March 13



It seems the rainy season was finally starting.  Everyone was pretty excited. Rain is a pretty big deal in Kenya.  We were a bit worried that the downpour would postpone our trip to Osenetoi, but thankfully, the roads were still good enough for us to go.  When planning this visit to Kenya, one certain goal was to make the special trip to see the school and community for which we had been fundraising for. It took about two hours to get there, over a washed-out river and over a lot of rough roads. We travelled through Kipsigi and Kiisi communities (the other two local tribes with more agricultural traditions) until we reached Maasai territory (mostly nomadic hunter gatherers) Here are some photos from the road:


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The school in Osenetoi truly seemed to be in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by freshly planted wheat fields not yet started to sprout. The involvement of Free the Children (FTC) here is fairly recent, so not all of the buildings have been rebuilt, and the old kindergarten wooden classroom is still used for storage. IMG_2233

As we approached, most of the students were waiting outside for us in the strong wind.  We drove directly into the schoolside camp where a high school FTC group was staying.  They were in the main tent, finishing up a leadership session. We were very impressed by these kids from Toronto and Renfrew, Ontario; they had been working hard, hand-digging trenches for the foundation of a new classroom building.


We introduced ourselves to each other and then headed over for a celebration with the students and staff of Osenetoi Primary School.  There were two lines of people singing and dancing for us to walk through. We made our way to a row of chairs and we sat in the seats of honour as the Deputy Head teacher welcomed us and thanked us for supporting them and visiting. After a few more welcome speeches, we watched the students perform some traditional songs and dances.  It was incredible. The Mamas also presented us with handmade beaded necklaces and bracelets while singing and dancing. Numerous times, we were all pulled up to join in the dancing. It was pure joy.

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After the students finished their presentations, the high school group got up and sang a couple of songs, including Bob Marley’s “One Love” and “Wake me Up” by Avicii. This also ended in a big dance party. After being put on the spot at Kisaruni, we were prepared for a possible performance this time.  At lunch before we left, we decided to sing “All I really need” by Raffi, if the opportunity arose.  Hooray for thinking ahead!  


We started this family project seven years ago, and learned the name “Osenetoi” about two years ago. To finally be here, with all of our boys was really an experience we will never forget.  This was a very emotional part of the trip. Teva was quite overwhelmed by all of the attention, but each of the other three boys patiently allowed himself to be swarmed and gently manhandled.  It was certainly somewhat claustrophobic, even out in the open field, being touched so much by so many children! For Aubrey, having a terrified Teva on his shoulders helped to deflect some of the attention.  

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 The boys fielded endless and repetitive questions (“How old are you? What grade are you in? What is your name?”), and were very happy to play an impromptu football game and hang out with the kids from the school.


The students were very proud of their classrooms, leading tours through each stand-alone classroom and the rest of the grounds.


In these moments, it seems our boys understood why we were here. They felt appreciated and a bit proud of what they had contributed to. Our boys were so impressed at how genuinely happy the kids were just to spend time with them and be close to them.  It seemed that, perhaps for the first time, they realized what a gift education is. We were all on a bit of a high when we left, and were sad to leave. Hopefully, one day we will make it back to see how much the school has developed, and continue to see the impact of FTC on the community.

posted by Aubrey and Koren

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