|Talking to a group from Kibera about the MDGs and our mobilization effort that kicked off on 10.10.10|
Some of you may remember that I wrote a blog about 2 weeks ago about the 10.10.10 day of prayer- well it finally happened! It was a huge success, it seems that we have exceeded our goal of having 2 million Africans united in prayer! On Sunday I traveled with a team from the OAIC to five churches in Kayole and Kibera. Some of the churches were less informed about the day of prayer to which I would explain to them what is now becoming “my schpeel” about the MDGs, our mobilization efforts and how to become involved. Other churches were more in the know about the effort and were excited that someone from the OAIC was there to thank them for their participation. Two of the churches even waited for me to get there after they had finished, when I arrived they greeted me with hugs, song and dance and asked me to speak. The groups I met with on Sunday were happy to be joining together with so many people worldwide in this effort and eager to learn about “what’s next.”
I diverged from the OAIC this weekend and went to “First Love” orphanage in Karin, a part of Nairobi. Michael (fellow YAV and RIGHT next door neighbor) has traveled to Kenya before, on his last trip to Kenya he worked with First Love so he knows many of the girls and the people who run the orphanage. Michael, Kathryn, Ellen (also fellow YAVs) and I went to First Love via three matatus. We had some excellent and diverse matatu experiences (gospel, dirty hip-hop and reggae) which of course gets you ready to go for any day. When we arrived at the compound the girls were unbelievably excited to see us, we drove in in a van that Karen (mom of the orphanage) picked us up in, by the time we had exited the van there were about 11 girls already there ready to shake our hands and find out who we were. Each girl came up to introduce herself, shake our hands and welcome us to the compound. Once we met all 23 girls a large majority of the girls led us on a tour of the compound, our main tour guide was 14 year old Caroline. The compound is really beautiful and well organized, they have a borehole well that delivers them clean drinking water, a generator, a dining room, a large soccer field, swing set, and a basketball hoop above the garage. The girls eagerly showed us all which room was theirs and I commented on how every girls bed was made so well and clothes were folded so nicely (if they had been at camp they certainly would have won capers) to which they all bashfully smiled.
The rest of the day was spent playing lightning rounds of basketball on the basketball hoop above the garage (am I really the only one who has played that game before?) meeting the new two week old puppies and the one kitten that was still roaming the compound and swinging on the swing set seeing who could jump off the swings the furthest (despite being really good at this at age 10, I am no longer good-at all). The day was really wonderful I felt so lucky to meet girls with such amazing spirits and spend some good quality time letting go of myself and enjoying the day as it was- basketball, swinging and playing with puppies.
|Taking a break from playing with the puppies to hang out with Caroline and Juliette|
My life in my apartment is settling in, I spoke to my sister and explained to her what I was up to and she commented that its amazing how a feel normal things can make you feel right at home (she also just moved from New York, she lives in DC now. I realized that a few simple things that I have made a routine of doing without even knowing have really comforted me; drinking the same juicebox and eating the same granola bar in the morning, watching an episode of “Army Wives” before bed, listening to my iPod in the morning as I get dressed for the day etc. Despite living in a new continent with a seven hour time difference from all my friends and family, cultural differences faced every day, settling into a tiny dorm-room style apartment, seeing abject poverty on a daily basis and facing a new challenge every day, I have managed to kind of feel at home with pictures of friends and family around my room and some routine in my day- things are settling in. That being said- I am still in a twice daily fight with my bathroom light fixture, a daily struggle with my flooding shower and a twice daily struggle with dish washing (hoping that one day I will appreciate these as a part of my comforting routine.)