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Ponteland Online News has a number of contributing authors, all of whom will add their own posts on various aspects of village life, from the housing market to events and public meetings. If you are involved in a business or organisation, be it a school, church or a club in the Ponteland area and would like to contribute to the blog on a regular basis or just from time to time please email Ponteland Online Admin You must put the story title in the email subject line and the story itself in the main body of the email, add any picture attachments and send as normal.

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Saturday, June 15, 2013


THURSDAY, 4th JULY 2013, 7pm

In February this year 36 students and 5 staff from Ponteland High School embarked on an expedition to Kenya. Having flown to Nairobi the group travelled north to Lake Baringo, stopping en route at the equator for the compulsory photographs, before pitching camp on the shores of the lake.

Whilst at the lake we enjoyed nature walks to discover local flora and fauna, including both carpet vipers and scorpions. The early morning boat trips to watch dawn rise over Lake Baringo were spectacular, and included sightings of so much wildlife, including hippos, crocodiles and fish eagles. From Baringo we headed south to Olorte via Lake Naivasha. At Olorte, we stayed in an Eco Camp and involved in local community work, helping to paint furniture at a local school and to build a new “wallow” to try to encourage the wildlife to return to the area. A particular highlight was to spend a night under the stars at Enchorro Naibor, a truly inspirational viewpoint visited by very few Westerners – estimated at less than 200 Europeans to date.

From Olorte, we travelled to Labentera, a small village which hosted its first “international” football match between Ponteland students and their Kenyan counterparts. It was at Labentera that we were introduced to  Moses who is the chief of a small Maasai tribe which lives about 5 miles outside the village.. The children of Moses’ village have to walk these 5 miles every day to attend school. It is a physical impossibility for the infants to walk this distance and consequently the younger children are not receiving an education.

Part of the motivation behind our recent trip was to support the efforts of Moses and the villagers in their attempts to raise funds to build a nursery school. This school will be built close enough to the village to enable the younger children to attend. If further motivation was required it was most certainly encouraged by the hospitality the tribes folk showed us. They welcomed us into their homes and organised a wonderful evening of song, dance, food and ceremony in our honour. Wonderful times were had delivering outdoor lessons to the children who, whilst initially sceptical and cautious, soon became involved, enthusiastic and appreciative.

To date Ponteland students have played a small part in helping to prepare the site for the new nursery school and have worked with the villagers to remove the bushes in the area and to mark out the parameters of the building. Using the money Ponteland staff and students have already collected, the building work has already begun. It is our intention to raise sufficient funds to complete the building and furnishing of the nursery school. To that end we are holding an auction at
Ponteland High School on Thursday 4th July at 7pm. We are hoping many local residents will come along to bid for the variety of ‘lots’ on offer. Many generous donations of items to auction have been received from parents and local businesses.

Examples include:

·         7 day, 7 night adventure in Maasailand, KENYA in October 2014
·         Trip in light aircraft over Northumberland
·         Trip in micro light over Northumberland
·         Cruise on Tyne for 8 – 10 people
·         Passes for Ponteland Leisure Centre           
·         Tickets to Dare to Dream at Metro Radio Arena
·         Many vouchers / items from local retail outlets

A return to Kenya in February 2015 is in the planning – hopefully Ponteland students will be able to see the nursery school in action.