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to ask for reassurance from school/STS Travel about forthcoming school trip to Kenya?

(20 Posts)
ElaineReese Mon 10-Oct-11 11:15:28

Hello!

DD is in year 10 and due to go on a trip to Kenya with school in July - we signed up for it when she was in year 8, when things over there were a bit calmer.

Now it all looks rather dodgy, but my African geography is sketchy and I don't know whether we should be worried (they're staying 40 mins from the Rift Valley, but that's really all I know in terms of landmarks).

The school sent a trip there this July and it went without hitch (obviously, I suppose, or it might just have made the news!). There have been letters reminding us to get our children vaccinated, but no 'we are aware of the volatile situation and would like to reassure you....' type communication.

But I'm starting to feel we may have made a huge mistake - though I don't want to pester or seem precious with the school.

WWYD?

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 10-Oct-11 11:18:31

Have you checked the [[http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/travel-advice-by-country/sub-saharan-africa/kenya1Foreign Office advice?'' It warns against non-essential travel to coastal areas within 150kms of the Somalia border. Ask school for more information on the loation of the trip. Not precious at all

Nixea Mon 10-Oct-11 11:18:42

http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/travel-advice-by-country/sub-saharan-africa/kenya1

That's the latest from the FCO. To be fair it sounds like you need to know exactly where they'll be staying before deciding for certain.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 10-Oct-11 11:19:00

Foreign Office advice

ElaineReese Mon 10-Oct-11 11:20:58

Yes, I feel rather ashamed that I don't know exactly where they'll be - although I assume not on the Somali border! I'm going to have a look at the photos from last year's trip on the school VLE, if I can find them, as presumably the captions will say.

Thanks for the links, also!

KatAndKit Mon 10-Oct-11 11:21:11

I don't think it is being precious. If it isn't safe then it isn't safe and shouldn't go ahead. I would be very wary of going ahead with this trip, unless you have very full and detailed advice and information.

squeakytoy Mon 10-Oct-11 11:23:17

Go on google maps and look for the rift valley, it is a long way from the somalian border.

LaWeasel Mon 10-Oct-11 11:25:29

I would definately ask the school the exact details of where they will be staying and how close it is to the Somali boarder. If they haven't said anything, hopefully that means it's no where near, but if it is then I would be extremely hesitant to let my child go against FO advice.

Princessescanclimbtreestoo Mon 10-Oct-11 11:26:27

the Rift Valley is nowhere near Somalia. HOwever, that is not to say it is without risk.

I would want to know exactly where they were staying ('40 mins from Rift Valley' not really a good estimate - which direction? eg top of rift Valley a good deal dodgier than the bottom)

Not precious at all to want to know, and to want some reassurances. I would also check what cover is in place - travel policies can have some tricky get-out clauses sometimes.

KatAndKit Mon 10-Oct-11 11:26:41

A school would almost certainly not run a trip against FO advice anyway. I bet there would be insurance issues and all sorts. But you will need to know about exactly where they will be, if only for your own peace of mind.

ElaineReese Mon 10-Oct-11 11:27:08

Yes, I'm just looking at BBC news articles and foreign office advice, and what I imagine will be said is that they aren't going to the areas advised against and not to worry - but then I keep thinking that the places which are advised against now, weren't before, and it just takes something to happen further afield than last time......

Bloody hell, as if it wasn't going to be a big enough deal anyway!

ElaineReese Mon 10-Oct-11 11:28:35

I only know the 40 mins from the valley thing because it's on a letter about vaccinations telling you where the nearest clinics are.... I'm sure on the original letter there were more specific details, but that was in June 2010 and I'm blowed if I can find it now!

KatAndKit Mon 10-Oct-11 11:29:50

I expect the school will keep a close eye on what the current advice is. Even if it is last minute, if the government says don't go to Kenya at all, the school would most likely have to call off the trip. But do ask them anyway.

Nixea Mon 10-Oct-11 11:31:00

I really can't see the harm in approaching the school in this situation. If you already received a letter last year then there's a very high chance they'll still have it on the system and may be able to provide you with another copy. It's not precious to want information to allow you to make an informed decision and surely the school will recognise this.

MsGee Mon 10-Oct-11 11:53:08

FCO says that there is still tension in the Rift Valley area, although I think its to the North. I would look at the exact location and how they are going to travel there, areas they will travel through.

I am not sure that I would be keen to be honest (and I used to work for an international development charity). I would be worried about things like travel arrangements re safety of roads etc. (accidents not bandits ... although that is an issue in the north of the Rift Valley areas according to US advice).

I am sure the school would not arrange a trip that goes against guidance but I am a total pfb about my child and would be uncomfortable.

KatAndKit Mon 10-Oct-11 11:55:02

I don't really think its PFB in this case. It's not like a five day French exchange. Obviously accidents and incidents can happen on any trip, including one to your local museum, but a trip to somewhere where there is obvious unrest/conflict/danger is something that I would certainly avoid.

ElaineReese Mon 10-Oct-11 12:01:36

But she is my PFB wink! I was just as bad with the 5 day trip to Germany in year 8, in fact....

Yes, anyway - I am going to ask to have a chat with the two organisers, both of whom I've always found approachable, so hopefully I can find out a bit more about contingency plans and whether they think there's any chance that it will have to be abandoned.

Naoko Mon 10-Oct-11 12:16:55

It's not unreasonable, and I would certainly ask, but Kenya is a big country, and you need to find out where they'll be and what it's like. When I was in school, they ran an annual Classics trip for the final year that alternated between Greece and Turkey. It was all set up, they'd been doing it for years, and then in my year, 3 weeks before we were to go, 9/11 happened. Turkey has a border with Iraq; cue much parental panic. The thing is, Turkey is huge - the Iraqi border is nearly a thousand miles from where we were going. The trip went, in the end, although one boy's parents pulled him out, and it was fine. The school took FO advice, and held an extra informational meeting for parents. I'm sure it made my parents a bit nervous too but it was a fantastic trip and I felt totally safe - my point being, I'm sure the school wouldn't run it if it wasn't safe. Hope you can find out what the deal is though smile

lesley33 Mon 10-Oct-11 12:28:27

Kenya is a big country. I know when there was trouble before and we were worried, but were told that where we were staying and travelling through had absolutely no problems at all. You really need specific information to check if its okay. Foreigh office really is the best place for advice.

I should imagine that where they will be going will be very touristy and thus if it was unsafe there you would see things on tv about tourists being evacuated and advised not to travel there.

And tbh schools are normally very hot on health and safety. Unless you have reason to question the schools organisational ability, believe me they will be checking the situation up until the last minute.

scaryteacher Mon 10-Oct-11 14:14:05

I'd be asking too.

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