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Project Coordinator's Report:
Part II: Mission to Bungoma, Kenya
by Keron Niles
September 02, 2006
UWI Students Trip to Kenya
Part I: Organisation and Preparation for the Kenya Trip
Week One: June 8th – June 15th
June 8th – June 10th – Bon Voyage! Buen Viaje!
June 11th – Search for the missing pouch, Mission to Bungoma.
June 12th – June 15th: "Settling in"
As all arrangements had been made, the Journey to Kenya would now begin. It would entail over three days of travel, as our journey began on The Lynx (the fast-ferry) to Tobago. However, Tyehimba Salandy and myself had to fly across to Tobago since I still needed to meet with a potential sponsor and make all final arrangements to give Mr. Marc Chauharja-Singh the "Power of Attorney" over our bank account (for reasons mentioned earlier.) Our flight plan took us from Tobago to London to Dubai and then to Nairobi. Travelling through several airports consecutively can prove to be tiring and arduous. However, we managed to make our way 'hassle-free' through these airports, which I believe was due largely to our delegation uniforms and UWI Identification Cards. Travelling was also made much easier since members of the delegation usually sang indigenous songs each time we arrived at a departure gate. After arriving at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, I was delighted to greet the Executive Director of the Kenya Volunteer Development Services (hereafter, the KVDS), Mr. Silvanus Alwanga Malaho. I thought that we were going to drive to Bungoma at once, but Mr. Malaho indicated that he made arrangements for us to stay at the Ambassador Hotel in Nairobi for one night, and that we would make the nine (9) hour drive to Bungoma in the morning. Notwithstanding this arrangement, while checking into the Hotel, Ms. Sherline Chase discovered that she could not locate the pouch, which contained her passport. Therefore on the night of the 10th of June after looking at Trinidad and Tobago playing Sweden in the World Cup Finals, we carefully retraced our steps to ascertain when last the pouch was seen.
|Keron Niles|| |
With the exception of the missing pouch, everything was fine and on schedule. Members of the delegation were quite certain that the pouch was on one of the vehicles which transported us from the Airport to the Hotel. They were indeed correct. Though it took nearly an hour to locate the vehicle; we found the pouch and we were ready to travel to Bungoma. We were greeted at Bungoma by a welcome party at the Mabanga Farmers' Training Centre, the hostel reserved for our stay in Bungoma village, situated approximately ten minutes away from Bungoma town.
The KVDS had reserved twenty rooms, each with two beds in them. Thus, we occupied nine rooms on the ground floor of the building. This was to be the base of our operations as long as we were in Bungoma. After ensuring that we had settled and that nothing was missing, members of the KVDS left, allowing us to rest.
|UWI contingent at Gatwick Airport, London|
The KVDS wished to ensure that we completed everything associated with "settling in", and as a result, took us to Bungoma town to call or e-mail our families, to the supermarket and to the bank. This activity was especially important to the Treasurer to the delegation and myself as it was necessary for us to determine whether we needed to open a bank account at a local bank in order to conduct transactions on behalf of the delegation, especially in case of emergency. We eventually determined that the VTM would be adequate. In addition to this, it was also decided (due to circumstance and upon the advice of members of the UWI administration) that all outstanding money due to the KVDS would be paid in installments, instead of a single lump-sum payment. This would allow for a greater measure of accountability and transparency, as we would be able monitor exactly what the money we paid to the KVDS was being spent on. The only lump-sum payment was to be the wire transfer from the UWI Guild Account to the KVDS account at Barclay's Bank in Bungoma. When there was a delay in this payment, members of the delegation simply came forward to cover specific immediate expenses until the money had arrived and they could be repaid.
Nonetheless, this all-day activity of visiting banks, Internet cafes and a few stores was followed by a visit to Uganda the next day. Though we did not journey far from the border I noted that the people there seemed to be far more expressive. A few student delegates even stopped to talk to some of the children who approached us. The curiosity of children and of the people at large was uniform for the duration of our visit in Kenya and Uganda. Wherever we visited, the delegation from the UWI often drew a crowd of curious on-lookers. Most persons wished to know from which tribe we came, while others wondered why we were 'black' and unable to speak Swahili. Hence, throughout the trip members of the delegation (inclusive of myself) explained that we were black, but not African. After having an opportunity to purchase a few items in Uganda, we headed off to a braided waterfall in the Western Province of Kenya.
On the following day (14th June), our official community outreach work was set to begin with a visit to the Sio Primary School. We were received by the Head Teacher of the school who then introduced us to all of the teachers present that day. After a tour of the school, the staff at the school re-introduced themselves. This was followed by a dance (Ugandan) by female students and several dramatic presentations, which were then succeeded by several speeches, from the school committee and the KVDS. I was then called upon to address the students. I took the opportunity to introduce each of the student delegates, to share about the Caribbean and my University. I then opened the floor for a few minutes in order to facilitate questions from either staff or students. This basic format or sequence of events was followed at almost every school we visited. The most interactive segment of the programme therefore was the question and answer segment. Some of the schools we visited also submitted a historical synopsis along with a S.W.O.T. analysis of the school, which aided us in building a schemer for the outreach that was done during our visit to Kenya (see Appendix – Community Outreach Schemer.)
The KVDS Forestry Research Centre was our first stop on the following day. This visit was geared mainly towards the student delegates from the Faculty of Science and Agriculture and was followed by a visit to Sunrise Academy Primary School, a smaller school geared towards serving children with 'social difficulties' (mainly orphans).
|Children from Sio Primary School do a skit|
Week 2: June 16th – June 23rd
June 16th – Mt. Elgon
June 17th – Cultural Exchange in Bungoma
June 18th - Kakamega
June 19th – Lecture by Dr. William Tioli
June 20th – June 23rd – Welcome and work at Shikhunga Resource Development Centre
Friday 16th of June presented a respite from our work schedule as we journeyed to the Mount Elgon National Park. Unfortunately, when we arrived at the gate we were informed that a high-level official who had seen us as we were about to enter, enquired as to who we were and instructed the staff at the gate to charge us the full tourist rate, and not the student rate. As this cost was not catered for in our budget, we were had to enjoy the scenery on our way back home. Despite this minor setback, the experience proved to be quite interesting and enjoyable.
The KVDS planned a 'cultural exchange' for Saturday 17th June. Ironically though, the event began with a football match against some young men from Bungoma village. We lost the game via a penalty shootout. Nonetheless almost all of the student delegates participated in a few indigenous 'group songs' which was followed by a dance showcasing the major cultural groups in Trinidad and Tobago. Throughout the trip, a limited amount of arts through the spoken word (including poetry) was used due to the fact that the translation of the words from English to Swahili significantly delayed the delivery and comprehension of the message being conveyed.
After we had completed our cultural presentation, the KVDS introduced a Kenyan dance group and explained that the type of dance they were about to perform was very famous in Kenya. The dance was actually quite lively and the Trinbagonian students wasted no time in joining in. Ms. Beverly Changalwa, a journalist from the local government Ministry of Information, attended the event and she used the opportunity to interview several of the student delegates, including myself, in order to gather information about our country and university.
It was then time to move to Kakamega, a larger town in the Western Province of Kenya. We made the journey after attending the church of the Executive Director of the KVDS, Mr. Malaho, who is a Minister there. However, the sermon on that day was shared by Ms. Kimberly Gay, one the student delegates from the UWI who happened to be of the same religious affiliation as Mr. Malaho. We therefore arrived at the St. Nicholas Pastoral Centre around 3pm in the afternoon. This hostel, which was designed and built to host Roman Catholic Missionaries visiting Western Kenya was actually very comfortable and suitable for international delegates. We spent our first week there staying in self-contained rooms (each fitted with toilet and bath) and then moved to a building with communal bathrooms. We were later told that we were given the self-contained rooms as a show of courtesy and good faith since the rooms were empty and we were international students.
The following morning Mr. Malaho indicated that a well-respected lecturer from the Western University College of Science and Technology (WUCST) had come to deliver an informal lecture to us that would be in the form of an interactive talk session. Dr. William Tioli, who specialises in topics pertaining to the environment, spoke at length about the need for greater, stronger linkages between "Third World" nations. He noted that such efforts should be explored particularly between African and West Indian nations due to strong historical linkages between the two regions. According to Dr. Tioli, it has become somewhat of a struggle to keep such linkages alive, but he also noted that 'we' (as in the Third World) seem to be winning the battle, slowly but surely. Dr. Tioli indicated that he truly enjoyed interacting with the students of the UWI and would try his best to make arrangements for us a visit to his university. Indeed, he kept his word as we were scheduled to visit the WUCST on the 29th of June 2006 (see attached – Letter of Invitation).
Our work in Kakamega was now scheduled to begin. There was to be a grand welcome for the student delegates to the village. However, I was unable to witness this event as I had to stay at the hostel with one of the students who was ill at that point in time. Since we had agreed that no one would go anywhere by themselves, we also agreed that no one would stay at the hostel by themselves, especially if they were ill. Mr. Muhammad Muwakil had on that very morning visited a local nursing home, and was told that he had contracted Malaria. Though we had all taken our Malaria tablets on time, and though the doctor did confirm that our tablets were one of the strongest on the market, we were informed that there could never be any firm guarantee that that a bite from a mosquito carrying the malaria virus would not infect us and that the tablet only reduced the likelihood of infection. Nonetheless, Mr. Muwakil recovered quickly and returned to "business as usual" within a matter of days. Simultaneously, in terms of illness and infirmity while on this trip, due to the great difference in the nature of food in Kenya, many of the delegates experienced minor stomach ailments at some point in time during the trip. It would however be remiss of me not to make special mention of Ms. Ivory Hayes at this juncture. Ms. Hayes, a final year student at the Pharmacy School in the Faculty of Medical Sciences became somewhat of a medical advisor to the delegation. As she was in charge of dispensing all pharmaceutical products and drugs from the delegation's medicine kit, she managed our stock of medicine quite exceptionally and did not complain when she was awakened in the very early hours of the morning on many occasions by delegates who were unwell. I cannot express the level of sincere gratitude I have for this selfless service to the delegation.
The work of the delegation at the Shikhunga Resource Development Centre continued; we were divided into three (3) working groups responsible for Hut-Building, Agro-forestry and the Tree Nursery respectively. Each group would switch their task each day in order to ensure that every student was able to enjoy and learn from the experience offered through each task. The KVDS noted that the hut was being built in commemoration of our visit to Kenya and that students from our University visiting Kakamega in the future would be able to stay in the hut if they so desired. Agroforestry refers to the practice of planting trees usually found in forested areas among agricultural/cash crops and was actually somewhat similar to the agricultural work we did at the retreat in Cumuto. We planted two of the four endangered trees in Kenya today, the Muvule and the Mt. Elgon Teak. The Tree Nursery project was equally as important as it sought to nurture healthy plants from seedling to trees.
Mr. Malaho indicated that due to his organisation's heavy involvement in community outreach, that we would also visit schools on the 23rd of June. As such, in order to be as productive as possible, while some stayed at the Resource Centre to continue building the hut, others visited a nearby school. The groups were once again rotated to ensure that everyone was able to participate in both activities. We were able to visit the Mwibelenya Primary School and the Eshiakhondo Primary School on the same day. While I shared primarily on the historical relationship between the West Indies and Africa at the Mwibelenya Primary School, Ms. Shirleen Chase did an extensive presentation on dental health at the Eshiakhondo Primary School.
|Working in the Tree Nursery|
Week 3: June 24th – July 1st
June 24th – Finishing the hut
June 25th – PEFA Church, Football, Cultural Exchange.
June 26th – TEGAT Tea Factory in Kericho, Tabo Hill Primary School
June 27th – Kisumu Museum, Nyago'ri Boys High School
June 28th – Kenya Agricultural Research Institute, Kakamega Forest, St. Augustine
Mukumu Primary Boarding Boys School
June 29th – Western University College of Science and Technology
June 30th – Back to Bungoma: Mabanga Farmers' Training Centre
July 1st – Bungoma Town, Kakamega Town.
Putting the "final touches" to our memorial traditional "banda" hut was a ceremoniously celebrated event and the KVDS asked the eldest member of the delegation, Ms. Sherline Chase to purchase a cock on behalf of the delegation. The cock was sacrificed in order to commemorate the opening of the hut and then served for lunch. This was to be proceeded by a Cultural Exchange the following day. We began by visiting a Pentecostal Evangelical Fellowship Assembly (PEFA) Church, and even though we arrived late, I delivered a brief sermon on the topic of "faith". The cultural exchange however, was set to occur after we played a friendly football match against "some youngsters from the village" as was organised by the KVDS. When we arrived at the field of play we were greeted by the District Football Champions of Kakamega. The players of Bora Bora FC were eager to play against nationals of a country featured in the World Cup. Though we were initially intimidated, we managed to win the game by a score of 2-1. The Cultural Exchange began immediately after speeches by the coach of the football team, the owner of the football field, the head of the KVDS (Mr. Malaho) and myself. It was held at the same venue as the football match and featured dance and music from Trinidad and Tobago. It was now time to officially "open" the hut, so we returned to the Shikhunga Resource Development Centre where the cock that was slain would be served in the hut built by the UWI Delegation. Before lunch was served however, Bora Bora FC and the UWI Delegation participated in a tree planting ceremony symbolising the unity and solidarity shared between the people of Kakamega and the people of the West Indies. The hut was opened after a wooden pike was placed at the pinnacle of the hut, signaling that lunch was served (inside of the hut).
This experience was followed by one equally as powerful. On the morning of June 26th 2006, we embarked upon a two-hour journey to Kericho. Upon arriving there we were greeted by the Chief (an elected position within the local government system of Kenya) of the area. After a light snack, we headed off to the Tegat Tea Factory in Kericho. Even though the tour of the factory was quite informative, I took special note of the fact that we were told that the tea leaf pickers were paid approximately 32 Kenya shillings per kilogram of tea leaves. One of the officials from the KVDS called this an "enslaving system" since many families, in a bid to earn enough money to support themselves, are made to involve every member of their family in this tea-picking exercise every day of the week. As such, many take their children out of school at a very young age, causing their children to become tea pickers themselves as education is removed as a vehicle for social mobility. Even more ironically, the more than 30,000 Kenya tea pickers now find themselves in a very peculiar position as the government of Kenya seeks to mechanise the industry, employing the use of tea-picking machines in lieu of human labour. This move by the government sparked protests by tea-pickers throughout Kenya. Our next stop in Kericho was the Tabo Hill Primary School, a relatively new, private institution. Not only was it the most modern of all the schools we visited, but it was the only school we visited which was built entirely of concrete, had Aluzinc roofs and was fitted with glass windows. No level of education is free is Kenya, but parents simply pay more at the private schools there. We were however able to have a more interactive session with the children at that school. It is perhaps the increased level of interaction which made us late for our appointment at a secondary school in Kericho. When we arrived at the school, there was not much to do aside from talk to the small group of students still at the school and gaze at the breathtaking view of Lake Victoria.
Our trip to the Kisumu Museum on the following day offered real insight not only about Kenyan history, but also about present day life and challenges in Kenya society. We were able to observe and receive information pertaining to the environment, wildlife, history, traditions and culture of the Kenyan people. This was followed by a visit to the Nyago'ri Boys High School. This was certainly the most interactive of all our visits to schools in Kenya. After addressing an assembly of the entire student body, one of the teachers announced that since there were seventeen classes and eighteen delegates, each delegate would be attached to a class, according to the academic specialization of the delegate and the class. As such, each delegate (with the exception of one person, of course, since there were eighteen delegates) was placed in a classroom with no less than thirty-five (35) students, charged with the responsibility of speaking on the link between Africa and the West Indies as well as on personal and career development. After the activity each delegate explained how interesting he or she found the exercise to be. Even the less outspoken members of the delegation noted that the exercise increased their level of self-confidence.
On the following day we visited the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute and received extensive and detailed information about agriculture in Kenya. The visit was specifically geared towards students from the Faculty of Science and Agriculture and was very informative. We were then taken on a short hike in the Kakamega Forest. While we did have an opportunity to relax, we also used the opportunity to take note of the vast regions of de-forested land. We were then informed that President Mwai Kibaki had recently flew over the area and upon realizing how much devastation had taken place, ordered that all residents within the forests be evacuated and the trees re-planted. This move sparked mixed sentiments throughout Kenya. This was followed by a trip to the St. Augustine Mukumu Primary Boarding Boys School, where we were simply given a tour of the compound and an explanation as to how the school worked and the problems currently being experienced within the school and within the country's education sector.
Our visit to the Western University College of Science and Technology (hereafter, the WUCST) proved to be even more informative. We were given a tour of the campus facilities, inclusive of the libraries, computer laboratories and the engineering laboratories. When the tour was over, we were all taken into a room where all the Deans of the Faculties and other representatives of the University awaited our arrival. A number of speeches and presentations were made at this ceremony (see Programme for visit of University students attached). When I was called upon to address the gathering, I called upon all those present to utilise the opportunity to establish a firm foundation for a substantive exchange of ideas in the future. I noted that the sharing of ideas was far more critical to the development of the regions commonly called the "Third World" than an exchange of persons, students or staff. I also urged that the approach to this exchange should be multi-disciplinary and not based solely on agriculture or the social sciences but that we should seek to find holistic solutions to the problems faced in the "developing" world. I was not alone in my call for cooperation. Almost all of the officials from the WUCST spent a great deal of time talking specific areas of study in which the University currently specialises and could be seen as avenues for an exchange of ideas. Though the representative of the Campus Administration present expressed interest in an exchange of staff and students, more time was spent speaking of very simple media, such as conferences and e-mails, that can be used to exchange ideas. It was noted however that the WUCST is a Constituent College of Moi University and that it was also a very young University and as such had a special interest in forging linkages with other tertiary level education institutions. Emphasis was therefore placed on the initial exchange of contact information, in order to facilitate consistent communication between student delegates from the UWI and students and staff of the WUCST. Many students of the UWI expressed great satisfaction with the visit and commented that they learnt a lot simply from listening to the lecturers of the WUCST speak on their knowledge of the West Indies.
It was then time to head back to Bungoma, and so the KVDS indicated (since I was paying them by installments) that the manager of the St. Nicholas Pastoral Centre needed to be paid for the duration of our stay at that venue. I then met with the manager and indicated to him that I would proceed to the bank in the morning to use my VTM card, in order to pay him. Unfortunately, on the morning in question, there was some measure of miscommunication between the KVDS and the manager of the facility, which caused the manager to become very skeptical and irate. Consequently, he proceeded to lock our belongings on the compound and demanded that I proceed to the bank immediately. I was very confused at this stage (partially because men were arguing in Swahili) but I kept my word, as was planned, went to the bank and returned approximately four hours later and made the payment. This delay occurred as the KVDS decided to use the money wired to them from the UWI Guild, which meant that we had to use their bank, in Bungoma, then drive back to the Pastoral Centre in Kakamega (a one-hour drive each way). The Executive Director and other administrative staff of the KVDS expressed their regret at the incident, lamenting that they all felt quite embarrassed because of what had occurred. They noted however, that volunteer organisations would usually may lump sum payments to the KVDS and allow their organisations to pay all other parties involved for all expenses incurred. Thus, while paying installments to the KVDS allowed us to record exactly what the money was being used to purchase, I believe that it was a great inconvenience to our hosts, the KVDS. As such, in future visits of this nature, perhaps a single lump-sum payment to the host organisation would be of greater benefit to all parties involved; provided that all necessary bills, receipts and financial statements are received accordingly.
We proceeded to Bungoma late in the afternoon to join Mr. Malaho at his residence in order to bring the scheduled activities to a close and to celebrate the success of the programme. A lamb was sacrificed to mark the occasion, and the meat from the lamb was placed on a grill for us to roast for dinner. Mr. Malaho and I both delivered our final speeches with Mr. Malaho expressing his satisfaction with the entire programme of activities. He noted that it was the first time that the KVDS had ever hosted an "all black" delegation and that it was the first time that delegates had ever interacted so intimately with the people in the villages. His only disappointment came from our decision not to stay with the people in the villages, he asked us to reconsider this option if we were to return for future visits.
After the speeches were finished and we had eaten the lamb that was slain for us, it was time to return to the Mabanga Farmer's Training Centre. It was time to prepare for our three (3) day journey back to our homeland. Before we would make the trip back to Trinidad and Tobago, Mr. Malaho indicated that we could use July 1st to go into Bungoma Town and even to go back to Kakamega Town, in case there were any items that students needed to source or collect in either location. A foursome of students went to each location on the day in question. The KVDS also indicated that delegates who usually wished to decrease the weight of their luggage would donate items, especially clothes, to the KVDS, which would then be distributed throughout the Western Province to those in need. The student delegates from the UWI proved no different. The night before our departure, we donated scores of items to the KVDS.
|Exhibit: Lioness kills prey|
Week 4: July 2nd – July 7th
July 2nd – In House Session: Report Writing, feedback & general discussion
July 3rd – Last trip to Bungoma Town
July 4th – Bungoma to Nairobi
July 5th – Nairobi to Dubai, Dubai to London
July 6th – London to Tobago
July 7th – Tobago to Trinidad
As the trip was nearing its end, I decided to have an "In-House Session" where we stayed at Mabanga Farmers' Training Centre for the day, doing our personal chores in the morning and having a discussion in the afternoon. The session went quite well as different styles of report writing, including narrative and ethnographic writing were explained in order to assist the student delegates from the UWI in writing their reports. I also received feedback from the delegates on their opinions of the trip and we spent some time reviewing all of the places and organisations we visited during our stay in Kenya; and made note of the special needs of each, if there were any. It was decided that financial contributions would not be made this year to any of the schools or self-help groups that we visited, rather we decided the programme should continue in 2007 and that money would be raised to address the specific needs of specific groups. To guide this process, a steering committee was set up to ensure that the commitments made at the meeting are honoured.
On the following day, we simply made all final preparations to depart. Only a few of the student delegates, including myself, had to leave the campsite to purchase a few items and to complete all necessary transactions, the final payment to the KVDS was then made. To be honest, making the payments via installments helped us to ensure that every cent spent by the KVDS, was accounted for. Despite this, (in light of what I stated earlier in this report regarding the inconvenience of this method to the KVDS) I do recognise that the financial transactions with the KVDS can be handled differently in the future.
It was then time to embark on our 3-day journey. The KVDS had purchased twenty-five (25) tickets for a 25-seater "Easy Coach" Coach-Bus; they noted that this was an economical option, which enabled us to occupy the entire bus in leisure for the nine (9) hour trip to Nairobi. To our surprise a 37-seater Bus arrived to collect us, a fact that would became quite pertinent when we made our first stop at "Easy Coach ['s]" office in Eldoret (an hour away from Bungoma) The driver announced that it was a bathroom stop. Most the student delegates, unsure of when next they would have an opportunity to use a toilet capitalised upon this opportunity. However, when we returned to the bus (I had also gone to use the toilet) we discovered that approximately ten (10) other passengers had been placed in seats that had been "vacant". Initially believing this to be an administrative mix-up, Mr. Malaho (who had decided to make the trip to Nairobi with us) and I decided to enquire into the reason why persons had been placed on the bus without any form of prior notification. We were told that one of their buses was delayed due to some sort of mechanical failure and to compensate for this, they decided to place the passengers waiting to board that bus on ours. We objected because we had paid for an entire bus (because we wanted to be the only occupants of the bus) and we were not responsible for receiving a larger bus. Furthermore, no one from "Easy Coach" had communicated the decision to us. Officials from the company argued that the passengers would only be on the bus until we arrived at their office in Naruku (which was five hours away from Eldoret). Additionally they argued that if we wished to have the bus to ourselves, we should have purchased "Preferred Hire" tickets in lieu of the economy tickets were in our possession. We remained adamant that we had requested, and were guaranteed a 25-seater bus for which we had purchased all the tickets. The confrontation turned into a standoff between the office staff at "Easy Coach" and ourselves. After initially informing us that the manager was half of an hour away, one of the members of his staff said that the manager wished to speak via his cellphone instead. We viewed this action as an utter disregard for the seriousness of our situation, especially as we were on our way to the airport and needed to a make a stop along the way. We therefore voiced our dissatisfaction with their response prompting them to allow us to speak to the supervisor on duty. After stating our case to the supervisor, though the company's position remained unchanged, it was agreed that the passengers who had been placed on the bus without our permission would be immediately removed and we would be allowed to leave. The delay at "Easy Coach" cost us an hour and as such our stop in Nairobi had to be severely curtailed. Consequently, when we arrived at the Masai Market in Nairobi in order to allow students the opportunity to purchase authentic items from the Masai tribe in Kenya, we could only afford to stay for exactly half of an hour. We managed to make the stop in good time and as such we made it to the airport an hour before our scheduled check-in at the airport. We therefore had ample time to buy dinner and to say goodbye to Mr. Malaho, the head of the KVDS.
The remainder of our journey followed quite smoothly and there were no further delays. Mr Tyehimba Salandy indicated that he had family in England whom he had not seen in a long time and his family met him in the airport at Gatwick before we left for Tobago. We arrived at Crown Point International Airport in Tobago at 1pm on the 6th of July 2006. We were met by Mr. Karl Chase (parent of Ms. Sherline Chase, one the participants in the programme). He arranged accommodation for us for the night since the Lynx was not departing until 6am the following morning. We decided to spend the rest of that final day together on Store Bay, in order to celebrate the birthday of Ms. Ivory Hayes (one of the student participants) as well as a successful trip. We therefore arrived on the Port of Port of Spain in Trinidad on the morning of the 7th of July 2006 to the delight of friends and family.
The trip was an immeasurable experience. The exposure gained by every student to a different environment would undoubtedly have added a wider dimension to their perspective on the way the world operates. Additionally, it gave them the opportunity to re-examine issues usually discussed in the classroom, (such as development and the fight against HIV/AIDS) in an entirely new environment. Each of the students reflected positively on this humbling experience, and on what they had learnt expressing a desire to make it possible for another group on students to take the journey to Kenya in 2007. Work in currently in progress in order to make this a reality.
UWI Students Trip to Kenya in pictures: