Forming Friendships & New Memories in Kenya
In mid-July 2018, 14 Lower Sixth students arrived in Kenya for a week’s volunteering with African Adventures at Ungana Academy in Nakuru in the Rift Valley. The students were accompanied by Head of German, Kate Gregory, and Teacher of Art, Chris Sutherland, who has written the following account of the trip:
Situated in a very deprived area, Ungana Academy was originally formed to provide the local children from the slum area with a hot meal each day. Over the years the Academy has developed, and although it continues to look after the basic welfare of the children, it is now also an academic school with high expectations. College students had been raising money throughout the year which went directly towards the development of the school, but they also brought with them stationery, clothing and sports equipment to bolster the school’s supplies.
Ungana Academy itself is small, about 250 square meters, and comprises about seven corrugated iron classrooms without electricity. We were a little apprehensive at first, not knowing what to expect on arriving at the school, but the warm welcome we received was beyond our expectations. Within the first day lessons were planned, relationships were formed and the old pre-fab toilet block was dismantled, ready for reconstruction throughout the week.
Over the course of the week, we were able to find our individual niches within Ungana Academy, ranging from heavy-duty construction work in the toilet block, to teaching huge classes of 4 – 7 year olds. Some of us worked on redecorating a classroom from scratch, with a beautiful range of linguistic, mathematical and geographic information, while others touched up and refined existing wall displays. As text books are in short supply the teachers rely heavily on accurate and stimulating murals painted onto the classroom walls to enhance their teaching.
During the weekend when the school was closed, we enjoyed a half day safari where we saw rhinos, buffalo, giraffes and a multitude of other beautiful sights. Additionally, we all engaged in "full adventure mode" by traversing the bottom of a massive waterfall; an experience we will certainly never forget!
By the end of the trip, we had all become fully immersed in life at Ungana Academy and it was very sad having to say goodbye on the final day. The key objective of the trip to Kenya was to make a positive impact on the development of the school and the group that went this summer achieved this in every respect. It was a trip that all will hold dear for a very long time and we aim to continue our work in Ungana Academy for years to come.
Chris Sutherland, Teacher of Art