Bushbells UK sponsor 9 children at Bluebells School. Our Principal, Mwana, is responsible for selecting these children who often come from very poor and impoverished homes, as volunteer Will discovered. He visited some of their homes and it's a day he'll never forget....
During my 5 weeks volunteering at Bluebells I was lucky enough, along with fellow volunteer Ole Ryan, to visit the homes of a handful of Bluebells’ pupils. We arrived at school, which was deserted as everyone was enjoying a well deserved day off after a week of exams, with two Bodo Bodo’s waiting for us along with Madame Mwanamisi the principal. Armed with rice and tea for our hosts we set off to out first visit, little Toya and his sister Anna. Living only a few minutes away from school Toya’s mother showed us around their home and compound shared by the whole family. The place was immaculate, with solar lights and even a homemade gym! Toya was also keen to show us his racing green bike and whizzed round the compound beside us.
Leaving Toya and his family behind we quickly reached Baraka’s home; a real hero at school and adored by everyone. Baraka told us how he lives with his uncle after his father died along with his cousin John another Bluebells student. Baraka is one of the 9 Bluebells students who is sponsored and he is so grateful for this and loves school. John and Baraka’s home was clean despite being basic, in fact he was sweeping the compound when we arrived. Both boys were excited to see us and fascinated by Ole’s camera.
From here we rode on to brother and sister John and Lydia’s home. Ole and I were shocked by what we saw. There was mess everywhere and their homes were beyond basic; in fact their mother’s bedroom had no roof which was made apparent when it started raining while we were there. John and Lydia are sponsored meaning they can be happy at school and they are two of the liveliest children there. However their five year old brother isn't sponsored and his parents cannot afford the fees meaning he doesn't have the enjoyment his older brother and sister do.
Our final stop was to Christopher, Claire and Baraka’s home. They were all very happy to see us and gave us fresh coconut from their tree which young Baraka climbed up to get them. They showed us around their clean compound where they live with their 90 year old grandmother and told us how their father built their homes but they now don't know where he is. It was clear that their grandmother struggles to look after them and without Bluebells’s sponsorship they wouldn't be able to go to school. Despite the 90 minute walk to school every morning the three of them love being at Bluebells and thrive there. The three of them along with neighbour Davis (another Bluebells student) showed us a nearby cave where they spend hours playing. They were thrilled to point out baboons hanging in the trees above as well.
I didn't really know what to expect visiting the Bluebells’ children’s homes however it was a fascinating and moving day that I will never forget. Seeing some of their homes shows how important school is for them and how none of them want the school day to end at Bluebells.
Note from Editor: Thanks to a very generous donation from St Catherine's school, Bramley, we are now able to sponsor John and Lydia's 5 year old brother. Our sincere thanks to St Catherine's as well as Will and Ole for giving up their time and going out in the field, and highlighting this to us.