A student reflection on a summer volunteering in Kenya!

Dan Mew

Harrow School Volunteering in Kenya

At the start of the summer 2015 we went on a charitable volunteering trip to Nakuru, Kenya with African Adventures, where we had the opportunity to teach in some of Africa’s most impoverished schools. After a long plane ride and a six-hour coach journey along some rather bendy and badly paved roads, the group arrived in Nakuru, where they spent the rest of the day getting settled in and enjoying fresh Kenyan food. The highlight of the drive was arguably the chance to look out over the picturesque Rift Valley at a rest stop and take some incredible photographs.

School expeditions
Harrovians at Love For Alll project in Kenya

The next morning Mr Alderton and the boys, who were accompanied by a driver stopped into the primary school where they were welcomed by the young pupils (aged 3-7) with an extraordinary song and dance. The school sang praises and thanks to group for coming to help out in their school. The boys continued to help at the primary school for the remainder of the morning where they taught a few classes, helped cook a meal and washed dishes in the kitchen. In the afternoon the Harrow students were taken up to the secondary school where they spent most of the subsequent days teaching classes of students ranging in ages from 10 to 18. The Kenyan children were incredibly appreciative of the help they received from the boys and were very receptive to their conducting of the different classes. As well teaching, the boys took turns in helping to construct new toilet facilities for the school. Before the project, the school had only two very basic toilets for the 70 pupils, and Harrow’s help in building the new bathrooms ensured that the school would not be shut down because of poor facilities. During the lunch hour, the Harrow boys often got to play football with the students. Although the Kenyans had an advantage, as they were very apt to playing on dusty and uneven ground, the Harrow boys still managed to beat their team on a fairly regular basis.

School expeditions
Seth and Jamie constructing toilet block at Love For All project

On the weekend the group had the pleasure of visiting the Masai Mara and Serengeti game parks. It was a seven-hour drive from Nakuru, though the boys all agreed it was a very worthwhile excursion, as a wide variety of wildlife was seen. Just over the course of two days four of the big five game animals were spotted out on the plains, as well crocodiles, hippos and monkeys near the rivers. At night, the Harrow students stayed in a deluxe encampment and were fed deliciously fresh meals. The boys also had the joy of meeting Masai warriors in their village. While there, they were shown around the native houses and were then allowed to join in the native Masai war dance. Finally, the group was given the chance to purchase some of the handmade jewellery and trinkets made by the men and women from the settlement, before heading back to Nakuru.

School expeditions
The boys on safari in the Maasai Mara

In all, the trip was incredibly educational and eye-opening for all the boys who took part. There was a definitive sense of friendship and understanding between the students of both countries. Despite the fact that the Kenyan pupils were often rather impoverished and underprivileged, they were incredibly happy with the little they had, and they enjoyed nothing more than learning in their school. Perhaps their attitude can be a valuable lesson for us all.

Seth Liebowitz, Harrow School