Yesterday was a big day. After two days of orientation and Java House in Nairobi, we all hired a car for the day so that I could introduce my friends to the Dust Babies at Baruku IDP Camp. The ride there was full of conversation, zebra and baboon sightings and laughter. The ride home was silent. As Danny, another volunteer, informed me – “You’re a terrible friend to bring those girls here first.” They really did jump in head first to this trip by making Baruku their first volunteer experience in Kenya, and I admire the way that they handled themselves.
We loaded the hired van with clothes, biscuits, stickers, story books and jump ropes and were immediately the makeshift day care. Even a couple of the mothers came over to skip some rope and laughed to see us wazungu do the same. Honestly, it was great to see these people laugh about anything, they’re normally so sullen and quiet. The kids had a blast and I know that yesterday is a day they will remember for years to come.
We spent the morning in the hot sun, just playing, singing songs and passing out some new clothes (photos below, thank you to all who donated!) Then we were joined by Irene and some of her friends, including Josephine from last week. It was then that we had a conversation about the idea of a chicken farm with the committee members at Baruku. They were extremely humbled and gracious, but would like to meet with the community to talk about it before they accept. The committee struck me as very wise to do this, especially since I don’t want to invest money on a project that will fail. We’ve agreed to meet about the matter again on Monday to hear what they have to say and move forward. Hopefully George will be able to join us then and we can get busy with buying materials and drawing plans.
Baruku is depressing, and it’s hard to imagine how they will survive. Having lived on that land and making no strides forward, it’s disheartening to see, especially for people who have only been in the country for a couple of days. Because of that, I decided that we should continue down the Nakuru Highway to pay a visit to the IDP camp at Pipeline. I thought it important to end the day on a positive note – to show the rest of my group that there is hope in this situation and that things can turn around. We took a quick tour of the camp, led by Moses the camp secretary. Then my friends met the rest of the committee and heard about their needs and their attempts to move forward. We ended the day by passing out infant clothing to the new babies at the camp – at least 10 new babies were born at Pipeline in the past month. Again, thank you to all of you generous people who have donated baby clothes. They are desperately needed at the camps, and we plan on bringing another load out to distribute on Monday.
Showing off stickers and new shirts.
As I mentioned above, the ride home was silent. Everyone deals with emotional situations in different ways, and I got the chance to talk to Nikki and Heather about their initial reactions last night. I think that the entire day was spent holding back tears for these girls (and, at moments, for me too) which added to their dazed exhaustion. I mentioned in the previous post that my friends are all on Safari this weekend, and I hope that seeing the other part of Kenya will give them time to process what they experienced at the IDP Camps. Please see our Yes We Kenya site to follow their experiences and read their reactions to the various projects we will be visiting over the next month.