We returned home to Nyota yesterday afternoon after a few days on the coast. It was a nice break – the Indian Ocean has some of the nicest beaches I have ever seen and the water is warm and turquoise. We walked for miles soaking in the warm breezes. The kids were all very glad to see us back and flung themselves upon me for hugs! None of them have seen the ocean so I tried to explain it to them and we showed them many pictures.
One of the things I like to do here is just wander around and observe the children. There are so many special moments to capture and appreciate. I found a number of the small girls sitting on a seat with a bucket and a cloth, washing their feet before they went down for their nap. These kids are between the ages of 3-5 years old and they were carefully soaping down each other’s feet and rubbing them vigorously with a cloth and then drying them. What amazes me is the maturity of these children – how naturally they undertake chores and finish them without a complaint, and how well they care for each other in a brisk, no-nonsense fashion. There is a rhythm to this home that engages most of the children in making life here flow, no small undertaking with forty children!
One of the items that we brought with us to Kenya was a big supply of Lego blocks that were donated by Judy – a wonderful supporter of Nyota. The small kids play with the blocks on a rug out on the grass every day and I am amazed by the creations they make. They literally can play for hours without losing their focus. I’ve included a picture to show you the creations they make – it really provides them a chance to flex their imaginations in a way that school here does not seem to.
On a more somber note, I called a meeting of the staff and the older children this afternoon. The staff are concerned that some of the children do not show them respect, and there was a problem of a few kids taking books from the library and not returning them – possibly even trying to sell them at school. I was extremely upset and disappointed by this and so wanted to discuss this with the older ones. We have wonderful staff here – they are full of so much love and caring and devote themselves to Nyota. I told the older kids how they need to respect them as their parents and help them in any way they can. I also reinforced the importance of honesty and treating each other as family. I know its only a couple of kids involved but I wanted everyone to hear it. The family structure is a very important part of culture here so I hope that our meeting sent a strong message – the staff seemed to think it helped. The children are always telling me how grateful they are to the sponsors and supporters of Nyota. I told them we want that gratitude expressed by doing well at school and caring for each other!
Tomorrow we are going to the new home to check things out and help pick the paint colors for the interior. There are so many rooms this will be a big job! But I really want the colors to be kids friendly and cheerful. I asked some of the older boys and girls to help me select colours. The boys like blue (big surprise…) but the girls like red and gold! It will be really something when its done! The kids are very excited about the move as are the staff.
Today we are going to buy some chicken for a stew tomorrow night, and then we plan to cook spaghetti for our farewell dinner on Thursday. We’ll also buy balloons – a real hit among the kids. Only three more sleeps as my grandaughter Mikayla would say…