Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Lazy Saturday with the kids

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Happy Saturday!! Let’s start with the new vocab words to add to our list shall we? Habari asubui (good morning), pole (sorry), pole sana (I’m very sorry), karibu (you’re welcome), kuja (come), enda (go), karibu nyumbani (welcome home), mnaendelea aje (how is it going?), kwaheri (goodbye), tuonane badaye (see you later). We are learning!! I also wanted to share some pictures of our apartment!

Our kitchen sink, just to the right of the entrance.
Our sitting room.
Our bathroom.
Our (hot) shower ;)
My room!
Aside from a night with little sleep (A and I were both unable to fall asleep until late for some reason… our bodies are clearly not in sync with the time change yet), today was another great day at the CYEC. Due to our sporadic sleeping last night, we slept in till around 9:00AM when Jane knocked on our door with some bread and butter and tea for breakfast, she’s the absolute best. All the kids call her “Mom.” She truly looks out for everyone.

We said our good mornings to Eleanor and the animals and headed down to meet L and her husband to say goodbye as they head into Nairobi to catch their safari! As of now we are officially on our own and are the only Americans at the CYEC :). Jane and Mwangilla were going into town to run some errands and we decided to go along with them to gather some things we needed for our kitchen situation. We ended up taking a variety of stops along the way, one for Mwangilla, then another few for Jane, we enjoyed the ride taking in the local scene. Oh! Happy World Orphan Day! This year, it is in honor of street children. In Nyeri, there was small parade going on in celebration of this day. In the large crowds of people, Jane suddenly spotted a child who had run away from the CYEC a few days ago. This made things very real to me. We are being exposed to the very heart of the CYEC and the struggles of street children. He had been sniffing glue – something many street children here become addicted to. Jane was insistent that he come with us and leave his friend who had influenced his decision making. He, clearly under the influence, complied and hopped in with his head down.

Jane had a lengthy discussion with him in Kiswahili, which I could not understand, but it was evident how much she cared about him, as she does each child at the centre. He hardly responded, but when he did all he said was “pole” (sorry). There were several children who came up to the car as we stopped here and there who Jane and Mwangilla recognized as kids who had previously been at the centre at some point. However, they had been poor influences on the other children, ran away, or simply come back for food and then leave. These children were not allowed in the car when they asked. I don’t know what words were exchanged, but it was clear they had had their chance and lost the trust of Jane and Mwangilla. Rough stuff, no doubt.

A and I ended up grabbing some supplies so we will be able to cook, which will be great. I forgot to tell you of our little roach friends that hang out near the kitchen table. They’re fine as long as they don’t bother our food (we keep it sealed). We got one last night that A insisted we leave as “an example” for the others, but somehow I don’t think their society works that way… we decided we would just coexist as long as we don’t bother each other. At least that’s what A and I are telling ourselves :). 
Once back at the CYEC, A and I finally sat down to post our blogs from the past two days… hopefully they went through and everything. I will be loading pictures, but it takes an awfully long time, so I may have to add them to older posts later on. It took forever to get everything typed out, so I’m going to try to post more often. This way, I will only have to type out one post instead of multiple (as you know they get lengthy… sorry). We hurried along as there was a football (soccer) tournament going on at the CYEC between a team from another community and some staff and students from the centre.  As Kenyan time suggests, the games did not start until far after initially suggested, so we were in good shape.

As we headed out to the centre’s football field, we were greeted by two sprinting little children who ran in for a jumping hug. How happy for us!! We met MANY new friends, many of whom we anticipate will be in our classes :). Many ask how old we are. No one believes I am 21. I’ve gotten 17, 18, 19 and 12 or 13… that’s a little off, but that’s what I’m told (Judy is 13 herself). We sat on the hill to watch the match, snuggled in with about 15 kids, ages ranging from about 4 to 16 years old. Love. Margaret, one of the older students is wonderful. We also met Ruth, Grace, Jackson, Abraham, and many others. We talked and talked and talked. The older girls immediately got to braiding our hair as they are not used to long hair like ours. Let me tell you, those girls braid TIGHT. Good thing I have a high pain threshold otherwise I might have been in trouble! The children also LOVED taking pictures with our little cameras. Of each other, of us, of the landscape… needless to say I have an excessive amount of random pictures. Regardless, they were very happy campers. Plus, the CYEC football team won!! We will watch again next week. Margaret says they play every Saturday or Sunday so I look forward to it!
Diana is quite silly :).
Tonight, the two volunteers visiting from Denmark put on a huge celebration as they are leaving tomorrow to do some travelling before they return home. There was a DJ with tons of dancing, food for everyone, and very high spirits. I must have looked absolutely ridiculous, but I didn’t care. Everyone had a smile on their face and a jump in their step. In most cases many jumps as the kids and staff put on some impressive moves. A and I did our best to keep up… probably providing much of their entertainment alone. Some dancing was followed by dinner time where we all formed an assembly line to receive our ugali and beef which we ate with our fingers sitting together on the floor of the dance hall. It was such a happy sight. It was so inspiring to see so many happy faces, forgetting anyone’s background or situation. Happy, happy celebration. I couldn’t help but think what their responses will be to my happiness research questions… I can’t wait to find out.
Right before we headed into the farewell dance party for Caroline and Ida.
I danced with many children and staff. Ann was my most loyal dance partner. She held onto my hand for dear life. Every time I would dance with someone else, she waited patiently for me to come back to dance with her. She was the most reserved face I saw. She was happy, but almost behind a veil of sadness. I twirled her around and around until she laughed and smiled real big. It did not appear that she had too many friends, but as I danced with her I grabbed the hands of other children around her age, so we could all dance together. Elizabeth is unreal. She can’t be more than 5 years old, but she has the most unbelievable expressions and the most contagious smile. She was my second dance buddy. We had lots of fun. After hours of dancing I took a break along the wall. She leaned her back against me, her head not even reaching my belly button, grabbed my arms and wrapped them around her. And then…she fell asleep like that, standing up. Bed time for Miss Elizabeth :).

Tomorrow I have no plans. None of the children have school, so I’m sure we will be seeing much of them during the day. Until tomorrow.

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