YTA Kenya Blog June 2017 – Evie Crawshaw -Textile & Design Student Falmouth University
I really enjoyed my two week volunteering trip out to Kenya this June with YTA. I was a bit nervous going out as I didn’t really know anyone but I didn’t need to be as everyone in the group was friendly and welcoming. Our first stops were to an Elephant Sanctuary and a giraffe sanctuary and then onto the Rift valley which was very scenic. We also got to experience a Gospel service which was very lively and cheerful. Before actually going into the schools, we had basic Swahili lessons to help us with the language barrier.
We volunteered in two schools in Nakuru, Melon Misson and Silver Bells which both work with street children in the age range 2 – 13 years. As I study Textile Design, I thought I would teach them how to weave as craft is not usually an everyday subject in Kenya. The first lesson I taught was weaving roses, I prepared 200 green felt bases beforehand and 200 lengths of different colours of net ribbon, I handed out to each kid, a base, needle and a piece of coloured net. I drew diagrams on the blackboard and wrote out key words to help them understand what to do. I basically did a watch and do lesson, so first I made a knot in the end of the net and then told them to do the same and went round checking and then told them to thread the needle on the other end. Continuing in this simple step way I went through the process of creating a woven rose.
The other craft I taught was weaving God’s eyes, a weaving technique wrapping round two pieces of crossed wood. I prepared in advance by dyeing lots of scrap hanks of wool two bright colours and rolled them into manageable balls of wool. Teaching the kids this craft was a lot harder as it was more technical to start with. Thankfully once a couple of them got the idea of how to do it, they all caught on!
At first break the kids got given a small cup of porridge as their breakfast so that they wouldn’t faint which was prepared by the lovely staff in the kitchen room. At break times, the kids where keen to interact with us, teaching us their games e.g balance the ball and running round tickling each other and practicing their English on us.
During our time at Melon, we also went to the school’s new site and helped with the building work there by moving rock into lines ready to go to into the foundation and digging up mud and dust. Back at the old site, we also helped paint doors and windows black and bright blue.
Volunteering in Nakuru, Kenya with YTA was one of the best experiences of my life, I really enjoyed it and would recommend and do the trip again!