“You sing, I dig”

by Marcel, Co-Director, IHF Kenya

It’s been 6 weeks now since I got here. The thing I learned is not to struggle. The world goes in its own pace, and we are in no position to change it. We simply accept the way things are and let them take their natural course.

Few weeks ago, I visited a school attended by some of our children. Before going there, I had learned from one of them that their teacher wanted more money for the weekend classes he teaches. As we have no more money for education, we couldn’t pay it, so he decided to take our children in front of the class, told them to kneel down and made them a “bad example” for others. When I heard that, I couldn’t believe it. How could he do that? How is it their fault that they have no money? I thought how I would react if they were my children. I was furious. On the way to school, I spoke with Rafa, who has been here for 6 months. He told me that firstly, it is good that children are not beaten and that secondly, he went through the exact same phase when he first came here. He said, “Man, I was so pissed about so many things…” We went to school and spoke with both teachers and principal; we explained to teachers that we have no more money to pay for weekend classes.
“You must have some money in case when something happens.”
“Yes we do have money in case something happens, but if we give you this money and something happens, we would not have any money.”
It took a bit of explanation to make them aware that punishing our children is both wrong and ineffective. I just tried to stay calm. The principal on the other hand was a very nice, helpful and understanding person. She told us that IHF pupils are doing better and better, some of them are even at the very top of their class. I was glad to hear that. The whole experience was a good lesson of peace and patience – something you cannot learn any other way except by living.

weeding the maize

I went to do some farming. A farm plot is divided into lines, about 150, each 70-100 meters long. It’s a long distance to do with mattock in your hands and sun burning over your head. Anyway a few meters after I started, I drank some water. A few meters later, 4 girls came around.
“Hey Marcel what are you doing?”
“Farming. Want to sing me some songs?”
“You sing, you sing.”
“I don’t know any song. You sing, I dig.”
“In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lions sleeps tonight…” They made it so much easier for me now 🙂 “Can we help?”
“Sure, who wants the next turn”
“Me.” “Me.” “Me…” I had to get more tools.
Soon, we were done. “That’s gonna take me hours” I remember thinking at the beginning of work, now it’s finished. No struggle, no expectations, just let things happen the way they do.

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