The 2 weeks I have spent in Nakuru, Kenyahave completely changed the way I view life. Kenya is a very Christian country with 90% of the population Christian. It amazed me how people in so much poverty living in slums and on landfill sites had so much faith and were so filled with joy. There were churches every few hundred metres and the church was an integral part of the school we were teaching in. Melon school has around 450 children aged between 5-16 years old, many of which live in the local slums. Nakuru itself has a population of around 200,000 people so can be compared to Swindon quite readily. However, despite the centre of the city being well developed with supermarkets and houses, it was sad to see that just a mile away was poverty, the money is clearly about – just not with the people who need it. Even things like the roads, which we take for granted back home, left a lot to be desired here as the number of potholes was incomprehensible and on the journey from Nairobi to Nakuru we saw 3 major accidents.
On the first day we conducted a sports day which the children thoroughly enjoyed, also playing lots of group games. These children were incredibly inspiring in how much responsibility they had in the school and how they appreciated everything they had. On one day there was severe flooding causing the classroom I was in to be a foot deep in water, yet all the children took the responsibility of clearing it up and the school was back to normal by the next day. I had great fun teaching the children who were all eager to learn new things. However, this does not cover up the reason why we were there. All the normal teachers were local volunteers many of who were too tired to teach in the afternoon meaning many children were left to revise under their own steam. Even though the children were fed 2 meals a day at the school, the portions were small and due to the shortage of water, everything was “washed” in the same water which after the first few classes was more a case of moving the dirt around the dishes.
It wasn’t all work and no play, on both Sundays I went to the local church service which was full of praise and passion, you could really feel God’s presence with you. We also visited Menengai Crater, second largest in the world, the view were breath taking. On the last Saturday we went on a Safari in Lake Nakuru National park which again was amazing seeing zebras, giraffes, lions, rhinos and more. We also visited the equator and the Thomson Falls both of which were equally thrilling.
Visiting the slums is just as it appears on the television, rubbish everywhere, chickens dogs, goats and cows just walking around and little children outside playing. You’d have thought being white rich people they may have reason to envy us but far from it, everyone was so happy to greet us and wave at us. But this was not the worst place, for on the last day we visited the landfill for Nakuru where 75% of the children live, it was shocking. The smell, pigs rolling in puddles of dirt and children playing in the rubbish; nothing like I ever seen before, this was extreme poverty just a few miles from the town. What really struck me was that this was not some kind of dream, this was reality for them, living like this every day, they have no choice about it. It was alright for me because I could go home but for them this is home. This has made me realise that despite all the aid we give, there is not much being done to improve the lives of these people; it is through projects like the one I was on where a real difference can be made educating and feeding the people to help them get out of this poverty cycle. This is why I would like to go back again next year and continue what we have begun.