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Derby County Community Trust (DCCT) recently returned from their eighth volunteering trip to Kenya, where they had an amazing impact at our partner projects in Nakuru.

Among the group of volunteers was 67-year-old Dave Hadfield, father of one of the African Adventures UK team and former teacher to Dan, African Adventures’ Founder and Director.

This was Dave’s first trip to Kenya. Here, he’s pictured with David Cranham (left). The pair had “the most wonderful of ‘bromances’” according to other trip members!

As he prepared to depart for Kenya, we spoke to Dave about his feelings and expectations regarding the trip. Following his return to the UK, we caught up with him again to ask how he found the experience of volunteering in Kenya with African Adventures.

How are you feeling upon your return from Kenya?

I am feeling tired! I also feel a little shell-shocked to be back in the UK after living in an environment that is very different to the one I am used to at home. 

What did you enjoy most about the experience? What was your highlight?

I enjoyed the satisfaction of having contributed to a job well done through the volunteering work that we completed at African Adventures’ partner projects. I also enjoyed the camaraderie of working as part of a team, and being part of the group from DCCT.

My highlight would have to be the safari experience in Lake Nakuru National Park; as a former geography teacher, this was very special for me. 

What surprised you most on your trip?

I was surprised to learn that most of the teachers at African Adventures’ partner schools in Nakuru do not get paid due to lack of funding. I was also very surprised to see motorbikes in the streets that had been fitted with umbrellas in case of sudden downpours! We saw everything from milk churns to three-seater settees, and even a sheep, being transported on bikes – it was very surprising!

Was the experience as you had expected it to be? Did you have any misconceptions?

The experience was, for the most part, as I expected it would be. Despite this, and despite imagining how it would be before I went, actually being in Kenya and ‘living the experience’ has a real impact on you as an individual. 

What volunteering did you do? Did you enjoy this? And do you feel like you were able to make an impact in the time you were there, even if small?

I worked as part of a small group of volunteers at Ungana Academy. We helped to demolish a temporary classroom made from timber and tin, and build a new, permanent, brick-built classroom. We also constructed a partition wall between two existing classrooms which helped to provide sound insulation between lessons. It was hard work but, at the same time, very enjoyable! This was largely due to the relationships that I built with the other members of the team from DCCT, and the relationships we built with the local builders, Evans and Patrick, and the school’s live-in caretaker, Rafa.

Dave is the father of one of the African Adventures UK team.

What is the main thing you will take away from your time in Kenya?

The main thing that I will take away from my time in Kenya is the humility of knowing that I am so lucky to have been born and brought up in the UK, with all the opportunities and privileges that this brings. 

Do you think the experience will change you in any way?

The experience has definitely changed me. I defy anybody to embark on a volunteering trip with African Adventures and not have the way that you view your life, and the world around you, permanently changed. 

Are you pleased you travelled with DCCT? Is there anything you would like to say to them now that you have had a chance to reflect on the experience?

I am delighted that I travelled with DCCT. I feel very fortunate to have been welcomed into the group, and to have shared the experience with so many lovely and impressive individuals. I would like to say a huge thank you to the group, and to their inspirational leader Paul Newman. Keep doing your excellent work!

What would you say to others thinking about embarking on their own volunteering experience?

I would simply say, “Do it! You won’t regret it.”

We would like to say a big thank you to Dave for taking the time to share his thoughts on his first volunteering experience in Kenya with us.

To find out more about DCCT’s 2020 trip to Kenya, please click here.

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