Thursday, August 26, 2010

We’ve had two more eventful days here in Eldoret. We’re still doing a kind of orientation since my mom is still here. We wanted her to see as much as possible in the short two weeks. She’s leaving tomorrow and I’m going to miss her so much.

Anyways, we no longer need to set alarms on our phones. We have another alarm clock in the form of thirty-nine children running around and yelling outside our door. After waking up yesterday, we had breakfast with the Mbithi family and went with Sarah Ellen (and of course her always-present pal Javan) to the Amani Shelter. Callie and I had both visited this same place last summer to help paint the living room. The Amani Shelter is a transitional home for HIV-positive women and children who have been kicked out of their homes because of their status. There are also kids living there who just have no where else to go. When we visited yesterday there were only five kids there because the rest are in boarding school. They were all really sweet and they seemed excited when we suggested coming back to do some art projects with them.

After the Amani House we went to Tumaini Children’s Home. There are 20 babies and toddlers living there, many of whom came from Sally Test Pediatric Center. It was very interesting because the woman who runs the home (Phyllis) is from Idaho and she has made a very American-like environment for the kids. They don’t even have Kenyan accents. It was interesting to compare the Tumaini approach to Neema’s. We’re curious about how the children will learn about their culture when they have been raised American while still living in Kenya. I think it will be very confusing for them.

We had lunch at IU house and then went to Tumaini Street Kid Center. This place is not at all related to the Children’s Home. It is a place for street kids, 90% of whom are addicted to sniffing glue (for hunger pains), to come and receive breakfast, lunch, lessons, counseling, clothes, medication, and more. It is really an amazing program. One of my clearest memories from my trip last summer is when my group was followed by two boys holding bottles of glue. I was so shocked when we pulled into the center and I immediately recognized the exact same boy who had followed us last summer. It was so strange for me and it put that memory in a whole new light. Those kids have so many problems and haven’t had anyone to turn to or trust. I can’t even describe how difficult it must be to run this program.

After the center we went back to Neema. The kids are a handful but they are unbelievably adorable and nice. I’m so so excited to be able to spend such a long period of time with them.

Today was not especially busy. After breakfast we went to Imani Workshop again. Callie and I had designed skirts and picked out fabrics for the women to make. They are so pretty! After picking up the skirts we went to Sally Test Center to spend time with the kids. We played games and sang songs. I spent most of the time with a boy who has a problem with his liver. He was really frail and looked really scared. It was the most amazing thing when I could get him to smile. Hopefully I’ll get to know him better during our stay in November.
We ate lunch at IU House and then drove to yet another Children’s Home. This one was founded by the famous Kenyan runner Kip Keino (my dad was really excited when he heard this). This children’s home is really big. Right now it houses 114 children of all ages. It is partly funded by a corn, vegetable, and dairy farm. Callie and I purchased a wheel of Gouda cheese weighing 5.6 kilos. Mmmm

We taught some of the older kids how to make friendship bracelets when we got back to the house. We ate a delicious dinner at the Mbithi’s house and then Anne (age 12) helped me learn some new Swahili words. I’m sad that my mom is leaving but I’m also excited to start spending more time with the Neema kids and start working on the art projects.

Love and miss everyone!

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