I’m writing this looking out whilst the sun sets over Lake Elementata, and reflecting on an amazing first day in Kenya with So They Can.
We travelled this morning to The Sleeping Warrier Crater, about an hour’s drive through Zebra infested plains, for an hour and a half hike/mountain clamber up to the crater. One of the goals of this expedition was to help us start acclimatising to the altitude, in preparation for the Maasai Mara half marathon on Saturday. It was an extremely challenging climb – with some rock climbing thrown in for good measure, but it got our legs moving after spending a day in planes and buses, and the views and wildlife were spectacular.
Our afternoon was spent at Miti Mingi Village, the children’s home established by So They Can to care for orphaned and vulnerable children, particularly those living on the local dumpsite, where they have to compete with vultures for scraps of food.
Its hard to describe what a wonderful place Miti Mingi Village is. It exudes happiness – from the children, the house mothers, and from the Village Director, James and Operations Manager, Moses. So They Can has achieved something special at Miti Mingi – a true sense of family, community and home.
Our visit here started with a welcome from the children – involving poems, acrobatics and a fashion show. We were then shown around, able to see first hand the great work being done here and the impact the donations to So They Can have had, with many new houses being built to accommodate the children in a family environment rather than in dormitories. On average, 8 children live in a home with a house mother. They take their meals together, do home work together, and build a family environment for all the children to live in. Since making this change to the village over the last year, the children have prospered – doing better at school, being healthier, and happier.
I got to share in this happiness for several hours this afternoon, playing with the kids. There’s 120 children in the village and they all have a tonne of energy and wanted to play. I attempted skipping (I was absolutely outdone – getting to 20 on my turn with the skipping rope whereas most kids seemed to make it to 100 and then stop!); had a ball on the seesaw – my extra weight meaning each child went flying into the air every time I hit the bottom; playing thumb wars; doing star jumps and other semi-athletic exercises with the kids; running; laughing; chatting; and attempting to learn some Swahili. Its hard to remember that times haven’t always been this good for the children at Miti Mingi, and its noteworthy that their joy comes from interacting with each other, from a sense of community. There are no material possessions, no TVs or Pokemons to distract – its about creating happiness from what you have, and valuing yourself and those around you.
I finish my day feeling exhausted, but elated. Elated to be here in Kenya and to be supporting the work that So They Can is doing, and to be able to meet the kids, and experience a small part of their lives.
Thank you to all of you who have supported our fundraising for So They Can over these past few months. I can now tell you first hand that you could not ask for more appreciative recipients of your help. These kids love school and are very aware that its their education that is going to make the difference in their lives.
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