04 Oct

  • By Martin Flynn
  • In Trips
  • Comments Off

In June 2017, a group of ten students and three teachers travelled to Kenya for 10 days to do charity work alongside the Sisters of Mercy.

Over eight months, we raised over €30,000 by bag packing, speaking and collecting at masses, holding a disco and a race night. We also collected donations to bring over to Kenya.

We travelled to Kenya on 8th June. After nine hours of travelling, we arrived in Nairobi. We were collected by Sr. Cathy and our driver for the trip, Charles. While in Kenya, we met with Sr. Mary Killeen and visited some of the projects that are run by the Sisters of Mercy.

We travelled for twelve hours to a women’s centre called the Mercy Centre in a northern part of Kenya called Chipareria. When we arrived we were immediately pulled into a hug and a dance circle. It was an amazing welcome. The centre teaches women skills in hairdressing, waitressing and cooking. We also visited a church, school and some poor villages there. At the school we sang and danced with the girls and talked to them afterwards. We learned that they are normal teenage girls just like us. With the help of Sr. Veronica, we gave out some of our donations to the women in the Mercy Centre.

In Nairobi, we went to a primary school called St. Catherine’s where we sang and danced with the children. We also made pencil toppers with them and helped to give them their lunch. We also went on a walk through the Mukuru slums with Sr. Mary. It was shocking to see how cramped and dirty the conditions in the slums really were. While in the slums, we also visited a primary school. When we arrived the children were extremely happy to see us. We got a tour around the school and it was surprising to see how similar their curriculum was to ours.

We visited a centre for boys who had been rehabilitated from drugs called the Mary Immaculate Centre. They were now being taught skills such as plumbing and carpentry. The centre was made out of shipping containers and was very cramped. After handing out jerseys to the boys, we played a game of soccer with them. It was great fun and our team won after penalties.

Later on in the trip we visited the rehabilitation centre called Mwangaza, where boys would go through a six month programme to help them get off drugs and teach them how to grow and maintain crops. They are also taught acrobatics and we saw some of their tricks, which were absolutely incredible.

We also visited the Mukuru Promotion Centre, which is one of the main projects run by Sr. Mary and the Sisters of Mercy. While there we went to the primary and secondary school, where we sang and danced with the students. We also visited centres where people were taught skills such as hairdressing, cooking, I.T and engineering. We also visited the art centre where students created their own art pieces and sold them. The level of talent was absolutely amazing!

We visited a school for disabled children and children who had dropped out of school called Songa mBella. We each spent time with children in different areas of the school and were able to play with them.

Later that day, we went to an orphanage called St. Marian Children’s Centre. We made bracelets with the children and sang and danced with them. It was a lovely time.

During our trip, we also saw the richer side of Nairobi. We went to some shopping centres and animal sanctuaries for giraffes and elephants which were a huge contrast to the poorer parts of Nairobi. When we were walking down the street, we were called “Mzungus” which meant “white people”. We also got the chance to ride on the local bus called matatus, which was a very exciting and interesting experience.

On our last night, we went to the convent to meet with Sr. Cathy and Sr. Mary. As a group, we discussed what donations we would give to each centre. It was a lovely way to round-up the trip.

Kenya was such an amazing experience for all of us and we are so thankful to everyone who supported us in the run-up to the trip. It has made us so grateful for everything that we have and we will never forget it.