The Orphanage Of All Orphanages...

Trip Start Jan 20, 2010
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Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of Kenya  ,
Tuesday, March 23, 2010

East Africa Mission Orphanage was established in 1997 by an Australian couple who had already been doing humanitarian work in Central & South America. They acquired 50 acres of land near Nakuru, and have built a primary school, nursery, church, football fields and campsite on its premises. In addition, the owners Ralph and May have a huge vegetable garden, have built 2 large hot-houses to grow tomatoes, and have wheat fields as far as the eye can see. They have been taking in orphans since inception, and currently host approximately 190 children of varying ages.

The evening we arrived, Pooja and I pitched our tent (as usual) and Ralph came to talk to us about the work he's been doing since arriving in Kenya. The guy has one helluva huge heart, and all of us were gobsmacked at some of the stories he told us about how the kids were orphaned. He spoke to us about how he raised funds from scratch in order to get where he and his orphanage is today. Not enough good things can be said about him, and the sacrifices he and his wife have made in order to give these children a decent chance at life, given the horrors they'd experienced after losing their parents.

Ralph gave us the royal tour of his place, and told us of his vision to live as much off the land as possible, in order to keep costs as low as possible, and how he was planning to build a secondary school for some of the older kids.

Afterwards, we were given an opportunity to have dinner with them, and WOW...what an overwhelming experience it was. The mess hall was huge, and Pooja and I were invited to sit at a table of boys ranging in age, up to 12 years. They were honestly the most down to earth people I have ever met. They could all speak English fluently, and were delighted to have us eat with them. After one of the kids said 'grace,' they all scoffed down their meals as quickly as they'd received them. We spoke with them for a while, and I made friends with a young fella named Joe, who was in grade 4. He told me about how he wanted to become a Mechanical Engineer, and how he loved Manchester United football team. He is as smart as any other 12 year old I've ever met.

After dinner, and getting to know our new young friends, they all sang local songs for us, and shared their thoughts with the larger group. These kids are simply amazing! We were asked to leave the mess hall, and Joe took me to his dormitory room, which he shares with 24 other boys. We played a few games, and I taught some of them how to play 'paper, scissors, rock' which they really enjoyed. I met Francis (Joe's best mate) and they asked many questions about Australia, what I do for a living, if I was married...plus loads more, to quench their inquisitive thirst for knowledge. Francis wants to be a Fireman, whereas some of the others want to be astrologers, neuro surgeons, teachers, engineers, and doctors.

Pooja made friends with a few of the boys too, in particular Simon...who is probably the cheekiest of the lot. He seems to have everyone wrapped around his little finger, and knows it too!

The boys went to bed at 8pm, so we all walked back to camp, and had a good time discussing our interactions with the young ones.

The following day we visited Nakuru National Park, however I will talk more about that on my next entry...We did get a chance to spend time with the children again the following night, and the morning after. All of us got a chance to sit in their classes for a short while, which was soon followed by their exams. One of the days, we had scheduled a soccer match with some of the boys, but unfortunately it bucketed down with rain, so had it cancelled. I'm sure they would have kicked our butts, so probably a good thing not to get humiliated...

We also got a chance to visit the nursery, which was extremely sad. We discovered one of the girls, under 2 years of age was born with HIV, and her mother was murdered in cold blood during childbirth. Many of the childrens parents had been killed during the post-election violence of 2003, whereas others had died from various diseases, or were simply just too unfit to support children.

It was quite a surreal experience to spend time with these gifted children, and something I will never forget. We hope to stay in touch with some of the kids, and have promised to send them gifts from Australia.

We take our hats off to Ralph and May, for all their hard work, and thank them for hosting us for 3 days in Nakuru.

'A good exercise for the heart is to bend down and help another up' 
                   - Anonymous
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Comments

Sean on

Bails, I'm loving the tan mate! You look like you guys are having a ball, reminds me of my very short time in Thailand. Hope to see you guys soon and have a proper catch up!

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