18 February 2014
Many of you enjoyed hearing directly from our Harambee volunteers on the ground in Londiani in some of last year’s blogs. Well Harambee is still a few months off (and see our previous blog if you'd like to participate) but today’s blog does come directly from Londiani. It’s a brief account of a WorldWise teacher exchange visit from one of the participants. For those of you unfamiliar with WorldWise, it’s an Irish Aid programme that works with the Friends of Londiani Schools Network. You can find out more at http://worldwiseschools.ie and under the heading Bringing Kenyan and Irish schools together on our education page (http://www1.friendsoflondiani.com/projects.php?id=199). And now for the main event. We begin a few days ago — last weekend, to be precise… After a lovely flight and a stopover in Abu Dhabi the team travelled through the Rift Valley and were surprised at the rain. On Sunday night the group stayed in Lake Elementaita Lodge (which, for film fans, is where the 2005 movie The Constant Gardener was filmed). The following morning we proceeded to Nakuru National Park where we saw three of the big five safari animals and got up close and personal with a local baboon! After a hearty lunch we headed for the last leg of our journey to Londiani. It was great to arrive after almost 48 hours travelling. Initial impressions of Kenya from the Irish teachers include feeling overwhelmed by the warm welcome given by all the local people. In many ways the Africa we pictured in our minds before we arrived has been replaced by a new vision. The local scenery here in Londiani reminds the teachers very much of home with green fields, old trees and rolling hills in abundance. The Irish teachers are all looking forward to developing their relationship with their partner schools in the coming days. Monday the 17th of February Today the Irish teachers went to visit their respective partner schools with much anticipation. Warm welcomes, friendly handshakes and many songs awaited them. Teachers from Mount St Michael, Claremorris, were presented with lovely t-shirts from their partner school, Baraka Secondary School. The eight-kilometre journey from Londiani to Baraka took 45 minutes by jeep through spectacular countryside. Killinarden Community School and Moate Community School were also represented in their partner schools Kapcheplanga and Moi Sorget through a letter exchange between the Irish and Kenyan students. After a 30-minute walk through the maize field, teachers from Mountrath Community School were warmly greeted by staff and pupils of Sacred Hill Girls High School. An enjoyable morning was had sharing experiences with several classes and doing a vigorous workout with the PE class. The teachers from Scoil ui Mhuiri, Dunleer, walked through Londiani town to meet with their exchange partner Londiani Township Secondary School. Following a warm welcome by the principal and teachers, the Irish teachers visited each of the forms and engaged in lively discussions on life in Ireland and Kenya.