- Kenia July 2010
"First contact to KiD"
- Travel report by Denise Hearn and Jacky
Jacky and I travelled to Diani Beach - Kenya in July this year (2010)
After doing our amazing safari and a few other days out through our tour
operator, we decided we wanted to meet some local people, so we went out of our hotel grounds for a walk.
Almost immediately we met a couple of guys from one of the "shops" directly outside our hotel.
They were both called Joe (Joe "Frasier" and "Big Joe"). They were very friendly and told us how happy they were to see some people leave the hotel
grounds, apparently it doesn't happen very often!
So we chatted to them for a while and they offered to show us around their local
village, they told us there was a school there which we were welcome to
We jumped at the chance, at last we were going to meet some local people...
So we went for a walk down a dirt track around the back of the "shops"
and low and behold there was a village tucked away, completely hidden from the road and the hotel!
As we walked along we were met with lots of friendly "Jambo!" and lots of bemused looks and
"We don't get many visitors" said Joe, "They are very surprised to see
He showed us all round the village which is quite big and has quite a lot of homes both
corrugated, and a few brick. Also a tiny shop, lots of goats and chickens and people going about their daily
"How many Goats do you have?" asked Joe, "none!" I replied. He was surprised to hear this so I explained that in England we only keep Goats etc on farms or small
holdings, most people don't have any livestock, just domestic pets like cats and
Joe explained that he had been educated up to the end of primary
school, but his parents couldn't afford to send him to secondary school, alas this is the case of many Kenyan
He went on to tell us before K.I.D, there was no school locally, and the children had to travel to neighbouring villages to go to
school. This proved very difficult for most of the children as their parents couldn't afford the bus
fare, or the compulsory school uniform.
Then a German couple came to visit the area and decided to do something to
help. They set up a charity and raised the money to build the school
building, toilet blocks, kitchen and storage room, and continue to fund the
school, and are looking to grow their own crops soon.
I was impressed when I heard this story, it's not very often you hear of people going out of their way to help
others, especially when they are on holiday.
Joe said that he was very happy his village has it's own school, he understands the importance of a good education and is happy that the children are getting a good start in life.
After a while we came to the school, as we walked through the gates, we could hear the children enthusiastically counting out
So we approach one of the two classrooms, and Joe called the teacher
over. She came out to greet us, looking as surprised to see us as the rest of the
We immediately apologised for interrupting her class, she tells us it's no
problem, we are very welcome.
She tells us her name is Agnes and she is one of two teachers at the
school, the other teacher, Miriam is away on school business that day. So Agnes is teaching both
The classes are made up of children from 3 to six, years old, 35 children in total.
Agnes takes us into the class with the older children. The children are all in school uniform, and are sitting at
desks, patiently waiting for Agnes to continue their lesson.
They all stand up and welcome us with "Jambo, welcome" then they sing us a lovely
The classroom is large and bright and the walls are covered with handmade charts with ABC and also counting and various
spellings. Along the wall at the front of the class is a blackboard with various spellings written on, which the children proceed to read out to us. I was very impressed with the children's reading and spelling
skills, and also their delightful manners and enthusiasm to learn.
Next we went into the other class and met the younger children, again all in uniform, and to our
surprise, we learnt that one of the older children, around 6 years old, was helping to look after this class of three and four year
olds, and this is where the enthusiastic counting was coming from!
They were all gathered in a group around a wall chart with numbers 1-100 written on
it, each child was taking it in turns to tap the numbers and the rest of the class read them out
loud. When we walked in they were up to number 82!
Next Agnes showed us around the school grounds, the girls and boys separate toilet
blocks, and the kitchen, where we met another Miriam, she is the school
cook, and the children call her Grandma, how sweet.
They kindly invited us to stay for lunch with them, which we politely
declined, as we had already eaten, and anyway food is scarce in the villages and I know there isn't much to go round at the
school, but I was touched by their generosity and warmth.
Outside the kitchen there are two sinks with running water for the children to wash their hands before they
eat. Agnes told us they teach the children the importance of cleanliness, and clean
hands. Obviously most of the children live without running water at home, so this lesson is difficult for them to learn at
Agnes told us they have a school bus which gets all the children to school
safely, she travels in with the children so they feel safe and secure.
When the children get to school, they are given breakfast, as no child can sit still, listen, and learn on an empty
They also get lunch cooked by Grandma Miriam, for a lot of the children, these are the only meals they get. After lunch they play, have another
lesson, then sleep for a bit or play until they go home.
Next Agnes introduced us to Joshua who helps run the school. He explained all about the
charity, and gave us some leaflets with the charity website and e-mail address so we could contact them when we got
So we left shortly after to let Agnes get on with her busy day, promising to return with books and pencils etc, and hopefully more
Joe escorted us back to our hotel, and told us he would be happy to take us back to the school whenever we
So a few days later we went off to the local supermarket, and bought lots of exercise
books, pens pencils, chalk, sweets (naturally) and some big bright colourful wipe clean wall
Then with a couple of friends we had met in our hotel, we went off to meet Joe to go back to the
school. On the way we walked round the village giving sweets out to the little
When we turned up it was the children's playtime, and Agnes was sitting with Miriam in the
shade. She jumped up to meet us "welcome back" she said "and you've bought some
friends". They had also been to the supermarket, and both Miriam and Agnes were really happy to receive our
So we finally met Miriam the original teacher at the K.I.D school. She explained that the charity has a program to sponsor the children through kindergarten and primary
Once the children leave the kindergarten, not only are they are looked after financially with regards to
fares, uniforms books etc, but also Agnes and Miriam stay late at the school to offer the children help with their
homework. The children also get medical help.
We were then taken into both class rooms where the children got to show us their
spelling, and maths skills, both were impressive, the teachers are doing a great job. Also their enthusiasm is
We were so happy to have met Joe, and the teachers at K.I.D. It was such a great
experience, second only to our safari.
I'm pleased to say we have been in touch with Heinz, and, between us have now sponsored one of the children at the kindergarten.
It's such a great feeling knowing you are really helping someone get a good
education, something we take for granted, and all for the monthly cost of less than a trip for two to the
cinema. I would thoroughly recommend it.
Denise Hearn and Jacky Keen