Monday, September 10, 2012

Kitengela Visit

Last week went by so fast. Tuesday I went out to visit a well run children's home in Kitengela, which in theory is not that far from Rongai, but there are no roads to connect them so I had to go into town (when I say town, I am referring to Nairobi) and back out to get there.  I actually drove into town, which was not as terrifying as I thought it would be.  Natalie was really patient with me and calm which helped me a good deal.  She just kept telling me there are just more variables here and that is true, but it is the extra variables combined with keeping left that make it hard.  The traffic circles are the craziest part because I am pretty certain there are no rules once you enter, it is every car for themselves!  We survived and I am not traumatized so I call it a success.

Reuben with the sign outside the home in Kitengela.
The home I went and visited was called Kenya's Kids.  I went with my friend Reuben.  He grew up in the home and is now in University in Nairobi.  Before I tell you more about him, I will give you a snap shot of this home.  Currently 58 kids live there, 28 boys and 30 girls.  The dorms were in perfect order and very clean.  The home is run by the Assemblies of God church in Kenya.  They have a big dining hall where all of the kids eat together and assemble.  They run on a bell system and all of the kids know what each bell means and they all know to obey them.  The home sits on 5 acres of land.  It has a huge garden, cows for milk, a bio gas system so they never have to buy gas, many pigs that they eat and sell, and staff housing for all 10 full time staff members.  Also they have a chicken farm down the road and a rental flat in Kitengela that provides them with income.  Of course, there is always a need for more funding, not because they cannot sustain themselves, but because they want to be able to take in more kids.  Now Reuben is one of their success stories because he came from living on the streets and in and out of homes all over and is now in University studying business.

The main building of the home where the dining hall and offices are located.
      The boys dorm.  It was very clean and organized.
Unfortunately there are some challenges that I am learning about through Reuben that I do not think people are usually aware of when they think about how children's homes help.  After touring the home, we walked back into Kitengela and met some of the boys Reuben grew up with on the streets and then at Kenya's Kids.  These boys are educated through secondary school, but do not have money now to go to university and because the unemployment rate is so high in Kenya (about 40% according to CIA World Factbook) these boys cannot find sustainable work.  They are living the "hustler's" life.  When they said that my mind immediately went to something negative, but I have learned that here that means they are just living day to day doing odd jobs here and there.  In other words the poverty they were facing as children has just been moved from to their adult lives.  Reuben is working to start some sort of cooperative or organization designed to help people like his friends that are in this situation.
Me with Reuben's friends Jack, John and Samuel.
I learn about new challenges and the lack of infrastructure here everyday, but I am also meeting so many people ready and willing to change their communities.  The children were all supposed to go back to school last Monday, but the teachers are all on strike so that has not happened yet.  This is the last term before the national exams so it is an important time for the children so pray that the government and the teachers can come to an agreement quickly.

The rest of the week I just worked and had meetings.  Friday I went back to Tumaini to make more chapati and hang out with the boys.  One of the boys had to have a tooth extracted on Wednesday and it got infected so I went with Isaya and Mwende (the boy) back to the dental clinic.  It was nothing like a dental clinic in the US so that was an interesting experience.  We waited for a long time just so he could walk in the room for about a minute to get a prescription for some antibiotics.  We picked them up from the chemist (pharmacy) and they just placed the pills in a little envelope and sent us on our way.  As far as I know he is feeling better and the swelling has gone down.  I ended the week with Mike and Leslie again.  We went to a fun local restaurant called The Tankard where I tried choma (roasted) goat for the first time! I enjoyed it.
Our chef at The Tankard preparing our choma goat.
Again the Bulldogs won this past weekend.  I do miss watching college football, but I am happy to know my team is doing well.  I hope everyone has a good rest of the week. Kwaheri! (goodbye)

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