Travelling, teaching and learning

15 November 2013
Today we’re delighted to present another message from our volunteers in Kenya, although we're also amazed that they found the time given that they have been on the move quite a bit lately, as Tanya Sheehy explains below… After our first week of tasks, we all chilled with a movie on Friday night, popcorn made from a saucepan and bottles of soda. We chatted about the different tasks we had all had during the week, from stove building, wilderness first aid, life skills and GPS mapping to the business course. We then hit our rooms to pack for our trek to the monastery on Saturday morning. After a lie-in until 8:30 (what a treat!) and breakfast, we packed our day and night bags, loaded the 4x4s, joined our Mayo link team and headed for the starting point of our trek. After a night of rain some of the roads left a lot to be desired, but as ever we were in the hands of our very experienced drivers. When we reached our starting destination, Tingoro, the views became more breathtaking by the minute. And the welcomes from the locals during this journey and throughout our stay in Kenya were overwhelming; mere words cannot do them justice. We passed one of the water projects supported and erected by Friends of Londiani. This then pointed us in the direction of the final part of our trek to the monastery and, yet again, some amazing views. We all gathered for dinner in the monastery and the Kenyan staff of FOL surprised our project leader Anne with a belated birthday party. We danced and laughed and had a wonderful team bonding experience, rounded off with a game of cards. We were up at 7 the next morning to join the locals and pupils from St Bernard’s school for Sunday morning mass and some wonderful singing and dancing. After a team sing-song of our own in front of our 4x4s, we took off again in the direction of Ndubistat, the local children following us for miles and miles with smiles from ear to ear, holding our hands and chatting on the way. We were welcomed to another FOL income-generating project — the beehives — and signed the visitor’s book. Then, as the grey clouds rolled in and the thunder began, we rushed to the coffee farm and sheltered from the rain — but we also got a lesson on producing coffee beans! When the rain lightened we went to the local school in Lilloch where we once again had a lovely reception from the principal and pupils. As the rain worsened our trip was cut short, so we jumped into our waiting 4x4’s and headed for St. Kizito’s, our home for the time being. Needless to say we all slept soundly that night, awakening to our second week in Kenya. With tasks divided among us, I headed off for my first day of life skills with Norah, Richard, Joe and Simon. Discussing the topics of life with the rural Kenyans of Jagoror and the surrounding areas has been eye-opening. The conversations we have had and the topics we have covered reflect their thirst for knowledge — knowledge that we as facilitators were delighted to share with them, just as they shared their knowledge with us. It has been remarkable to come back day after day and see the progress made by every single one of them. Tomorrow will be the final day of the five-day course. It will be a bitter-sweet day for all of us. Sweet in the sense that we will be seeing our students graduate with new-found knowledge. Bitter because we will be saying goodbye to new friends. But hopefully we will meet them again — maybe in another course, maybe on another project.