„Today we celebrate our rights” is how one child described the “African Child Day”. On June 16th, early in the morning, a large bus took off with a few MCC children and children from the Primary School community as well as from the Secondary School. When arriving in Kinyui, several students from different schools were already gathered and the Maisha Mazuri children lined up with them. A parade with a small orchestra and songs sung by the children started. The adults (parents, teachers and friends) followed them.
Eventually, we arrived at a school playground where the students had gathered in a circle. The day started with dance competitions to Kenyan pop songs, in which two students from each school were dancing in the middle. This was followed by pre-rehearsed dances and poems presented by the children. Not only in the home, but also at this event, I was reminded again how important dancing is for Kenyans. All the children seem to have a lot of fun expressing their mood through dance. There was also a drawing competition with the theme of the event “the rights of the african child in the digital environment”. The painters have artistically written down the advantages as well as the disadvantages of using digital media. On the one hand, the entertainment provided by media such as mobile phones was illustrated, but at the same time, it also illustrated how children feel neglected by their parents, who are more concerned with their mobile phones than with their child.
At such larger events, I again and again notice that my skin color differs from that of the others. But not because I consciously notice it, but because IJ am being pointed out. Children and adults come up to me specifically to say hello or to shake the hand of a ‘white person’. I unintentionally get a lot of attention, stared at and photographed without being asked. I’m very uncomfortable with that. I don’t feel different or special among them, but the behavior of others makes me feel special and different.
White people are rare around here, so seeing a white person seems to be an ‘attraction’. Nonetheless, I wish I could be treated normally, just the way the locals treat each other.
In the last few weeks that Marta was still here, we cooked a few more times with the children. One weekend there was ‘Rolex’ for every child – omelets wrapped in a chapati. The next weekend the kids grilled smokies (small sausages) over the campfire and there were rolls to go with it.
Finally, before Marta left, we cooked another huge portion of spaghetti. The kids helped a lot with the preparations. They peeled and cut the vegetables and simmered them with the tomato sauce. This time it was 12kg of spaghetti that the kids all ate. If I hadn’t known the kids ate about that amount last time, I would never have believed they could eat so much. The kids are always very happy about spaghetti, because on the one hand they love cooking and baking and on the other hand I think that they also enjoy having a little variety in their usual menu.
After 3 months as a volunteer, Marta’s time here is over and she went back to Germany and I will now spend my last 5 weeks alone in the MCC.
In order to care for the still small trees in front of the MCC and to ensure that they get enough water to grow, every child is now a ‘tree sponsor’. After I explained to them their task as tree sponsors, they ran to their tree of choice and proudly stood in front of it. They fetched water to fill up the clay jar buried next to the plant to continuously give some water to the plant.
They trimmed the grass around it and filled in the gap between the fence and the ground to protect the plant from animals like our goats. Now 1-3 children are responsible for caring for and watering each tree, as it will still be a while before the next rainy season begins. If the children continue to take care of their trees just like they have started, then a few fruits can still grow this year.