The Kenyan Child Foundation was delighted to invite Dr. Vincent O’Neill, the Irish Ambassador to Kenya and Somalia, to the grand opening of phase 3 of St. Patrick’s Primary school. He has been following the progress at the school since the beginning of the project in 2015. I am sure he envisioned a standard event with flags, ceremony and speeches.. but this was not to be!
The roads around the village of Kawese had been washed away by floods making them impassable so that cars, jeeps, even the local motorbikes or bodaboda could not make it along the paths to the school! There was no alternative – the Ambassador would have to travel by ox cart!
Dr. O’Neill had promised the children and their parents that he would attend their special event and on Sunday the 6th of May, he didn’t disappoint!! You can imagine how surprised they all were to see him enter the compound in a trailer pulled by oxen! Not to mention, the many other visitors and dignitaries from the County Education Board who also had to wade through the floods to get to the school that day.
The Kenyan Child Foundation, the children of Kawese, their teachers and parents were honoured to have Dr. O’Neill officially open the 5 new classrooms as part of phase 3 at the school. He is a shining example to all who work overseas as representatives of the Irish Government and on behalf of the Irish people to promote development and education in Kenya.
“As Irish Ambassador to Kenya, I am very proud of the relationship between our two countries. We are friends. We are proud that Ireland has worked in a friendly spirit of partnership to help in the development for many, many years. The fact that this school is called St. Patrick’s will mean that you have a little piece of Ireland with you forever. But let’s not forget that it is really a celebration for the children here today. Because what we are celebrating is their futures and the way they can contribute to their communities, their families, and to Kenya in the future.”
- Extract from speech made by Dr. O’Neill – May 6th
Dr. O’Neill has become something of a social media celebrity in Africa and here in Ireland on foot of his actions in Kawese this May. Social media went into overdrive when they saw an Irish ambassador prepared to travel by ox cart to meet and prioritise children and the Irish charity who support them in a remote community in Kenya. We thank him for his bravery and courage.
Asante Kwa Kutumia Muda Na Sisi Dr. O’Neill
Thank you for spending some time with us.