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I seem to be repeating myself year on year but yes, once again, we had a very successful and productive trip to Nyumbani in Kenya. Full of good humour and team spirit all 13 of my volunteers got out of their undoubted comfort zones and rose to the challenge of working with and for Nyumbani’s HIV+ orphans.

I am very proud to say that we managed to take a very large sum of money this year, £31200.00 to be exact and this is to be used for tertiary education, a large water project and six heifers for the village dairy. This was alongside the £3500 from my sales of African crafts which was used for the projects we did ourselves.

Because it was the largest number of volunteers I have had the pleasure of working with I split the team into two with one half going off to do maintenance (repair of broken windows) in Nyumbani Village and the other staying behind in the Home to repair and repaint the second teenage boys two storey hostel. For our second week I swapped them around and a second hostel was given the uplift alongside new guttering around reception and the nursing area whilst in the village yet more windows were re-glazed (by the girls I might add) and the washing stations repaired where necessary. A large carport was rebuilt and the clothing store had new shelving and mountains of clothes were sorted by gender and size. Not bad for a two week stay don’t you think?

Working in Nairobi was infinitely more pleasurable because for the second year running the weather has been very, very hot especially in Nyumbani Village which is in a very arid part of Kenya.

A two night safari to the Masaai Mara was an option for the middle weekend and six persons decided to take advantage of that and had a fine time. For those remaining I took them to a tea farm for lunch, visited David Sheldrick’s elephant sanctuary, the Giraffe Park and a few other touristy sites.

These days I find it takes me a long time to recover from this endeavour which makes me certain that the time to take a step back from working trips has arrived and I have made the right decision to down tools, take off my boots and reflect happily on 14 years of service at Nyumbani. Our money has worked wonders and every penny has benefited our medically challenged orphans in one way or another. That can’t be bad, I just wish I were twenty years younger!

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