Our returning young doctor Diarmuid White was accompanied by his friend Oli on this visit, spending a month at the orphanage. They attended numerous clinics and went to Port Reitz hospital to see how the equivalent of the NHS works in Kenya. Whist at the GLO Diarmuid celebrated his birthday and soon afterwards went off to New Zealand to pursue his career.
After speaking to the founders of Umoja Orphanage on the South Coast where she was volunteering, Roselyn Stewart spent eight days at The Good Life Orphanage. All the staff and children quickly found Roselyn to be a very warm compassionate person and following her volunteering spell requested that we try to encourage more “mature” people to visit our project.
We are very good friends with Father Nicky, Father Gabriel and Father Peter who work endlessly in St Patrick’s Parish in Bangla which is a slum in Mombasa. Christine had been volunteering there in a school but wanted to also gain experience working with orphan children so she finished off her time in Kenya with a stint at The Good Life Orphanage. During this time her very good friend Sharon also travelled out from Co.Down to volunteer on our project. Both girls helped the Mamas with various chores including preparing meals, feeding the little children, household chores and most important of all playing with the children. They even braved a climb up the coconut trees in Tito’s neighbouring village.
We then had a whistle stop visit by Kim and Finola from Manchester. The girls are the granddaughters of Gerry & Margaret Mason who are very generous supporters of our project so it was a great honour to welcome them to the orphanage. Due to college commitments the girls could only come for five days but they managed to fit as much as possible into their time at The Good Life Orphanage and have vowed to return very soon for a longer period.
Our next volunteer was Bethan Lewis, having heard Kevin Junior talking about the project and meeting Mama Mary at the London Function, Bethan decided to spend three weeks at the orphanage. On her first day Mama Mary presented her with a full A4 page of computer/website related jobs so along with assisting Mama Florence and Auntie Agnes in O’Malley House, Bethan was kept very busy indeed and became captivated by the Kenyan culture very quickly.
In November we welcomed our very dear repeat volunteers, Mama Jane Higham & Mama Bridget Forrest. These two wonderful ladies celebrated their 60th Birthdays this year (sorry Bridget) and although they stayed in Whitesands they visited the orphanage numerous times. Uncle Hemed cherished his time spent with these very experienced Social Workers asking many questions and enjoying their brainstorming sessions.
Last but by no means least was two young nurses who are studying in Belfast, Aine & Alicia. They made their way down from a project they had been working on in Nairobi to volunteer at The Good Life Orphanage after hearing about us from Mary McAleer. Again the staff were so impressed with the hardworking ethic of the girls who were very active in their daily lives helping the children of the orphanage in different ways.
We thank all 31 volunteers who chose to visit our project, we are so impressed we have had returning visitors. Also a special word of thanks goes out to people for spreading the GLO Word and encouraging people to volunteer with us. We know there are lots of worthwhile projects to choose from so we feel blessed that you have all chosen The Good Life Orphanage.
Once many of the volunteers returned home, they decided to sponsor a child, get friends/family to sponsor a child or raise funds for the project, we say a massive Asante Sana. Firstly for believing in us and secondly for giving us this much needed financial support.
At the moment we need £50k to operate the orphanage each year, on the opening of our Transition House we think this figure will increase to £65K so you can see how important your donations are to the smooth running of the orphanage. We would ask you all for your continued support in 2014 and invite you all to return again, your impact on the daily lives of our children is indeed priceless!!