Myself and Michael have spent 2 weeks at the GLO volunteering at both the school and the orphanage. It has been a truly amazing experience and we have both been very humbled by the warmth, compassion and happiness amongst the children, staff and teachers. We weren’t quite sure what to expect (we had seen the DVDs and the slide shows) when we got there, but we arrived with an open mind and it has been filled with some wonderful and touching experiences and memories.
When we spent a couple of days working in the school, alongside the Kenyan teachers, we were amazed that some of the children from the village who were incredibly poor had such a fantastic school to go to and wanted to be there. The school is an incredible place – a beautiful, well resourced building, good teachers and most importantly lovely children who welcomed us and thrived off our approach. The children and staff were open minded to some ‘English’ ways of teaching and embraced our presence as everyone at the GLO embraces life – with a big smile. We learnt a lot about teaching in this way and took our hats off to the teachers; working with a blackboard (no fancy interactive whiteboard, no lap top, no internet in the class room). The excellent standard of teaching and learning came from the teacher themselves and their knowledge ; they are the main resource. We were invited to the Friday morning assembly where the Kenyan flag was raised and all the children sang the National Anthem; it was remarkable to watch. Again we were made to feel very welcome and were invited to join in with a traditional African song and dance.
Clare & Mike trying the African style teaching!.jpg
Work on the Whiteboards
On the last day of term we organised a whole school Sports Day with some equipment that we brought over. The children and staff all got involved, we had a sprint, long distance race, 3 legged, skipping, throwing the bean bag and the long jump. We didn’t realise how seriously the Kenyans’ took their running. They consider themselves to be the best in the world and from what I saw – I wouldn’t argue with that. All children took part from the KG1 (3 and four year olds ) up to 12 year olds. The sun was beating down, we made certificates for the race winners and the Headteacher held a little ceremony, where the volunteers could present the children with their winning certificate. A cracking time was had by all, and the volunteers needed a power nap before the afternoon’s antics!
On your marksSports Day!

The Orphanage itself is not only aesthetically stylish, it’s white colonial style houses, set against a blue roof in a beautiful sunny climate. When we arrived we initially thought it was more like a holiday resort than an orphanage! And when you witness the poverty that the people in the surrounding villages live in, it fast becomes an oasis in the desert. But the people who fill it give out a very special energy and warmth. The children are polite, courteous and respectful and all have fantastic social skills to interact with anyone who comes to the GLO. There are over 50 children at the GLO and each and every single child touched us personally through experience. They all made a special effort to introduce themselves and welcome us into their house (there are 5 houses in total and the children in each house live like a family with their house mother and house aunty). Although usually volunteers are allocated to a particular house for mealtimes, the house mothers and aunties in each house will welcome you in for food. We had our meals in Keogh house, but would sneak into Maguire house after dinner for a cheeky ginger tea with Mama Dommy!
Fun in keogh House
Learning through play
During the day we did activities with the children such as face painting and making bracelets and we set up a carousel of play activities one afternoon. This time is so important because you get to know all the children so well and they each make a mark. Every single child at the GLO said or did something whilst we were there to remember them by. Both Michael and I would have no problem naming pretty much any child and telling you an anecdote about them. From little Jack in Maguire House’s ticklish tummy to Grace from O’Malley House liking to be bounced up and down and even little Mercy in Keogh trying to get walking, but just losing her nerve at the last minute! Every child is happy and full of life, love and laughter, despite what they may have come from or what they may have witnessed in their young lives.
Michael, Claire, Chabetty & Lawrence
In the evenings the children would often put on a little show including singing (hymns and the National Anthem) and performing some drama with Mama Jen. Or you may see some children preparing the freshly grown vegetables from the farm. We often saw the older boys doing jobs around the Orphanage, farm and school; Michael even joined in milking the cows. Talking of creatures – there were a couple of close shaves with the black and red frogs coming up out of the toilet unexpectedly, and a couple of small lizard type things running around the place! But even they were friendly!! Mama Lucy and Mama Jen work with the children to prepare a traditional African performance for us on our last night:
Michael milks Happy Daze
We had some fantastic trips with the children including to the beach (where some of the boys went on a camel ride) and a trip to the cinema (which was a first for the children of the GLO). Although many of the children were more impressed with the hand dryers in the toilets than the 3D glasses!!
Cinema Trip
Camel Ride at the Beach

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