Year of Mercy Series: Providing Shelter to those in need
Coordinated through the Community Service Centre, Strathmore University students in collaboration with students from Colegio Retamar High School in Spain were involved in a 2-week community project in Kitui County. There were 15 representatives from Strathmore University while a large team from Spain consisted of eighty five students, five teachers and a priest.
All involved in the work camp knew that the program was themed on the Year of Mercy, hence the selection of projects for the work camp. These were eight work sites which would involve construction of two churches and two classrooms, construction of two homes for very needy families, painting ten classrooms, and renovation of St. Michael Primary School.
Preparations for the work camp usually entails year-long fundraising efforts, with lots of innovative activities to raise and save money that will be used to carry out the camp. From the Community Service Centre, continuous car wash initiatives are planned from time to time by volunteers. From the Spanish team too, fundraising activities also takes place as the students look forward to the summer work camp in Africa.
During the 2-week work camp, the team would set off every morning to the various sites, and would spend the days working intensely. The Kitui Community was friendly and motivated to see young people willing to help without any compensation.
Upon returning every evening, they held interactive sessions where they held heated discussions tackling aspects of life, friendship and general life topics that interest all young people. They also organised sports activities with a school in the neighborhood, St. Charles, while some played card games, guitar, singing and listening to music.
At the end of the two weeks, reactions from the exhausted but much fulfilled students were positive and inspiring. Key lessons that touched them included: Spiritual growth since students lived aspects of communal prayers held thrice each day culminating in celebrating the Holy Mass each evening. Selflessness whereby, both teams from Retamar and Strathmore collected and donated clothes, books and even safety clothes for carrying out construction work.
The overall impact of the work camp was inspiring to the Kitui community, the nearly completed projects from all the sites told the story of sacrifice and love, and were received by the community with gratitude and warmth.