This month Linet takes on new responsibilities as the school bell ringer!
Only a few months ago we moved Linet to a new boarding school some distance from home in Malindi. She settled in really well and school has provided an excellent, stable home environment for her.
She has clearly made an impression already as she has been given a new responsibility as the school ‘bell-ringer’! This means it is her job to ring the large bell that signifies the beginning and end of each school period, the start and end of break-time and lunch-time too.
Never one to miss an opportunity, Linet (somewhat cheekily) suggested to Rieder that really, to make sure she is accurate with the timings, she should have a new watch!!
Linet, Peris and Tamira have all moved school this year and have settled into their new school remarkably well. Their discipline and attention to their school work has really improved this term especially so Rich, Rieder and I decided to treat them all to posh new watches (each one cost around £2.50).
They were pretty chuffed with their prize! Now there’s no excuse for being late to class either!
Visits to the beach are extremely rare for children from Mtwapa; since, despite being just a few miles away, they are mostly owned by hotels and therefore completely out of bounds for local people and children. However there is one public beach about 15 minutes drive away, so whilst out on our trip to Kenya we arranged for two buses to take the whole Milele group plus all their brothers and sisters out on a trip to the beach, in total 32 people.
The children were extremely excited and had an absolutely amazing time. It was a great fun day out for all of us and of course they were all absolutely perfectly behaved!
We played and splashed in the sea (some of the littler people went skinny dipping and others wore spare t-shirts and shorts because of lack of swim kit) and had a wonderful time! Even our co-ordinator Rieder joined in, splashing all the children and having great fun!
After a couple of hours I was keen to get everyone out and dry, so suggested that they might all like to have a camel ride (a very popular pastime on the beaches in Kenya… perhaps the kenyan version of the english donkey ride…) and never have I seen children move so fast! They raced back to the beach at lightening speed and we all enjoyed a fab picnic with juice and biscuits all round – a real treat. Little Emmanuel (who isn’t actually that little anymore) was allowed to take charge of taking back the leftover biscuits to the children in New Light Children’s Home (where he lives) which he was absolutely THRILLED about. Regular readers of this blog will know Emmanuel as the child who can never be given quite enough biscuits!!
After the beach everyone had a go on the camels and shrieksof nervousness and excited delight rang out all afternoon(the camel holding Tamira, Linet, Peris and Pendo’s younger sister Faith was particularly noisy!!) and I’m sure the children will be talking about it for years to come! When we dropped off some of the children that evening and stayed for a brief chat, Shakeel, who is just four years old just kept exclaiming “mummy, we went on a camel…. we went on a camel mummy… It was really big!!” every few minutes!
The whole thing came in at less than £40… camel rides, picnic, beach, private buses and iced lollies for 32 people! Unbelievable! We finished up a trip back to Mtwapa with some very sleepy and happy children. A huge success all round. Enjoy the photos!
Thank-you for your patience waiting for all the photos and news from the trip to Kenya! The internet was pretty sluggish so we struggled to make updates as regularly as we wanted to!
First and foremost let me tell you about one of the most important things we did on the trip – sponsoring three new children.
The first two are 8 year old girls Linet and Peris.
They live together with their two younger sisters Janet and Naomi, elder brother and the girls’ guardian who is Linet’s mother and Peris’s grandmother in a mud built house in Mtomondoni.
She works in a local Shamba (farm) as a farm worker to try to raise money to feed her family; but unfortunately she has never had the money to send the girls to school at all. By 8 years old, it is crucial that they begin as soon as possible so that they do not feel too out of place in the lower kindergarten classes. Whilst starting school late is common in this area, at their age we wanted to be careful not to make the girls feel too conspicuous whilst still ensuring they begin in the appropriate class for them academically. Both girls have begun in Kindergarten 3 with a view to moving them up into Standard one as soon as possible. Whilst we were not able to sponsor all four children, the director of the school we send the sponsored children to has agreed to take on the two younger girls as ‘complementary’ students, allowing them to study there for free without paying fees.
They are both such lively and happy girls, despite having a very difficult home life. Their positive attitude and energy is quite incredible. Linet is clearly the ‘big sister’ of the other three girls, always making sure she is looking after them and that they are ok. Peris is the quietest of the four, but is super excited about being able to go to school, full of smiles and happiness. All four girls were understandably nervous on their first day – Just the experience of being in a concrete building is enough of a shock for them, and I found them following me around like little lost sheep! Everywhere we turned there they were, grinning at us! But very quickly they have adapted and begun to make friends and feel more comfortable in their classes.
When we collected them for their first day at school they were clearly wearing their sunday best clothes, but despite this none of them even had any underwear. Kindly, the JCC school group who were also in Kenya at the same time as us donated some clothes to them, and their faces absolutely lit up. They were twirling around feeling like a million dollars. Seeing Peris’s reaction when I pulled even the most bare essentials out of the bag of donations was one of the most wonderful moments of the trip for me. She immediately jumped up and down with excitement pointing and shouting ‘For me! For me!’
To see them all so smart in their new uniform for the first time on the last day was extremely emotional, and they were so so happy and pleased, they couldnt stop saying thank-you and kept asking us to take photos so they could see themselves in their posh clothes.
They are all incredibly excited and cant seem to stop smiling. I can’t wait to watch them grow and progress in school, to begin to feel like they belong there and to do well. This opportunity truely has changed their lives, I cannot thank all our donors on their behalf enough for what they have done for them.
Enjoy the photos – as always they say far more than I ever could!