Oasis of Hope

I can’t really believe that I have been here a month already. Being on time might not be a priority for the Kenyans but it certainly passes quickly here. One major achievement in the last 2 weeks has been passing my driving test enabling us to have use of the GSK sponsored 4×4 at weekends. Kenyan exploration here we come! It’s quite a beast as the picture shows but it’s just what is needed out here. Sometimes it’s like threading a tank through a hoard of tuc tucs, motor bikes, push bikes and people all determined to try and end their lives early! The others say they feel very safe with me though, so that’s a plus.  I haven’t ventured out a night much yet though, using headlights seem to be thing of choice amongst other road users and the dry red dust makes it like driving in fog.

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My adolescent sexual health project is progressing well, having already met with several youth groups so that they are able to have  a voice in the type of Youth Friendly Services that would encourage them to attend the clinics. Unsurprisingly they are no different to adolescent s world over, they want privacy, confidentiality, unbiased non judgemental advice and times to attend that are convenient to them. A given in the UK maybe but as yet not the norm here. Hopefully, in what I am only too aware is a very short length of time, I can make some small changes that will make a long lasting impact.

I have also visited an OGRA supported school called “Oasis Of Hope”. Primary education is free & compulsory in Kenya but secondary education is not and must be paid for. This school was established for orphans who want to continue learning and make better lives for themselves. All the teachers are products of the school having gone on to graduate at universities and returned, to give back to their own community. If ever there was a place to give you belief that anything is possible, this is it! We attended on their “competition” day. A bit like an Eisteddfod for us Welshies! The standard was remarkable, and the confidence with which they performed a joy to watch considering their lives outside of school. This day gave them the opportunity to have such a great time in what is otherwise a very tough life – Oasis Of Hope couldn’t be a more appropriate name. The desire of the teachers and the students to succeed has led to the school being placed 13th out of 42 schools in the region….truly inspiring!

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9 comments

  1. Greetings Madeleine! Today, I visited a non-profit in Philadelphia called “10,000 Villages”. a non-profit, fair trade retail shop. You will be happy to know that I purchased a UNITY SCULPTURE made in Kenya. Hand carved out of Kisii Soapstone, this sculpture signified that “No One Stands Alone; we are all connected and our diversity enriches us. A symbol of our interdependence.” A bit of Kenya is now with me in Philly as I complete my PULSE assignment. Through PULSE, we seem to all be connected! Have fun with your new driver’s license! Did you need to pass PARALLEL PARKING???

  2. Brave lady indeed! What is the sign for “Mind the hippo emerging out of the river”?!
    The Oasis of Hope should be a reminder to us all of the important things in life – easily forgotten in our world!
    Continue to do good.
    Love the photos.
    Maddy

  3. I salute you in getting your Kenya drivers license. I’m in Nairobi, and I would not even think about driving here. They are insane! When driving, beware of the motorcycles and matatus. They do not believe in driving rules. I was on my way home yesterday from my NGO, and a matatu decided to make its own driving lane by using the sidewalk for at least 800 meters. Best of luck on your assignment.

    1. You’re right driving is a whole new ball game here, but it seems walking is as big a game of chance as driving is in Nairobi by the sounds of it – mind you having sidewalks is a bit posh isn’t it?? Hope you and Katrine can get down to visit us sometime soon and I can take you out in the tank!

  4. That’s a great update Madeleine. Keep up the good work. All that driving around the magic roundabout should stand you in good stead with “The Tank”. Keep smiling x

  5. Well done on the driving I know only too well how challenging the driving can be especially at night. Sounds as though you have really settled in and enjoying yourself as well as making a difference.

  6. It’s great to be able to follow your adventures via the blog and photos – hearing about the school is inspiring and your project too, but the driving is really something. Congrats on your new licence!

  7. Sounds that you are having a great time despite the hard work, keep it up , how inspiring is that school. Driving the tank sounds a bit like the Trooper with the extra hazards. Keep it up!

  8. Really enjoying following your blogs. Perhaps the driving in Cyprus helped you to get your license there. Mind you, I seem to remember everytime you drove the roads were excellent, then as soon as we swapped the roads became dirt tracks so maybe not. Take care in your tank.

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