10 years of twinning

PUBLISHED: 12:01 04 January 2010 | UPDATED: 11:30 25 May 2010

A LEAFY North Somerset village and a poverty-stricken East African tribe are not what you would expect to form a successful twinning.

A LEAFY North Somerset village and a poverty-stricken East African tribe are not what you would expect to form a successful twinning.

But 2009 has marked the 10th year of the unique aid-based bond between Hutton and Dabaso in Kenya's Malindi province.

And to celebrate the occasion a group of 23 committed villagers made the 4,000 mile journey to the country last month.

They went to revisit the residents and see the medical centre, library and 14 classrooms built with money provided by the twinning group.

The team also helped carry out some minor repairs to facilities as well as taking time out to play football and volleyball.

Chairman of the association Helen Orchard was one of the members who made the long trip.

She said: "We would like to thank everybody who supports this worthy cause, the members of the Hutton Twinning Association, the people who went on the trip and all the businesses and people in and around Weston.

"It is amazing how a little help can go such a long way in Africa and it never ceases to amaze us how generous people can be and sometimes it is quite humbling."

The association was launched when Helen's husband Mark stumbled across the village whilst taking a walk from the holiday resort he was staying at.

The boss of Clayton Construction was so shocked by the state of the rundown community amenities he vowed to help by raising money back home.

In the ten years, the group has grown in numbers to include doctors, teachers and builders, has overseen the construction of much-needed facilities and supplied materials such as mosquito nets.

Education grants have also paid for a number of the village's young people to train as librarians or teach and to go on to college or university.

In return, Mark and his team have been made honorary tribesmen by the local Giriama tribe, a status which has never previously been given to white men.

Mark said: "It was one of those things that was just meant to happen, it all just came together.

"They are great people to be with and love having a good time.

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