From Kenya to Uganda with more babies everywhere!
Things to be thankful for:
Sanitation ( flushing toilets, not holes in the ground)
Water – warm and cold
A variety of clothes to wear
No mosquitoes in England
It’s Saturday the 15th of August, and I am in Kampala, Uganda. I feel like I have been in Africa for the last three months, and actually told someone at the airport last night that this is my third month in Kenya, when I realised what I was saying, and corrected myself saying only a few weeks, when I realised it was only 5 days!! How is that even possible?? I am a changed woman, and I have so easily settled into working with the kids every day. Surprisingly I have learned the names of about 100 kids already! I love it. I love these kids, I love them so much and it’s going to be so hard to say goodbye!
The last few days in Kenya has been fantastic. The summer camp is in full swing, we had a day of the kids making books about themselves and another day of making paper airplanes. It was crazy, with 510 kids flying paper airplanes all over the school yard! It was wonderful to see the smiles on their faces.
On Friday I was in my arts and crafts class when I found one of the kids, Wendy, crying, and I saw that she fell over and her knee was bleeding. Without thinking I started helping her to clean her knee with a wet wipe while trying to figure out what teacher to find, when I realised where I was, and how I was warned over and over again to not get in touch with any blood. It was a horrible feeling to know that your natural instinct is to want to help someone and to have to be aware of any blood transmittable diseases. I took her to a teacher and we got the wound covered up, but it brought home to me how hard it is to fight natural instincts when you are with these kids.
The same thing happened with this little darling five-year-old, Fatuma. She came up to me shaking, and I found out she was on ARV drugs and her parents didn’t give her dinner or breakfast. It was 11 am and she hadn’t eaten anything. I snuck her into the staff room and gave her a cereal bar, which she almost inhaled. My heart broke a little. I don’t know how I am going to leave them next Friday (which in my head is in three months time).
The children at TBH also managed to crawl into my heart more and more daily. On Friday I met a little girl, Mary, who comes from another Balcraig Foundation project, called Suswa. They rescue Massai girls between 9 and 12 from being married off to older men, and from female genital mutilation. This girl, Mary was 11 but looked about 7 she was so thin, and was sent to TBH to receive medical treatment. She could not understand a word of English, and in my random Swahili I managed to find out she wants water. She downed two large glasses of water! I kept saying ‘Hakuna Matata’ to her and she kept smiling. It was so funny, thinking about the lion king, but knowing that those words were comforting to this little girl. She is just beautiful.
So in between my time in Kenya I decided to come and see friends in Uganda. Alan and Jane Penry work for Watoto, another charity doing amazing work in Uganda. This morning we visited the Bulrushes babies home where a little baby Lillie, crawled onto my lap, and I realised she was not feeling well. She has a high fever and literally just laid in my arms. I am now asking for updates on her. I’m sure it’s just a cold, but she was just so sad looking. The babies home is incredible! There are so many babies, and a nursery for premature babies, with some babies that are so tiny, that you can’t believe they can survive that small. It was very hard to leave there.
We went from there to a Watoto Village in Bbira. This was amazing. They have about a 1000 children living in one village with 8 children to a home living with a mum. We went to house 52 with Mama Beth, who cooked for us. Matoki is the most interesting dish…steamed banana… I can’t say it really tastes like anything, and it comes with a purple peanut sauce… It was a whole new experience! Mama Beth also gave me the biggest avocado I have ever seen! I am considering packing it in my bag back to London! After that we walked through the village and I had about five babies walking with me. Ah, they are just so beautiful. I loved it!
So tomorrow it’s back to Kenya for another week of Holiday camp in Mashimoni (Place of many pot holes) the Squatters school in the Kibera slum, and then off to Dadaab to the refugee camp. I am excited and apprehensive about the rest of my time here, but I love it. I’m a changed person forever.