I got back from my trip to Kenya with The Healthy Teeth Foundation for Oral Health & WASH. This project-trip was planned for over two years (pre-corona) and I’m so glad it finally happened! I feel honored to join the foundation and their main sponsor Bamboovement, in visiting the ongoing project-school in Kenya where a big impact is made and here’s a small recap (including fun tips)!
Our impact days:
We stayed in Diani Beach and worked for 8 days on the Mamba Primary School in the rural area of Kwale County. We traveled with the team (3 Dutch volunteers and 2 Kenyan girls) by taxi every day to the beautiful landscape to reach the school. Driving into town has been a celebration everyday, seeing the kids’ happy faces. We have been teaching all classes about oral health and brushing their teeth, singing the toothbrush song, treating every kid with a toothbrush and the classes with toothpaste and posters. Afterwards, we invited some classes outside for a physical toothbrush moment, which was a fun experience for all of us. Our goal was also to train parents, teachers of the school and local health workers – to provide good oral health throughout the area. Together with the adults in the area, we made a plan to develop the school and the oral health situation of the kids even more. I am amazed by how well-willing they are to see changes, develop and make a difference!
The Healthy Teeth Foundation
It has been incredible to see how we can create a difference with educating and highlighting the importance of brushing your teeth in school. The effects? Since two years no kid has been absent from school due to tooth-ache or caries, every kid brushes its’ teeth at least once a day (in school) and every single kid knows the brushing-technique, by education through a song. THTF works with local health-officers to maintain the education in school.
With the donations of Bamboovement, the team of The Healthy Teeth Foundation has been able to support over 1500 children with toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, clean water and education in a sustainable way.
And the Foundation is planning on making an even bigger impact, together with a local team in Kenya.
The plan – developed in Kenya:
THTF is organizing a fundraising to build a water well at the school. The Water well needs to be there to provide enough water for all the kids to wash their hands, brush their teeth, drink water and for the school to grow vegetables. It’s incredibly needed, as they are currently facing drought, and kids therefore are not having enough water to drink/ brush their teeth. The school is not able to provide water currently, so kids bring it in bottles from home (if they have the opportunity). The continues change that this water well will bring, is amazing. There is a partnership founded already with Pamoja Foundation for development of the water well.
Main Sponsor Bamboovement provided the kids at Mamba Primary School with an amazing donation of bamboo toothbrushes, designed for a sustainable lifecycle and with the logo of THTF. We got in touch as I was the one to bring the donations physically to Kenya, about creating content for them on their products and giving-moments. It’s been a true pleasure to do this, capturing the kids while they enjoy the products. I personally feel the joy and curiosity in every picture and it’s been fun to create ‘that’ shot for a partner. Thank you Bamboovement for the opportunity to create work for you and I really hope you love the results as much as I do! More of the campaign will be shared shortly:)
My personal experiences:
Looking back to the trip, I am so thankful for all the experiences I got from joining this project. So many personal learnings, new things that I’ve seen, experiences that I got. Going to Kenya, you step into an entirely different world.
It has been mind-blowing to learn values from the kids in school in Kenya, where everything is about ‘us’ instead of ‘I.’ Their inclusivity, caring for each other and caring for the community is such important life lesson for all of us here. Their warmth towards each other is of another kind (L)
Their happiness for the smallest things in so inspiring and contagious. I think back of the moments I handed out a pencil and made a photo: even though they have little (and way less than our standards) they were all so happy and thankful.
Happiness, curiosity and joy really describes the attitude of the kids and I wish I (and all of you) could be surrounded by it all the time.
Also business-wise I learned a lot from this trip, as it was my first professional journey with a charity and sponsor-partners. I feel I’ve grown so much from it. Knowing much better how things work out and what is best for me as an entrepreneur on trips like these. I feel incredibly thankful for those learnings and empowered to grow more on every trip that will follow.
During weekends we didn’t work in schools but we prepared our days ahead. Next to that, relaxing was an important part of the volunteer work to load the battery for the next week. We catch up on emails, called home and we were able to enjoy the surroundings. I was able to spend some hours in the sun, swimming in the crystal blue sea, eat out for lunch and dinner, kayak to a tropical place from Nomads, went shopping for souvenirs. And on the last weekend, we traveled to Tsavo East National Park for one night to enjoy game-drive safari’s. It was incredible to see the diversity of the country, its’ landscapes and creatures. We stayed in a hotel that had a magnificent spot on a hill, overlooking the park and had a drinking-spot for wildlife. We were able to watch elephants from breakfast until dinner and you could come very close. So special! Also the hotel had amazing food – thank you for everything VOI Safari Lodge.
Kenya is, without a doubt, such a beautiful country with such warm inhabitants. It’s hard to describe the beauty, but its both in the big things, as it is in the small details:
- White beaches
- A incredible variation of wildlife
- Palm Trees
- Kindness and willingness
- Clear blue waters
- Green everywhere (especially Ukunda region)
- Delicious fruits
- Relax vibe
- Magnificent jewelry to buy
- Coral reefs
- Warm welcomes everywhere you go
- Cute animals everywhere (puppies, kittens)
- A nice humid climate that you can adapt to
- Fresh seafood everywhere
Interested to travel to Diani Beach – Kenya as well? I would recommend you to also read my blog about Digital Paradise in Diani Beach. This Blog includes the best tips to work, eat, drink and RELAX!