Wednesday, 8 February 2017
My Date With Blessings; the home for little angels.
We walk in through the gate at around 3:05 PM. We were meant to be here by two o’clock. But I will shamefully admit that most of us, in this our “landing party” are African timers. So yeah, we arrive here one hour late. The home is not far from Ruai town, so the group had to walk here. Four of my friends and I are the last to walk in through the gate. We had lagged behind as a result of this injury I have on my leg. So they have to walk at my pace.
You see, the way this home is designed, it is such a way that, the buildings have been built at the edges, thus leaving a vast open space in the middle. Basically, it makes it look like a playing field enclosed by houses. We walk in through the gate to see an empty ground and for a moment I am disappointed thinking we’ve arrived during nap time for the kids or something. But I can’t see my fellow group members as well, and it is so quiet so I am baffled for a moment. But then, my friend who has been here numerous times, points at a long building at one end of the field, it is the dining hall. Of course that’s the only place they could be at. And so we make our way towards it.
I hobble in through the door, followed closely by my friends, to see a mixture of little faces peering up at us and slightly older faces (My friends who already got here earlier and took their seats). The kids are not that many, full house, they are thirty five in total, but today some of them are in boarding schools so they are roughly twenty five in total. My friends and I walk around the room saying Hi to the kids, I prefer a fist bump, I feel like it shifts the power from me to them, in a weird way, you know, not my gigantic hand wrapped around their tiny ones.
I have to pick a place to sit. After a quick glance around the room, I see two little kids seated next to each other, a boy and a girl. By the look of it, they look three-ish or four-ish. I walk towards them and lift the boy off his seat and put him on my lap and take the seat. In retrospect, I should have picked the girl. This little boy is a ka-terrorist I tell, a cute little terrorist. From the moment I sit down to end of that day, I know no peace. Lol. He is a headstrong boy. A curios little boy. One moment he is struggling with my water bottle, trying to open it and asking what was inside, “Nini iko ndani? Ni maji?” he asks peering up at me? I nod trying to keep it low since someone is speaking at the front. But I think it is true what they say about men and their inability to whisper because this little boy has no chills, he talks so loudly. Lol. My efforts to shush him bearing no fruits. Soon he is tired of playing with my water bottle and now he is after my glasses. After a small light hearted struggle which includes soft head butting struggle, he wins one and I win the other and manage to give my glasses to a friend to just hold on to them for me. This my kalittle friend, he is cheeky too. The small girl seated next to us knows no peace either. Dennis ni kamchokozi and it takes a lot from me to keep his hands away from the little girl who is just looking on helplessly. But it was a lot of fun. We were probably making a little noise, but I am sure the speakers at the front understood it. They could clearly see my struggles with this little terrorist. Hahaha!
Soon the speeches and presentations session is over. I can’t believe that took all of 45 Minutes. Between my onslaught with little Dennis and our chairman thinking that it is a very good idea for all the guys who we came with to stand at the front and present our own songs to the kids, time seems to fly. It is snack time already. I jokingly threaten Dennis that he won’t get any because he has been mean to Steph (Stephanie in full). Woi! This is a yuuge mistake on my part. You see my Dennis is someone who doesn’t like it when people joke with his snacks! We are thrown into yet another war and I end up losing and as a result of my tyrannical utterances, which seemed to suggest that I am the one in a position of power when in fact I am not, I am now to feed him, hold his juice cup and make sure that no sooner than he taps my arm to indicate that he wants a sip, the cup is already on his lips! Nourishing him. This kids totally has me in his reigns. But it is okay. It is fun.
I try chatting up Steph who seems a bit overwhelmed by the whole thing, the presence of all the new faces. At some point, I am forced to admit to myself that I am not as good with the ladies as I like to think I am. I mean, I can’t even get a smile from her! Damn! But I try not to push it too much, social anxiety is a real thing and I am sure she will open up at her own time.
We are soon done with the Snacks and it is time for my favourite time of our visits!! The playing with the kids!! You see, I love this part coz, apart from all the fun it bestows from the playing with this little angels and seeing them having fun and laughing with reckless abandon, like all that matters is this moment, the here and the now- It also takes me way back to when I was a kid. I get to relive my childhood again. And I do this shamelessly. Because, you see, this is the sole purpose of my being here. I am not here to care about how anyone will think me childish for doing all these, no, I am here to be all the childish I can be, I am here to have fun with this little angels!
We pile outside onto that field I told you about earlier. The one enclosed by the Home’s buildings? Yeah that one. But people can play by the way! Me some of these games I don’t even know about. You see, I grew up in the rural area and some of these games we didn’t play as children… Like “I sent a letter…”, or .. see? I even can’t remember some of the names. But it is so much fun. Either way, I decide to stick to the ones I know. No need to embarrass myself (though the fact that I know these games does not preclude the possibility of me embarrassing myself. You’ll see why in a while). I join in the Nyama Nyama Nyama game (if you don’t know this game, I don’t know which games you played as kids!) but damn, these kids are good :‘( Very soon I am in the circle amidst laughter from the kids for having jumped when they called out frog meat. I try arguing that the Chinese eat them and so it’s food but these children will hear none of it! Looks like they are having real fun throwing me into the losers circle. And I thought there’s no way I’d be embarrassed here!
I would have wanted to play football, but remember that foot injury I was telling you about? Well, it can’t allow me to do so. You see, ironically, the foot injury was suffered when playing another game, martial arts, I am a big fan of that too; but I digress. But I still manage to look on with awe as one lady, going by the name Winnie Madigizela (one of our members) takes up this game as if she were wearing a golden boot. Kumbe people have hidden talents. And not just in football by the way, because my next stop is Katii (or Mbanya for the people who grew up where I did). Well, me I am eliminated with the second throw. I guess I am not as good as I thought I was. Another embarrassment from the kids who are having a time of their lives! But there’s also Beth. She’s one of the ladies we came with. Weh, this chiq can play this game. It’s like she is invisible to the ball. Untouchable. She is giving these seasoned kids a run for their money. I think she should consider coaching this game at the Olympics level. Well, that’s assuming that it is there... I will get my revenge though. I take the ball and join the throwing side. They will know why there are no birds that dared patch on the trees around our house when I was a kid! I will hit them with this ball mpaka wajue I am no jokes! But loh! I am missing all the throws! When did I get this old!!
All in all, it is so much fun and before I even know it, it is already 6:30! And since some of us live a thousand miles away, we have to wrap up and call it day. But not before a vote of thanks and washing up the dishes we used up. Oh yeah, and Steph! Steph finally opens up. You see, at some point, we were playing with Dennis where I was throwing him up in the air and catching him. Now, Steph timidly approaches me and says, “Nichezeshe venye ulikuwa unachezesha Dennis”. Kumbe she was watching from a distance all along. So I lift her up by the armpits and throw her up in the air and catch her as she comes down. And boy is it rewarding! Because within no time she is squealing with laughter and girly screams of excitement! Damn, I can barely believe that this is the same little girl who wouldn’t even reward me with smile earlier on. Now here she is, laughing and grinning from ear to ear with excitement. Then I start whirling her round and round (because my arms are tired and I can’t throw her up anymore) and this too gives rise to a lot of giggling and laughing especially when we stop and I am struggling to stand up straight from all the dizziness of going round and round. Needless to say, my evening is made… I guess so is hers.
I gotta say though. The hardest part is saying goodbye to these kids. Especially the young ones. Some even cry and it is sad… Not my proudest moment, but I had to hide from Dennis and Steph. It would be hard to say goodbye to them especially if they started crying. I met lots of interesting kids. And if I were to speak about each one of them, this would go on for like five pages. All I know is that it was one awesome experience (as is every time we do this) and I am looking forward to the 4th of March for another dosage of this!
I could go on and on about what an awesome time I had, but sadly I have to stop here (mostly coz I am doing this while at work and my boss is starting to look at me suspiciously. Like “accounting doesn’t have this much literature young man! Are you writing a love letter or what?” well, I sort of am! It is something close to my heart). Anyway, I would like to thank one Wanjohi Wachira, our chairman. This guy is so passionate about what we do that it is inspiring. He had the option to cancel this visit, because the person who had initiated it (wanted to have a birthday party there) cancelled at the very last minute, but our very able chairman decided to go ahead with it with or without the other party and it turned to be so much fun! They say that there is no greater joy than when you help someone whom you know they will never repay you. Well, I say these kids repay me in ways they can’t even begin to imagine. Through their laughs and joyous faces!!