Friday already? What a week. Let me just jot down a few things I’ve done this week:
- Continued with Kiswahili lessons. I can now construct simple sentences in present, present perfect, past and future tenses! We’ve moved on to studying noun classes now. In Kiswahili a noun falls into one of 8 classes. The class affects how the noun is used in the singular and plural, and also the positive and negative. It also affects the adjective and possessive. So much to learn! But I’m enjoying!! And SO happy when I can communicate in very simple sentences with people!
- Continued teaching some of the children who are in class 3 and can’t read or write. Fun and frustrating at the same time! Yesterday we looked at phonics: letter A, B, and C.
Pip: What words begin with the sound ‘a’?
Class (children jumping from their seats with their hands up to answer): Teacher, cha, cha… err… cow!
Pip: …no…that’s the sound ‘c’. Try again..
Class: Teacher, cha, cha! Err…fish!
Pip: no.. ok… what’s this? (draws apple on the board)
Class (extreme excitement!): Cha! Cha! Cha! Apple! Apple!
Pip: YES!! Excellent! ‘a’ is for ‘apple’!
This is after having taught the letter and sound ‘a’ several times already! Extreme frustration…but we got there! And it’s a lot of fun. They’re great children, and I love their excitement and enthusiasm
- Continued working on getting updates on children who are being sponsored
- Visited the three girls who are sponsored to go to boarding school. These three girls are from Pumwani slums and have desperate background stories. One was raped, another’s father was unable to care for her and was bringing prostitutes to the house while she was there, another is beaten by her mother who is continually drunk. The girls are doing SO unbelievably well at boarding school. I was so impressed with the school – it’s a good place and I’m forever grateful to the sponsors whose support means these girls have a chance in life. This is the second time I’ve visited the school. This time was to pay the school fees. The girls were very happy to see us, and were concerned that their fees were paid so they can stay in school. They really enjoy school – it’s so lovely to see.
- The absolute highlight of the week was visiting Bob on Wednesday:
Bob is Pinky and Rajab’s older brother, and we knew him well in 2007. He was a lively, active boy with big potential. I was very upset to learn he’d been sent to a rehabilitation centre in 2009 after stealing a phone. His mother was sick while his case was going through court, and since being sentenced, no one knew where he was sent. This really upset me – that a 12 year old boy can just go missing!
The courts were unhelpful in giving information of Bob’s whereabouts, and it was only after a trip to the remand centre last week that we were eventually able to get information of his whereabouts.
On Wednesday we travelled with Bob’s mum, Zainab, on a bumpy 2 hour matatu ride out of Nairobi to the rehab centre where we were told Bob was. And he was there! It was so precious to see his smile, and Zainab’s, when they saw each other again. That boy is special.
The rehab centre is strict, and Bob was a lot quieter than when I last saw him. But I hope he will do well. It was so good to be able to see him. Bob was alone when he was sent to remand, alone while his case was going through court, and has been alone for over a year at the rehab centre since. It was so important to be able to tell him that he’s not been forgotten – he’s not alone in the world. I hope the visit has inspired him, encouraged him, given him hope and a motivation to be released from the centre. We hope to visit again next month with Pinky and Rajab. They talk about their big brother all the time – they really look up to him. And Bob was so concerned to know news of his younger siblings, and was so happy to be given a photo of them.
The journey home was long, noisy, bumpy, hot and tiring. But the trip was worth it and I’d do it a thousand times over.
So that’s a short sum-up of my week so far. It’s been good. Friday has come, and I’m tired! But so happy! I know I am where I was made to be.
See my ‘photos’ page for a photo diary of my week.