Kenya 2009

In the summer of 2009, the Swift Youth Charity reignited its passion for crossing continents and embarked on a three week adventure to the home country of one of Newham’s biggest African communities: Kenya.

Led by a trio consisting of Clive, Ian and Daniel – all three of whom were remnants from the Swift’s foray into Ethiopian construction in the early part of the decade – a mishmash of mischievous youth charged into Nairobi.

Nick and Patrick hosted us in their Ziwani-based church-cum-hostel and from there we attended community youth events, worked on cleaning the overwhelmed local sewage works, painted a school based in a nearby slum and played a fair amount of football games – one of which included the best goal Andan will ever score in his life.

These typically well planned events were inevitably punctuated by some rather more spontaneous expressions of young Londoners abroad: the savaging of Julian by stray dogs; the liquid effects of a stomach bug seeping through mattresses; obscene overindulgence at Carnivore’s, with the champion meat-eater still in dispute; jumping off waterfalls; Dominic wandering off with various local girls; and finally, a late-night interpretation of post-pub banter, at full volume and complete with guest appearances from members of both of Kenya’s Police Forces.

But the fun hard work wasn’t limited to Nairobi. The Masai Mara was an incredible experience complete with every desirable sight except the ever-elusive Rhinocerous. It became the highlight for a number of people on the trip. And Mombasa’s exciting Arab-African bustle provided a beach retreat appropriate to a group for whom sunbathing wasn’t high on the agenda, and fairly rapidly a (quite physical) football game was underway. Sunrise here consisted of Julian finding his brethren in all things gymnastical and Matthew taking what has to be one of the standout photos in a standout portfolio.

Kenya was a fantastic trip and its outcomes continue to benefit the Swift today as 2009’s teenagers become the movers and shakers of one of London’s most dynamic young charities.

The team: Clive Furness, Ian Bateman, Daniel Crisp, Paul Clewett, Simeon Burnett, Amahleke Reid, Dominic Riste, Jamaal Anderson, Andan Anderson, Kevin Kiruthi, Julian Lamothe, Matthew Crisp

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