By Gordon Anderson, Work-Study volunteer at IHF Kenya
So for a few days I have felt like “Fundi” which is repair man, but not because of a couple of plug sockets and door locks…it’s mainly repairing relations with Primary and Secondary School Head Teachers and showing that we are serious at our centre about the children’s education and future.
So, many parent meetings later (waiting patiently as they were in Kiswahili), showing maximum respect when greeting teachers, asking for permission for everything and expressing thanks at every turn plus I have found the secret to head teacher meetings when you turn up with a child whom is registering late…you basically side with the head teacher in everything, even stand beside them and join in on the lecturing to the child! This has earned us direct lines through to these principals now! So yes for a short time I appear to be “Fundi”.
This week has been strange as the nights and mornings have been very cold even for my hairy Scottish body but some of the days have been really hot indeed coupled with being sick for a few days has pushed me physically as most days involve a lot of walking, waiting and some more walking but alas what has helped along is seeing how resilient these children are here…I look around my room and I consider it a picnic compared to their dorm, regardless of the conditions they are in, regardless if they are ill, they are up way before daylight, they wash, they get ready for school, study hard all day, then return and wash uniforms for the next day but after that it’s playtime till early evening study time and then bed. They are very hard working, tough but immensely playful all the time… and I don’t know how they do it really, I hope that I can learn more from them in the coming weeks.
So only a handful of children remain in the centre now during the day as we are still trying to either secure a place for them in a school and or fund their school fees, the money we use for this is either coming directly out the centre funds which is extremely difficult to do when we budget our weekly food spends so tightly, or when we are very lucky and new sponsor requests come in from our website wishing to sponsor children for their education so this could be as little as £7 / $10 per month or up to £25 / $35 per month for some secondary schools.
If sponsoring a child’s education is something that interests you please follow the link and have a look on our website. http://www.ihfonline.org/sponsor.php as this would assist us greatly as we are so close to having all of the children in schools.
However this does not deter the ones that are not funded yet as they are always busy either cleaning, helping on the farm or of course having fun, singing and a bit of body popping as usual…especially when they know a camera is around!
The heavy rains have not subsided as every couple of days or so we have an almighty downfall which is fantastic for the crops we have newly planted and gives the farm hands plenty to do but this week we saw a lot of power cuts and hours of darkness so with the power of candle light and thank goodness I have my i-Phone with me in my bag and Boshra has her Nokia so with many hours of playing games all is not lost and calm is soon restored in my room!
I’ve had so many lessons this week from both the children and Ann our Matron; it has been very humbling, for quite a while now I have become accustomed to our usual meals of Githeri for Lunch (stew of maize and beans) and Ugali with Kale or cabbage for dinner…it doesn’t vary much and then on the occasional evening I will be spoilt watching Ann cooking these same dishes just for the staff but with the odd little twist here and there and all of a sudden it tastes so different! Boshra is not convinced and occasionally I am led astray in Nakuru town and sometimes find myself with a plate of chips and bottle of coke feeling really guilty that nobody at the centre is aware of this…Ii must confess soon as the pressure is too much!
The best lesson I think was while I was doing my weekly washing (in buckets of cold water) young Plilan and Krop come by and are immediately angry at me and start chattering in Kiswahili… soon I am told that I cannot wash clothes properly and ask me what I am using? To my embarrassment all I had was fairy liquid and had used this and been scrubbing with a scrubbing brush. So the boys take over by emptying the bucket and starting again with less water in and just a small bar of soap and literally put my washing skills to shame with soap and a scrubbing action I could not copy and had managed to remove marks that I had given up on weeks ago. They had soon finished and had hung my clothes out for me where I sheepishly wait for them to return; Plilan casually comes back in, tosses me the soap and leaves with the usual grin on his face. Schooled I think the term is.