Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Love, heartfelt and true

Please be patient with me. I've got the children of Tumaini Children's Home on my mind...again!

I decided today would be the day that I pick up the journal I kept while I was in Africa and read what I experienced the first day we were at the home. I remember all of the feelings, emotions, thoughts, doubts, and questions that were going through my body as if it were yesterday. But, for today, I wanted to read exactly what I was thinking as I settled into my warm bed for the night. Below, you'll find the journal entry {I've included pictures so you know these children are real, not just characters in a blog}.

Coincidentally, the title of the Willow Tree Journal is "Love, heartfelt and true." Not by my doing, but as I realize now, there isn't a better name for what I've captured in it.

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

A Day Through A Child's Eyes

What an absolutely gratifying day :o)

We spent it at Tumaini Children's Home. We set off at 8am for Tumaini. One hour and 45 minutes of bumping along the backroads of Kenya. The roads, like all of them around here, are filled with people standing on the sides of them. This trip was different in that many of the people were children , 2+ years old- just standing on the side of the road, doing nothing, herding cattle, playing, and always waving to us. That never gets old- a little child waving at you with the biggest smile on their face. We finally arrived at the home and stepped off the bus. I was nervous at first because I didn't know what to think. I've been told by others that you'll hardly see them smile and I didn't think they'd be very welcoming. There were about 80 kids waiting for us in the yard. 80 of them and 12 of us. We got out, started shaking hands and introducing ourselves. One of the first girls I met was Mary [sidenote: who I now sponsor!]. She was holding a baby named Hope. Mary, who was 16, said they didn't' know how old Hope was, probably a little over 1. That was my first slap in the face, my first realization that this was real. Mary took us to see the school rooms and dormitory for the boys and girls. We then received painting assignments and that was nothing short of chaos and a mess. The girls were to paint and the men went to dig pit latrines for the Sho Sho's. Those are the grandmothers caring for their grandchildren.

We were to paint the schoolrooms but before we started we needed a potty break. Lucy was the second girl we connected with. She too, was 16. She took us upstairs to the women's potty which was a cement hole in the ground. There was no toilet paper and the smell was terrible. I held my breath as I tried my best to aim in the hole. You know, when you pee outside there's no aiming involved, you just go...not in this potty. All of the children wanted to help us paint which was a huge mess. They watered down the paint to make it go further but it didn't really cover the walls. I think there was more paint on the kids and floor than on us- ha or the walls.

As we got close to lunch time, I took a time out and made paper planes with John, the cutest little boy. Faith also decorated my face with paint. They are both 4 and very loving. We ate lunch- sandwich, chips, chocolate, an orange that looked like a lime, a piece of chicken which I'm pretty sure was left over from last night's dinner, and a juice box. Overall, it was pretty good.

Right before I got lunch, the older girls were getting food for the evening ready. They were cutting up cabbage that they had picked fresh from the garden. They let me help and jokingly gave me a hard time about how slow I was, the size of the cabbage pieces, and that they weren't going to eat at the rate I was going. It was very fun. While we were in the bus after lunch, it started to rain and then hail. It got chilly but made everything look so pretty. It let up a little bit so I went and hung out on the porch waiting for the men to get back. There I met Melvin and James. Both teenagers.

We made a lot of small talk and Melvin {who did not live at the home, but with his family in Nairobi} went to get his phone so I could identify songs for them. Their favorite song right now is Vanessa Carlton- White! Of course they like Sean Paul too. James is a joker and Mevin, I could tell, was Mr. Cool Guy. I went with James inside the dining hall so they could eat. Both were wet so they went to change clothes while gave piggy back rides and showed off my watch. Everyone was fascinated with it. Wanted to know how much it costs, about the battery inside, and how I got the light bulb inside? because it lights up. I then talked more to James and Melvin. They were talking in their native tongue and started laughing. Apparently, Melvin told James that he loved me. I know it's a different kind of love, but still was powerful. He told me about his family- that he's the pillar, that his father is gone and that he wants to be able to take care of his mom. He has a lot of business sense. It was then time for Bible School. Kelly and I are in charge of the crafts. Today's craft was Moses in a basket with a blanket. We did Bible School from 1-4 and we were scheduled to leave at 4. I was talking to some of the boys and Isaac wiped his thumb over my eye makeup and tried to wipe it on his eyes. He wanted to know what it was on my eyes and why I wear it. We danced and snapped a few pictures.

The kids keep asking me if I was in a movie. I didn't know why but apparently I look like Mora from "Trouble over Paradise." Need to watch that one. I'm considering sponsoring a child. They've touched me in such a special way. So loving, so happy, they have nothing and couldn't be happier. It really puts things into perspective for me. It is selfish of me to want to be able to come back to Tumaini to see and spend time with sponsored children if Heart for Africa isn't involved anymore? I better think more about that.

Other thoughts:

- women playing basketball is a foreign idea to them

-watches are fascinating to them

-fruit basket toss up causes chaos

-15 people can paint a room in 20 minutes

-Kenyan's are very special people

-children running up to the road waving and smiling never gets old

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