Sitting in Jomo Kenyatta airport I embrace the foods and luxuries that I have missed through the last 8 days in Magadi. Whilst I spend a number of trips a year heading to Kenya, I still find my body has started the yearn for the things that we in the west shouldn’t. However, for the people that my team have worked tirelessly with for the last week, luxuries are not counted in calories, but actually in most cases the actual ability to eat at all or indeed a luxury that we all take for granted in the UK, the ability to go to school for free.
The Memusi Foundation has been working in Eastern Kenya for the past 9 years, supporting communities who feel such passion for education as the route out of poverty that they are doing it for themselves. 4 tin walls at best, but at times simply a teacher, blackboard and a tree constitute a school…and in my eyes this just isn’t good enough and I am going to personally commit my life in helping as many kids to have that luxury as I can.
It’s well known that Nelson Mandela said that Education is the Primary Way out of poverty and the people living in severe poverty know it too. Culture is changing as is attitude and whilst there is still pockets who value a quick buck from the sale of a daughter, I am seeing more and more picking up the greatest weapon of them all in their fight – the pencil.
4 years ago I decided that I would bring people from the UK to volunteer with the foundation. A warts and all look at what we do, giving people a platform to get directly involved in making a difference. Richard Branson said to take your kids into the world because it is the greatest classroom that they can have. The Kids that we support we can’t take into the world, but we can bring the world to the kids through volunteers.
I have seen not only joy and happiness in the volunteers that have spent the week with me, but also genuine lives changed in Africa and in the UK through love. We call Memusi a family and that is what it is – a global movement of love that brings an opportunity to escape poverty, but also makes a profound difference to our volunteers. They have truly left their handprints in Africa this week and their marks on the lives of kids, teachers and community alike.