Mambo ni poa nyumbani (Things are great at home). The new children (former street boys) have now been in school for over two weeks and have taken their first school-wide exam. While a few excelled and scored much higher than the average student, most struggled. The simple reason – they have not learned to read yet. In the next two weeks we will be hiiring walimu (teachers in Swahili) to teach the children how to read and write. One of the former street boys scored an 8 out of 50 on his English exam. Although he is able to speak English very well, he is unable to read or write. This brother of mine, on his next English exam, will score a FOURTYeight out of 50; I am sure. Besides the occasional fight or lapse into street-like behavior, all the children are getting along.
While the boys have been adjusting to life off the streets (an adjustment that may take years), the girls are continuing to thrive. Meir is a total orphan (her father was shot many years ago and her mother died from AIDS) and has lived here at home for many years. She is in 8th grade and yesterday took the standardized exam given to all Kenyan 8th graders. Meir not only led her class, but scored the highest grade among the entire division (which comprises of 20 different schools). Meir wants to be a doctor and has the brain to accomplish her goal. The other girls as well are trying hard everyday in school and the future looks bright for each and every one of them.
Everyone else (Pastor, Mama, Andrew, Dafine, Onyoni, and myself) are also doing well. The one small exception is that as I was writing this, Onyoni (the youngest orphan who lives here) walked inside with a dead bird in his hand. He threw the bird outside, and hidden from my view, poured honey into the same hand and licked it from his palm. I hope he won’t get sick.
The one person I have failed to include is Kevin Vu, my friend from America who is here volunteering. He has been working everyday and it is now time to show you what he has accomplished. When Kevin found out about our project here, he was bubbling with ideas about how to expand the Keumbu Rehema Children’s Home. His first idea – make a sign. Kevin designed, drew, and painted the entire sign with no help at all. Today we bought cement and placed the sign in front of our property, so everyone can see who we are.
Kevin has been here for three weeks and must return to the University of Colorado to finish his studies. But before he leaves, he has one more project in store. Kevin, an architectual design and pschycology double major, wanted to build picnic tables and benches for the children to sit on. They can eat their lunch and dinner, do homework, or relax outside on the new tables.
Handyman Kevin is now building those tables.
As we continue to think about expansion, first we must assure everyone at home is happy and thriving. I am proud to tell you that those conditions have not only been met, but exceeded.