During 2013 we have been so lucky to have a great bunch of volunteers visit our orphanage. After a very slow start due to the March Elections, we were ecstatic to welcome Claire Lannon in early April followed by the two Andrews, Houghton & Sherwood. Claire used her nursing skills to visit some of the pupils in their homes in the village, always a very humbling experience when we witness the way these people live.
Next was Andrew Houghton closely followed by Andrew Sherwood. These two gentlemen made a big impact on the staff by their knowledge on farming, mechanics and football, yes football. Andrew Houghton is an avid Liverpool supporter but we all have our crosses to carry! Andrew Houghton managed to fit in a three hour trip to church in between his coaching and Andrew Sherwood arranged for our children to visit Lunar Park as a very special treat.
Then in July we had the pleasure of welcoming the team of five students and two teachers from Cardinal Langley 6th Form College. We have built up very strong ties between the college and our school over the past four years with Dominique making a return visit this year. As it was Anthony, Joe, Megan, Denika, Lewis and Laura’s first visit they settled in very quickly with Dominique being on hand to show them the ropes. Both the teachers and students became part of The GLO/SBM Family in a matter of hours even visiting the local village to see what life is really like in Kenya for the majority of people who live in rural settings.
Our next volunteers were Ruth Melia from Bury and Nicole Byram from South Manchester, both girls adapted very easily to the day-to-day workings of the GLO and Ruth quickly became Abbas’ co-pilot on trips around Mombasa. Again Ruth & Nicole used their experience in their chosen fields to enhance the lives of our pupils at St Bernadette Mary School and the children at The Good Life Orphanage. Our children now can sing Frere Jacques very confidently indeed. The girls also arranged for a trip to Bangla to see how a public health project operates in St Patrick’s Church there. It is heartwarming to see how friendly and welcoming the people are even though they have very few material possessions.
Keeping the tradition of our Celtic roots our next two sets of volunteers were from Northern Ireland and Bonnie Scotland. Ciara, Niamh & Jenny who all live close to where Mama Mary and Papa Kevin originate from were given a very warm welcome. They had already spent two weeks in a project in Nakuru where it was cooler, but using their teaching & nursing skills all adapted very quickly to life on the Coast. Ciara and Jenny had visited Mombasa before volunteering on another project so they knew the ropes and were a dab hand at sorting the over eager motorbike riders.
Next were Nicola, Mairead and Kirsty, thanks to a good friend of the GLO, Jan Colhoun for spreading the GLO word and encouraging the girls from Glasgow to visit the project. Being experienced teachers our Scottish Contingent were only to happy to assist in teaching at the school and giving the children extra tuition at night. The girls also organised a very special trip for our children to visit the Gede Ruins near Malindi, a wonderful day was had by all. Disaster struck whilst they were are the GLO with Nairobi airport being burnt down, after a few fraught days the girls managed to reschedule their flights back to Scotland.
Our next volunteer was Derry born Diarmuid McEleney, a friend of Lorraine McAleer who set up our Learning Space Playgroup. Diarmuid became a firm favourite with Mama Lucy, Auntie Stella and the children in Keogh House especially Stephen who became his little shadow. Diarmuid attended Kilifi Courts to see the Kenyan system when placing vulnerable children and was on hand to see Marianne being handed over to the GLO from another home which could not care for infants properly. Diarmuid works in a similiar field in Northern Ireland so was very interested in this procedure but was somewhat taken back when Marianne was stripped of her clothes and handed to Mama Mercy naked.
Diarmuid also had a dramatic experience when travelling back to Northern Ireland from Kenya but we have been assured he is planning his next trip to The GLO so it has not had an adverse affect on his time at The Good Life Orphanage