Destination Kenya

GEMS Global citizens go on journeys of discovery!

Students from GEMS Wellington Academy, Silicon Oasis recently travelled to Kenya to see for themselves the challenges faced by the Tsavo community based in the Marungi Hills. Students worked in the camp on several projects, connected to conservation, wildlife and the environment.  These are the real world challenges that exist in this part of Africa. Students stayed in traditional style bandas so they could really immerse themselves in camp life. Although only an eight-day experience, WSO students got a real taste of African life and also managed to visit a local school. Learning about the way of life, the culture and histories of the people highlighted the differences that exist in the ways in which we live but also the similarities that bind us together as human beings. 

Our GEMS WSO school expedition to Kenya this year, set off with twenty-one students from key stages three, four and five with a focus on understanding the rights, responsibilities and duties that come with being a member of a Kenyan community. As a school, we wanted to provide students with the opportunity to fully immerse in rural African life, focusing on community and wildlife programs in the region of Tsavo, Mombasa.

After travelling through the street slums of Mombasa, students were exposed to a plethora of enriching, sensory experiences consisting of school and community visits, project and conservation work and a visit to the safari. The students visited a local primary and secondary school in Tsavo called Itinyi, where they had the opportunity to interact with Kenyan students sharing educational experiences, helping the students develop their English speaking skills, learning Swahili phases and understanding a different way of living. In addition to this, GEMS WSO students undertook school project work, building workstations and desks for the upcoming examinations for Kenyan students.

In addition to vising Itinyi school, students visited a local Maasai village to experience a true part of traditional African Culture. Here, students met members of a Maasai warrior tribe where they were exposed to tribal dancing, fire building and a tour of local ‘mud huts’ to experience the standards of living for many Kenyans in the area.

As part of the expedition, students undertook conservation work in the local community, building an elephant deterrent fence to protect local farmers’ crops and the deworming of local animals to maintain their health. Very different activities to those that we are used to! 

The students also experienced an educational talk and interacted with a local woman’s group led by Mama Mercy, who explained some of the previous issues within the local area. As a result of the formation of woman’s group, our students were educated on how Mama Mercy and her team had raised awareness of disease prevention and treatment for the community along with raising standards of education, sanitation and facilities.  The expedition concluded by attending a Safari at Tsavo National Park where our students experienced close up encounters with local Kenyan wildlife.

Every evening was an opportunity for students and staff to reflect on, to try to nurture the positive outlook that local people have living in economically and socially deprived conditions and how we can nurture positivity and instill this into our own lives.

We look back and we want to return to Tsavo. What might we do next time to support our Kenyan friends?

What our students said...

“We went on a 8 day trip to Tsavo Kenya to seeing how the majority of the world lives and to try and help - and help us understand how fortunate we are as a community here in Dubai. 

My favorite and least favorite, part was the change of lifestyle. We were met with a place filled with bugs ranging in sizes (that I still have nightmares about!) and uncomfortable situations that we dealt with - and this has taught be to be more grateful for my home and school.” Malak

”The experience I gained from this expedition revealed how the world strives to live, without the luxury. It showed me that we don’t need the materialistic things in life to have a good one.”  - Kiana