Latymer’s Round Square Trip to Kenya

Latymer’s Round Square trip to Kenya

As part of our membership of Round Square, eight Latymer students went to Kenya to take part in the latest International Conference. Here’s what they got up to.

Friday 6 October

We arrived safely in Nairobi on Friday evening, and settled into our campsite.

Breakfast at 9am and then we travelled to Kibera slum – one of the biggest slums in Africa with over 2 million residents – where we visited a group of young men entrepreneurs who were car washing and offering sanitation facilities to slum dwellers. We also met a local artist before going onto a community organisation of women who make jewellery out of recycled paper. We visited a small business that turns cow bone from the slaughterhouse into ornaments and finally we visited a specialist HIV clinic wing and learnt about the issues around HIV testing, awareness and treatment in Kenya.

After lunch we visited a children’s home in Kibera slum and our students learnt some dance moves from the local children. The focus of the home is to reunite children with family members or work towards fostering and adoption – although this isn’t always practical or possible, so in the meantime the young people aged 6-18 are looked after by a wonderful team of volunteers.

After a delicious supper we sang and danced around the campfire with some of the former beneficiaries of Moving Mountains until bedtime.

Sunday 8th October 

This morning we walked through Gikimba market, the biggest second hand clothes market in East Africa and is where unwanted clothes from UK charity shops usually end up. We visited the metal work and wood carving workshops who hand make pots, pans and many of the souvenirs for tourist shops. In the afternoon we registered at the magnificent Brookhouse school where pupils have been mingling and taking part in a host of activities such as kenyan dancing, camel riding, hair braiding etc. All this was followed by an incredible all singing and dancing Afro beat performance by a Kenyan musician, Eric Wainaina, for our welcome evening. 

The Latymer students are all doing brilliantly and have been engaging in thoughtful conversations with our guides, the employees of Adventure Alternative, many of whom grew up as street children Nairobi’s slums. 

It has been a culture shock but they are talking openly and sharing their thoughts with us and each other. They are now mingling and already making friends with students from all four corners of the world. 

Monday 9th October

On our first full day of the conference, the opening ceremony was a celebration of Kenyan culture involving sensational dance performances by the Brookhouse students, and former and incredibly talented alumnus Nikita Kering, now an internationally renowned artist, sang her top hits to great applause.

The students were introduced to their fellow ‘Barazza’ team mates (a mix of students from a dozen different schools) and went off into ice-breaking activities and finally they headed back to their campus for their first night.

Tuesday 10th October 
Pupils set off to their service projects renovating local primary schools: they mixed cement, painted walls, danced with the pupils, and helped carry water to the classrooms.
In the evening we enjoyed the cultural performances by many students, showcasing their national cultures through dance, music and song.

Wednesday 11th October 

This was a brilliant Adventure day, we spent the day at Nairobi national park for a couple of morning and late afternoon game drives during which we saw a lioness chasing (and catching) a herd of giraffes, many impalas, zebras, baboons, crocodiles, ostriches and finally a family of rhinos with their baby!  We then spent the night camping there and enjoyed a Masai performance during dinner around the fire pits. A truly exciting day!

Thursday 12th 

This was their Democracy day. The pupils enjoyed a panel of Kenyan speakers who discussed current affairs and challenges facing their country, followed by a Q&A and more in-depth talks in their baraza groups. The afternoon involved a treasure hunt and then the pupils went off for one night to their host families to experience African culture and hospitality. 

Friday 13th 

This was the closing ceremony during which the entire conference (1400 pupils and teachers) were offered a delicious buffet dinner at Carnivore restaurant. Then, ‘Sauti Sol’ – a famous Afropop band – played a set to great applause! 

Saturday 14th

After some prolonged hugs and teary goodbyes with all the pupils’ newfound friends, our final day was spent feeding friendly giraffes at The Giraffe Centre, followed by a tasty lunch, a visit to a bead factory and a bit of last minute souvenir shopping. We then returned to campus for some rest time before heading back to the airport for our overnight flight. 

Adventure Alternative, who hosted the first weekend of the trip, contribute to the charity Moving Mountains who set up many of the projects we visited.  The mission of Moving Mountains is to get street kids into education and full time employment. Many of the Adventure Alternative employees are former MM beneficiaries, many of which were street children, orphans, who lived homeless in Kibera slum. They told us of their challenging, uplifting and fascinating life stories and showed us where they lived and grew up.

You can discover more about trips and activities on offer at Latymer here.


Victoria Evans
Author: Victoria Evans

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