“My eyes are now wide open and I can see that the Army Reserves are saving lives. From a personal perspective, the experience I had in Kenya was a humbling one. It was a jaw-droppingly beautiful place; it was sad at times and completely inspirational, always.” – Steve Settle
When Sport and Uniformed Public Services Curriculum Leader, Steve Settle, was invited to join the Army Reserves on a five-day expedition to Kenya, he had no idea what an overwhelming and truly moving experience it would be.
He said, “The evacuation of a little boy with sepsis and malnutrition, who needed lifesaving help, was one of the most notable experiences I had. This is when I first realised the Armed Services actually are saving lives. That really hit home when I saw what they had done for this poor little boy, it was unbelievably eye-opening.”
Steve was invited to join the Reserves to help with their efforts in encouraging bright, young people to join the Armed Services as a Reserve. By inviting Steve, as well as other educational institutions, they hoped to demonstrate just how motivating and life-changing the work they do is, and shed some light on how important the role of the Reserves is in Kenya.
“The Army now want to invest more in the Army Reserves as they see this is the way forward. They hope to recruit bright young people like those at the College and wanted to show some of the great community based things those in the Army are doing.
“It was a fantastic honour to be able to represent the College and meet fellow peers from Sunderland University and Bolton University. I now see just how important it is to pass on this message to the incredibly talented and skilled students I teach. Hopefully some of them will too decide to get stuck in and do something as valuable and worthwhile as these guys in the Reserves are doing.”
Steve joined the second medical regiment in Nanyuki, which homes two British Army sites, and spent time with them as they completed vital community work in the heart of Kenya.
“It’s the British Army, the local council and the health service providing aid for communities. These people don’t have anybody else to support them. The Army are providing HOC’s, Health and Outreach Clinics across the country, which are not only saving lives by providing necessary aid and resources, but it has to be noted, is incredible dangerous work for our Military.
“There is a great deal of instability and radicalism happening in the country, but in my opinion, this only makes the work they do all the more awe-inspiring.”
Steve watched as the Reserves installed guttering and a water tank in one village as well as various other life-changing provisions in remote areas such as Laikipia and Ngara.
“Another thing that really hit home were the conditions children were learning in. These kids were so eager to be at school, so eager to learn, and yet on one occasion I saw around 70 children crammed into a small room, covered with just a rusty roof.
“Seeing teachers in that environment, getting on with things, when we are here in our large classrooms whinging about not being able to connect to the internet, really spoke to me.
“These kids were running around with no shoes, rocks on the floor, playing football and loving it.”
Steve was given the opportunity to meet the Health Minister for Kenya as well as other top military personnel, including the officer in charge of security for the Armed Forces in Kenya, on his trip.
But his expedition wasn’t all Army and aid, Steve was also given the once in a lifetime opportunity to see animals in the wild during a trip to Samburu County, a national reserve, showing him just one of the perks of Army life.
On his return back to Salford, Steve worked on a presentation for his Uniformed Public Services students, and Salford City College will now work in partnership with The Army Reserves to help with the recruitment of the keen, gifted, young people of our future.