Eddie McGaw and his fellow volunteers have recently returned from their latest trip to Kenya where they supported a variety of good causes in Nakuru.
Celtic supporter Eddie first travelled to Kenya in 2011, when the Scottish Premier League team asked fans to go as part of their first charity trip to Africa. As it was something Eddie had always wanted to do, he was the first to sign up.
Despite Celtic not running the charity trip the following year, Eddie was inspired to return to see if there was any way he could help, and he found that his presence was greatly appreciated by locals.
It was such a positive experience that Eddie promised to go as long as he could and try and help change lives for the better.
Over the years, Eddie and his fellow volunteers have built a toilet in The Walk Centre which is located in the Hilton slum and helped build new buildings for an assembly hall.
They have also supported teachers, helped prepare and cook food, played games with the children as well as building swings, goals and a slide.
In addition, the volunteers have supplied pens, pencils, clothes, football shirts and boots along with sporting equipment including footballs, hula hoops and skipping ropes.
As well as filling up water tanks with fresh water, they have built around 30 new tin shed houses in the slum so those living there have protection from the elements, paid for chicken farms and some pig pens to help them get some food, and also left money for the water tanks to be filled with fresh water instead of rain water.
Last year they supplied some much needed equipment to the school in the slum.
St Jerome’s Centre has also benefited from the volunteers’ generosity with donations of clothes, toys and help to buy goats to provide fresh milk.
The giving doesn’t end there as donations have been presented to families who have sick children to care for and others who are struggling financially. They have also supplied clothes, shoes and treats of fruit, chocolate and chewing gum along with meals for the homeless.
2018 volunteer trip to Nakuru
This year, Eddie along with 7 fellow volunteers; Jack Strang, Adele Greenhill, Ann Todd, Rhianon Gray, Elaine McKelvie, Brian and Tracy McPhee, arrived in Nakuru on 6 October and started work in Nakuru’s Walk Centre on the Monday. 40 per cent of the 260 children who attend the centre live in the slum and they are provided with 2 meals a day for six days a week.
As well as supporting the teachers and playing games with the children, the volunteers painted walls in the new kitchen and cemented the cooking pots into the floor so they could be used safely.
They also provided new reading books for the library, bought apples as a treat for the children, and supplied clothes, shoes and football kits.
During a visit to a local hospital, they handed out a variety of items including clothes, blankets and slippers to young children and new born babies.
The St Jerome’s Centre received £5,500 from the volunteers to help them complete their halfway houses for the children they support who are getting ready to move on to adulthood, as well as more donations of clothes and football kits.
Eddie’s team also gave the children their first experience of dining out when they treated them for a meal to a local restaurant. Around 40 of them had a wonderful night and took doggy bags home with them. They were all looked after all by the owner of the restaurant who Eddie has got to know well over the last eight years.
“Like a lot of people in Nakuru, you get to know them well and even strangers know me and the group for what we do,” Eddie told us.
“The small school in the dumpsite which teaches 3 and 4 year olds is just 2 tin sheds. So we bought them pens, pencils and other resources including wall charts with fruits, animals and maps as well as building two climbing frames, swings and a slide,” he added.
They loved them. The smiles and laughter was worth more than a million quid.
But for Eddie, the biggest donation was food parcels for 260 families which cost just under £3,000 which would keep them fed for a month.
“The parents who picked these up were so grateful that the smiles on faces and the way they shook our hands made us all happy,” Eddie said.
If you would like to contact Eddie about how you can help with his work in Kenya, you can do so via his Facebook page.