Special Ceremonies Bracket a Day of Giving
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Special Ceremonies Bracket a Day of Giving

OAT travelers raise funds to help primary school students in Kenya

Located just over a mile from Amboseli National Park and dominated by lofty Mount Kilimanjaro, the Amboseli Primary School in Kenya offers one of the most stunning views in Africa. It also has equally steep needs, from educational materials to school uniforms.

In January, Grand Circle Corporation's regional team in East Africa did something to address both needs—with the help of generous OAT travelers. The effort began in early 2011, when an OAT group decided to raise funds on their own for textbooks and other supplies. Over the next several months, they raised $4150, purchasing more than a ton of goods that Grand Circle Foundation then shipped overseas to the school.

Presenting the gift was another OAT small group, led by Trip Leader Boniface Wanderi. Members of the Maasai community traveled from miles away to attend the January 27 ceremony and share tea with the travelers. Presiding over tea was Maasai Chief Joseph, his brother Moses, and the village and school chairman, Langada Mulua. All of the students' parents, schoolteachers, and the school committee were also in attendance.

A number of dignitaries, including the school board, the Head Principal, and the Chief, made speeches of thanks, and a nine-time OAT traveler was also invited to say a few words.

The OAT travelers then opened every box and presented the community with schoolbooks, two world globes, geometry sets, and exercise books. The nursery school children and kindergartners were also remembered, with a large selection of educational posters. The Maasai community reciprocated by presenting every OAT visitor with a piece of Maasai jewelry as a token of thanks.

Even more important for students under age eight were school uniforms. Because many families in the community couldn't afford them, children without uniforms were being discriminated against, and many OAT travelers who felt strongly about righting this imbalance donated specifically for uniforms. In all, $500 was raised, allowing for 84 green jumpers to be bought and delivered to Amboseli.

The presentation ceremony, which also was held on January 27, occurred during the school assembly. First, the children sang to their guests. Then, the OAT travelers chose a song: the "Hokey Pokey," which the children enjoyed. Afterward, the travelers and Boniface helped the nursery school and kindergarten children into their new uniforms. In the words of Sandra Vaughan, Grand Circle Corporation's East Africa Operations Coordinator, "What a great way to start and end the day!"

Featured in our February 2012 E-Newsletter. Read the full issue here.