Our Global Family: A special visit to Kenya for staff and students at OA Wintringham

Here at Oasis we try to live by the 9 Habits: Joyful, Honest, Forgiving, Compassionate, Humble, Considerate, Hopeful, Self Controlled and Patient. Paul Leadbetter and some of our students from Oasis Academy Wintringham were honoured to be able to not only champion these characteristics over the summer, but to experience them in a completely different setting through a community project placement in Kenya. Here's how they got on. 

Paul:

I have just spent 28 amazing days looking after eleven fabulous students in Kenya! We travelled to three different camps in order to do a variety of projects and activities.

At the first camp ‘Muhaka’, the students’ project was to plaster and paint a new school library for the local community. Many of the local children came along to help us build their library, and so we were able to make friends and learn about their culture, language and way of life.

The second camp, based in ‘Shimoni ‘, was called ‘Firefly’.  At first, I wondered how this camp got its name, but then, at night, we witnessed the warm glow of the fireflies lighting up our night sky. During the day at camp ‘Firefly’, some of us were able to enjoy the thrill of scuba diving and, by the end of the week, were awarded an open water scuba diving qualification. And as if that wasn’t enough, we were extremely lucky to spot a humped back whale and its calf swimming through the nearby bay.

In camp Tsavo, our third and final camp, we were all very sensitive to the level of poverty in the area and so were even more motivated to tackle a new project, which was to concrete a new classroom floor and build six new classroom tables for the students. We managed to complete this in record time and so, later in the week, among other things, we helped de-worm the goats and cows in the local community!  As a reward, we spent a full day on safari at Tsavo National Reserve Park, and saw some fabulous sights of many animals living in their natural habitat.

A lasting impression we took away from Kenya was the sheer joie de vivre we saw in the people of these incredibly poor communities. In spite of having so few possessions, everywhere we went the families and children ran out of their tiny huts, waved and greeted us along the roadside.  We were made to feel like celebrities and were touched by their warmth and generosity! Everyone was so pleased to meet us and sincerely grateful for the help we were able to give.

The whole trip was such a life-changing, positive experience, I would recommend it to everyone; I am already planning my return trip for 2019 (if not sooner)!

 

Merrie: 

I spent my summer doing things I never thought I would. Through Oasis Academy Wintringham, I was able to spend four weeks in Kenya.

I first found out about the trip when Camps International was invited into our academy for an assembly, around 18 months ago. From the minute it began, I knew it was definitely something that I wanted to do. We then did multiple fundraising activities and, before we knew it, the countdown was over and we were on our way. I had never been so excited in my life!

We spent our time in three camps, taking part in projects such as plastering and painting the local library, building desks and concreting classroom floors. To begin with, it was hard work in the heat, however the thought of improving the school lives of the children kept us going.

We also went on a safari, seeing some animals that I never knew existed, and took part in a scuba diving course, making us qualified divers. 

Apart from all of these wonderful experiences, the trip has also made a difference to me. It enabled me to create new friendships with new people but also strengthen the ones I had before. It improved my work ethic and my ability to work in a team, but one of my favourite parts was experiencing the positive outlook the people of Kenya have on life. 

Camp Kenya was an incredible opportunity to make a positive impact on other people’s lives as well as my own. 

 

Sam:

At the end of July and throughout most of August I was able to participate in a trip of a lifetime, going to Kenya with Camps International who worked with Oasis Academy Wintringham to give me and the group an amazing experience. In Kenya we worked to plaster and paint a library at one camp and laid a new floor; we also got involved in desk building at another. We planted trees in the tree nursery; de-wormed goats and supported the local women’s group by making elephant dung paper! It wasn’t all hard work though, as we played football with the locals (in two Kenyan wins) and went scuba diving to see more fish than I could imagine possibly existed!

It was a life changing experience for us as we developed teamwork skills, added to our CVs and saw how different life is for Kenyans and for the locals. We changed the lives of school children with our building work, provided income for women and saved farmers lots and lots of money because they now had healthy goats. This was a unique experience, a once in a lifetime opportunity, and something I would definitely do again if I had the chance!