Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Return of the Siyiapeians/Childrens Home to Shalom

I sincerely apologize for not blogging! As some of you may know from my mom, we had absolutely no internet connection at the Children’s Home, where we were sleeping and I have been working all day. But, we recently moved across the highway to the Dispensary compound, into a house that we stayed in for a week during our last trip. This house is named Shalom, I’m not quite sure how it acquired this name but hey, it’s a nice name. During the last trip, when we arrived at this house I remember being a little bit intimidated and unsure about the living conditions here. This time, however… I was full of joy to find out that we were going to be living here. My mom and I were laughing about how luxurious it seems now, and how a year and a half ago it was the complete opposite. I guess I should rewind a bit… When we first arrived in Siyiapei about a week ago, our bags were brought up to the children’s dormitory and my mom and I were told that we were to bunk with the kids. I honestly thought that we would be living with the Matron of the home, Evelyn. But many things have changed in the past year and a half, Evelyn changed houses (she’s still living on the grounds of the Home, just in a different house) and her husband and son have moved in with her. So there’s no way we could live with them. Anyway, I love the children here, but bunking with them was a challenge. Don’t even get me started on the bathroom and shower situation. And apparently these kids are really full of energy at 6 AM. To make a long story (somewhat) short, it was important to both my mom and I to have our own little place, to sleep, bathe, and be able to check our email/update our blogs. So we very kindly and graciously excused ourselves from bunkin’ with the kids and slipped away to our own private oasis (using that word kind of deserves a “haha”).
Some of the kids, Evelyn is on my left.

Anyway, I’m now going over to the Home first thing in the morning and spending all day including our 9 o’clock suppers over there. So, you may ask, what has happened during the week I haven’t had access to internet? Well, I’ve had the chance to catch up with all of the kids that I met last time we were here. I was so happy to find that all the same kids were here, except for about 4 older ones who moved out of the home to go to Form 1 (which is their version of high school), but I was happy to hear this news as well because I know how much school means to these children and how important it is that they have the opportunity to go to school. The first couple days were very relaxing, the kids took me to this really cool waterfall that’s only a 15 minute walk from the home, we settled by the river and watched them all swim, I’ve played all sorts of games and was able to give the kids some activity books and school supplies that they adore. When the children have been away at school I’ve been spending my time helping Evelyn and Pauline with chores around the Home and doing some filing work in the office. Pauline is a young Maasai woman, the same age as me… younger by exactly a month. Her father died about ten years ago, and her mother doesn’t have the money to support her. She was here when I last visited, but she was still in school then. This time however, being done with Primary School, she now stays at the Home all day and helps Evelyn out. I got the wonderful opportunity to take her into town and buy her most of the school and boarding supplies she needs for Form 1. She told me that she had good marks on her last exams, which means she would most likely be accepted to a high school. And just last night she received the letter that she is to report to school in town on Monday! She was so happy, and believe me, the joy hit me too, I couldn’t have been more happy when I found out the news. I’m glad I get to spend the last couple days she has at the Home with her, and that I get to share with her the moment when she leaves for school, because it is a huge deal. She’s lived in the Children’s Home for 11 years, and now she is going to take her first step into her new life. I’m sure there are going to be mixed feelings at the goodbye; I know she will be happy, but sad, excited, but nervous. But that’s life, right? Well, we’ll see how it goes!

Eddy and I at the Waterfalls
     Yesterday, Evelyn, Pauline, and I went into town again. This time the purpose was to meet Evelyn’s mother, Rosaline. She lives right on the outskirts of town in a pretty traditional looking Maasai hut. Unfortunately I didn’t have my camera at all yesterday so I couldn’t get any pictures, but it was great to meet this charming, sweet, and wise woman. Rosaline served us lunch and chai, and during this time I learned a lot more about their family. Evelyn’s nephew Eddy is expected at school for Form 1 on the 6th of February. While we were visiting with Rosaline, I learned that Eddy was abandoned by both of his parents and left to live with her when he was just a baby. She has brought him up very well in a loving and caring environment, but now that he has the chance to go to school, she can’t afford to pay the expenses. Tuition itself isn’t very expensive, but the cumulative costs of the supplies he needs for boarding and schooling is too much for her to pay alone. Rosaline works at the hospital near her home, and only gets paid 4,200 Kenyan shillings a month… which is equal to roughly 42 dollars/month. As Evelyn was reading the list of supplies he needs for school and his letters to sponsorship programs, I noticed tears in both her and her mother’s eyes. Tomorrow, I’m going to talk with Evelyn and see if he has anyone sponsoring him, and if he doesn’t I hope I can pitch in and at least help him with the basic things he needs to get started. For people living in first-world countries, the costs seem close to nothing, but for these wonderful, deserving Kenyans, the costs are overwhelming.
            So that just about sums up what I’ve been up to the past week, now that internet access is easier to come by I will finally be able to update my blog more regularly. I hope all is well with all of you! And thank you all for your support, it means the world to both me and everyone I’m working with here.


1 comment:

  1. Lovely to catch up with what you have been doing. Please let us know what we can do to help, and of course support your work
    Love Auntie