Testimonial from Allie Mullin USA Visitor to Patmos School, Nairobi who volunteered at the school for a month in August 2018:
Teaching Class 6 and 7 I completed all objectives that teachers asked of me as well as adding a few of my own lessons to enhance the learning experience of the students. I also aided in revision of subject and gave a comprehensive test to ensure my students were paying attention in class. The students were, for the most part, respectful and attentive. The times they were not, I simply sent the student outside of the classroom until they could tell me that they would be respectful. This worked very well and I had little to no problems. The students of Patmos are willing learners, caring individuals, and seek to understand and discern what is taught to them. They embody kindness for me and showed me nothing short of love and compassion. My only concerns would be with the overall thought toward improving the English skills of my classes. They were definitely behind in terms of what I have seen other schools in Kenya put out and I believe this can be fixed simply with access to more chapter books. I will be bringing this up in America with the staff to see if we can bring some books with us next time we come. All of my students were incredibly bright and I would love to find a way to make sure all of the class seven students have their own revision book, so that they may continue to gain knowledge for the KCPE. I would also love to see all of the older students able to have a bible of their own for both English improvement and more fruitful discussions in CRE. I will also bring this up in America to see if that is feasible. Helping in the Kitchen I helped distribute both uji and lunch with the guidance of Nancy and Mama Stalone. I loved getting to know these sweet women and every moment spent in the kitchen was precious and sweet. Give them both my love! Helping Corazon with Social Work I helped to distribute donations, pick up rosters, and add to the younger students growth charts. Each of these tasks was wonderful and I loved getting to learn about what Corazon does daily at the school. Social workers are vital for schools like Patmos to thrive and I am grateful that Patmos has the two best ones! I do have a few suggestions on sponsorship letters and things that could help get more children sponsored such as taking little videos of the kids to send to sponsors via email. There is a great sponsorship model in Kenya with an organization I love dearly and they know exactly what Americans want in terms of feeling like they have a relationship with their child, so I will put a few of those suggestions in my talks with people at OO here in America. Leading Guidance and Counseling and other workshops This was an absolute joy to do and I also learned so much from both social workers talks with the girls. I learned invaluable lessons on hygiene, reproductive health, setting goals, and the importance of clean water. I also got to hold my own sessions on relationships, dreaming big, and a talent workshop on drawing. These were precious times with the girls that I cannot stop talking about. Each one is so important and wonderful to me. I think some important topics to cover for the future would be self-worth and love. I really want each of these young women to know that they are loved unconditionally by God and by the staff at Patmos, because I know that many of their home lives are hard and they might not be told that they are loved on a daily basis. Building Relationships with children and staff This was, of course, the reason God called me to Patmos in the first place. My heart for Kenya comes first and foremost for the relationships that he gives me. I feel a specific calling to love on the older girls as they are at a vulnerable age and need extra support. I also loved getting to the staff like Teacher Sarah and learning what it is like to teach for many years at Patmos. I think I created lasting relationships with many of the students and I hope that they will continue to understand that my love for them is bigger than me leaving for a time. I believe that relationships are the building blocks of development and I hope that I have achieved great things in being the first mzungu to stay for a time.
Testimonial from Dominique Arkell, a school sponsor from the UK ,18th January, 2015:
My friend, Viv, works for a company called Freeplay. She introduced me to Carol and to Richard and the Patmos School in the Mathare slums in Nairobi. After speaking to Viv and to Carol, and then spending some time looking through all the different articles and information on the website, I decided to sponsor two little children who were similar ages to my grandchildren. Their names are Geofrey and Claris and, last Sunday, I was fortunate enough to meet them for the first time. Richard, who is their Headmaster, kindly brought them to the hotel where I was staying.
I was very anxious that the experience may be overwhelming for the children, however, they seemed to take it all in and didn't appear to feel awkward. After lunch Claris went to play with the other children there and looked perfectly at home. Dear Geofrey hung back but smiled and seemed happy. We could see him at one point and I found him at the end of the restaurant just looking out over the National Park. I found this very moving as he wasn't looking at the 'things' in the hotel but at that amazingly beautiful view. I wish I could have talked to him. I feel he is a deep soul, like my Jacob, and my heart went out to him. I wish with all my heart that I could transform their lives and enable them both to live the way the other children there do every day. I felt no sense of resentment from Geofrey and Claris that the others were there with their families enjoying a life that they could only dream of. I sincerely hope that, through the school and their education, they are able to continue into further education and then into employment. I promise to continue helping until they are both grown up.
All we do is lend support, however, it is Richard and his staff who make the real changes. Richard works tirelessly to be able to give the opportunity of an education to the children. At this point in time there are 100 and only 13 have sponsors. There are 28 vulnerable children who really need a sponsor. There is also a waiting list. The children not only learn to read and write but hopefully their time at Patmos school will lead to a further education, an apprentership or a chosen career, resulting in economic independence for them and their families.
I am asking you please to look into your hearts and find a place for one of these little ones. It costs a pound a week, £1, to educate a child for a year. This also ensures they get at least one meal on the day they attend school. During the school breaks some of the children don't have food. Most families live on less than $1 a day.
I also implore my friends who are Mothers to imagine what it would feel like to be unable to feed your children...and they have nowhere to turn if we don't help. Claris' grandmother, who is her only carer, tries to wash clothes to make a living but how can she do this with the water they have?
Education is empowering and life changing. For these children it really is the only hope. Give them the chance to pursue their dreams and live the life they all deserve.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article.
Dominique with Headmaster Richard Wanjala Manya and the two children she is sponsoring at the school, Claris and Geofrey.
Testimonial from USA Visitor Allen Tackett to Patmos School, Nairobi on 29th June, 2012:
"The Patmos School is everything you look for in an opportunity to help out. The visionary of the project, Richard, is sincere, hardworking and smart. Although I wasn't sure what to expect when I offered to visit the school, which is in the Mathare Slum in Nairobi, I quickly realized that this was a legitimate opportunity to contribute money and supplies that would be put to good use. Richard came to my hotel and we took a taxi together to the school. I felt safe and welcome the entire time. It took only two hours and I think any visiting tourist or businessman can and should include this into their itinerary to or through Nairobi. The school is basically four open rooms separated by corrugated sheet metal, with dirt floors. The children arrive early and stay late; westerners would immediately recognize that the school is as much of a day care as it is a learning environment. The children are malnourished, but incredibly happy and friendly. The school feeds them one meal, which is the school's largest expense. The typical meal is a corn-based porridge and the school has to pay to purchase the corn, and then pay to mill it. I was impressed that the founder realized that if he could mill his own corn, they could save money and buy more food to feed more children. The problem was that a corn mill was a large purchase that they could not afford. With the assistance of donation from a small NGO in UK called Kitchen Table Charities Trust, in 2011 they were able to set up a Maize Farm Project and purchased the corn mill. Projects like these are practical, clear-sighted and will have a sustainable, lasting impact. These are problems that are completely solvable. If you get involved with Patmos, I really believe that you will be helping to solve problems, not just provide aid. That's worth thinking hard about."