A very good friend of The GLO & St Bernadette Mary School, Brendan Coleman who has just finished his second visit as a volunteer, made a remark whilst attending a meeting at our school last month, “If I was coming into this school every morning & teaching a class of such eager students, I would be skipping down the path every day”. We did not actually see him skipping but a broad smile never left his face whilst he was here in Kenya. This statement actually sums up just how being around St Bernadette Mary School makes you feel and here are our Top 10 Photos to prove it.
1. Prior to the official opening of our school on 17th March 2012, Simeon worked endlessly in the run up making sure each classroom was brightly adorned with pictures that related to the curriculum being taught in the class. Papa Kevin & Mama Mary seemed to follow him around with a never ending list but he always greeted them with a smile whilst continuing to paint, a very talented and happy chap.
2. In order to ensure that the children who attend St Bernadette Mary School from the surrounding community are indeed the poor & needy, George our Social Worker carries out home visits. The Charo Family are one such family who benefit from receiving a free education for two of their children at our school. Ngumbo a twelve year old boy lives with his father who is blind, his mother and five other siblings. Pili & Jafaed are both severely disabled and thanks to assistance from our Father Paul & Rosemary (Papa Kevin’s sister) the family now have food every month. Who can look at this photo without realising just what an impact the school is making to our own GLO children and the poor in the surrounding community.
3. The look of happiness on the faces of these two girls on our official opening day is a joy to behold, with their smart uniforms, white socks & shoes they could be from anywhere in the world. A school uniform is a status symbol in this country, yes it maybe hard to believe but to many children it is their prized possession.
4. Another photo from our wonderful opening day, Father Paul blesses the teachers, anyone who attends Guardian Angels Church in Bury knows that you can have a hairstyle destroyed in a matter of seconds by the amount of holy water he uses to bless the congregation but here in Kenya it was greeted with howls of laughter.
5. As you all know we are used to Papa Kevin walking around the school checking that everything is clean and tidy, that the hedges are trimmed and nothing is broken so what a surprise to see him jumping with the Masai, they are competing to see who can jump the highest. We all cheered and laughed to see this spectacle during our Mass to celebrate the official opening day.
6. Without our Donor Family, St Bernadette Mary School would still be a dream, but now thanks to their generosity it is a dream come true. Luckily members of the family travelled out from the UK to celebrate the Official Opening with us on 17th March 2012, here are some of the family, along with Papa Kevin, Mama Mary and our oldest & youngest pupil planting a tree to commemorate this very special day.
7. Here are the KG children enjoying making handprints during their summer camp, as you can see from their smiles they are having a great time. We realise learning through play is a very important part of their development and as you can see they are having a ball!
8. As a special treat Papa Kevin along with Vincent & Noreen from Ireland brought the pupils who were in No1 Position in each class to Kuruwitu Conservation Area where they all enjoyed a trip on a glass bottom boat, snorkelled and had a lovely lunch with fresh fish. For many of the pupils it was their first time to see the Indian Ocean although they just live fifteen minutes from the coast.
9. It has to be one of the big success stories from 2012, Andrew started from scratch and by the end of his volunteering period had coached a very good St Bernadette Mary School football team. In the words of Michael Jordan “Just play,have fun,Enjoy the game”, that is indeed the case at St Bernadette Mary School as you can see here, they are listening to every instruction given by Andrew. We do feel very sorry for him this season as he is an avid Arsenal Fan.
10. We feel it is only proper that we include this, Elvis is holding a photo of little Zuhuru Boti who passed away on Sunday 5th August. Zuhuru was a pupil in our KG3 class who fell ill on the Friday night, her mother could not afford to bring her to the clinic so instead gave her some local medicine, she died on the Sunday afternoon. Unfortunately if this would have happened during the school week she would have been taken immediately to the clinic where she would have received the emergency treatment needed and thanks to a generous donation from DAFA we are able to cover the medical costs for our children at The GLO and at St Bernadette Mary School in 2013 as well.