Regent’s student delegates attend Round Square International Conference 2012 at Brookhouse School in Kenya

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On the 28th of March Regent’s student delegates were packed and ready to depart for the Round Square International Conference at Brookhouse International School in Nairobi, Kenya. However, at the airport we encountered a slight problem. Our flight was to be delayed by 23 hours.

Despite the rough start we finally arrived at Staraehe Boys Centre in Nairobi where we would be staying with another Round Square school from Canada, the Glenlyon Norfolk School, until the start of the conference as a pre-conference project. The Starehe Boys Centre is a school that offers poor Kenyan boys with exceptional educational talent the chance to study and become confident leaders.  More than 1,000 boys are sponsored to go there to study.

Regent’s delegates with King Constantine.Regent’s delegates with King Constantine.

The reception at Staraehe was amazing. I never imagined that I would feel so welcome in a foreign country.  The boys and the staff there welcomed us with open arms. During our time at Staraehe there was never a dull moment. They took us on a tour of their school; we met some of their community partners and spent some time sight seeing.

On the fourth day, it was the adventure day and we went to the Great Rift Valley where we did a “small” hike.  However, when we got up to the top, the view was amazing and all the hard work paid off.

Delegates ready to perform a beautiful Thai dance.Delegates ready to perform a beautiful Thai dance.

My highlight was definitely meeting the children at the local primary school and getting to know everyone at Staraehe. We also got to know the delegates from Glenlyon Norfolk School really well before the conference started.

Before we knew it we were packing our bags again and moving on to join the conference at Brookhouse School on the other side of Nairobi.  We were all very sad to leave Starahe as we all enjoyed our time there very much and one day we all hope to visit them again.

Anita playing with local children.Anita playing with local children.

The conference itself was an unforgettable week, jam-packed with barazza sessions, service activities, keynote speakers and of course plenty of socialising.  The theme of the conference was: ‘No existence without co-existence’.  The speakers and panel really explored the main issues facing both Kenya and Africa politically, environmentally and socially, and we had plenty to talk about in our barazza discussion groups.

Going to the conference and meeting everyone with the same passion was also brilliant; it was nice meeting the people of Kenya and experiencing their culture and helping out in their communities. It is always uplifting to see how kind, open and caring people are. The little kids that shared their snacks with me on the service day touched me – we knew they had so little yet they were so willing to share.

Africa… “CNN makes it sound much worse off than it is.” A quote from a girl at the conference, and I absolutely agree with her. It wasn’t anything like I portrayed it to be. I would definitely say it was a new experience and what I learned from the conference will be something I will always put to use in my life.

Although there were a few complaints about the early starts I can confidently say that we all thoroughly enjoyed out time at the conference.  The Kenyan music and dance was especially colourful and inspiring.  I would like to encourage everyone to attend a Round Square Conference because it is the opportunity of a lifetime.

Lastly, I would like to thank everyone on behalf of all the other delegates who made this trip possible and to everyone who supported us. Thank you.