19 Nov

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Kenya Project 2019

By Laura Pendlebury

On the 5th June 2019, 10 girls from Sancta Maria College and 4 of their teachers went to Kenya for 10 days to do charity work with the Sisters of Mercy. I was lucky enough to be one of the girls chosen to go.

We flew out of Dublin Airport on the 5th of June. We flew to Ethiopia and then got a second flight to Nairobi, Kenya. When we arrived, we were all full of excitement even after traveling for a very long day. We settled into what would become out home for 10 days and met with Sr Mary and the other sisters working out in Nairobi. We prepared for our first day in Nairobi.

The place we went was Mary Immaculate, a rehab centre for boys in Nairobi. All the boys were so happy when we gave them new footballs. They showed us around their centre. They had a gym which they especially loved, a games room and many more facilities. In every place we went we performed songs and dances from Ireland so they could get a taste of Irish culture. The groups we were visiting also performed for us which let us experience Kenyan culture.

We then went to an orphanage called St. Marian’s and met all of the children there. We made bracelets and pencil toppers with them. It was just magical to see the big smiles on their faces and the joy they got from such a simple thing. We met up the children again on our last day and took them on a day out to the Crocodile Sanctuary where we all got to hold a baby crocodile!

We travelled to Cheparaia in Northern Kenya at the weekend and stayed in the Mercy Centre with Sr. Veronica. The women in the centre were so lovely and welcoming. Those days in Cheparaia were very special to me.

We visited a couple of primary and secondary schools in Nairobi and while we were there, we taught them crafts, songs and dances.

One day we visited Songa mBelle, a school for disabled children located near the slums. That day was very upsetting for everyone to see the conditions some of the children had and how they lived. Yet, they were so happy to see us. We got a chance to teach them, perform for them, play games with them and feed some of the more physically disabled children.

Another day, we visited another boys rehab centre called Mwungaza, outside of the city. We played football with the boys there and spent the whole day there getting to know them. They showed us their amazing gymnastics skills. They presented us with two lovely pictures as gifts for us to take back to school. They are proudly displayed on our Kenya notice board. Sancta Maria College and Mwungaza share a special link as the first Kenya Project in 2004 purchased the plot of land that the centre is built on.

The trip to Kenya was truly life changing and I am so grateful that I got to go. I think about our trip a lot and the things we saw there. I will remember the experience forever.