A NEWTON Abbot Young Farmer has been making a difference in communities abroad, after being selected for one of ten Travel Scholarships for charitable work in Kenya.

Organised by the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs, and sponsored by Dartington Cattle Breeders, Newton Abbot Rotary and Newton Abbot Young Farmers, Annaliese Retallick spent two weeks working in a variety of placements. 

Annaliese explained the trip: ‘The first couple of days in Kenya were spent on an induction in Nanyuki, learning about the Kenyan culture, what our project would entail and then we went on a tour of the places we would be working.’

‘The first work placement was at DEB Primary School. This primary school is in Mongengo which is a slum in Nanyuki, 1000 students attend this school with most of them starting at age five and finishing at 15/16. 

‘Our second project was at Haruma Hospital where we were given a farm tour. The farm aims to keep the hospital self-sufficient food-wise, we were shown around the vegetable gardens and then around the livestock, they have four dairy cows, broilers, turkeys, pigs, goats and 300 caged laying hens. 

‘Over the weekend, we went on a breath-taking safari at Ol Pejeta Conservancy and saw lions, buffalo, elephants, zebra, giraffes, waterbuck, black rhino and antelope to name a few. We were also lucky enough to see the last two Northern White Rhinos on Earth. 

‘We also spent a morning with a Samburu tribe seeing their village and learning about their traditions. This was followed by an afternoon at Mount Kenya Animal Orphanage where we got to get up close to some rare and endangered animals. The following week it was back to work at the hospital. 

‘In total, we planted around 1000 cabbage and spinach, digging each hole by hand, watering, adding manure and fertiliser and then transplanting the seedlings into the field. The money we all paid to be part of this project went towards the materials - we supplied the vegetables, and fertiliser, bought our own tools and left sprinklers and hosepipes to keep the vegetables watered long after we left. 

‘Between working at the hospital farm, we also started work at the school. Our first activity was a malnutrition assessment of a class of five-year-olds, where we took the weight, height and arm measurements of all the children - this generates a score to tell if they are malnourished. At the school we also helped to extend their garden. By growing their own food it will help to ensure that every child that attends school will at least get one meal a day. 

‘It has been the most incredible and immersive experience and it has been a pleasure to represent NFYFC and Devon YFC whilst being in Kenya.'