I, too, was part of the occupational therapy project at the Mthorini School. The preparation were very exciting because we were not sure how the children would respond and how they would engage with us. In Germany we discussed this and organised the trip with Joy.
After our arrival in Nairobi, it had been raining like cats and dogs and there were already small streams forming on the streets - "Welcome to Africa"
We visited Nairobi and even an elephant farm. Then we went by bus to Watamu, a 10 hour trip, where we had a few days until the start of the project on January 3. This was spent by the sea and on a safari.
Before beginning our actual project with Henry and Joy, we visited two schools to get several impressions. One was the Soyo Soyo School and the second the Chembe School. Very different impressions from both. The first school was the flagship school of the organization, with electricity, water pipes, toilets and tables and chairs for the children. The school is affiliated with a small farm, for self-sufficiency and the sale of cultivated vegetables and fruits in the market. A chicken coop was available and there was a goat pen.
The second school, Chembe, was very simple and had less than the Soyo Soyo. We were all warmly greeted with dancing by the students and mothers. The whole village was there. This has really touching for us. The children and even the adults have so much vitality.
We started our project on 3rd January 2013. The Mthorini School can not be compared to a german school. Everything is much simpler and temporary.
The first day was just about getting to know everyone. Luckily Joy and her father Henry were there and were able to translate for us, because not all the children spoke english. We all got along very well with each other. We taught the children origami figures. Together we finally got some very funny animals done.
Outdoors we made games with a parachute. One day we were in a butterfly farm and then we drew with the children from their experiences.
On the penultimate day we went on a trip to the sea. Since many of the children had never been to the sea, it was very exciting. Even the ride there in a minibus was exciting. They splashed a lot in the puddles and had a lot of fun.
On the last day we were warmly received by all FOM and the children, we were reluctant to leave the children. The time was far too short and we would have liked to stayed longer.
For me it was a very nice experience, and I would like to re-visit, but then for a long time period in order to learn even more about the country and the people. And I know that with Joy and her father Henry the trip back would be a great experience.
I wish the organisations the best of luck and a lot of donations, because they are necessary in order to keep providing for these children and to enable them to have a good education.
A big thank you especially to Joy and her father Henry, who completely supported us in the planning and on-site.