We awoke to another perfect day in Kenya. Today we would set out on a 13 kilometer walk to the Hawagaya Primary School. Traveling by the back roads, weaving our way in between cottages made of adobe with thatched grass roofs. Cows tied up in the yards are a common sight here; goat’s tied to bushes along the roads even more so, both systematically eat all the grass and weeds within reach, much like a lawnmower. Every so often, there would be a break in the foliage and we would look out at fields of corn or bright green grass rolling over a picturesque landscape.
Arriving at the school, which is one of the premier in the region for academics and athletics, the 250+ children of Hawagaya Primary quickly overcame their fear of the mzungos and were ready to play football (soccer), run races, have their picture taken, and just hold the hands of the strange new visitors.
A few of the team members took some time to meet with Barnabas, the enthusiastic headmaster. They learned that in addition to a recent theft in school books from the facility, the school has gradually fallen on hard times. The group quickly identified some key issues and explored several options to getting things on track again – stay tuned.
After taking a school photo, we decided to walk to the new bridge that Carol’s team had built just last year. On our way we ran into some local children who apparently found us more interesting than their studies. Naturally we wouldn’t support such behavior towards school, however they did happen to know where to find fresh mangos, and offered to retrieve them for us out of the tree, so we turned a blind eye, naturally;)
Back at the guest house we had our lunch of rice, beef, pineapple, fresh avocado, and MANGO – well received after so much walking. There was little time to rest as the team was quickly off to the St. Raphael Small Home for The Physically Challenged. On the way we walked through the Sigomre market, where two men told Peter, our guide here in Africa, that they wanted a “mzungo” wife, and that Katie was worth ten cows. They are still patiently waiting for Katie’s answer.
Upon reaching the Small Home, where the highly capable and industrious Sister Leliea houses and cares for children with both physical and mental disabilities, the team was moved by some of the life stories of the children. “Disability is not inability” can be found painted in large black letters for all to see on the wall of the interior courtyard. Where most of the community sees these students as outcasts and burdens, the facility deems otherwise and is determined to provide each of the kids with skills that empower and create productive members of society.
Tailoring, hairdressing, gardening, raising chickens, craft making and even computer skills are taught. Completely self-sufficient, the Small Home utilizes farming and rain water collection to provide the necessary resources of life. The afternoon instantly became an unforgettable highlight of the trip.
Our trip home was again accompanied by a horde of children, screaming and laughing as they skipped along behind us. They kept their distance though, convinced that David, Mike, Gabe, and Adam would eat them if too much havoc was caused. We walked back quickly, picking up the pace as the sky turned a deep and dark threatening gray. We reached our house just before the first rain drops hit the ground and just in time for dinner. Anxious to see what the next day would have in store, we went to bed.