Day 3 and Project day!
Well plans go wrong! We arrived at the hospital and no-one appears to be expecting Carla. so, around an hour and a few letters later we are no closer to a decision. Whilst all this is happening Nanis, Daniels partner is waiting for an ultrasound. This is an opportunity I didn’t want to miss! Luckily enough Nanis invited both Carla and myself into the room to see the scan with her. The scan picture was so clear but so very different to a UK hospital. The room was just bare, with a blackboard (that had recently been used for a lesson on a detached placenta), the scan equipment and an x-ray machine. The doctor doing the scan said the equipment had been donated. The whole thing made me almost wish I had followed my mum into midwifery.
Scan over (the baby is a boy!) and Carla’s placement still unconfirmed, we all jump back on a matatu to Ukunda to visit my placement, which from all information from Travellers was at one location. It wasn’t. In fact they are both very different to the info given!
Well, a 20 minute walk from the main Ukunda-Diani road lies Shikamana school.
Run by Jackson Gitonga M’bund it has around 300 pupils aged 2 1/2 years upwards with 11 classes (KG1-3, Standard 1-8). Now I was pretty hesitant about the school, firstly, I didn’t sign up to teach (although I am open to it) and secondly, it didn’t really look like it needed my help! But as soon as I got inside and started walking around the classrooms this all changed. The children were so welcoming and the staff seemed genuinely excited to see me. I was introduced as a ‘volunteer teacher’ which was strange but it felt like they were really grateful for my help. But I had another site to go and visit before deciding where my time was going to be spent.
Queue walk in the midday African sun across open countryside (or airstrip) to the Born Again orphanage. This walk would not have been an issue in the UK, yes it was kinda far (think Marble Arch to Tottenham Court Road or Leicester Square at a push). But at midday, in Kenya, with no water….it was gruelling.
We arrived and apart from a bit of dehydration, I was ready to see the orphanage which I thought would be the outright winner in my decision-making process. I was wrong.
I didn’t get the same vibe from the orphanage as I did from the School. I am not sure if it was the dehydration (which got much worse and resulted in me sleeping and downing half a litre of Oral Rehydration Salts) or just the reception I received. The director of the orphanage didn’t bother to show up to show me round or even greet me (he was in the salon apparently) and none of the staff seemed too bothered by my presence. The kids were amazing though. So happy despite the obvious poverty (and Ugali for lunch) but something still felt wrong. The orphanage looked like it NEEDED help. with 46 children living on site and more from the local community attending classes, the staff were stretched. I could possibly be a great help here.
I have come here to help for sure but I want my help to be in a place that appreciates it and having seen both options I have a huge decision to make.
With about 35 children in a class with just one teacher, the school could use the assistance just as much. There I feel I will have a real impact on the kids lives whereas at the orphanage I think it would be an impact on the running of the place.
I think I am going to leave this one in the hands of Gad. he has brought me to Kenya and he knows where I will be best utilised. So over to you!
I will give you my decision tomorrow!
P.S. If you want to continue donating to this trip and helping the children at the project I chose (which, I will be giving more info about over the next few days in massive blog posts) the visit HERE and follow the steps to donate!!