Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Final thoughts

The team are rightly proud of their achievements. We’ve been impressed by the way they took on challenges, grasped opportunities and created more of their own. They’ve supported one another and the leaders throughout.

This trip provided a first taste of Africa, but we suspect not the last. We left Gilgil with a sense of accomplishment and adesire to  return.  

We all have our own highlights, here are some from the team:

Hannah: “I really enjoyed everything we did in Kenya, but I think the thing I will remember the most is how willing and happy the children were to learn, how they would sit in a classroom without any teacher for hours and still do work. It has made me see how much children in the UK take education for granted, and has made me seriously consider teaching after my maths degree.”

Zelma: “Wow! What an experience! We managed to achieve so much more that I could have conceived possible. From teaching at the Restart Centre, to teaching very large classes in the local Primary School. As well as showing our creative sides by painting murals and really leaving our mark. I don't have one key highlight as it was all phenomenal, however I am proud to have been part of Team Twiga and will never forget this trip. :-)”

Many people supported us and helped make this trip possible. We would particularly like to thank the Leslie Sell trust ( ) and Girlguiding London and South East Region ( ) for generously giving the group grants and those, including (1st Cliffe Brownies and Guides) who donated money for the Restart centre.

We are also grateful to Pembroke House school ( ) for making us feel at home in Gilgil.

We also owe a huge thank you to our family, friends and supporters.

We hope our adventures have inspired some of our readers. 
You can discover more about Girlguiding here and how you can have your own international adventure. 

You can find our more about Sanata’s brilliant work here and how you can volunteer with Restart here.  If you want to support the centre you can make a donation here. Any amount can make a difference, from £10 for a mosquito net, £50 for school supplies for one child, £100 to pay for nursery education for one child to £800 it costs to rescue and care for each child. 

Linz and Lizzie

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Going on a giraffe hunt

After saying our final goodbyes, we headed off for some well earned rest and relaxation. Having adopted a giraffe as our mascot, we were particularly keen to track a real one down...

Our first stop was Lake Nakuru national park where we saw buffalo, zebras, black faced monkeys, impala, owls, waterbuck, rhinos, baboons and, at the end of the day, a herd of giraffe appeared!

The next stop was the Masai Mara.  We'd timed our trip with the wildebeest migration and were lucky enough to see some of them cross the Mara river. 

Then Twiga, our mascot, was reunited with a few friends... 

... and we got up close and personal at a giraffe sanctuary. 

Friday, 8 August 2014

Saying goodbye to Sanata

So today we said our final goodbyes to the Restart. Some of the children said some lovely things about us being there (bought a tear too a couple of our eyes) and we entertained them for the last time with the banana song which went down a hit!

 We wanted to donate our remaining resources to Restart and give something to each child.  Over the last two evenings we've been making little goody bags consisting of some pencils, colouring sheets, bubbles, straws, pipe cleaners, glowsticks and sweets all held in a handmade paper bag.   We had quite the production line going!  It honestly felt like Christmas day!! The children were so grateful it was so lovely to see!


On Saturday we had a chance to reflect.  We've all loved being at Restart and really valued having the time to get to know the children.  It's a really exciting time to get involved with the new building on the horizon which will make such a difference to the children and offer a safe home to even more.  

As a team we can safely say we are all definitely up for a reunion back at Restart in a couple of years.  The Restart made us feel so welcome, each child is absolutely amazing and we really have enjoyed everyone second of the last two and a half weeks!! We hope to see you soon Sanata!!

Brightening up the new Restart centre

The Sanata Charitable Trust have raised enough money to build a bigger and better building for the Restart Centre which they hope will be ready to move into before Christmas.  We offered to help decorate it by painting some murals and were delighted when Sanata said yes.

We put together some designs, including our own Twiga mascot that the children can use as a height chart and in the dining hall we will be painting their motto “think not what you are, but what you may become”.  Sanata said yes again - happy painting!

4 days later….

This morning we finished painting. In just twelve hours we have managed to paint everything we were hoping for. 

In the girls dormitory there is a countryside scene.  

The boys dorm building has an underwater scene.  

Both dorms have an “Are you as tall as a giraffe?” mural

In a classroom there is an alphabet, along with numbers up to twenty. 

Finally, in the main dining hall we have an impressive mural with the Sanata logo and motto.

We spent the mornings from Tuesday to Friday painting at the new Restart, and the afternoons working with the children. On our first morning we managed to chalk out the designs onto all the walls. By the end of the second day, most of the block colours had been painted on and on the third and the final morning we added the finishing touches, and outlined anything else. 

To us it felt like 60 minute makeover (well twelve hour makeover at least), working to our tight schedule. It was so good to see everything come together as we had hoped in the short space of time we had. Hopefully the children will like it, and it will give them something to remember us by!

PS if you look very carefully you might spot a few clues as to who painted them...

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Something for the girls

We had a lovely opportunity to run a session just for the girls at the restart centre on Thursday (there are about 25 girls living at the centre aged 4-18 years old). As we were quite unique in being a team of young women volunteers we very keen to do something special with the girls that also reflected some of the themes we know through Guiding (such as building confidence, trust, and friendship).

We picked out some appropriate songs and enjoyed teaching them to the girls which included 'Make New Friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold', a Brownie song about a big smile that passes around the circle through squeezing hands and a song called 'Good evening friend Brownie' which involves greeting all of your friends in the circle.

Then we played a game based on charades about what we were good at to show that everyone was good at something - popular choices included skipping, dancing, singing and eating! And we finished with getting everyone to sit and try and work together to sing and do the actions to the song Edelweiss (actions involve clapping the hands of your neighbour as well as your own) which the older ones really enjoyed and the younger ones had a laugh with (even though it didn't quite work).

It was a very enjoyable afternoon, and we finished our time at the Restart by including the boys and getting the water balloon catapault out which was always popular!

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

There's something about Mary

We met Mary Coulson last Friday, the amazing lady who set up The Sanchat Charitable Trust! It was great to meet her over a delicious hot chocolate and learn more about the children and how the trust came about (starting with only three children 6 years ago and now has nearly 100). We enjoyed chatting to her about our experiences so far, recalling all the different children's characters and the games and activities we have done with them.   

Mary also invited us to have lunch with her today along with two other volunteers. It was brilliant to hear more about to the exciting new plans for the new Restart centre and the enthusiasm that is surrounding it all! We also discussed our plans for painting murals at the new centre, as she came to see the outlines we had chalked up this morning.  We're excited to be getting underway with painting them tomorrow!

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Guiding's coming home

'The nearer to Nyeri, the nearer to bliss'  Robert Baden-Powell

By coming to Kenya we are following in the footsteps of Baden-Powell, the founder of the Scout and Guide movements.  At the weekend we visited Nyeri where he spent the last few years of his life.

First we visited the graveyard where BP and his wife Olave are buried.  The grave bears a circle with a dot in the centre, which is the trail sign for "I have gone home".

Then we visited Paxtu, his last home and now a museum.  We had fun spotting badges and neckers from places we knew: Hannah found a necker from her trip to St Lucia, Linz was pleased to see a plaque about Hungary where she did a GOLD project and Lizzie pointed out a South African Girl Guide hat like the one she has from when she Guided there.

We were struck that people from all over the world had, like us, been drawn there.  It was an amazing reminder that we are part of something huge - a movement of 10 million women and girls around the world.  We all felt grateful for the travels and friendships made through Guiding and took the opportunity to remake our promise.