From the moment we arrived at Mombasa Airport, I think we were all relieved to see Abbas’s smiling face with ‘The Good Life Orphanage’ sign to hand. After a 9 hour delay at Addis Ababa airport, the nightlife of the people on the streets was a lot to take in. All seven of us were shattered resulting in a silent journey back to the orphanage. This was soon changed from our very happy welcoming committee which included Mercy, Vikki, and Mama Tuta – who insisted on making us all a cup of ginger tea in the Kilroe house.
On our first full day we were given a tour around ‘GLO’, ‘St Bernadette and St Mary School’ and introduced to a very happy chappy, Mr Pius Muthoka- the head teacher of the school. We were then called to a meeting with Mr Pius and the rest of the teachers to organise our timetables for the following two weeks. The timetables consisted of us helping and teaching from KG1 to Class 8 with Reading, Writing, Art, Maths, English, P.E., and even Sex Education with Teacher Domi for the older children.
Later in the week, the group and I went off to the fruit and veg market to help Mama Tuta and Abbas buy the weekly supplies for all five houses in the orphanage. This was definitely an experience which will not be forgotten as it was complete mayhem with all of the people. One distinct factor of the market was that if you heard a hissing noise behind you, it would mean get out of the way because a man will be carrying bags of potatoes weighing from 75 kg on his shoulder. You definitely wouldn’t see that at Bury Market!
At the weekend we visited ‘Lunar Park’ with all the GLO children, it was great to the children, Mamas and aunties have a great time and have big smiles on their faces.
The group also visited the feeding station which is held every Sunday by the local Hindi Community. I found this more difficult to deal with personally as I could see the great poverty amongst the children. However, once the volunteers gave them the food, we could see how appreciative they were for being fed. I would recommend for any volunteer to come and visit the feeding station as it really opens your eyes to the different lifestyle the children are living.
On Sunday afternoon, we took the older boys and girls to the local beach, Abdullah, Collins, Muaka, Cynthia, Kanoti, Rachel, Moses, Kaleb, Anne Djeri, Precious, Magaston, Ali and Amici all loved it and had a great time! Abbas and Vikki came along too meaning that there were 23 of us all together in a 14 seater mini bus. But that didn’t faze us as we all had a fun afternoon out filled with laughter and joy.
Whilst in Kenya, Joe celebrated his 18th birthday, so we decided to visit the ‘Maridadi Beach Hotel’. As we walked through to the main section of the hotel, we passed the pool and beach, we were all stunned how amazing and clean it was. It was a lovely hot day; we swam in the pool and went on the beach, a very welcome break for us all.
On Friday 12th July, Domi, Anthony, Joe and Lewis taught their last lesson at the school, whilst Denika, Megan and I prepared for the party with the younger children in the afternoon. The children absolutely loved it! We had bubbles, colouring stalls, a face painting stall and some games that the children could take part in. I have never seen so many children as excited as they were!
Later that night we had a party for the older children. We had games such as, egg and spoon races, apple bobbing and musical chairs. All the children were very competitive. One thing I can remember very clearly was Cynthia twisting the chair around from the way it’s supposed to be allowing her to still be in the game.
My time at the orphanage and the school was an unforgettable experience, from the moment I landed to the moment I left. Meeting so many great people from different religions and backgrounds has encouraged me to look at life back in England in a different way and really appreciate what I have. Asante Sana to Mary, Kevin, Mercy, Abbas, Pius, Mamas, Aunties and the children for welcoming us with open arms and making the orphanage feel like our home. We will miss you dearly.