Our Founder in Kenya – 2022

Friday 3 June 2022

Our final day and an earlier start for a few of the volunteers, including myself. It has become a bit of a tradition for us to provide a lunch time meal to the school children, teachers and labourers on the last day.

We set off to the supermarket, collecting hot dog buns, frankfurters, onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, water, orange squash and not forgetting tomato ketchup. It came to just under £1 per person.

We also took the opportunity to visit Mama Kerry School, now known as Hope Academy, that we worked at for two years in 2018 and 2019. It was great see Pastor William and his wife, but because of the school moving since we last visited, unfortunately none of the children I have previously met, such as Damaries and Caroline, no longer attends. However, parts of the kitchen and Fynn’s playground that we made, have been moved. Funnily enough a kitchen side that I made in 2018, that I was extremely unhappy with, as it sloped, has been moved over, with the slope, and is going strong!

Upon arrival to West End Academy, we were greeted to a beautiful red ribbon and bow to the kitchen. It was completed and ready to be opened! The main volunteers who worked on it, including myself, were given the task of cutting the bow. What an achievement and I am so proud of what we have done. It looks amazing.

Valentine, the headmistress of the school, kindly gave each of us a black T-shirt with the Derby County Community Trust and West End Academy logos on the front, with an incredible slogan on the back, reading “your team makes our dream work”. What a poignant saying.

As we entered the kitchen, I quickly tested the water, I didn’t want to waste it. The tap was working. Our job for the two weeks has been completed and I feel content that the work that I had personally set out to do in these two weeks has been completed. We take water for granted so much at home. We have it available to us everywhere we go. To only get water for two days a week at the school is precious and every drop is important.

The cook at West End is incredible, she works tirelessly everyday in the preparation and cooking of the food and cleans up every plate and cup used. Today was her day to take time off. We would do everything. There were moments when she would try to come in and we politely and funnily refused her to do so.

Cooking the food was difficult. Using just wood underneath building blocks, which holds the giant cooking pot causes a lot of smoke, which in turns hurts yours eyes and makes your clothes smell. I dread to think how many hot fluid spillages or emersion burns the cook has suffered in her time and her lungs must be severely damaged.

Some of these children have never seen sausages or even bread before and they loved it! However, one item that most of the children didn’t enjoy was cucumber. I have to admit, it’s not my favourite too!

Before the end our final day, the whole school, including teachers and headmistress delivered a beautiful presentation to us, thanking us for the hardwork that we had achieved. Valetine stated that some parents had heard our names being said by the children in their sleep. Just stunning isn’t it!

When the children left for the final time, tears from them and the volunteers flowed. But especially from Elvis, a young man, in the highest year. He is nine years old. We found out that he really enjoyed the company of us for the last two weeks. His Mum left him when he was a child and his Dad works during the week in Nariobi. That means he is home alone at that young age, for five whole days a week. From the home visits, we know those houses are cold, dark and damp. It’s truly heartbreaking to think that Elvis is on his own for that time. This completely broke me and I find it hard to comprehend that we can leave in a world that this can happen.