After watching this blog and seeing the updates about the great work that my Aunty Mary & Uncle Kevin do at the Good Life Orphanage and after numerous calls, emails & conversations with Aunty Mary asking me to visit, I finally said no more excuses and made it happen! February 24th 2012 with my mum and some relatives we arrived hoping to help in whatever way possible and we were not disappointed, lots to do from Day 1.

Volunteers arrive !!!

This Kenyan welcome was over whelming and the big smiles and warm welcome was to mark the start of a life changing, thought provoking, 2 weeks in Kenya. Here is the video link of our welcome, some cool dance moves for sure !!

GLO welcomes the Co.Tyrone Contingent

I got to see first-hand the real difference my aunty, uncle, The Good life Orphanage Team and volunteers are making to these children’s lives. I got to see how they really need our help. I got to hear harrowing, heart rendering stories and how with the help of others these children are now happy, healthy and have hope. Something that at one stage of their life, was nearly out of grasp.One of my little tails that would follow me around everywhere and play games with me was a little 3 year old girl who is a bundle of joy with the biggest brown eyes and a cackling laugh! Many of the volunteers who have visited before may remember Melissa arriving at the GLO from another home where she could not walk as her legs were dislocated due to abuse, here she is today a very happy little girl.

Lorraine & Melissa

After a family holiday to Kenya in 2006 my aunty and uncle went off the beaten tourist trek and saw the poverty and suffering of the orphans. They could not turn their back to on them. Firstly they set about building a new block and refurbishing the existing classrooms at Mikoroshoni Primary School in Shanzu in 2005 with the help of friends and family from home. After that there was no stopping them. The Good Life Orphanage, which was set up in 2008, now consists of 5 houses, each consisting of a House Mama and Auntie and 12 children with 60 children in total. There are 58 children in the project at the moment so only two more places left. They have organised activities and have 3 meals a day.

Uncle Kevin and Aunty Mary

Madam Mercy oversees the running of the orphanage with the help of Dorothy who is the Office Administrator and George the Social Worker (my side kick for the two weeks) and of course in the background my aunty & uncle although over the years they have learnt that it is better to have an all Kenyan Staff with the “mzungus” staying behing the scenes.

Lorraine, George & a new member of the team x

The sense of family and community with a child centred approach was clear from the beginning.

Getting donation instruments Commotion !!!

It has a self-sufficient farm, with chickens, cows and fruit and vegetables. The women do most of the farming and labour work in Kenya!

Margaret & Mama Edna hard at work

After a Manchester Businessman visited the project in 2010 he gave Aunty Mary & Uncle Kevin the funds to build a fantastic new school and the donor family also pay for the running of the school. This has been a godsend to them as it was going to cost in the region of £15,000 per year to educate the children at the GLO. Now the orphan children along with another 250 impoverished children from the surrounding area receive a “free education”, a school uniform and a bowl of porridge each day, education is the only escape for these children.

Roisin tries on her new shoes

By living in the visitors tower of the orphanage mum and I got to feel part of this community and to bond with the children, the team and the friendly geckos and frog that lived in our sink! We would be up to all hours playing games, helping with homework, dancing and singing! The children loved the attention and the mamas were so keen to learn from us. My mum, Rosemary and my cousin-in-law Columb with their nursing background helped introduce new procedures and train the mamas on first aid. The mamas are now more confident in helping the children and not as much medicine is being wasted due to incorrect usage; Watching my mums determination, hard work and sincere approach was inspiring. Her help with the nursing side of things, helping me with the nursery, spending time with children, mamas and aunties was very inspiration. Everyone cherished their time with her and she has such a positive effect on others.

Mum and the Mamas

Mary was keen for me to help with the baby class and to introduce more play which I jumped at the chance! There were 12 children aged between 1-4years old in a room with nothing at all and they were chanting 1- 10 and a-z all day. Needless to say the children were very bored and climbing the walls….me included! I was bursting with ideas of how to help!

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