Gayle’s Kenya call­ing

Western Suburbs Weekly - - News - By DENISE S. CAHILL

AS Gayle Greenwood walks around Gabriel Learn­ing Cen­tre in Nakuru, Kenya she is fol­lowed by chil­dren call­ing out “Gigi, Gigi”.

The Fre­man­tle res­i­dent is fondly known to the chil­dren as Gigi, the name her three grand­chil­dren call her.

The 72-year-old is vol­un­teer­ing for Nakuru Hope, the char­ity be­hind the cen­tre, for the fifth time.

Gayle said see­ing the ben­e­fits the cen­tre had on the fam­i­lies, “and cer­tainly the chil­dren” kept her go­ing back for more.

Her first visit in 2009 came af­ter hav­ing cof­fee with char­ity founder Su­san Saleeba, who she worked with at a shop in Su­bi­aco.

“I told Su­san that I was feel­ing rest­less af­ter vol­un­teer­ing in In­dia with a med­i­cal team. I’d got out of nurs­ing af­ter In­dia and when Su­san said she was go­ing to Nakuru, Kenya to start her own project, I booked straight away.”

Gayle nursed for 49 years, work­ing at Royal Perth Hos­pi­tal, Hol­ly­wood Hos­pi­tal, Mt Law­ley Pri­vate Hos­pi­tal, The Mount and Fre­man­tle Hos­pi­tal.

In be­tween help­ing in the kitchen, vis­it­ing fam­i­lies, clean­ing homes, hand­ing out lol­lies to chil­dren in the slums and read­ing to the or­phans, Gayle is of­ten called on for her med­i­cal ex­per­tise.

She said it was im­por­tant to help peo­ple in their style, not the Aus­tralian style.

“I’ve de­vel­oped a close friend­ship with Su­san. We’ve got that shared knowl­edge of the fam­i­lies and what’s hap­pen­ing in Kenya,” Gayle said. “It’s hard to de­scribe the slums. “It’s not un­til you see it first hand you re­alise the vol­ume of the need. I’ve spo­ken to my grand­chil­dren about it and they look at the pho­tos and they have a lit­tle un­der­stand­ing. They ask about the chil­dren and their lives. It gives them a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of what we have in Aus­tralia.”

Gayle, who also vol­un­teers at the Nakuru Hope op shop in Fre­man­tle, has not ruled out fu­ture trips to Nakuru. For more in­for­ma­tion, visit www.naku­ruhope.org.

Re­gional ed­i­tor Denise Cahill was in Nakuru, Kenya with Nakuru Hope founder Su­san Saleeba.

Gayle Greenwood with Kenyan baby Brighton on the day he was born.

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