time has flown and we are looking forward to the next two weeks in Kenya!
Kev O’ Callaghan and Rachel Daly