by Hemed Jumma

Last year Kenya underwent a lot of security problems that caused a significant impact in the tourism sector. Many tourists who had scheduled to visit Kenya were forced to cancel their trips. Both the GLO and St Bernadette Mary School also felt the impact of the absence of volunteers. Early June this year things started returning back to normal as most of the international bans for tourists visiting Kenya were lifted. From September up to date we have had seven volunteers and we have greeted them with open arms. its so good to have volunteers & visitors returning to our project.

Sarina & Leah arrive at The GLO

Sarina and Leah from Australia were the first to open the account of volunteers who have stayed with us this year. The two ladies were received with much enthusiasm and despite the fact that it was their first visit to Kenya they settled in very quickly and enjoyed their stay. They were very special to us not only because we had gone such a long time without any volunteers but also they brought in very important skills that everyone appreciated. They performed important roles both at the orphanage and school.

Our volunteers Leah & Sarina are very hardworking often helping out on the Shamba

They also worked in the farm and for the first time we had volunteers who participated in weeding using our traditional equipment such as the jembes. At the orphanage they were involved in a number of field work activities such as home visiting and accompanied some children for the monthly clinics at the community dispensary. They also helped in the houses with performing some of the house chores.

Emma with her little man, Obama

After Sarina and Leah had stayed for almost two weeks they were joined by Emma Higham. Emma had been to the GLO before and everybody was happy to welcome her again. She was very close to all the children and spent most of the time helping in house chores and doing art work. She also supervised the children during revision time and taught them different techniques of studying. Emma has been sponsoring Obama since her first visit so she was amazed to see how grown up he has become. Emma bid us farewell on 19th September just a day after Sarina and Leah had travelled back to Australia.

Waseema had a very strong bond with Michelle, whatever she done Michelle has stopped crying during her painful physiotherapy treatment, a miracle for sure

On 4th October we received Waseema, a volunteer from South Africa who has diverse experience working with children. She worked very closely with children who have behavioral problems and was involved in group counseling at SBM. She was a very great asset in O”Malley House as a few of their children can be very demanding and have issues with homework. Waseema took Caleb under her wing and we have to say she coped very well, guiding & advising Caleb is not for the fainthearted!!

So sad to say goodbye to this wonderful lady, Waseema we hope you will come back very soon

Then in mid October we welcomed Brendan back who was accompanied by his daughter Maeve this time who is an art student. Brendan has been here before and is very conversant with the Kenyan life and the Coastal Culture, he quickly adapted to life within The GLO & SBM School within hours of arriving.

Maeve with Brendan & Papa kevin

As Brendan has many years experience in various fields of education he played a very special role assessing academic progress at SBM and as expected he proposed some very important changes that are aimed at making SBM School to flourish. Brendan observed all our teachers during his stay and produced a document targetting certain areas where our teachers can improve their skills to make the lessons more interesting for the pupils.

Football with Mr Brendan

Together with Maeve they taught our children different skills such as how to bake cakes and cook different types of Western foods. Brendan was also involved in all the daily activities of the children and he enjoyed playing football with them even in the searing Mombasa heat. Maeve was also involved in supervision of exams and face painting. She bonded very well with the children and they all enjoyed her company.

Kevioo with Mr Brendan

Not for the fainthearted a day out at Kongowea Market for Emma

On 26th October we welcomed Emma Gerard who has been very helpful to both the children and the staff. She has been involved in performing different house chores including a visit to Kongowea Market with Mama Mapenzi. Emma has also been advising the teachers on some aspects of counselling at SBM School as she has experience in this field also but her favourite pastime is making Charlotte smile which is a major task.

Emma with Charlotte

Naomi & Niamh 26:10:15

We also have had visits from Claire & Niamh, as always Niamh spent time playing with her best friends Naomi & Jane whilst Claire enjoyed helping Auntie Rosemary with our Learning Space Playgroup.

Claire with the rugrats

Sincerely speaking it’s a blessing to have such dedicated and caring volunteers who visit us at different times and bring in new ideas that we always embrace and they enables us to keep growing. We appreciate the time they spend with us and will always encourage more volunteers to come spend time with us and bring in new ideas.