Week 2 - Sister Freda's

Trip Start Aug 26, 2012
1
7
129
Trip End Dec 22, 2013


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Flag of Kenya  ,
Friday, September 14, 2012

This week started with going to a Christian Church service that was held in a room at the college at Sister Freda's. Mostly in attendance were the high school girls as it is mandatory for them and then a few college students.  The orphans wandered in and out as they saw fit.  The two hour service was actually run by the college students and there was a lot of singing and clapping.  The sermon was done by a college student and it didn’t appear to be all that inspiring. The topic was "Be willing" as in be willing to let God be with you…or something like that.  Honestly I wasn’t really paying that much attention except to notice that he filled a lot of the time by repeating “Praise the Lord”.  What I did find interesting was that there was about a 45 min window where people would get up and quote a verse in the bible and then explain why and how they chose the verse as it related to something that happened to them recently in their life. And one college student just simple got up and said “I want to forgive the robbers who robbed me in town last night. Praise the Lord for giving me life”.   Guess you can’t really argue with that.

In the afternoon of the same day, I started saying “Lord give me strength”.  A volunteer who was only here for 4 days, wanted to do something with the orphans, and she had decided to buy beads and make necklaces. As her assistant, we went over to their house and tried to calmly introduce the project to them. We thought we were being clever by giving each kid a kit with beads and string and it worked for about 30 seconds.  But once they started dropping beads the others would dive bomb for them and others would just knock beads out of each other’s hands. The string we used was also not very good and kept fraying. After about an hour I was about ready to get out of dodge but stuck it out until everyone had a necklace around their neck.  By the next day maybe half still had their necklaces.  But they were still smiling, so I guess it was worth it.

On Wednesday of this week, thanks to Celyne (another volunteer at Sister Freda’s) I was able to go to the district hospital in Kitale and spend the morning at the Volunteer Testing Clinic.  This is where people can go to get tested for HIV or other STD’s and get counselling for free.  A nurse by the name of Sister Veronica gave a tour of the facilities and then allowed us to set in on three sessions (a HIV test can be done in 15 mins).  I won’t go into the details on all three here but I will say each one’s story got more and more depressing but thankfully all three tested negative.  The last one though was especially joyous when the test results came through.  The test was for a 10 year old girl brought in by her mother because she was always so sickly.  Incidentally the mother was left by her husband when she found out she had HIV while giving birth to their third child (the child being tested was the second one). She cried tears of joy and was so thankfully and relieved for her daughter.  I can’t say that I didn’t get a little choked up as well.  It was a really neat experience as Sister Veronica also let me be a part of the counselling where I could ask questions and give advice.  With all the adversity these women face it was difficult to just say what I felt or what I would say to a western woman. So I just told them to be strong, and to believe in themselves.

My painting project wrapped up a day before I left with a nice thick coat of grey paint on the floor.  The walls look great if I do say so myself and I was able to get a plumber in to fix the leaky faucet in the sink and get the toilet working again -all for 2200 KSh, about $25.00. I wish I had taken a “before” picture of the room and I’m waiting to get an after shot from Celyne who will be staying at Sister Freda’s until mid-October.  It was slightly more work than I thought it would be, but definitely worth it. All the doctors, nurses and nurse aides would periodically check in on my progress and they were amazed and grateful. They were amazed at the fact I knew how to paint and kept asking if I painted for a living because they said I was doing such a good job. They were grateful because it was a really dull and dirty room with bad memories of the last patient.  I think they are happy to have a “new” room!  Sister Freda was also very appreciative and showered me with gifts of various Kenyan bead work pieces and bandanas of various colours and styles.

On my last day Emily, Celyne and I took a trip to the small town of Kiminini to visit another project sponsored by VillageVolunteers, a school called Pathfinder Academy which also has an initiative that makes ceramic filters with sawdust, and a particular type of clay that will fit in your basic white pail with a spout attached.  It is called a Cera Maji and it will filter water for drinking  and it is good for life.  When the water flow gets weak it means the filter needs to be scrubbed and then it’s good to go again.  It has been sold and donated all across Kenya and other countries in Africa. And I’m told it also has been exported to parts of Canada. We got a tour of how they make the filters but couldn’t actually see the real process because they were waiting for a shipment of clay to come in.

Afterwards we got a tour of the school that has classes from pre-nursery to standard 8(same a Grade 8).  There are both boarding and day students that attend this school.  There are more boarders then dorms so they’ve had to convert some class rooms into dorms. This seems to be fairly common and everyone agrees it’s a good thing – kids are at least in school and getting feed.  Three of the orphans from Sister Freda’s had actually started as borders at this school a few days previous due to sponsorships.  It was great to see them in their school uniform and starting to assimilate into life as a boarder. While it was new and scary for them, you could tell they understood what an opportunity they had and were happy to be there.

My little buddy Moses was scarce my last day which was rare because as long as I was around, he was attached to my hip after my first day.  My goal was to get some pictures of him, which I managed to get before dinner.  After dinner I went into the hospital to find him and spend some time with him.   I found him watching a nurse put an IV into a child’s hand.  When he saw me and gave a big smile and said “beba” (carry in Swahili).  After I picked him up and held him for a bit, through our method of communication he led me to the linen closet because he knew he needed sheets and a blanket for his bed and he wanted to go to bed. So I was able to put him to bed and kiss him good night. There were definitely tears in my eyes..  He is a very sweet and smart boy and I wonder what his future is going to be like. I’m not in a position to right now but I would like to sponsor him to go to school (the one we visited above). Aside from getting an education, he needs the structure.  Living in the hospital is not a solution and he is healthy enough to be a boarder at school.

My time here has flown by and it’s been a really unique experience. I’ve met so many nice people and have had so many different opportunities. But it feels right to be moving on and seeing what’s next.
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Comments

Natalie Kauffman on

Molly,
Just finished reading all your posts from the time you landed in UK to leaving orphanage. Wow! What a trip it has been so far. I am so inspired by what you're doing. I love reading your detailed descriptions and your input on what you're experienceing. Looking forward to the next post.
Lots of love!
xo
Nat

Mathias Ssenabulya on

Wow! Sounds like such an amazing trip even in just the first few months!

Michelle Fernandes on

Hi Molly,

Keep up the great work. You are inspiring. These children will always remember you.

Donald MacInnes on

Molly,Just finished reading your posts,Amazing,Thank you for allowing me to follow your journey!!! Wish I could be there,look forward to your next post.Take care !!!

regina keenan on

So proud of you! What beautiful children

Bev MacLaren on

It is wonderful to follow your activities, Molly. Thanks so much for sharing. Keep up the good work!
Cheers, Bev

TB on

Just started reading all of your postings and I am truly inspired. Your detailed entries are great!!!. I am really behind on your postings, but looking forward to catching up.

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