Jambo, habari gani? | A trip to St Martin's School
This Summer, some of the Pracedo team revisited St Martin’s School in Kenya to support them in a Salesforce app implementation. St Martin’s School runs education and feeding programs for almost 1000 students who live in the local area. The support they receive from sponsors and volunteers helps to give their students the best possible start in life. Hear from Henry and Skyie, two of our current apprentices who have been with Pracedo for over a year, about their trip and what they learnt at the school.
Henry: When we first got to the school, the sisters and a group of girls greeted us with singing and a very big cake, they were so welcoming and lovely. We got a tour around the school to get our bearings and learn about the history of the area then towards the end of the day we got to sit in a very interesting debate titled “Is technology doing more harm than good”, which was led by Joy, who was only 9 years old!, and over 40 kids sitting on either side of the classroom. Funnily enough we were sat on the side of the proposers! Each day we would arrive in a big school bus and upon entering the gates the kids were buzzing – you could just tell that there is such a nice atmosphere at the school. Our work was primarily taking photos and finding out about around 600 children to put their data in a specially designed Salesforce app that we built with our friends at S4G to help drive better connections between the students and the sponsors that keep the school running.. The best thing about it is that you connected with them on a personal level – finding out about their favourite subject, colours and food they eat. There were a lot who said ‘rice and beans’ but I guess that’s all they really have tasted.
What I loved is that they would come up to me and say “hi Henry, how are you?” and its shows that little gestures of sitting down with them for 10 mins really makes a massive impact. I played football with the kids which was great fun until I realised I was swarmed by about 20 kids trying to get at the ball so I only got a few kicks in before it was kicked down the pitch.
At the school they hold a feeding programme for 3 Saturdays every month for the children who go to the school and those that live in the slum outside of the school. We were really honoured to be able to sponsor this. Our job was to help feed the kids and so we had different stations set up, someone would put rice on the bowl, then someone would add the beans and potatoes and then finally someone would add milk and a banana to go with their meal. The sheer number of kids was crazy, it was such a long queue made up of 1500 kids and I think by the time it got to around 500 kids I was shattered but to see their little faces light up when they got the food made it all worth it. Eventually the queue started to end and we had quite a lot of food left so when the teachers shouted “Seconds” and all of the kids lined back up again to get that bit of extra food. It was great! All the kids were so happy and just wanted to chat with every one of us. A big group built up around me and they wanted to teach me Swahili and they couldn’t stop laughing at my weird pronunciation of every word I repeated. The only phrase that I could say without butchering their language was “Jambo, habari gani” which means “Hello, how are you?“. It has been an amazing experience, it was such a humbling trip to be apart of and it really emphasised how lucky we are.
Skyie: I was extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to go to Kenya. It was a very enriching trip, it was amazing to see the impact that Salesforce had and will have on the children of St Martins school, and it was a privilege to be able to be part of that. Being able to talk and get to know over 900 children in under a week was incredible also being able to personalise the profile of each child made it even more personal.
I was excited to as well as help out technically, and I speak a bit of Swahili which I think really helped connect with some of the younger kids and get their stories to tell potential sponsors. On top of that, it was great to get the chance to contribute more by participating in the feeding program where the children of the area came to eat. It was a big task and I admire all the staff at St Martins who do this on a weekly basis.
Currently I’m still in contact with a few girls and we message regularly. I would love to visit again in the future to see all their bright smiles!
Henry and I are both currently sponsoring children at the school, which means that they will be supported throughout the year with everything they need to complete their education successfully. This includes things like the school fees, uniform, meals and educational materials. As part of this we will also stay in touch with them and keep up to date with their progress at St Martin’s. I would encourage everyone to support this cause or donate to St Martin’s here.