Arrival in Nairobi
We started immediately on arrival at Matunda with talking about everything related to the project, the planning for the next couple of weeks, and of course where we want to go in the future. Much to be done!
With the leadership of son Bob and his girlfriend Charlotte, we worked on the plan for shorter and longer term. Of course it’s difficult to plan with so many options: rental versus buying, now or later with building, sending the kids to public schools or teaching them ourselves (most of the kids don’t attend school at all now), food for the kids(what about siblings) and also for the family that can’t afford to feed them, medical care, etc. We were continually trying to cover as many bases as possible, considering all variants possible, looking for the best solutions.
We went to the grounds of Matunda every day to talk and play with the children, but also to teach them. It’s inspiring to see these kids so positive and happy, in spite of their poverty and too often bleak future.
We tried to show them that they can put their shoes in a row off to the side, instead of dropping them in front of the door (they take off their shoes on entering a building, but then go the rest of the day without shoes inside and out), that they hang up their sweater or jacket once it gets warmer, and that garbage belongs in the container.
They learn quickly, and are eager to do so. It’s not just “playing by the rules” for rules sake, but we want to instill in them that life can be different; we don’t sit on the ground, we sit on chairs. We don’t throw garbage on the ground; we keep our (small) world clean. We keep our clothes and shoes in the proper areas, so we don’t fall over them going in the door. Our grounds should be kept clean, and we wash our hands before we eat (definitely necessary!).
We want them to want a different life. Education and experience is a part of that. They certainly have the potential.
They speak Swahili, and often a mother tongue (there are at least 42 different tribal languages in Kenya), and learn English when they start school. In spite of free public education, most of these kids don’t attend. They don’t have the money for uniforms, registration, and books, and the public schools are overfull – 50 to 80 kids in one class is no exception. They eagerly learn English from us.