Over the past year Marco has been supporting close friends at the ‘4 People’ organisation in their quest to improve lives for those living at the Bala Mercy Orphanage in Kenya. This culminated with Marco going out there recently to help build the foundations for a new guesthouse. Here Marco answers some questions regarding the charity and his experiences.
Marco what made you choose to spend your holiday in Kenya digging the foundations of a guest house at the Bala Mercy Orphanage?’
‘I wanted to support a great idea 4 architect friends of mine had when they had the courage to leave their London ‘safe life’ to start a new one far away from the nonsense business world. They realised this with their first very low cost earthbag house and received nothing more than smiles full of gratitude (two of my friends also got married down there)’.
‘How did you find things when you arrived?’
‘Very welcoming – people who have nothing in their life but seem much happier than the Western world, awesome weather, amazing nature and a feeling that time doesn’t exist’.
‘Were you able to engage with the locals?’
‘Yes, it was a full immersion into their cristian traditions, beliefs, speaking both in english and learning Swahili, sharing their everyday life … and definitely not in a 5 star resort holiday’.
‘Was the project a success?’
‘Yes – the way in which it has started I am sure it’ll be a successful project. It importantly has the potential to change the way in which they build houses across the entire country, but there is still a few months of hard work needed before we will see the house and the dormitory finished’.
‘How can people get involved in this project or support it?’
‘Regarding the specific project to build the earthbag house, they don’t have all the funds they need so they’ve been collecting the money through fund-raising meetings in London/Italy before they went down to Kenya.
The 2 main things they need:
manual help to build the earthbag guest house
more money to buy the much needed materials and to pay the workers that are helping them in the building phase (around 4-5 Euros per day each worker)
Also if someone is willing to pay their own flight costs, go down there and work for free (as Marco did)
‘How can I donate some funds?’
‘You can donate through their justgiving page to help meet their target and buy the material only http://www.justgiving.com/4people
Read more about Marco’s efforts and keep up to date with future operations at http://www.4-people.org/foundation/