Blog from Harambee volunteer Kevin O Callaghan – July 2018
Kevin O Callaghan is studying International Development and Food Policy at UCC and is on placement with us at our office in Ireland. Kev is just back from Kenya where he spent part of his placement and these are his thoughts on the second and final parts of his visit.
The second half of our trip to Kenya was as eventful as the first. We began our third week by visiting some of the BCW projects helping local schools; it was great to witness first hand the impact that the organization is having on the locality, including newly constructed water tanks and washrooms. We were warmly welcomed by the various staff members and principals who we met. One such school we visited was Kedowa Special Secondary School for the Deaf where the students gladly embraced the break in class to interact with us. The visit was quite an eye-opening experience and one I won’t forget.
The following day Rachel and I engaged in a business course ran in a nearby town where various business skills were taught to people of a varied age group, all eager to learn. The aim of the course was to give people the knowledge and skills in order for them to set up their own business. Different areas of business were discussed and debated including advertising, marketing, accounting, etc. The attendees were also taught how to create a business plan.
Another highlight during our third week was attending HECA schools training. This involved teaching a class of schoolchildren about the different aspects of having a safe, clean and healthy environment combined with the skills to manage it. Watching the children learn and put their newly learned knowledge into practice was rewarding in itself.
After reluctantly saying goodbye to Londiani, we enjoyed a weekend at the beautiful Lake Naivasha where we visited Crater Lake and went on a boat ride that allowed us come face to face with the most dangerous animal in Africa, the hippo. The thrilling weekend was spent interacting with the wildlife, cycling through Hell’s Gate and catching up on World Cup action.
For our final week in Kenya we visited the widely acclaimed Masaai Mara National Park, a game reserve where we would embark on a 3 day safari. Taking in the beautiful scenery and animals was a once in a lifetime opportunity we thoroughly enjoyed. We also embraced a wonderful hour in the presence of a Maasai tribe where we were shown around their village and homes and also got to see them perform their tribal dance. Overall, acquainting the tribe was engrossing. An unforgettable occasion where we were granted a captivating insight into a completely opaque lifestyle in comparison with our own.
The other highlight of week four in Kenya was our visit to the launch of Young Scientist Kenya (YSK) in Nairobi. President Uhuru Kenyatta opened proceedings where young aspiring scientists from all across Kenya showcased their innovational and resourceful ideas. Given the fact that YSK was the first Science and Technology Exhibition to be held in Kenya, the chance to visit was intriguing. Especially talking to the ambitious students who were keen to tell us all about their projects.
In retrospect the entire month was one of the most eye-opening and wonderful experiences we’ve had. Getting involved in the different projects run by BCW was thrilling. The Kenyan people are even more welcoming than the Irish and getting to know some was a pleasure and a learning curve. A big thank you to Martin, Maria and all the staff at Brighter Communities Worldwide who were instrumental in everything we did and kinder than we could have hoped.
Kevin O’ Callaghan