Tribal name gift for man who created Kenya school

Reporter:

Suzanne Jordan

A FORMER postman who created a school in Kenya was awarded a tribal name during his latest visit.

Ron Cavie founded St Ronnie’s Academy in the small village of Shanzu, a suburb of Mombasa, in 2013.

The 68-year-old grandad and retired postman has spent four years tirelessly fundraising and working on the school.

Ron has visited it every year. His latest visit took place last month and during his stay he was given the tribal name ‘Charo’, meaning ‘the traveller’.

He said: “My tribal name comes from a coastal tribe called Chonvi and it is the same tribe that Lilly [the school’s headteacher] comes from and many of the children at our school.

“Lilly and the children decided my tribal name was Charo and thought its meaning – the traveller – was appropriate. I think it’s a great honour.

“I had a great time in Kenya again. When I arrived, the children were so excited. The new pupils were a little shy at first but it did not take long for them to come round.

“We now have 152 pupils. I remember the first day when eight turned up and Lilly was saying ‘not in her wildest dreams’ could she ever have imagined reaching this magic number. We are full now and have plans to build two classrooms up above to make a second storey.”

Ron – who has three children Martin, Julie and Rachel and a grandson, Joshua – first went to Kenya on holiday in 2009.

“While out walking, he came across a dirt track which led him to the village of Shanzu and school – Little Angels. He offered his support to the school and visited the venue every year.

On a visit back to Little Angels in 2012, Ron met Lilly – a teacher at the school – and the pair struck up a friendship.

The school was in danger of becoming overcrowded. Lilly found a building about a mile away and with the help of locals, she and Ron started work on transforming it and creating St Ronnie’s Academy.

Ron added: “During my latest visit, we replaced four windows as they were rotten. We now have nine teachers, one cook and a helper.

“I’m planning to return in October and see if we can start the building work for the extra classrooms.”

Email:

suzanne.jordan@nwn.co.uk

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