One of the defined objectives of the Mercedes Benz Club of Kenya is “to organize and execute charitable events where all of proceeds are donated to a charity as voted by the members”. Being involved in reaching out to assist those who are less fortunate been a consistent focus for the club, which draws on it’s membership drawn from diverse communities and who are able to contribute their unique areas of professional and business expertise towards the charity causes they elect to support.
It was a member who proposed that the club supports a school for children with hearing disabilities that is situated in Eldoret town, 320 kilometres away from Nairobi and this suggestion was enthusiastically supported. The committee then began the fundraising initiative from amongst the members and also making the logistical arrangements bearing in mind the fact that owing to the distance to be covered, it would not be possible for members to return to Nairobi the same day.
On the material day members converged at the assembly point starting at 9 a.m. as the intended departure time was to be an hour later, and the large turnout for this trip clearly demonstrated the passion that members have for Charity with over 40 vehicles forming up into a convoy. The planned route followed highway A104 passing Naivasha town before pausing in Nakuru town where members took a break after covering 160 kilometres.
After a 30 minute break, members resumed the drive to Eldoret and within a few hours, were driving into the school. The school principal and teachers were there to welcome the Club as well as a large number of children, despite the fact that our visit happened on a Saturday when school is not in session. The first activity that had been planned after arrival was for members to plant trees within the school compound and the school had graciously provided the seedlings and also dug the holes where they would be planted. This was a great team building activity for the Club and would also leave a reminder of our visit for a long time after we had left.
After the tree planting, Peter Ireri (Chairman) led the members to their assigned seats and they settled in. The Principal shared with the visitors the history of the school and the challenges that they faced especially having to deal with the special needs of their students, her narration moved many of the members to tears as they learned how many of the children came from homes where they didn’t get enough to eat, their parents could afford uniforms nor were they able to pay the school fees. Despite the challenges they faced, these children’s faces were full of joy and they were delighted to do presentations and mingle with Club members. It was a very humbling experience for all those who were present. Karani Kinyua (Club member) addressed the children, sharing personal experiences and inspiring them not to allow their disabilities to hinder their dreams but instead remain focused and steadfast to their goals.
The club then handed over the donations that had been made in cash as well as foodstuffs that would be used to feed the children and clothing that would be distributed amongst them as well. The children involved members in a number of songs and danced and shared their joy with us, it was a very memorable day.
The members then made their way to their respective accommodation venues and later regrouped for dinner before retiring for the night. The next morning, the group left Eldoret town and headed for Marigat town along road C51 passing Iten 36 kilometres after leaving Eldoret town and then descending a breathtaking winding road down the Kerio Valley. The convoy turned right at Marigat joining highway B4 making their way to Nakuru town for the second time before joining highway A104 heading back to Nairobi.
This trip left an indelible mark on all the members who attended and were able to share the experience of playing with these children whose joy and lack of self-pity reminded us all how much we have to be grateful for every day. In many ways, the children gave to each of us a lot more than we gave to them.