Zuri Watoto Wote

Nyumbani Village…..so hard to say goodbye

Posted in AIDS Orphans, Giving back, Kenya, Nyumbani by Lynn Ouellette on 02/05/2012

Nyumbani Village-- signs at the crossroads

Kristen and Lloydie taking in the Village

The last few days at the Village were very full with activity and the final evening was a marvelous experience which could not have been a better send off. We did attend a celebration on Wednesday evening which was goodbye party to Soloman who is the laboratory technologist and to Mr. Multhi who is a teacher who has been reassigned by the government. It was quite a good dinner compared to the every meal of rice  or ugali (very thick maize porridge) with sukumawiki (cooked kale and onions) or githuri (beans with onions and maize). We had Kenyan style sangria (assisted in the making by Kristen) and softdrinks that weren’t warm! Afterwards there was a bonfire with toasting the people leaving and singing and going around the circle with each person saying something about themselves: where they are from, what country they would like to visit, their favorite animal, etc. What was most striking was the number of people who stood up and spoke from the heart and also said “I am proud to be a Kenyan.”

The Kest volunteers all continued  with working in various ways in different areas at the Village until Friday when it came time to take a field trip into Kitui to work on spending the rest of the donation money to purchase large numbers of plates, cups, silverware, sheets, etc. All have to be metal (except the sheets, of course) in order to meet the standard of sustainability established by the village. I stayed behind in the village as I had work to do in the counselling department,  but heard that it was quite the shopping trip and that the group was extremely grateful to have our driver Justus who had rejoined us at the Village that morning. Justus is Kambe and speaks the local language, is extremely charming and great nogotiator. Lynne stayed behind to do an interview for the Susu memory book and ended up impromptu running the Young Ambassadors Club since the group didn’t return from shopping until 4 even though they expected to be back by early afternoon. It has been a true spirit and example of “tuko pamoja” (we all work together, we are all in this together)  as we have worked here in the Village.

We have continued to interact with children and grandmothers and to build bonds and relationships that feel like they have been there much longer than they have existed in reality; that seems to be the Kenyan way.

Jefferson, a very nice young man whom I met in the Village

Walter playing with the children--an "action shot since he had just finished tickling that squirming one!

Another soulful face at Nyumbani Village

Brian, a retired Loretto school principal from Ireland volunteering in the Polytechnique School

On our final evening in the Village we were invited to two special events. The first was a dance performance in Cluster One for which there are no words to fully describe. The dance was done by the children with costumes, drums and other instruments and truly BLEW US AWAY!! I have a video which will give you a flavor–the performance was in one of the houses after the sun went down under the only light supply which is one solar powered light so the video is very dark, but please take a look and listen (it gets better after the beginning but I didn’t have a chance to edit…)  These kids were tireless and could be professional. We all thought they must have extra joints with the way they moved!

First, the warm up, which was so good we thought it was the whole dance:

Then the whole performance which made us vicariously exhausted and revenous because they used so much energy!!

After the performance we went to dinner at the Village priest’s house. This was the 2nd time we had a break from sakumawiki and githiri in the village…and we were surprised to find that Lillian was there and had cooked the dinner! Everything was quite delicious and it was a nice opportunity to spend a final night with people we really like and to be more relaxed.

Last dinner in the Village

The following morning Lloydie and I set out early on Saturday morning to meet the high school students as they were arriving at Lawson High School to deliver letters from sponsors and I wanted to have another opportunity to see Caroline, the student that my family sponsors since though I had met her the night before we wanted to meet again and to take some pictures. I regret that so much of the week went by without spending more time with her but I will have to do better next year!

Students arriving at Lawson School on Saturdy Morning

Caroline, the student we sponsor, and me on the school ground

Lloydie and Immaculate to whom she delivered a sponsor letter

After our early visit to the high school we had an early arrival to breakfast since we knew that John, the really friendly cook who just loves Lloydie (and vice versa) was making a special breakfast (vs the usual packaged bread and margarine) of mandazis for our final morning. Mandazis are a really delicious Kenyan treat most similar to an American doughnut but much lighter and not as sweet. We also got to watch him make them and got them as fresh as they could possibly be!

John making delicious mandazis for us!

After breakfast it was time to say all of the final goodbyes– no more avoiding it. Despite the fact that the village is really really hot, the food is mostly repetitive, there is nothing cold to drink, the bathrooms are a real “experience”, staying clean for more than a minute is impossible…..it is really hard to leave. It is a truly magical place with such a unique spirit of working together to save lives and to create a true village that works together to raise children and to care for the elderly, to respect the earth, to respect the culture, and to respect the value of all life. As I have said before, it is impossible to capture in words, you just have to go there and experience it for yourself. It will steal your heart.

Saying goodbye to Susu Mary

Kristin saying goodbye to one of the children

"Goodbye"....no it's not goodbye, it's "see you later", or as everyone in Kenya says, "we are missing you already!"

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