Watoto Wote Wazuri

An amazing day….

Posted in AIDS Orphans, Nyumbani by Lynn Ouellette on 01/31/2010

I might say this again in days to come, but today was an amazing day in so many ways. The day began with Sunday morning mass, but this was church like I have never experienced before and you can’t possibly imagine. I am told that it is always as jubilant, and full of song and dance and spirit as today was, but today was also a special day for reasons I will describe below. The children, complete with drums and traditional African dance and music, filled the room with such beautiful harmonizing voices and rhythmic dance that everyone was clapping and moving in a way that brings me to tears once again as I write this post. From the youngest to the oldest children, all participate–if a child is young, then he or she is held and danced is the arms of an older child. The day was special because it was the birthday celebration in memory of Nyumbani’s founder Father D’Agostino….complete with birthday cake after the mass. There has also been a “summit meeting” here this week of the represnetatives of the Board from different countries who were thanked (as well as acknowledging the visitors form America). Because of this special occasion, the children also prepared entertainment after mass, also truly amazing. I did not take a still picture all day, only video on my flip video as no still pictures could capture the spirit of this.

That was one little video selection of many that I took; it will just give you a sense of one of the performances—I loved these boy dancers, they were such hams! I would love to show more on the blog, especially the beautiful singing and dancing in church, but that one took so long to upload and I can not edit any photos or videos here so I will have to wait until I get home to share more.

In the afternoon, we had the honor of attending another important event at Nyumbani Children’s Home. This was the second time in the history of the home that there was a “handing over ceremony.” This was a ceremony in which a 10 year old child, Diana, who has been at Nyumbani since a very young age and originally arrived seriously ill, was being handed over to her adoptive family, an aunt who had been located and taken her for longer and longer foster visits and was now officially adopting her. It was both a joyous and bittersweet occasion, one of a celebration of success, but also a tearful goodbye as everyone at Nyumbani, especially her cottage “mother” and Cottage C “siblings” were celebrating, but also singing a special goodbye song. It was handled beautifully with words of reassurance of visits and how they are and always will be bonded by great love in their hearts and will therefore always be together as a family “in the heart”

even if not together in person. I felt privileged to be witness to this wonderful expression of the bond between the children and the caregivers at Nyumbani and the mixture celebration and heartache that goes with the ultimate success of nurturing a child to health and then letting her go. The children of Cottage C were spoken to with such kindness and understanding about their feelings and Diana’s good fortune was celebrated amidst tears, song, joy….and more cake!

This was a day full of emotion as I participated, observed, sang, clapped, celebrated, sat with a child on my lap, or with many children clustered near me or holding my hand, many times overwhelmed with tears taking in the many stories and the incredible work of this place called Nyumbani that has truly saved the lives of all of these children that have been singing, dancing and are very much alive all around me.

Tomorrow we head to Nyumbani Village bright and early. That will be a very different experience, as the children there (and in Kibera) live quite differently than those at the Children’s Home. There will be much more to say, but no computer access (or running water or electricity…..) until we return to the Children’s Home on Wednesday. It is late here, almost midnight and time to get packing for our journey tomorrow.

2 Responses

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  1. Bill said, on 01/31/2010 at 10:38 pm

    Wow! What fun!


  2. Bill said, on 01/31/2010 at 10:39 pm

    (Oops, the video, I mean.)


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