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Our Founder in Kenya – 2024

Day 1: A Heartfelt Return to Nakuru: My Ninth Humanitarian Trip

As I breathe in the warm Kenyan air on my first day, a sense of familiarity and excitement washes over me. This is my ninth humanitarian trip to Nakuru, and my third visit to the West End Academy. Each journey holds a special place in my heart, filled with memories and the hope of making a positive impact.

Today, I was welcomed with open arms by the remarkable headmistress, Valentine. The warmth of her embrace and the sheer joy in her eyes reminded me of why I keep coming back. She has always been a pillar of strength and dedication, ensuring the children at West End Academy receive the education and care they deserve. As she hugged me tightly, it felt like a homecoming—a reunion with family.

One of the highlights of my first day was the incredible musical presentation by all the children. Their voices, filled with enthusiasm and happiness, echoed through the classroom, filling my heart with joy. Watching their bright, smiling faces as they sang and danced was a powerful reminder of the resilience and spirit of these young souls. Despite the hardships they face daily, their optimism and zest for life never wane.

After the welcome celebrations, I rolled up my sleeves and got to work plastering the new classroom. It’s always fulfilling to contribute physically to the school’s development, knowing that these efforts directly enhance the learning environment for the children. As I threw the plaster on the walls, ready for it to be smoothed, I couldn’t help but reflect on the journey that led me here.

In anticipation of this ninth trip, I decided to get a tattoo that symbolises my incredible experiences in Kenya. I chose a lion’s head, inspired by a photo I took on safari last year. This tattoo on my hand represents strength, courage, and the bond I share with this beautiful country. The children at the academy were fascinated by it. Many of them, never having seen a tattoo before, believed it was drawn on and tried to rub it off. Their innocent curiosity brought smiles and laughter.

The children were equally intrigued by my newly grown beard. Their tiny hands reached out to stroke it, giggling at the unfamiliar texture. These moments of connection, no matter how small, are the essence of my visits—building bridges of understanding and affection.

However, not all moments are filled with joy. During my rounds, I encountered a young child with a burn injury caused by an open fire. It was a stark reminder of the dangers and challenges these children face daily. Access to proper medical care is limited, and such injuries can have severe consequences. Witnessing this underscores the importance of our continued support and the need for better safety measures and healthcare access in these communities.

As I reflect on my first day back in Nakuru, I am filled with a mix of emotions. There is the joy of reconnecting with familiar faces, the satisfaction of contributing to the school’s development, and the sobering realisation of the ongoing challenges these children face. Each trip deepens my commitment to making a difference, no matter how small, in their lives.

Here’s to another week of hard work, heartfelt connections, and the hope that our efforts will pave the way for a brighter future for these incredible children.

Day 2: Blowing Bubbles and Weathering Storms


The sun peeked over the horizon as we began our second day at West End Academy in Nakuru. The excitement and energy of the children greeted us as soon as we arrived, and I was instantly reminded why this work is so important. Today was a blend of joyous moments and sobering realities, a testament to the resilience and spirit of this community.

Blowing Bubbles and Creative Colouring

My morning started with a simple yet magical activity: blowing bubbles. The children’s laughter filled the air as they chased and popped the bubbles, their faces lit with pure delight. It was a beautiful reminder of the universal language of play, breaking down barriers and building connections through shared joy.

Next, we moved on to a more creative task—helping the children colour in templates of people. Watching them carefully choose their colours and bring their drawings to life was incredibly heartwarming. Art is such a powerful form of expression, and seeing the pride in their eyes as they completed their masterpieces was a highlight of my day.

Hard Work and Team Effort

The day’s work was far from over, though. We had a big task ahead of us—moving boulders from one side of the playground to the other. This was no small feat, requiring teamwork and determination. It was a physical challenge, but it also brought us together, working side by side with our fellow volunteers. Each boulder moved felt like a step towards improving the children’s environment, a tangible difference we could make.

Another essential task was sieving sand and stones. Using a net that only allowed smaller particles to pass through, we separated the fine sand from the larger stones. This process, though meticulous, was crucial for preparing materials for the school’s ongoing plastering of the classrooms. It was another reminder of the hard work and dedication needed to create a better future for these children.

Witnessing the Power of Nature

As the day progressed, the weather took a dramatic turn. Torrential rains and deadly floods have plagued Kenya since March, causing devastation across the country. We experienced this firsthand in the late afternoon when the skies opened up and rain poured down. The amount of rain in such a short time was staggering, leading to flooding through the slums. It was a harsh reminder of the challenges these communities face daily and the urgent need for support and resilience.

An Evening with Pastor Alex Maina

The evening brought a much-needed moment of reflection and connection. I had the great pleasure of seeing Pastor Alex Maina once again. Alex, the East Africa Director of African Adventures, has been a friend for over a decade. His dedication to the community is truly inspiring. Recently, he took on the role of CO for Youth, Talent, and Sports at the County Government of Nakuru, furthering his impact on local youth.

Our conversation turned to a deeply concerning issue: the rising men’s suicide rate in Kenya. Alex shared that many men face immense pressures from interpersonal and relationship problems, financial and economic difficulties, mental health conditions, and religious and cultural influences. As someone who works in men’s mental health, this struck a chord with me. It’s a stark reminder of the importance of our mission and the need for ongoing support and intervention.

Looking Ahead

Today was a day of contrasts—filled with the laughter of children and the sobering impact of nature’s fury. It reinforced the importance of our presence here and the need for solidarity and support. As we move forward, I am more committed than ever to making a difference, both here in Nakuru and through my work with For Men To Talk.

Day 3: Sport and Aches and Pains


As I sit down to write this, I’m filled with a sense of accomplishment and a bit of weariness. Today marks the third day of our humanitarian trip to West End Academy, and what a day it has been. The sun was high, the children were energetic, and our team was buzzing with the spirit of making a difference.

Introducing Cricket to the Children

One of the most memorable moments of today was teaching the children how to play cricket. The look of curiosity and excitement in their eyes was priceless. Many of these children had never seen a cricket bat or ball before, so we started with the basics.

We practiced batting, bowling, and fielding. There were plenty of laughs as the kids tried to hit the ball, and some even managed a few impressive swings! Watching them play, cheering each other on, and enjoying the game reminded me why sports are such a powerful tool for building community and teaching teamwork. It was a joy to see their smiles and hear their laughter echo across the field.

Rebuilding the Kitchen Posts

After the cricket match, we turned our attention to a more pressing task. Two years ago, our team helped build a kitchen for the academy, a vital part of ensuring the children receive proper meals. Unfortunately, the wooden posts supporting the hatch of the kitchen had fallen victim to termites and were in dire need of replacement.

Armed with new posts, a pick axe and our hands, we set to work. It was hard, physical labour, digging out the old, damaged wood and securing the new posts in place. The importance of this work was not lost on any of us. The kitchen is the heart of the academy, and making sure it is functional and safe is crucial for the well-being of these children.

Feeling My Age

Today also brought a personal reflection. At 43, I am not as young as I once was, and my body reminded me of that. The physical demands of the day took their toll, especially with my history of knee injuries. There were moments when I felt the aches and pains more acutely, and I found myself frustrated with my limitations. It’s humbling to realise that I can’t do as much as I used to, and there were times during the day when it got me down.

But then, I would look around. I saw the children, so full of life and potential, and our team, all working together despite our own challenges. It’s a powerful reminder that every effort counts, no matter how small it may seem. We all have our roles to play, and it’s okay to lean on each other when we need to.

Final Thoughts

As the sun sets on another day here in Nakuru, I am filled with gratitude. Gratitude for the opportunity to be here, for the chance to make a difference, and for the incredible spirit of the children and the community at West End Academy. Each day brings its challenges, but it also brings immeasurable rewards.

Day 4: Rediscovering the Impact of Our Efforts in Nakuru

It’s my fourth day here at West End Academy in Nakuru, Kenya, and each day has been a poignant reminder of why we do what we do at ‘For Men To Talk’. 

This year, the reality of homelessness in Kenya has been particularly striking. The sight of so many Kenyan people sleeping on the streets has left a lasting impression on me. The Kenyan government estimates that there are over 500,000 homeless people in the country. Poverty is the primary culprit behind this crisis, forcing countless individuals to live without shelter because they simply cannot afford rent or mortgage payments. The lack of affordable housing exacerbates the situation, creating a grim cycle that is hard to break.

Homelessness here brings a myriad of challenges and dangers. Those without homes face violence, exploitation, and abuse on a daily basis. Health problems are rampant among the homeless population, including malnutrition, infectious diseases, and severe mental health issues. It’s a harsh reality that no one should have to endure.

Another noticeable aspect of life in Nakuru is the number of animals that roam the streets alongside the people. Cows, pigs, goats, dogs, and chickens can be seen scavenging for food, highlighting the stark difference in living conditions compared to what many of us are accustomed to back home.

Despite these challenging circumstances, there have been moments of joy and connection that shine through. A few years ago, Sainsbury’s donated a large number of red noses to us, and I still have hundreds left. Today, I handed them out to the children here. The sight of their infectious smiles and the sound of their laughter as they put on the red noses was heartwarming. These small gestures can make a world of difference.

We received some extra funding from a fellow volunteer to build shelving for books and stationery. This led us to a local builder’s merchant that we’ve partnered with on previous trips. The owner, recognising me and my father from our past visits, greeted us warmly. Understanding the purpose of our work, he generously offered us a discount and didn’t charge us for cutting the wood to size. His kindness is a testament to the spirit of community and support that we often encounter here.

In the afternoon, I experienced a wave of emotion that I hadn’t felt all week. Watching a young Kenyan girl play with a female volunteer’s hair brought tears to my eyes. It was a simple, beautiful moment that reminded me of the deep connections we form and the profound impact we have on these trips. This is my eighth visit, and sometimes I forget just how significant our presence and efforts are to the local community.

As I reflect on today, I am filled with gratitude for the experiences and the people we meet along the way. Each trip renews my commitment to making a difference, and I am incredibly thankful for the support that allows us to continue this important work.

Day 5: Embracing Joy and Making Progress at West End Academy


Today was my fifth day at West End Academy in Nakuru, Kenya, and it was filled with laughter, hard work, and meaningful moments that reminded me why humanitarian work is so vital.

As we arrived at the school, we were immediately greeted by the joyful sounds of children playing games in the playground. Their infectious energy set a positive tone for the day. One of the highlights of the morning was an impromptu race between the volunteers and the children. It was heartwarming to see how a simple race could bring so much joy and foster a sense of connection between us and the kids. I must admit, their enthusiasm and speed made it quite a challenge for us!

After the race, I joined the team in helping to distribute porridge to the children. This daily meal is a crucial part of their diet, made from a blend of maize, soya, sorghum, and sugar, all fortified with essential minerals and vitamins. For many of these children, this porridge is not just a meal but a lifeline, ensuring they receive the necessary nutrients to stay healthy and focused throughout the day.

In the afternoon, we took a significant step forward in our project to improve the school’s infrastructure. The delivery of wood for our shelving had arrived, pre-cut to size from the builders’ merchant I mentioned in yesterday’s blog. We spent the day painting these shelves, which will soon hold books and stationery, providing the students with better resources for their education. The same paint was also used to refresh the window frames, which will be installed in the newly built classrooms by our dedicated team of Kenyan builders. It was rewarding to see the tangible progress we’re making, knowing that these improvements will have a lasting impact on the students’ learning environment.

The day concluded with a bittersweet moment as we said goodbye to Chippy, a fellow volunteer whose time here has come to an end. To mark his last day, Chippy and I spent an hour in the afternoon singing with the children. Chippy brought out his guitar, and we sang a variety of songs, including the symbolic “Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley. This song, with its reassuring lyrics “Don’t worry about a thing, ‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right,” served as a powerful reminder to the children—and to all of us—of hope and resilience. It was a fitting tribute to Chippy’s contribution and a heartfelt send-off.

As I reflect on today and also the working week, I am filled with a sense of accomplishment and gratitude. The bonds we are forming here, the smiles we are sharing, and the improvements we are making all underscore the importance of our mission. I look forward to what next week will bring and the continued progress we will achieve together.

Day Six: Lake Nakuru Safari Park

Today marks our sixth day here in Nakuru, Kenya, and it’s a special one. It’s Saturday, our first day of a weekend break from working at West End Academy. We took this opportunity to visit Lake Nakuru Safari Park, an annual tradition for us on these humanitarian trips.

The drive to the park was a somber reminder of the recent torrential rains and deadly floods that have devastated Kenya since March. These have been some of the most catastrophic floods in the country’s recent history, altering landscapes and affecting countless lives. Even within the park, we could see the impact. Certain routes were impassable, which unfortunately meant we missed seeing the majestic giraffes.

However, nature never fails to surprise and delight. Despite the challenges, our safari was filled with remarkable sightings. Zebras and buffalos roamed freely, waterbucks and impalas grazed peacefully, and warthogs scurried around. We spotted a rhino, which are always awe-inspiring, and playful monkeys and baboons added a touch of humour to the day.

Two encounters stood out the most. First, we came across a pack of lions. Witnessing these powerful creatures in their natural habitat is always a humbling experience. There’s a raw beauty and strength in their presence that is both exhilarating and grounding. But the highlight was seeing a hippopotamus out of water for the first time. These typically elusive creatures are rarely seen on land, making this sighting exceptionally special.

From the crest of the hill, Lake Nakuru sprawled below in a breathtaking panorama, its tranquil waters shimmering under the sun’s gentle caress. The sight of flamingos painting the shoreline pink and the lush green of the surrounding forest created a thing of beauty. This serene vista had a profound effect on my mental health, washing away stress and anxiety, and filling my mind with a deep sense of peace and connection to the natural world. The beauty and stillness of the lake from such a height provided a moment of clarity and rejuvenation, a reminder of the simple, yet profound, joy found in nature’s embrace.

You might wonder why this experience is significant for my mental health, and by extension, the message of For Men To Talk. Being immersed in nature, has a profound effect on mental well-being. It reminds us of the beauty and complexity of life, offering a perspective that is both humbling and uplifting. The raw, untamed environment of the safari starkly contrasts with the structured, often stressful world many of us live in.

For me, seeing these animals, particularly the lions and the hippo, was a powerful reminder of resilience and adaptability. Despite the floods and the changes in their environment, they continue to thrive. This resilience mirrors the strength we strive to foster within our men’s peer support groups. It’s about adapting to life’s challenges and finding strength even in the face of adversity.

The shared experience of the safari, the collective awe, and the discussions it sparked among our team, underscore the importance of community and connection. It’s a reminder that we are not alone in our journeys. Whether it’s facing a personal struggle or a natural disaster, the strength of a supportive community can make all the difference.

As we continue our work at West End Academy, these moments of reflection and connection are vital. They recharge us, provide fresh perspectives, and reinforce the importance of what we’re doing. The impact of our humanitarian efforts goes beyond the immediate support we offer; it’s about building a foundation of resilience and hope.

Day Seven: A Day of Rest and Reflection in Nakuru

Sunday, our second rest day, had arrived. As the sun rose over Nakuru, the atmosphere transformed. Every man, woman, and child swapped their casual, often worn and tattered clothing, for immaculate dresses and suits. The streets became a sea of vibrant colours and crisp attire, a testament to the deep reverence the people here hold for their day of worship. With Christianity being the predominant religion in Kenya, embraced by an estimated 70% of the population, Sunday holds a special place in the hearts of many. It’s a day where the community finds comfort and strength in their faith, coming together to celebrate and reflect.

For us, the group of volunteers, Sunday meant a temporary reprieve from our intense week of humanitarian work at West End Academy. We made our way to Merica Hotel, a more luxurious setting than what we had grown accustomed to over the past few days. The hotel, with its beautiful outdoor swimming pool, inviting sunbathing area, and delightful cuisine, offered a stark contrast to the realities we had been immersed in.

As I lounged by the pool side, soaking in the warm Kenyan sun, a wave of guilt washed over me. The image of the children living in a deprived environment, was etched deeply in my mind. Here we were, enjoying the comforts of a luxury hotel, while those children continued to face the harshness of their daily lives.

This guilt, however, was not something to wallow in but rather a call to deeper empathy and understanding. It reminded me of the reasons why we were here and the impact we aimed to make. Our rest day wasn’t just about relaxation; it was about recharging our batteries, allowing us to return to the Academy with renewed energy to help more.

Reflecting on the past week, I realised how much we had achieved and how much more there was to do. The resilience and joy of the children, despite their circumstances, were inspiring. They taught us invaluable lessons about hope and perseverance.

The luxury I enjoyed for a day became a reminder of the privileges that I often take for granted and the importance of using those privileges to uplift others.

Sunday in Nakuru was more than a rest day; it was a day of deep reflection and a renewed sense of purpose. As we prepare to return to West End Academy, we carry with us not only the memories of relaxation but also a stronger commitment to our mission.

Day Eight: Back to School After a Weekend Break

As we stepped into our second week at West End Academy in Nakuru, Kenya, I was filled with anticipation. The weekend break had given us a moment to rest and reflect, but now it was time to get back to work.

Our day began with a walk to the local hardware shop to buy nails and paintbrushes, essential tools for the projects ahead. The journey took us through the Rhonda slums, a vivid reminder of the stark realities faced by many here. Animals wandered freely in the streets, and makeshift stalls lined the roadsides, with vendors selling everything from fresh produce and vegetables to second-hand clothes on rickety wooden tables and in small huts.

As we navigated the bustling streets, we were greeted with shouts of “mzungu” from children. In Swahili, “mzungu” means foreigner, typically used to describe a white person. While it can sometimes carry a negative connotation, the beaming faces and enthusiastic waves of these children assured me that no offense was intended. Their joy was contagious, and I couldn’t help but smile and wave back.

During our walk, we made a stop at Beatrice’s fruit stall. Beatrice, a local entrepreneur, greeted us warmly as we bought 60 bananas for just £4—a fraction of what they would cost back in the UK. We took the bananas back to the school, knowing that this nutritious snack would provide the children with much-needed energy and vitamins. Bananas are particularly beneficial as they are rich in potassium and vitamin B6, which help with brain development and maintaining steady energy levels.

The rest of the afternoon was spent assembling shelving units for the school’s reading and writing books. It was gratifying to see our efforts begin to take shape, knowing these shelves would help organise educational resources and enhance the learning environment for the students.

As the day came to a close, I was greeted by a heartwarming surprise. A young man named James approached me, his face lighting up with recognition. I first met James during my inaugural humanitarian trip in 2014. Back then, he was a skinny, short 10-year-old boy. Today, at 20 years old, he stands tall and strong, working diligently in the events business. Seeing James’s transformation over the years was a powerful reminder of the impact that support and opportunities can have on young lives.

Day 9: Building Futures and Cherished Memories at West End Academy, Nakuru

As I reflect on my ninth day here at West End Academy in Nakuru, Kenya, I am struck by the profound impact of our work and the incredible resilience of the children we are here to support.

Our morning was dedicated to assembling shelving units for the school’s reading and writing books. These shelves are more than just storage; they symbolise the dreams and futures we are helping to build. Each book placed on these shelves holds the promise of knowledge, inspiration, and hope for the students who eagerly reach for them.

During our break, I encountered a young boy named Dan who had a burn on the palm of his hand. It’s heartbreaking how common these injuries are, often due to the hazardous conditions many children face at home. Thankfully, we always carry a first aid kit with us. I cleaned Dan’s hand carefully, applied Savlon cream, and covered it with a plaster. Later in the day, I checked back, and the wound already looked significantly better. It’s moments like these that remind me of the vital importance of our presence here, not just for educational support but for immediate, tangible care.

The afternoon saw us rolling up our sleeves to apply the first coat of paint in both the ground and upstairs classrooms. The vibrant colours are already transforming the space, making it more inviting and conducive to learning. It’s amazing how something as simple as a fresh coat of paint can rejuvenate the spirit of a place and its people.

As the sun began to set, we had a special visit from several ex-students, many of whom we had met over a decade ago. Some of them now have children of their own. We spent the evening reminiscing through stories and old photographs, each image a testament to the enduring impact of our work here. Seeing these former students, now adults, thriving, filled me with immense pride and joy.

This trip continues to reinforce the power of community and the importance of providing support, whether it’s through education, healthcare, or simply sharing memories and laughter. 

As I look forward to the days ahead, I am filled with hope and determination. There is still much to do, but with every bookshelf we assemble, every wound we treat, and every wall we paint, we are making a difference. And that is the greatest reward of all.

Day 10: Donations Day

Today marked the tenth day of my humanitarian journey at West End Academy in Nakuru, Kenya, and it was a profoundly emotional and rewarding day. Our annual donation day is always a highlight, but this year, it held even more significance for me due to a special encounter.

I had the immense pleasure of meeting Mercy, a mother whose daughters, Millicent and Brigette, attend the academy. Over the past year, we had built a connection through social media, sharing stories and experiences. Finally meeting her in person was a moment filled with deep emotion and gratitude. 

In our meeting, I had the honour of donating approximately 70 jelly shoes to Mercy. Additionally, I provided her with 2000 Kenyan Shillings (approximately £13) to help her set up a stall for a month. This small business venture will allow her to sell the shoes and generate some much-needed income for her family. Her response was heartwarming: “This will have made a great impact in my family’s life, and I am so grateful for that.” Her gratitude and the significance of this support brought tears to my eyes. It’s moments like these that underline the importance of our mission and the profound impact we can have on individuals’ lives.

Donation Day: A Blend of Joy and Heartache

Every year, donation day is both joyous and heartrending. It’s a day filled with smiles, gratitude, and a palpable sense of community, but also a stark reminder of the challenges these children and their families face. Today, we had four key stages of donations:

  1. Casual Clothing: We started with distributing casual clothes, including pants, socks, trousers, shirts, and dresses for all the boys and girls. Each child also received a teddy bear, which brought immeasurable joy to their faces.
  2. School Uniforms: Next, we provided the children with school uniforms. These included red jumpers, dresses, skirts, trousers, and shorts. The sight of the children proudly wearing their new uniforms was incredibly moving.
  3. Shoes and Trainers: Following the uniforms, we handed out shoes and trainers. Seeing them lace them up was a moment of profound significance.
  4. Church Dresses: Lastly, some young girls received beautiful church dresses, kindly made and donated by the Women’s Institute in Derby. These dresses will be worn with pride and will surely make special occasions even more memorable for these girls.

I took a break from managing the donations to paint the nails of boys and girls with glitter gel nail varnish, bringing a touch of sparkle and joy to their day.

As the afternoon drew to a close, I found myself surrounded by children expressing their thanks with hugs and heartfelt words. Their gratitude was overwhelming and deeply moving, bringing tears to my eyes once more. The simplicity of their happiness, the genuine appreciation for what we often take for granted, is a lesson in humility and kindness.

As I end this day, my heart is full. Every hug, every thank you, and every smile is a reminder that what we do matters. Here’s to more days of making a difference, one step, one smile, and one donation at a time.

Day 11: Transforming Lives and Building Hope

As I sit to write my thoughts on this eleventh day of our humanitarian trip, I am filled with a whirlwind of emotions.

Home Visits: A Glimpse into Daily Struggles

Although I was unable to attend the home visits this year due to other commitments, my fellow volunteers shared heart-wrenching stories of the conditions some families endure. Imagine a large family living in an 8ft by 8ft space, without access to clean water or electricity, and with minimal furniture. This is the harsh reality for many in this community.

Our team visited eight such homes, bringing with them essential packs that included bread, chapati flour, maize flour, washing soap, sugar, rice, milk, and salt. Additionally, I was fortunate to bring along many LED solar lights, generously donated by Portable Power Technology. Each family received one of these lights, a small beacon of hope to brighten their nights. In total, twenty-three families benefited from these solar lights during our visits.

One particularly upsetting moment was witnessing a student from West End Academy with a severe burn on his arm, caused by boiling water. Such incidents underline the dire need for better living conditions and safety measures in these households.

Building and Constructing: Strengthening the Future

Our day was not just about witnessing the challenges but also about rolling up our sleeves and contributing to the construction efforts at West End Academy. We carried out sieving, a process using a net to separate stones and sand, ensuring the right materials for construction.

I also had the opportunity to mix cement for plastering the outside wall of the upstairs classroom. Here’s a glimpse into our method:

  1. Ensuring the mixing surface was free from water seepage.
  2. Mixing cement and sand until they formed a uniform color.
  3. Adding aggregates to this mixture and blending with a spade.
  4. Creating a small pit in the middle, pouring water into it, and mixing from the outside in.
  5. Continuing the mixing process until the concrete reached the desired consistency.
  6. Using the mixture promptly to prevent it from setting prematurely.

In the early afternoon, we applied the second coat of paint to both the ground and upstairs classrooms. Each stroke of the brush was a step towards creating a more vibrant and inspiring learning environment for the children.

A Nostalgic Return to St. Trizah’s School

Our day concluded with a visit to St. Trizah’s School, a place very close to my heart. From 2014 to 2017, we dedicated ourselves to constructing classrooms, a dormitory, a kitchen, and even planting a few trees. When we left in 2017, the school was still in its early stages of development.

We followed the same route, crossing over a small river. However, recent floods had caused the bridge to collapse, forcing our mini-bus to navigate through the shallow, but moving, water. It was a tense and precarious moment.

Returning to St. Trizah’s was a deeply emotional experience. To our delight, the trees we planted have grown, and many more have been added. The once dusty playground is now lush with grass, and crops are thriving, providing food for the children and income for the school. Most importantly, there are more children than ever, and their smiles are as bright as I remember.

The school is now fully established, a thriving community hub. Seeing the transformation and the positive impact of our past efforts brought many happy tears. It was a poignant reminder of why we do what we do, and the lasting difference that even small contributions can make.

Day 12: Reflections on last day in Nakuru, Kenya

As I wrap up my ninth humanitarian trip to Kenya, I find myself reflecting on the experiences of my third visit to West End Academy in Nakuru. Today, the twelfth and final day of this journey, was filled with profound emotions and memorable moments that I’ll cherish forever.

The morning was a blend of laughter and joy as I spent my final hours playing with the children. Their infectious energy was palpable as we engaged in games like musical chairs and bean bag races, balancing the bean bags on our heads. These simple activities brought so much happiness, reminding me of the pure and unadulterated joy that children can find in the simplest of things.

The last day at West End Academy are always special for another reason—it’s the day we cook and serve lunch to the children. This year, we discovered that chapatis, a beloved treat, are typically reserved for Christmas. Determined to make this visit unforgettable, we hired two cooks at just 500 Kenyan Shillings each (about £3.75) to prepare chapatis for the children. Alongside the chapatis, each meal included watermelon, orange, banana, cabbage, beans, and a refreshing orange squash drink. Seeing the children relish this special meal was heartwarming.

Earlier this week, my father and I assembled shelves for the school’s reading and writing books. Today, we nailed them to the walls of the new upstairs classroom and library. As the room took its final shape, we held an opening ceremony. The teachers and children, seeing the room for the first time, gasped in joy and excitement. Witnessing their reactions was overwhelming; tears of happiness filled my eyes as I saw their delighted faces.

The day’s events continued with an end-of-school presentation led by Valentine, the director of West End Academy. She expressed heartfelt gratitude to our team for our hard work. Valentine’s words touched me deeply when she mentioned my contributions, including the donation of 70 jelly shoes to Mercy, the mother of Millicent and Brigette, and 2000 Kenyan Shillings (approximately £13) to help her set up a stall for a month. Knowing that this small gesture could significantly impact Mercy’s family made me emotional once again.

As the day drew to a close, we bid farewell to the children and teachers, sharing hugs. The connections we’ve formed here are strong, and leaving is always bittersweet.

In the evening, we held a celebration at our hotel. Representatives from each of the five schools we supported this year shared presentations on their achievements. It was a fitting end to an incredible journey, highlighting the collective impact of our efforts.

As I reflect on this trip, I am filled with gratitude for the experiences and the opportunity to make a difference. The smiles, the laughter, and the heartfelt thanks from the community reaffirm why we do this. I look forward to returning next year, continuing to support and uplift the wonderful people of Nakuru.

Until next time, Kenya. Thank you for the memories and the lessons. You will always hold a special place in my heart.