Sixteen girls and four teachers from the school visited Kenya for two weeks from 16 October to 1 November. On arrival, they split into two groups. Group 1, accompanied by Ms. Barton and Inion Ní Chonchubhair went to Nyumbani Village and Group 2 accompanied by Mr. Mangan and Ms. Purcell travelled to St. Teresa’s school in Eastleigh. For the second week, the groups reversed location.
Nyumbani village is a pilot project, a village built specifically to accommodate orphans who are being raised by their grandparents – their parents’ generation have been wiped out. The students from our school worked on harvesting and planting seeds and trees. They also worked tending the livestock. The head of the village project told them that they had ended pre-conceived ideas about foreign visitors – they did not expect them to work in the fields and do manual labour.
St. Teresa’s school is a nursery school, built in a slum area. Here the girls worked with the children, playing games, teaching them dancing and telling them about Ireland. They also spent a day in the Senior school, experiencing life as a student.
The girls were very impressed with Nyumbani village. This is a great model for other similar areas. Academic education is provided but there is also training in trades and crafts and the students there feel that the outlook for them is very hopeful and the future is bright.
In Eastleigh, despite incredible poverty and lack of resources in their school, the children are very happy.
At the end of the trip, the girls had the opportunity to visit a giraffe sanctuary, an elephant orphanage and a demonstration of traditional dancing and culture. They also were taken to visit the Nyumbani Orphanage in a slum area of Nairobi and were shown around by people who worked with the Loreto sisters there.
This was an incredible experience for our girls, who were chosen after very stiff competition.
The girls who travelled were Caroline Brogan, Jane Fallon-Griffin, Clare Kelly, Louise Kelly, Siubhan O’Malley, Deirdre Ryan, Orlagh Weafer, Zoe Watchorn, Lucy Bradshaw, Aisling Colclough, Mairead Conway, Lucy Cunningham, Hannah Dobson, Emma Garry, Jenny Lardner, Aoife McElroy.