Outstanding - A Blog by Brian McColgan

Our last day in Kenya has been spent travelling back to Nairobi and then on to our homes across the world from Las Vegas to Tel Aviv to Sydney.

It’s hard to know where to start in describing the experience of this past week, but I’ll try by talking about the team who have had the “once in a lifetime opportunity” to come here.

When you spend 24 hours a day with a group of people you soon get to know them both as individuals and as a team. What became evident very quickly was that everyone had come here with one single purpose, which was to build on the great work our colleagues had completed on previous visits. This is not a place for egos, and this team have thrown themselves into every aspect of this incredible project, from getting knee deep in cement mixing to “mummy and daddy dancing” to entertaining the children. I feel I have made friends for life.

What about the school? On our last day at assembly, the Deputy Head, Richard, read out a list of things that we have done to improve the facilities for both the children and the teachers. He spoke about;

- the new library which he described as being like having two additional invisible teachers

- the clean water project, which keeps the children healthy and strong and was a contributing factor in their winning performance in the inter school Sports Day

- the new teachers’ houses which will help attract good teachers to the school

- the clothing and shoes we gifted the children, which gives them much needed warmth but just as important a sense of pride in themselves and their school.

The work we have done here has made this school the envy of everyone who visits it and we should all be very proud of that.

Let me finish by talking about the real reason for us being here, the children. Let’s be clear, these kids have nothing and I am not talking about the materialistic things our kids enjoy. They have little or no food, they live in mud huts and their lives are a daily struggle but, and it’s a big but, they have a spirit and dignity that humbles you every time you have the privilege to engage with them. Through providing good education we are giving them the chance of better lives not only for themselves, but for the community as a whole. We can’t change their lives overnight, but what we are doing here is making a real difference to this and future generations.

So it’s goodbye to Ol Maisor from “Jooey Ktanda” (my Kenyan name and if you get the opportunity ask Joe Mc Callum his, a huge disappointment to him) and the rest of the “February 2014 Project Africa” team. Beverley, thank you for looking after us and ensuring we made the most of our experience, and what an experience it has been.

In the words of my Aussie tent mate, “Outstanding”.

Brian McColgan