Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Kanyawegi children and I

On my 2nd day in Kenya, I met several children who I became very attached to by the end of the trip.  They made me smile throughout the trip despite the language barrier.  Eventually, they always came to say hello to me whenever I was near Obambo.  I did spoil them a little by providing them with sweets whenever I had some.  These kids wore dirty clothes with holes in them.  They didn't have shoes and played with tires but they were sincerely the most happiest children I've ever met.  I am going to introduce you to some of the friends I will miss very much.  Be prepared for a lot of photos.

 We were able to make them laugh :)

 Leon 5 years old, he is one greedy boy!

 Dadi 9 years old. He is Leon's older brother. 


I introduced them to "funny face" photos 

Most Kenyans don't smile in photos for some reason. They told me its because people will make fun of you later on because you're showing your teeth. 

Leon being a tarzan

 karate chop?

 hahahaa they don't understand that you need to stay still in order for a photo to be taken!
 I gave them a pen so they can use it in school. 

Before we left the community, I printed out this photo of Dadi and I so I could give it to him.  He is a very sweet kid.  Whenever I saw him, I waved happily and went over and shook his hands and asked "Irionade (how was your day?)".  I think he opened up to me near the end and was acting more like himself.  He is an amazing dancer with the best smile.  He is 9 but he doesn't speak any English yet. I am just glad that he is in school and hopefully, that's where he will remain.  On the back of the photo, I wrote a long letter to him in English, hoping that he can understand it one day.  I told him to stay in school and dream big.  Pursue his dreams because anything is possible if he tries. 

Unfortunately, I didn't run into Dadi on my last day and couldn't give the photo to him.  I handed the photo over to Stephen, hoping that he could send my message.  I talked to Stephen on the phone last night and he said he managed to deliver it to Dadi.  Stephen told me that Dadi was extremely happy to receive the photo.  These children are just happy to get their photos taken, so I can see why it would be a great feeling to get one printed out for them.  Dadi also asked when I was coming back and Stephen told him next year (hopefully, if I can save up).  I am extremely excited to see the children in the future.  They will grow taller, and learn English.  Maybe I will be able to have a short conversation with Dadi soon.  

 This is Musa.  He is originally from Somalia, but had to move to Kenya because that's where his grand parents lived.  When they passed away, his mother and siblings moved to Kenya to claim the lands.  When we first visited Obambo Primary school, the students were making fun of him and called him "al shabab".  Musa is a rare Muslim in a Christian community. Even though the students were making fun of him, it seemed like he is getting along with them.  He is shy but has a very charming personality.  He is very bright.  He invited us to meet his mother one day so we got to see his family.  He really got attached us 'mzungus' near the end of our trip.  Maybe because we were also an outcast and he could relate to us.

 This is Phavin, Maurice's son.  The GIVE team gave him this sweater as part of Maurice's wedding present.  Carlos, his baby brother has a matching one!  Phavin is a very cute little kid.  He is 4, and definitely active.  Whenever I went over to Maurice's house, Phavin and I played, running around, kicking soccer balls, and giving him a piggy back.

Playing with bubbles in front of Maurice's house with Victoria, Benard and Phavin

This is Carlos. He just turned 6 months and he is the happiest baby I've ever met.  He has never cried when I hold him.  FYI, I made some babies cry because I am a mzungu (white person).  They saw me and probably thought I was a monster.   It could also be because Carlos is held by so many different people, quite often. 

 When I return next time, Carlos will be able to talk and walk.  I wonder how he will react to me then.  

 This is how we entertained ourselves most of the time. With funny selfies.  Benard (in navy polo shirt) is just hilarious. 

 and of course, I can't forget about Stephen.  We became quite close during the trip.  Stephen is 19 and he graduated from high school last year.  He's waiting to hear back from a University.  It's an exciting time for him.  I recognized that he knew the HIV/ AIDS curriculum thoroughly during the soccer tournament.  Since I knew that he wasn't getting paid for the assisting in the soccer tournaments, I thought of ways we could pay him for the work he was doing for us.  We were able to hire him as our facilitator.  That way, we were able to find a facilitator in a short period and also recognize and pay him for his hard work.   He worked as a facilitator for the Education projects throughout the summer, accommodating us to all 22 schools, driving us to places and also keeping us company.  It must have been difficult to work with 4 females (haha, jk) but Stephen is a very patient, and wise individual for his age.  When Lily and Esha went to teach with Stephen, they were asked by a student "What should you do when your wife/ husband gets HIV?" I wasn't there to witness this moment but apparently Stephen passionately said "You know what you should do? You love them.  You give them all you can. The nutritious food, vitamin, care and give them support".  I honestly don't think this can be easily said by many people.    I am going to miss him very much.  He talks extremely slow and the way he talks is quite addicting.  Stephen drove Rashma and I to many places on a motorbike.  During our motorbike rides, we talked about many things.  I asked him about women's status in Kenya, marriage in Kenya, Education, HIV/ AIDS, God, faith and many other topics.  He is a very honest individual and I hope he stays this way.  I asked him "Stephen, please please don't change in a bad way. Please stay honest".  Stephen also introduced us to "chira".  Chira is a spirit that will get you if you don't finish your food!! Stephen, Rashma and I always went to Obambo after teaching and sat on the benches and just talked with our chips (fries) and stoneys.  I am going to miss our hangout.  I promised Stephen to stay in touch with him while he is at University.  I told him to study very very hard so he can go further in his life.  I hope what he learned from us this summer, and my advice can somewhat inspire him to work harder and dream bigger in the future.

We may not be able to make big changes in the community in 2 months.  2 months is a very short amount of time but we can still make small changes during those times.  I think the relationship you make with the friends can definitely have a big impact.

Rashma pushing the boda because it wouldn't start


At Maurice's Wedding 

 Stephen, wearing the shirt I gave him.  This was after I left the country.  Dina took this photo and asked him to make a heart. haha it's adorable!


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