2008 Report



 This being my second trip out of Kenya, I was extremely ecstatic when I heard that I was among the students chosen to visit England.  After a number of music practices and multiple moments of anxiety, the day came.
 It was this Sunday the 7th of September 2008.  After making sure that we were all spick and span, we assembled at the school’s music centre. My heart was throbbing like a tom-tom. After a short prayer, we mounted the school Land Rover and headed towards Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. Checking in took about half an hour. Of course we were very conspicuous because of our unique uniform. All the passers-by had something to add on top of their stories about us. It was interesting. It was here where that environment of comfortability engulfed us. We started forgetting things like dust and smoke. At exactly 11.35 P.M., we boarded Emirates flight. I must say that, I saw and felt a sharp contrast between the Emirates flight and the planes I used the previous year. The KLM Dutch Airlines and the Kenya Airlines are far much behind. The Emirates flight, though not a profit seeking entity, is very comfortable and has individual entertainment
equipment, unlike the Dutch KLM Airlines where the passengers gaze at one screen. Of course there is more to say about the plane. We arrived at Dubai the capital city of United Arab Emirates at roughly 5.20 A.M. in the morning. Surprisingly, the sun was a number of kilometers above the horizon. Dubai was another place of wonders. The whole airport was full of people of different races and religions. I was left dumbfounded to see over a half- a thousand people lying on a cemented floor. This crowd mainly constituted Japanese and Chinese. Our stay was short-lived because after about two and a half hours, we took another flight towards Manchester city, England. It took seven hours and at around half-past twelve we alighted. Oh, another new and completely different place. Security in England is not taken for granted. All the places we went through in the airport needed a lot to be desired. We were thoroughly searched as if they were sure we were going there with bad intentions. Actually, we witnessed a case of someone who was arrested, thanks to God, we were not.
 Our hosts had waited for us for so long. We received a warm welcome and dispersed to our various new homes. For the first time in my life I felt completely satisfied, being in a very special vehicle without any sort of shortage of space as in the case of matatus here in Kenya.

My hosts were Mr. and Mrs. Colin and Beryl North. They are the most kind and generous people I have ever met in my life. From the time we met at the airport, they showed us all their generosity and true love. They gave us all their time. They treated us like their real children. There is no time I ever regretted having been put in such a place. Thank you Mr. and Mrs. Colin and Beryl North.  That afternoon, we spent our time with them and it was wonderful learning many new things. We had a sight-seeing after a finger-licking dinner. It was fabulous seeing a completely different way of life. People keep sheep and cattle mainly in Macclesfield. Their methods of farming are of high standards compared to ours in Kenya. We had a chance to see the world’s famous Radio Telescope which was used to acquire information from the space satellite during major events in the world.

Boys outside the Methodist ChurchThe rest of the days that is; Wednesday, Thursday and Friday were spent on different rehearsals for the big concert on Saturday night. In the course of these days also, we had the chance to visit Macclesfield town. We visited prominent places like the Town Hall, where the mayor stays. It is a wonderful place. On Wednesday, we took an electric train towards Manchester city. I got a wonderful opportunity to share with the rest of the hosts of my colleagues. They were wonderful people. Manchester city has a lot to be said. It has bigger streets and buildings. The buildings are of high architectural design and very well built. Some buildings are old while others are new. No traffic jams and smoke of any kind.
 We got a glimpse of Manchester City Stadium(where Manchester City team normally plays and have practices). It is wonderful and miles away from our sophisticated Kasarani stadium in terms of structure and appearance.
 In summary, all the days were spent well with each a new thing. Saturday was actually the main day. The grand concert was the main thing in the town that evening. It was advertised through posters in all corners of the town including the Town Hall and the town library. We had different performances from MDMT which constitute a choir and the orchestra with different people from different parts of Europe! People do sacrifice a lot for Starehe. I learnt this when I heard from different members. We also performed our songs and it was fabulous. We had performed the Kalenjin traditional folk song, the Luo dance and Kikuyu dance among other famous choir songs. The hosts envied and look forward for more of our songs. The concert ended at around midnight.
 Above all, it was the best moment I have ever had in my life. My sincere and practical thanks go to Mr. Etyang and the school administration for giving me this golden opportunity. Thank you very much is what I can say for now.
 I also thank Martyn Donaldson Music Trust for all their endeavours to the success of this trip. Special thanks to Mr. Andy Donaldson for the special and excellent nature.
My life has been impacted positively and I have no reason at all not to be grateful. Thanks to everybody who made this trip possible. Margaret of the Sponsorship office, who ensured that we got our visas in time; May God bless you so much. Rest assured we granted Starehe sparkling reputation. Thanks a lot. 

Group in the Methodist Church



 Never had it dawned on me that I would ever set foot anywhere further than the Kenya precincts. This was a deliberation that I pledged allegiance to and at no time would I find myself succumbing to such thoughts. Earlier in the year I happened to be proven wrong when my teacher Mr. Walters informed me that I was among the visit the UK in September as courtesy of the Martyn Donaldson Music Trust.
I was overcome with bliss but I still had a feeling of uncertainty. Due to curiosity, I had to confirm my membership with the other five who told me that we were on the same trip.  I thought it was luck or hard work which was due to my interest in music. Having known about the trust, I was guaranteed that the trip would be a nice one and an unforgettable one.
I informed my kith and kin about the trip and by the time I went home for half term the whole village had known about this trip. My grandmother lived a changed life walking with her shoulders high and having a feeling of superiority that her grandson was to set foot on another land.
Our preparation started instantaneously and the 7th of September marked my first time on a plane. My experience on a plane for four hours to Dubai and eight hors to Manchester is something that I will live to learn by heart. I was lost in wonderland as I thought about terrorist attacks and plane hijackers all this thoughts lured me slowly and I found myself asleep.
Touchdown at Manchester was at 1225. I expected it to be sunny since I was told that it was summer. It was my first time to experience summer since Kenya is a country that is located on the equator where we have the sun shining throughout the year and the terms Summer, Spring, Autumn and Winter are terms that I come across only in our geography class.
We were given a warm reception with Andy Donaldson who is also the chairman of the Martyn Donaldson Music Trust and our hosts.
I happened to have selected Vin and Sue as my hosts and they took me to their abode which I learnt to call home for the few days I was in the U.K
Every single day spent left me more informed than I was, starting with the first railway station at Manchester Museum of Science and Industry, the power house and the first computer on earth.
 I happened to be moved by the bounteousness of the populace and how friendly they were. I remember asking Vin whether he would like it if I called him Grandpa since I felt uncomfortable referring to him with his first name which is also a taboo in the African culture, Astonishingly, he said that he was used to being referred to by his name.
We performed at different places and got to interact with music oriented students who played in orchestras and bands.
I do evoke the night when Tim and Bridget took us ten-pin bawling where I missed five consecutive shorts but ended with three strikes and became third out of four. In my memories lay the day I tasted mustard, thinking it would be as pleasant as custard…
The grand concert was held at the Macclesfield Methodist Church, which had a variety of presentations ranging from African traditional dances to the ‘Oliver’ Finale. I had a full transformation of how I thought things happened in the U.K. at some point as we drove towards Teggs Nose, I asked Vin whether he had a gun for protection. We also had the chance to attend the Bollington transport extravaganza where I heard the full Macclesfield Youth Brass Band perform and we also took part in the audience participation.
All in all my stay in Macclesfield enlightened me. I gained enough knowledge as I could. All this could not have been possible if it were not for the contribution of the Martyn Donaldson Music Trust. I would like to pass my appreciation to the trust for letting us enjoy a coveted privilege and for doing everything within its means to enable us to gain from this trip.
To my host: you gave me a home you made me feel appreciated and encouraged me.  I recall every night as you ended the day telling us “Boys, goodnight and God Bless”.
To the Macclesfield Youth Brass Band and the MMC orchestra: your music was splendid and you proved to me that the man who is not moved by the concords of music is not to be trusted. The reminiscences of your kindness, generosity and love will forever be gaudily recalled in my wits.
Once again I thank the Martyn Donaldson Music Trust for giving me such an opportunity, I urge you to continue with the good work that you are doing and may God bless you.THANK YOU!
Dan Abissi

Dancing in front of London Bus

Eddie Baraka Mony

 A FIRST HAND EXPERIENCE…..  When I was told that I had been selected to represent the school abroad, it was hard to believe. This was supported by the fact that last year I had already gone to Finland for the same reason. My mother, brothers, sisters and friends said that I was not only lucky but I was also blessed as my name “Baraka” suggested. I had nothing better to do than to thank the High Deity for the rare opportunities that kept coming my way………
 It goes without saying that I had never been to the United Kingdom before. Of course it had always been my dream to get there one day and alas! My dream had come true! Manchester is a city adored by a great number of people in Kenya because of the football team. When we landed there, that is what came first into my mind.
 We were met by ever smiling hosts who were craving to have us stay in their homes. What beat me was their warmth and treatment towards us – they treated us as if they had known us their whole lives! This feeling drained out all the fatigue in me – they are the kindest group of people I have ever known in my integral life…..
 I stayed with Nicky and Gerald. They are just the perfect definition of the word love and tenderness. They made me feel more than at home and treated me as their own son. Never did they cease to succumb to the little requests I had every now and then.
 Macclesfield, as I observed, is full of old people. This is a sign of proper health care and feeding habits. The places we visited are so many and interesting that their details would take forever to put in across. It was my first time to see an electric train and actually be inside it – leave alone the trams!
 My casual observer’s view and what I liked about the U.K is that it is a country of Good Order And Discipline. A country punctuated with magic words – ‘excuse me, sorry and thank you’.
My sincere thanks go to the Martyn Donaldson Music Trust for the light it has shed upon my life. The Trust is the light at the end of the dark tunnels. Only God can repay the good deeds.
 This was a trip I remember with relentless nostalgia. It in fact makes me feel homesick in my own home – a toothache on a toothless gum. I pray that many more of these chances be accorded to the other boys in the future……… 

Eliazaro Otieno Omware

 First and foremost, I would like to extend my sincerest gratitude to Mr. Andy Donaldson and the Martyn Donaldson Music Trust (M.D.M.T) for giving me the opportunity that I had to visit England.
 My journey to England is one that I will wish to remember all my days. This is because I saw many new things like escalators. One particular scenario that I had with new things was in Dubai airport. It was in one of the washrooms. After relieving myself, I took about one minute trying to figure out how the mysterious tap functioned but to no avail. However in the end a “good Samaritan” told me how the magic works. You just place your hands under the tap and the water will come out. This, among others, are some of the experiences I had in my journey.
 After 12 hours of traveling, we were warmly received by our hosts. I particularly thank Vin and Sue for hosting me and Dan during the stay in England. I also thank Gerard and Nicola Campbell and the Donaldsons for hosting my fellow travel partners.
   I, particularly, enjoyed every moment of my stay in England. Among the things I liked were: the hospitality of my hosts, the good infrastructure, the music I listened to and definitely the food. The town of Manchester was very nice as I saw and learnt a lot of interesting things. I learnt a lot of things at Museum of Science and Industry, though I spent three quarters of my time trying to figure out the puzzles in the experiment section. I didn’t see much but all the same, it was very interesting. One funny thing I saw was the hidden gem. I was surprised to see no smoking sign in the church.
 I also went bowling with Vin’s daughter. It was a very interesting experience. I never imagined that a person could honestly miss all those pins but to my shock, Dan missed them about three times. To make the matters even worse I did it myself!
 We went on a hike one day with Vin and Sue that was very interesting. I got to see the beautiful country and the hills in England. I also got the exercise a little bit. It was also while we were hiking that I found all that Dan could run faster than me.
  I enjoyed singing and playing in the UK. This was particularly in the concert. I like your singing (Macclesfield Methodist church) – there were people that interested me in their performance. The Italian bass who sang and brought out the emotions of the music very vividly, kudos, the accompanist, the orchestra, Mr. Barney, the pianist (Matthew Brown) Mr Andy and generally everyone who performed was great.
I am truly grateful to the MDMT for sending music volunteers such as Mr. Chris Walters who help shape the lifestyle of so many needy students, I being one of them. Thank you for your support. May God pay you back even more.


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