Zuri Watoto Wote

Kenya, the oh so many faces…..and a heartwarming story, without a face.

Posted in AIDS Orphans, Kenya, poverty in Kenya by Lynn Ouellette on 02/20/2012

Maasai children listening to a story

Although I have been home for almost two weeks now, it still feels as though I just left Kenya. The trip, the countryside, the people, my fellow volunteers have all still been very much on my mind. I have been missing my fellow travelers but have manged to bridge the gap with email conversations, exchanging photos back and forth and making plans for other events (in a post yet to come.) I have been reliving the experience in Kenya through editing hundreds of pictures. Although Kenya and the Kenyan people are very colorful with their bright clothing, the most powerful of the photographs for me are the black and white photos of faces thought so often seem to convey something unsaid. So I will share some of those:

Maasai child in the classroom

Two Maasai girls at school--I wonder what they are thinking?

One of the girls in my cottage at the Children's Home

A man at Nyumbani Village--I met him at the food containers and wished I knew how to speak Kikamba with him.

Two boys at the Children's Home-- I think with new haircuts and very impish grins

A Village child with an amazing face

Two of a group of children who ran up to us in Kibera asking "How are You?" in a chorus

Two Village children on the schoolground

One of the Village children who frequently stopped by our lodging to play

A small sampling of  the many photos which I could share and there is a story to go with each and every one of them

Instead, however, I will tell you a story that doesn’t have a picture to go with it. When I left Kenya to come home I did so with a heavy heart because I wished that I could have stayed longer, there was more to be done and LLoydie, Deb and Kristin were headed off to another community and  another orphanage called Talitha Kum. I had 6000 ksh (Kenyan Shillings) left of my donations (about $75) which had not yet been used. It had been left over after we bought as much of the ingredients for the Maasai school lunch program as we could fit into four grocery carts and I had set it aside for another purpose yet to be determined. So when I left Kenya,  I put it in good hands with Lloydie with the thought that we could perhaps add to the porridge supplies or some other need might present itself. And so it did. When Deb and LLoydie were attending a “prayer group” for members of the community at Talitha Kum, a man, a social worker,  spoke up about how he was praying for help for a child with whom he had been working for a long time. The child was an adolescent boy who had lost both parents to AIDs at a young age and had been living on the streets for eight years. He had managed to develop a relationship with him and the child had been remarkably going to school all those years by begging or stealing the money for school fees and a school uniform. When he took the National Exam, a requirement for all form 8 students (8th graders) to be considered for high school, he scored extremely high. On the basis of that he was accepted into a very fine government high school;  these are the best schools in Kenya to which every student wants to be admitted. But the cost of travel to the school which was such a distance away was too much and he could not attend. The social worker took him and his records to the “Elite School” (I include the name because it’s so cool) which was a more local private school and asked if they could do anything for him. There he was told that if he could come up with the first year of tuition they would accept him and the next three years would be paid for by the school. So the social worker and the boy had raised a lot of money, but it wasn’t enough for him to start school in a few days. Hence the prayer at the meeting, and the connection with the remaining 6000 ksh.  LLoydie and Deb spoke up and offered to pay the remainder with that 6000ksh and 2000 that they each through in and made arrangements to do so at the school.  So this boy is now guaranteed an education, but equally important is that because he will be in boarding school as high schools are in Kenya, this will be the end of eight years of living on the streets for him–he will have a bed, a home, and three meals a day. He must be an incredibly resiliant young man to have survived on the streets while succeeding so well at school.  I think that this was a perfect way to spend the rest of the donations.  It always amazes me how little it takes to impact someone’s life in Kenya, how sometimes the pieces just fall into place. When I was talking to Lloydie today about many ongoing and future plans–and because we were really missing each other, she said we need to visit this boy and the social worker when we go back to Kenya. I think that sounds like a fine idea.

4 Responses

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  1. maineinnovators said, on 02/21/2012 at 7:25 am

    Very nice.

    Like

  2. Kaya Muff said, on 02/23/2012 at 7:30 pm

    wow! what an amazing story! and I LOVE YOUR PHOTOS LYnn! Thank you for your sharing and your kind journeying so far away!

    Like

    • Marie Barbieri said, on 03/03/2012 at 6:16 pm

      Lynn,

      You are an amazing woman. Thank you for letting me and my daughter share in your journey!

      Marie

      Like

      • Lynn Ouellette said, on 03/03/2012 at 6:53 pm

        Thank you Marie! It’s the generosity of people like you who make it possible to do the work when we get there–we truly do share the journey. As they say in Kenya, “Tuko Pamoja!”

        Like


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