Myself and some of the NMTT staff were in Nairobi last week on a pre-planning trip for the Blitz this year, and what a week we had! It was packed full of meetings and I am getting so excited about the Build this year!
We will be based in Nairobi, the capitol of Kenya and it is a bustling city. Nairobi is the African base for many international organisations like Google, Coca Cola, and the UN and is bordered by the Nairobi National Park which easily accessible from the city centre (about 30mins depending on traffic) and is home to giraffes, lions, rhinos, elephants and much more, making Nairobi a popular tourist destination.
The Slums surround the city and we were lucky enough to meet some fantastic people working with the local communities there who were extremely encouraging when we spoke with them about the vision for our plan in Kenya.
The project for this year will be focusing on schools and we are calling it “Mellon Educate”, and there is great need for an organisation like ours. We visited a number of schools and the children (just like in South Africa) are smiling and happy even though they live in poverty and they are educated in buildings that are falling down and unsafe.
We met with a number of local government officials, suppliers, hotels, and specialists and each person was extremely eager and positive about the Mellon Educates Programme. In 2003 the Government of Kenya introduced “free primary education” which has led to huge overcrowding and in some circumstances to classes being conducted outside as there are too many pupils to be accommodated in the existing shack buildings, with little or no sanitation.
The weather was hot and sunny, with a few showers thrown into the mix so we wouldn’t be too home sick. The people we met were full of good humour and cannot wait for the “Irish Builders” to come to their city and make a real difference.