Watoto Wote Wazuri

Update from Kenya and KEST

Posted in AIDS Orphans, Kenya, Nyumbani by Lynn Ouellette on 07/03/2012

Nyumbani Children’s Home

As you may recall from my last post Lloydie has returned to Kenya with a group of travelers and I have had the pleasure of receiving updates from her and them and vicariously enjoying their experiences of being there. The group of young people with whom she has been traveling–Cavan, Izzy, Jack, and Catherine, ages 15-18–sound like they have had a wonderful experience and have done a terrific job of sending blog posts to their parents and including me so that I can post some updates. I am a little behind on posting since I was away on my annual art retreat last week but I was enjoying the blogs and Kenya was very much on my mind. In fact I think if I weren’t having such a wonderful experience retreating with my wonderful women artist friends I would have been feeling so sad not to be in Kenya myself!

As is always true when traveling with Lloydie Zaiser, this group of travelers covered a lot of ground! They first spent time at Nyumbani Children’s Home where the highlights seem to be attending mass in Kenyan style. Hearing the description made me smile and brought back memories of my first experience of attending the mass which is a joyous celebration of singing and dancing.  “We ventured off into the Children’s Home in our nicer outfits to go to the 10:00 mass with the children. The mass lasted about an hour and a half and was full of music, dancing, singing, and laughter. The children were extremely involved and seemed to enjoy being there. It was evident that their faith was an important factor of their lives and contributed to their happiness.” The other highlight was the scooters– “After their lunch, we had a surprise for the children. We carried over 20 razor scooters from Spurwing to give to the children, all donated by KEST friends of Nyumbani. Their excitement was an amazing sight as they all grabbed scooters and rode in circles around the cottages. They never stopped smiling.”  There were only a few scooters when I was there in January so I can only imagine the excitement!

The travelers visited the Lea Toto programs in Kangemi and Kawangware where outreach care is provided to children who have HIV and live in these areas in the slums around Nairobi. They learned about the programs and met two of the women’s Self Help groups. They shopped from the beautiful craftwork from the Self Help Groups who are part of the Tuko Pamoja project. “We went to see the beautiful bead work that the mamas had crafted for Lloydie’s upcoming business, Tuko Pamoja. We did a lot of shopping to support the women and fell in love with their work. While Lloydie was doing business with the women, we painted the entrance of the clinic and a hallway. This was not easy… very, very messy and sticky!  We went to Kawangware Lea Toto where we met with the mommas of the Good Hope Self help Group.  We interviewed them about their life and their work and got to know them very well.  Their stories were inspiring!  We did some more shopping with the women, knowing that our purchases would help them feed their children that very day. Then we did more painting in two of the Social Workers offices at the clinic. They came in to inspect the work and said, “Thank you for painting our floor!”  The paint was very drippy!  We very covered in white paint and even our Kenyan driver, Justus commented that he looked white! “

Women of Kibera Paper

They also visited Kibera Paper, another Tuko Pamoja group, where they too learned how to make paper. “After setting our paper out to dry, we sat with the women as they showed us how to make Angel cards.  This took forever and included cutting our designs and sewing on beads.  With a new appreciation of the work that goes into making ONE card, we went shopping and bought our own samples of this beautiful art.”

PCDA Maasai Women

They also went to PCDA, the Maasai community and had  a wonderful time learning about the culture and doing activities with the children. The activities were educational and learning, play and a soccer game. “The home team was pre-schoolers ages four to six and two teachers, against the four of us, Lloydie and our driver, Sammy. After thirty minutes of humiliation by the skilled toddlers, our team finally lost, 3-1. The children cheered and laughed once they realized they beat two adults and four teenagers at a soccer match. As the teams lined up to high-five and congratulate one-another, we realized our day with the Maasai children was coming to an end. Before leaving we handed out shoes that had been donated for the children and they were very excited and grateful to get them.” Lloydie was also there to work on the business of the Tuko Pamoja project with the Maasai women and while doing that the students hiked to the top of a Kenyan mountain.

PCDA Maasai children

Their first blog post closed like this: ” Spirits are high; everyone is finally sleeping well, working hard, learning a lot and loving our new Kenyan friends.  Our favorites are the adorable children, the inspiring women, and the precious animals we see each day.”  Yes that is the experience and it only gets better.

Stay tuned for another update…….and Izzy, Cavan, Catherine or Jack, if you have some pictures to share I would love to include them!

2 Responses

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  1. Lloydie nZaiser said, on 07/05/2012 at 12:32 am

    Thank you Lynn for, once again, making a KEST experience come alive for those left behind. Headed to 8 days of meetings with the 6 Tuko Pamoja mommas groups, surely to include singing, dancing, and the sharing of fruit and biscuits. Wish you were here! They all await your arrival in January!


    • Lynn Ouellette said, on 07/05/2012 at 9:06 am

      I wish I were there too! Give them all hugs and love fom me! I can picture all that singing and dancing! Can’t wait to see everyone in January!


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