Life at an Orphanage
Trip Start Mar 18, 2009
11Trip End May 14, 2009
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
Where I stayed
There was a 14-year-old mother in the girls' dorm. Her 1-year-old baby was there too. The father had been kicked out of the Center a few months ago.
There is one kid who is HIV positive; a significant percentage have runny noses and nasty coughs.
In the mornings, kids only have tea, chai as they call it. On Fridays and Mondays, they also get Mandazi (fried dough). Because I had woken up so late, I missed the chai.
Naomi took me through the suburb to a school called Muslim Primary. 70 of our kids attend this institution. To get here we followed a wide dirt road with shacks on both sides. The shacks were made with mixed materials, including wood, mud, stone and metal. Muslim Primary was a larger version of the village school I had visited in Bundi, India. The main difference was that the surroundings were greener and there was a tall flag pole right in the center. We walked into the Head Teacher's tiny office. She was a 50ish, chubby lady who had a wise tone of voice. Naomi started complaining about our 2 farmers who had threatened the kids and the guards with violence. In addition, they were stealing bags of supplies and not doing any work. Naomi was afraid that they would actually get violent in case she attempted to fire them. The Head Teacher who suspected that the farmers were illegal aliens from Uganda advised her to take this issue to Juma, our pro-bono advocate. After finishing the Mandazi and chai that the Head Teacher had offered, we took our leave.
Next stop was the pre-school, which consisted of 3 huts built side by side. This was very similar to the orphanage scene I had watched in Beng Melea, Cambodia, except that the kids here had uniforms. A 50ish lady and a youngish teacher took care of over 100 kids here. The older mama made me sign her guest book, as it was a government requirement
We briefly returned to the Center for lunch. In consisted of a salty mix of boiled maze and beans called Githeri. Naomi and the kids were spitting out the hard peels. I failed to figure out a way to do that, so I ate them as they came.
Took a matatu to the city center where we checked our emails, scanned documents and bought 20 blankets for the kids who had none. I was surprised that she didn't bargain with the wholesaler. Then, we took a tuc tuc (small, 3-wheeled transport, similar the ones found in South Asia) back to the Center.
There wasn't much to be done after 4pm. Naomi told me to rest, send in my daily task report to the top management in the USA via the Center's blackberry and distribute the 10 blankets for the boys.
Naomi sends a forecasted budget to top management. In return top management asks certain questions and transfers the money via Western Union, if they see fit. The International Humanity Foundation's (IHF) funds come from donations, individual sponsorships and grants
While I am in Kenya, I would like to meet all the alumni that I have gotten to know through the alumni database.
There seems to be numerous problems at the Center. One of the major ones is that the Center is not recognized by the government because it does not meet the requirements. The entire facility has to be renovated for a rough cost of $60,000 in order to get a license. The Founder of IHF seems to be resistant about acquiring a license.
I am afraid of the 2 farmers whom I haven't even met. I fear that they may barge into my room and rob me, especially if they get fired while I am here.
Dinner consisted of Ugali (a maze paste) and broiled cabbage. I learned to eat them with my hands, like everybody else does.
What I have enjoyed the most so far is helping the older kids with their math homework. I feel the most useful when I tutor.
Now I fully understand Yasar Hoca, my Boarding House Supervisor at high school... It is tough putting the kids to bed, especially the older ones. However, I will not be too harsh on them until they accept me as a part of the tribe...
Slept more comfortably than the night before. It's unbelievable how cold it gets towards 5am. Are we not in the Equatorial Zone?
When I texted Anne complaining about this place, she told me that I must leave if I feel unsafe and that she may be able to find something for me to do in Nairobi. I'll give IHF a week and then decide. My observations are premature at the moment...