Pupils from Sacred Heart High School in Fenham, Newcastle have been enjoying an amazing two week adventure in Kenya, where they experienced a variety of attractions and activities as well as spending three days in a Kibera school, working with local pupils.
After setting off from Newcastle International Airport, the group spent their first morning in Kenya rafting up at Savage Wilderness on the Sagana River, before heading into Nairobi to stay at the Wildebeest Eco Camp to prepare for the first of their school visits the following day.
Before heading to the school they would be volunteering at for three days, the group managed to fit in a visit the David Sheldrick Wildlife Orphan Trust where they got up close to the baby elephants.
A riotous welcome greeted the team as they arrived in Kibera which proved very emotional for some, before the girls began preparing their lessons for the following day.
This was the start of a three day placement at the school during which the girls’ planned lessons were well received and the teachers enjoyed hearing how tiring they found teaching to be!
Another full day of teaching saw the team surprised with pizza for lunch which went down very well.
After school there were inter-class girls and boys football matches with both matches extremely closely fought with Sacred Heart caps, t-shirts and hoodies enthusiastically received by the winners.
On their last day at school in Kibera the group attended Mass, during which pupils Lorna and Amy said an impromptu prayer and gave a great thank you speech.
Saying goodbye proved very emotional and there were a lots of tears at the end of this life changing experience. The parting was made harder as the group had been made to feel very welcome by the local community.
After arriving safely in Maasailand, the Sacred Heart girls had the chance to visit a community school which helps girls escape Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and young marriage, both of which are fairly common practice within the Maasai culture.
It is also common for men to have multiple wives and the girls got to visit another community project which helps widows move on with their lives without the support of their husband, as they are not allowed to remarry.
During their time at the widows’ village in Maasailand, the girls cooked a traditional meal with ingredients bought from the local market as part of their dollar a day experience. According to UNICEF 42% (18.5 million) of Kenyans live like this day in, day out so this proved to be an eye opening experience for the group.
The visits raised many questions among the girls and their walk from Maji Moto to Lamenter gave them some time to reflect on what they had learnt.
A trip to the local spa and pool followed a 17 mile walk with zebra, wildebeest and antelope for company before a rest day.
After spending a few days with the Maasai community at Lamenter the Sacred Heart pupils arrived in the great Maasai Mara game reserve at their private fly camp on the Talek River.
They were able to get camp up and running in time for an evening game drive where they managed to see a lion pride before dinner around the campfire.
More wildlife including elephants and lions were spotted on their next game drive, rounding off what will no doubt have been an exciting, wonderful, emotional and educational visit to Kenya.