News

September 18th 2014

DERBYSHIRE-BASED VOLUNTEER EXPLORES KENYA

An adult volunteer from Derbyshire Army Cadet Force (ACF) had the opportunity to travel to Kenya this summer to take part in trekking, mountaineering and a community project in which he helped to build a classroom for young children.

Second Lieutenant (2Lt) Matt Webster, aged 34, who lives in Hope Valley, Derbyshire, travelled to Kenya with a number of other ACF adult volunteers and Cadets from around the country as he wanted to help benefit local people by building and ‘fitting out’ a classroom on the outskirts of Segana, Kenya.

Matt explained: “The expedition had three main phases: trekking, mountaineering and the community project. The trekking phase took place in a number of locations with the aim of acclimatising the group to the different environments and temperatures we would encounter.

“The mountaineering phase covered a six day ascent of Mount Kenya, Kenya’s highest mountain and Africa’s second highest. This was physically and mentally challenging and we needed a high level of fitness to complete it. The weather closed in and rained during the first two days, while at night the temperatures dropped to -8C causing some of our tents and water bottles to freeze.”

Describing the community project Matt continued: “The project was completed in three phases. Initially a group of adults from the ACF went out to Kenya to lay the foundations for a school building and to start to build the main structure and roofing with help from three local builders.

“Another group then spent a week building benches, desks, digging drainage ditches, finishing the roof and painting murals for the walls of the school building.

“A third group laid concrete floors, walkways, landscaped some of the outside space and painted the new building inside and out. The Cadets involved in this project raised all the funding to build the classroom and enough money to put a student and possibly one additional person through four years of further education. This will change their lives forever.

“Being involved in this project was truly humbling; eye opening, memorable and I know a very proud experience for all involved. Personally it was a fantastic experience – making a difference to the children who will attend the new school and seeing the Cadets involved grow and excel in a very challenging environment.”

This was a national Cadet expedition, so the group included members of the ACF and Combined Cadet Force from around the country.

To find out more about Derbyshire ACF visit www.armycadets.com/county/derbyshire-acf