The year 12 Brookhouse International School community service project was undertaken at Illbisil Primary school in Kajiado, Kenya.
It was 9 days of service which was to give us enough time to socialize with the students from Illbisil as well as to complete the six projects that we, as a year group, had set ourselves:
- Girls Dormitory
- Boys Dormitory
- Classroom refurbishment
- Furniture Making/Carpentry
In order to complete these projects many new skills had to be learned, including; painting, pouring concrete, tiling, fitting windows, designing murals, and making furniture. There seemed to more work than people to do it, but with planning and determination, we knew we could achieve our tasks.
Furniture Making taught us all a real lesson as we realized how hard it is to repair the desks and benches we use on a daily basis. This made us reflect on our old ways and how we, as students, often misuse our property because we know it will be repaired by others. Lesson learnt!
The Kajiado Project was the Grand Prize winner of AISA's Outstanding Service Project in 2014/15
Every day we worked from 7:30am until 4:30pm, earlier if you had kitchen duty, then your day began at 6am. Every evening we had time to bond and interact with each other and with the students at Illbisil.
This was more than just a community service project to me, it was more than just nine days of hard work to help improve the school facilities. This trip was life changing.
A major lesson that we leant was to be grateful. When we asked the children of Illbisil why they were at school, many responded that is was, “just to get a meal.” This made us reflect on our own lives and realize that many of our problems are not so serious. I was challenged about how much I complain when I haven’t had the daily struggles of the students in Kajiado.
Working on these projects also made us appreciative of different skills people have, especially ones in manual labor because it’s hard work and in the past we had probably brushed it off as ‘easy.’
The one question I constantly ask myself is how one short project can change the way you view things, the relationships you have with your peers by seeing who they really are outside of that school uniform, and most importantly how you can learn lessons about life that you can’t extract from a textbook?
On arrival, probably everybody wanted to leave for home, but on the 9th day after saying good bye for 4 hours, it seemed like that was our home and departing became the hardest thing for us to do.