The following is an article By Liz Darlington , who along with her daughter Emma, spent two special weeks volunteering in Kenya at The Dennis Marshall Foundation, Peacemakers International during Easter 2015. If you can cover the costs of your airfare and would like to volunteer with us, please contact Brenda for a chat. It’s an opportunity you won’t regret.
When a random conversation with Brenda`s daughter Kim, last year, leads to an offer from Brenda to visit The Peacemakers International charity project in Kenya it was too good an offer to turn down! At Christmas my daughter Emma, and I met Chrissie and straight away we knew that this trip was meant to be and we had already started planning our “projects” on the journey home!
So with weeks to go we got more and more excited in anticipation of what lay ahead…and we certainly weren`t disappointed! Firstly the welcome we received was truly amazing, Chrissie is just the perfect host, so generous and so caring and such a special person. The Kenyan people share her gratitude and warmth and we were greeted everywhere we went with smiles, waves and shouts of welcome! It was humbling to see just what is being achieved out here at The Dennis Marshall Foundation, supporting the local community providing jobs, support and fellowship to the young, old, disabled and needy.The buildings were in constant use and everyday there was somebody new to meet. Among the people we met were the HIV ladies who were so delighted with arrival of more balls of wool, the craft ladies who insisted we learnt how to make beaded bags, the Nursery team who are growing the most amazing plants , the cheerful cooking team and of course all the lovely builders so busy working on the buildings, the internet café, the craft room and the restaurant and with these in the process of being finished even more exciting times lie ahead.
So then to our project, this was to support Chrissie as she introduces a reading programme to children from the local school. Forty six enthusiastic and very well behaved children came along to the centre over two days and twenty six of these we heard read as part of a reading assessment. During this time Emma also played drama games and encouraged the children to participate in a drama production of “Wangari`s Seeds of Peace “. We also hosted two Saturday training days whereupon we showed local teachers and older youth how to support young children in their early reading skills. This is an ongoing project and we hope to keep in touch with how it is progressing and maybe even return to Peacemakers one day to see its impact.Our stay certainly proved to be as exciting as we`d hoped it would. It`s an experience that we will always treasure and we feel truly blessed that we were able to witness such a special and inspiring place and meet such welcoming people in such a lovely country.
A huge thank you goes to all that we met but especially to wonderful Chrissie, Brenda and of course to Kim, for having that initial conversation with me!!