The past month has been an intense and exciting one. On June 16th I arrived at the Maisha Mazuri Children Centre. During my first days, Joseph, Mercy and I created a weekly schedule for me. So now, Monday and Thursday mornings, I help Frida with our preschoolers in kindergarten and after tea break, I help out at Maisha Mazuri’s primary school. Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, I work on the farm and help in the kitchen or play with the kindergarten children during the day. In the afternoons I play football with the children and help them with their homework. Sometimes the students from high school play with the children from MCC. Friday is my day off which means that I can go to Tala (the next town), hang out with the children, or simply take the day off to rest. On weekends, the children do not have school. Saturday is a day for washing clothes, making chapati, playing games and watching movies in the evening. Sundays, the children usually do not have any duties which means that they have time for Sunday service, playing and getting some rest. Sunday evenings the girls usually cook mandazi.
With some equipment that I brought with me from home and the help of teacher Glorious as my translator (translation is needed for the younger children who have difficulties with English), I teach first aid classes every Saturday. The first aid courses mostly teach basic anatomical education: what to do when people are unconscious, how to handle wounds and blood in general, and what to do during heat strokes. The children can practice taking care of wounds with band aids, gloves, and compresses that I brought with me from home. I also brought a stethoscope and a reflex hammer, which turned out to be extremely fun to use for the children. The children seem to appreciate the classes and everyone is keen to participate.
A few weeks ago, the girls and boys got their hair done – they usually do this once a month. For the girls this means removing their braids, washing their hair, and getting new braids, which took the barber around 18 hours to do. The boys usually just get their head shaved.
Sadly, one of the children at MCC had to go to the hospital because of some serious stomach problems. She is still at the hospital but has improved tremendously. I visited her several times already and am glad to see it makes her happy. The other staff members also visit her on a regular basis and bring her food and tea. The child received great care from staff members, who took a lot of their free time to visit and to take care of her. In particular, the matron was with her almost all the time, even during the nights. I could not have wished for better care for a child without parents!
Christoph, one of the active members of the German partners “Hand in Hand for Kenya”, is currently visiting MCC. He had many ideas when he came, and now, he and Michael have been working hard on repairs and construction around the area. They built a new water tank, and a new playground is already in the making. We also think about renovating the MCC building which will sooner or later be necessary and will need many helping hands.
It is always a fun day when Maisha Mazuri Secondary School and the Skills Centre play each other in football and volleyball. This time they organized a big tournament. The campus was packed with people, the music was up to full volume and the matches were intense. For the event, Christoph bought a new volleyball and football since the other balls were pretty much worn out. The teenagers and children had a lot of time interacting with each other and everyone seemed to have a lot of fun.
Christoph and I used some free time to clean the storage unit, the “store”. At first, it didn’t seem like a lot of work, but it took us a week to clean, repair what was broken and throw away what was no longer needed. We wrote a list of everything that is in the store so that future volunteers know what to bring when coming here. I also bought some new books for the library and updated the list of library books. Sadly, some of the books are missing and/or broke. One day, we bought spaghetti Bolognese in Tala which we cooked for the children in the evening – they were so excited and ate it all to the very last noodle. We also made pancakes on another day and made them extra special by topping them with Nutella-like chocolate.
Last Wednesday, the MCC children graduated. This was celebrated at the primary school of Maisha Mazuri and turned out to be a huge event with lots of singing, performing poems and speeches. Food was served for everybody, and the graduates even got some cake. Some of the children’s parents came to see the celebration as well, which was very special for everyone.
The children are now on a break. This means that they have more time to play but still need to do their chores. In the evenings, after supper, we usually listen to music and dance. This is so much fun and most of the children participate. Christoph and I have planned to organise a game tournament with the children and maybe we will cook or bake something special again for everyone. We also want to take 2-3 days off to visit Nairobi.
I am looking forward to spending more time at MCC and the wonderful staff. I am very grateful for all experiences and am excited for whatever will come next month.