Primary school pupils from Hartlepool created ‘memories for life’ as they took part in a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Kenya.
Six members of the writing group at Throston Primary School, on Flint Walk, Throston Grange Estate, met up with their pen pals at Great Mercy School, in Kitale, Kenya, in July.
The Year 4 and Year 5 pupils were joined by headteacher Mark Atkinson and three parents, in a week-long visit, which was part-funded by the British Council and also supported by charity Change to Grow.
While there, the children took part in educational visits, including looking for hippos in the wild, while they also learned how to grow crops, fetch water and speak Swahili.
They took part in a football match, which the Kenyans played in bare feet, while they taught the local children and took part in a talent show.
As part of the link-up between the two schools, Throston are hoping that three staff and two pupils from Kenya will make a return visit to Hartlepool next month. The pupils who travelled to Africa – Max Haughian, Brynn Fothergill, Jay Nicholson, Max Nicholson, Poppy Boyd and Isabel Hodgson, who are aged between eight and 10 – enjoyed a ‘wonderful experience’, according to Mr Atkinson.
They had been so excited about meeting their pen pals, and when they got there, they created memories for lifeThroston Primary School headteacher Mark Atkinson
He said: “It was a wonderful experience for the children.
“They had been so excited about meeting their pen pals, and when they got there, they created memories for life.
“Most of the children at the school we visited were orphans, and we witnessed a lot of poverty.
“The children over there have nothing, yet are still so happy and optimistic. It was the first time we have been over there as a school, but now we have the link, we’ll encourage more staff and children to go, and we’re hoping staff and children from the Kenyan school will visit us in September.
“Normally, a primary school wouldn’t even consider a trip outside of the country, but the writing group is all about writing for a real reason, and this followed on from their pen pal project. They never dreamt they would be able to meet them, and they had a fantastic time.”
Mr Atkinson added: “The journey from Hartlepool took about 30 hours, but the children didn’t complain once. They were just so excited about it.
“During the trip, I didn’t have to tell them off once. It was fantastic, and they got involved in everything.
“We’re now planning to try to raise some money for the Kenyan school, who we’ve built up a great relationship with.”