This time last week I was bidding a fond farewell to all my friends, fellow volunteers and the wonderful children in IHF Bali to fly to our IHF Centre, Nakuru. After an eventful four flights later and two days later I arrived in Nakuru.
The centre was quiet as most of the children had returned to Pokot to avoid all the potential violence of the Kenyan elections. Fortunately Kenyatta was peacefully elected and the children were able to return by bus from their villages to commence school again.
The centre is situated in the Rift Valley and whilst I haven’t seen any larger animals the birdlife is stunning with black ibis, huge Maribou storks, bee eaters and bright starlings. I’m not a Twitcher (bird watching slang) but this is certainly a bird watchers paradise.
Living at IHF Nakuru is basic but we have running water and electricity most of the time. This is a huge advance from when I used to teach in a little bush school in Nigeria some 28 years ago. There are many improvements that we would love to make and the new Directors – Emily and Ken- certainly have lots of ideas as to how to achieve this. Firstly, we need to fix the Girls Dorm Roof before the rains come and also plough the Peace Farm and sow – again before the rains. As these are likely at the end of March it’s a bit of priority.
I would also love to see us re-furbish the dorm rooms and get new bedding. I went to church with Emily on Sunday and the theme of being always presented with a challenge that will stretch us but that we could always achieve rang very true.
This week has given me some really special moments:
Paul who is 15 and a quiet, serious boy tackled me the first night to ask if he could get into school. He completed year 2 but had not as yet been able to get into school and had missed a year. I was delighted to find out he has a new TEP sponsor and as such we are able to send him to a really good school. I went with him to get the registration documents. He had to be interviewed by one of the teachers and was so nervous he was shaking. When they accepted his application he was over-joyed. We take so much for granted our access to education in the West. It really brought it home to me just how lucky we are.
Another special moment was granted to me when a little girl – Chembalaw aged 7 was drifting around having just arrived from Pokot. She was absolutely filthy having been on the road for some hours and then playing with the other children. I told her to go and get a bath and change before dinner only to discover that she only had the clothes she stood up in. Luckily we have a large bag of donated clothes. I tipped them out for her to choose one or two outfits and the beam on her face as she chose a pink dress and jumper and green dress was worth more than anything.
I love being back in Africa. I’ve travelled and lived here so many times…it always grabs me. Bali is like a beautiful dream but Kenya is my reality.