Macheo Achievement Program Male Mentors and Mentees Camp in Kitui
Recently, Strathmore University Community Service Centre through Macheo Achievement Program organized a 3 day male mentors and mentees camp in Kitui County. The group of 25 consisting of, 13 mentors (Strathmore students) and 12 male mentees in Form Four at three Secondary schools in Kibera, were accommodated in Kitui Pastoral Centre from Thursday evening to Monday morning. The group, accompanied by 2 Strathmore Staff members Anthony Karuiru and Oliver Odoyo – also a Macheo Mentor, engaged in fun activities and mentoring sessions that strengthened their bonds. Activities included attending Mass, workshop sessions/discussions/presentations, talks, talent show and mentorship chats in the mornings, and sports and visits to Nyumbani Village, Kituis Nzambani Rock (a touristic site) and Mama Upendo Childrens Trust in the afternoons.
On the first day, the group visited Nyumbani Village. Impassioned about making a difference in the lives of children orphaned by HIV/AIDS and left in the hands of caregivers who are already vulnerable and helpless, in most cases, grandmothers, Nyumbani stands out from the usual idea of a children’s home. As has been the case over the years, children have been confined in an institution with a centralized authority to watch over them. A unique concept that makes the Village stand out in relation to the traditional trend of taking care of vulnerable children. In the Village, children live together with their guardians as if in a real family, set up to provide them with basic necessities. The families at Nyumbani live in their own houses, till their own parcels of land, and prepare their own meals. The Nyumbani community hosts 100 grandparents and 1000 children on 1000 acres of land at Kwa-Vonza.
The mentors and mentees interacted with the leading staff of the village and the children, by playing games and sharing donations brought for the home. A group of youthful orphans from the village who form part of the football team were selected for a match in which they beat the team consisting of Macheo mentors and mentees. The manager of the village pointed out that the kids were so talented in every area including sports, academics and careers (for the ones who moved out after gaining independence).
The following day, the group visited Nzambani Rock a mythical rock in Kitui which tops the list of tourist attractions in the area. The Nzambani rock – Ivya ya Nzambani – is unique, thanks to a story told by one generation to another… that if one goes around the rock seven times, their genders change. The mentors and mentees were taken aback at the thought of this and only went round the rock once. It was an exciting time to learn the history of the rock and how much it is beheld in awe by the local residents of the area.
On the final day of the camp, the group visited Mama Upendo Childrens Home a home that provides free shelter, care, education and future opportunities to children orphaned through HIV/AIDS or other misfortunes. The mentors and mentees found this particular visit fulfilling, as the bonding they got to create with the children in such a short period of time made them cling to them till the point of their departure. The two visits to the childrens home were eye opening to both the mentors and mentees who appreciated the state of other disenfranchised kids who enjoy protection and mentorship from other groups of concerned people.
The mentors and mentees were guided on lessons pertaining reasons for studying/Working hard, meaning of life, importance of prayer, the need for mentorship and virtues by Anthony and Oliver. In addition both the mentors and mentees got to share their life experiences regarding mentorship in Macheo. The group discussed propositions on how to strengthen their mentorship relationships and make it a better experience than it has ever been. Their inspiration was also drawn from the improved KCSE Performance in the recent years from 2014 to 2015 for Macheo students. Both parties resolved to stay committed to achieving these resolutions and were so appreciative of the 4 day camp afforded them by the CSCs Macheo Achievement Program.
Article by Billy Atela, a Macheo Mentor and 4th Year BBS Finance Economics Student