In this blog the volunteers from Emark tell us about their first days in Kenya.

July 3rd, St-Martins School 

After a short night in Nairobi we were picked up at 8.30 AM by a classic local schoolbus, to go to the St-Martins School in the Kibagare village. The bus trip lasted about 45 minutes and brought us to the school in the middle of the village.

Exploring the school
When we arrived at the St-Martins School we were warmly welcomed by smiles of singing and dancing children. After this fantastic reception the rest of the morning consisted mainly of exploring the school grounds, including a football field that appeared to always be occupied by boys and girls playing football. We met the school staff and some sponsors/volunteers from other companies. We got divided in three groups, each with its own purpose/goal during our stay here. We are in group 3, with the goal to see how the Emark-sponsored Community Outreach project is going and to think about ways how we can further improve/adapt/expand this initiative.

Helping a hand
At the end of the morning the whole group of volunteers helped to serve lunch for the children of the primary school. Every pupil (800!) at the school receives at least two meals a day and on Saturdays the school also distributes food to the brothers and sisters of the children. This means that on Saturdays the school serves about 2000 meals, which is really a world achievement given the limited resources that the chefs of the school have.

The Community Outreach Center
In the afternoon we visited The Community Outreach Center, sponsored by Emark. Here we met Angela, a school employee who provides hope and opportunity to families by ensuring that the parents (mostly single mothers) can meet their primary needs. This is done by teaching the participants how to make products themselves (e.g. soap, jewelry and bags) but also by learning how to do business. Angela really does an amazing job here.

It’s just the beginning
Angela introduced us to a group of participants who told us about their experiences. It was lovely to meet them and good to hear the positive stories about the project, but it was certainly good to understand what can be improved. We walked around through the village and were also invited to visit some of the houses of the participants. This experience and the conversations we had with some of the woman living here, put more emphasis on the fact that life here can really be tough. Setting up The Community Outreach Center and all the good work of the St-Martins School are just the beginning of creating better circumstances and opportunities for the people who live here.

Meeting the students
When we arrived back at the St-Martins School we had the opportunity to meet the students of the school. This was fun and really educational. Especially the older students are very wise at a young age and seemed to really enjoy sharing their experiences with us. We had much fun with the younger students, with whom we took some crazy selfies. It was truly great to meet all these kids.

Unfortunately at around 16.45 PM it was time to go back to the hotel. Tomorrow we will go to the Karibu Center. In the next blog we will tell you more about the upcoming days.