Kenya 2016 – Project visits and Founderee

This February a group of 12 of us traveled to Kenya for a research and update trip around several projects that have been set up across Kenya. We first visited Rowallen Scout HQ which is the place that BP’s ‘other foot’ is, from here we saw a small portion of the large slums that it’s situated next to.

We then traveled up to Siaya and visited their Scout HQ which by day is a nursery. We lead the kids in a few well known camp songs and played games with them. This was the place that in 2011, the Timu Rafiki team built a building which was to be used as a store room for future camp equipment.

Afterwards we traveled out to an orphanage that two of the team members had helped set up a few years ago, we met the guy heading this project up and offered our services in the possible future.

Whilst we were in Siaya we visited a couple of schools that could benefit from a scout group, or had a scout group already but might have needed some extra funding to get it off the ground and allow the Young People to do more activities within their community. The way the Kenya Scouts association is now running things, means that there cannot be a scout group that is based outside of a school, this limits the number of kids who can attend after Primary school as their parents have to pay tuition fees on top of scouting costs.

In the last few days that we were out there, it was Founderee which is a giant jamboree set up all to celebrate Lord Baden Powell’s Birthday. Each year scouts acrossKenyaand other countries come together at one big campsite and enjoy activities, an evening of campfire songs and then travel to Paxtu to join the march before heading back to enjoy an afternoon of final activities. This year was the first year that scouts had to apply to be at the ‘official’ Founderee Camp inKenya, a lot of the Scouts had been raising money to get there and even walked for a few days just to get there.

We visited the campsite 1 day after the Young People were allowed to set up camps, it was interesting talking to the leaders and older scouts about where they’ve come from, what their scouting history is. A lot of them had dreams of going to a camp outside of Kenya and were working towards fundraising to visit a different country. We met a few Scouts who had attended the World Scout Jamboree the year before and heard stories of how that has impacted them and made them want to do more for scouting in their home town.

Whilst at Founderee, we handed out Personal kits to all the female Scouts and Leaders as they were an issue that had been raised to Timu Rafiki the last time we were out there. They seemed to appreciate this and in return offered us to visit their campsite and they group activities when we next went back.

During the Founderee parade which starts at Paxtu (BP’s final resting place) and went all the way down to his grave site. We then joined hundreds of Scouts in celebrating the life that BP had and had set up for us all to enjoy for years to come. This included awards being given, a brief summary of what the Scouts and Guides has been up to in the last 12 months, and several performances by the several Scout bands that were at the parade.

Our correspondent in Kenya– Josh – was with us the entire week, helping with school knowledge and local knowledge of possible areas that could gain from a Scout group. On the last day we visited his home to help set him up with Internet so that he can update us on what’s going on.

Kenya 2014 Explorer Belt Expedition to Kenya.

The Expedition started with us flying out to Kenya on the 14th August 14 at 2115, after almost 2 years in the planning. We had a 7 hour stopover in Dubai before flying on to Nairobi, arriving at approx 2005 on the 15th Aug. We were met at the airport by Josh our Kenya Scout contact and a dear friend to a lot of us. We then continued on to Rowallen, where we spend the night before traveling on to Kissi to pick up our tentage and cooking supplies, kindly loaned to us by the Harambee for Kenya. Staying 2 nights in Kissi and practising the explorers projects on the young people that were in the safe house there. They all had a great time.

The 18th Aug seen us say a farewell to Kissi and travel to Saiya, stopping of at the Rift Valley for a wee sightseeing. Arriving in Saiya we set up camp and prepared for our main projects with the Kenya Scouts that were arriving later. The 19th was a familiarisation day whilst the Kenya Scouts set up camp.

The 20th to the 24th Aug saw then Explorers finally get to do their projects, which included, games, knots, bracelet making, first aid, painting the Buildings in the camp site, creative designs, music, Numeracy and Literacy. Also during this time the Explorers where interviewed by Kenya Scouts and visa versa to get their experiences of how Scouting divers in each country.

Afternoon of 24th saw us say a sad and emotional farewell to Saiya to travel back to Kissi to return kit we had borrowed. After staying the night in Kissi we said a very sad farewell to our hosts in Kissi safe house to begin our journey to Nyrei. Stopping at the Equator for Lunch. Arriving in Nyrei, were our host Jaz and his wife were waiting with our evening meal and beds. After a night’s sleep we headed off to visit PAXTU and the Grave of BP’s grave. After our normal photo’s round the grave and a little service we helped tidy up two other graves. They were the Dr and wife who had looked after BP in his last days in PAXTU. After this we had tea and photos with the Mayor of Nyrei. Spending that night with Jaz and Ice bucket Challenges we had good nights sleep before heading to the Ark the following morning. We spent the night at the Ark watching the animals round the watering hole and taking loads of photos. The following morning we had to leave our 5 star accommodation and head back to Rowallen via the giraffe sanctuary. The night in Rowallen again saw a few ice bucket challenges, before retiring to beds for our visit to the woodcarving place about an hour outside Nairobi. On our way back we stopped of at the Elephant Sanctuary to see all the orphaned elephants that had been orphaned because of ivory poachers. After this we headed for our last night in Kenya to the Wildebeest eco site on outskirts of Nairobi, final night Glamping in tents with beds, amazing. But we were not finished yet we still had one more adventure, The Carnivore. A restaurant were you get to eat as much meat as you can. Ranging from Crocodile Meat to Ostrich meat balls.

The next day we left the Eco Site to visit Josh’s humble dwellings before heading to airport for our 4.30pm flight to Dubai, where we had a 4 hr stopover before arriving back in Uk at around 7.30am on the 1st September 2014.

All in all a very emotional experience for the Explorers and all saying they would love to go back again. Mission accomplished.

Founderee 2013

In February 2013 members of Timu Rafiki spent a week in Kenya primarily to visit Siaya District Camp Site and attend Founderee celebrations as well as introducing Kenya to new supporters of the charity.


We visited the District Campsite at Siaya to see how the site had developed since our Christmas 2011 trip.  Unfortunately the building we had helped build in 2011 had recently burnt down due to an electrical fault – we therefore began initial discussions with a local architect re. potential re-building.

Amani Village of Hope

The name AMANI means peace in Swahili, which is the aim of the orphanage – to provide for children who have been orphaned, abused or abandoned. The word HOPE was included in the name as Amani is an oasis of hope to those in desperate need and each rescued child is provided with the hope of a better future.

Timu Rafiki supporters in the UK had donated many bags of clothes and we were able to pass these on to the children of Amani.

Founderee 2013

Our Founder Lord Robert Baden-Powell retired and spent the end of his life in Nyeri, Kenya. He lived in a small house with only a few rooms that he named Paxtu – it is still located in the grounds of the Outspan Hotel. Paxtu is now a small Scouting museum which we visited and whilst doing so we pinned a Timu Rafiki scarf on the wall amongst the hundreds of others.

Baden-Powell is buried at St. Peter’s Cemetery in Nyeri. When his wife Olave died, her ashes were sent to Kenya and interred in the grave also.

On February 22nd, Founders Day and Thinking Day, we visited both Paxtu and B-P’s grave.  Three of our party made their Promise at the graveside. We also carried out a Good Turn by tending to B-P’s doctor’s grave – Doctor Doig and his wife are buried very near to B-P and we were contacted by Dr Doig’s grandson via Facebook who asked if we could find time during our visit to tidy up the grave site.

We also visited the annual 4 day Founderee pre-camp at Kabiruini Agricultural Showground, attended by about 30,000 Scouts.

On February 24th we joined the 30,000 campers, local Scouting, Guiding and WOSM dignitaries plus many, many more at the Founderee parade from Paxtu to the cemetery for a graveside Founders Day service, where we laid a wreath.

Bring Christmas to Kenya 2011

In December 2011, members of Timu Rafiki hosted an expedition to Kenya for 25 Explorer Scouts as part of the Explorer Belt Award.  During the expedition the team will undertook building work at the Siaya District Camp Site, celebrated Christmas with over 150 children and confirmed a new partnership between Scouting in London and the Kenya Scouts Association.

The Explorer Belt Award is for 16-25 year olds, promoting adventure and self-reliance in an international environment with a focus on learning about the country they are visiting with a ‘hands on’ approach.  During a 12 day stay, the group worked towards projects they have chosen, planned and organised during regular preparation evenings and weekends from April 2011 until departure.

Here are just some of the projects undertaken by the young people during the expedition:

  • Working in orphanages and schools supporting workers/teachers
  • Identifying the value of sport in Kenyan society – organising sports days for local scouts, communities and schools/orphanages, teaching English games like rugby and learning some local sports
  • Arranging a day camp for local scouts and exchanging skills
  • Identifying the challenges faced in everyday life by spending time with a variety of families, helping them in their day to day work.
  • Helping with local renovation projects of community buildings

The team also “sharing Christmas with the people of Kenya” in a particularly impoverished area where they will be stationed, providing traditional roast dinner, gifts and decorations.

Kenya 2009 – Edd Shields

I was part of the team that went to Kenya in 2009. We organised a camp in Siaya for local scouts and incorporated games, activities and competitions that we would have in our own scout camps in the UK.

The Kenyan scouts really enjoyed ‘chariot racing’ and a football tournament that we organised. They also helped us to paint a London skyline mural on a building that had been built by previous UK Scouts.

Sourcing equipment and materials from local businesses was challenging but a great experience for us and the camp was a real success.

Later in the trip we organised a ‘fun day’ in Rowallen for street scouts. These were scouts that might not have had homes or parents but they had a uniform which they took real pride in wearing and they had a scout troop that gave them the opportunity to learn skills, make friends and have some structure to their lives.

We had lots of different activities for them that they’d never done before like; tie dying t-shirts, making poi and face painting.

Some of the different troops then showed off their talents like acrobatics and singing. After seeing the slums of Kibera and children picking litter from the rubbish piles, being able to put on a day of fun for them was brilliant.

Our trip that year was the start of Timu Rafiki and has resulted in further trips over the years. These have all contributed to the scouts of Kenya and are a worthwhile cause. I’m always reminded of my time in Kenya and it has shaped part of my outlook on life.

Kenya 2009 – Tamsin Langley

In 2009 I joined a group of Scouting volunteers on a five week trip to Kenya with the aim of helping and supporting Kenyan street scouts based in different locations around the country.

We began in a small northern town called Siaya where we organised a camp for scouts from local towns. Together we ran various activities and competitions for the children; with them not only learning from us, but us from them…their building skills were second to none!

On our return to Nairobi we ran a day camp for scouts from the largest slum in Kenya, Kibera. Once again we shared out the activities between the group running tie-dying, making poi and **(may have to check with Jo what other activities we did)**. Towards the end of the day we shared dinner cooked by the local woman and gave out donated health products like toothbrushes.

This is only a small part of the things we achieved on that trip. To say it changed my life sounds may sound like an overstatement, but it really did. Through Timu Rafiki I have seen first hand what a difference these experiences make to the children of Kenya and the unifying quality scouting has around the world!

Kenya 2000

Towards the end of 1998 East Sussex County Scout Council made the decision to select a team of young people to go out to Kenya and carry out a Millennium Project.

The leader team, headed by Vicki Clare and the then County Commissioner Robert Cheesman, were given the task of selecting 35 young people from the Venture Scout section. Among the first Ventures to be selected were Lucy Hart, Joanna Hart and Ben Richardson. The Chief Scout George Purdie attended one of the team building weekends and gave the group his blessing for a successful trip and completion of the projects.

The group were called Kenya 2000 East Sussex Scouting supporting Kenya Street Scout Projects. So began an amazing partnership with East Sussex and Kenya Scouting.

The group planned a large camp for over 80 young people from the Street Scout troops in Siaya District in the NW of Kenya.

We delivered a 6 day camp for the young people and the transport to and from camp. The young Kenyan scouts had a true camp experience with training sessions plus fun and games with the ‘mazungas’ At the end of the camp all the scouts and their leaders left with a camp scarf, full tummies and a wealth of memories of their time together in camp. The team had begun to refurbish the Scout Centre at Siaya and the chicken hut in Luanda. The chicken hut was to be a source of income to support the Street Scout Group in Luanda. This was to be the foundation of an international partnership.

Like all trips to Kenya we completed the expedition with some tourism for the team members. We visited the Baden Powell Memorial in Nyeri and enjoyed a 2 day stay at ‘The Ark”

‘Key memories from members of this group: a whole new meaning to toilet seats ….  Group members were determined to make seats by square lashing planks of wood. These were not as successful as the team hoped but the task distracted the group while putting up with a hole in the ground experience. By the end of the trip I craved for a Mars Bar – no chocolate for 14 days!  We had very simple communication systems back then, no mobile phone signals, but we did have access to a cyber café and managed to send a group email home. Fond memories of cabbage and onion with tomatoes….this was served almost every day.

Submitted by Vicki Clare on behalf of Kenya 2000