Jasmin's Story

1st. August 2009

So much happens every day, I feel like I’ve been here weeks already! Nancy and Jonas and their family are such wonderful people, I feel completely at home in their home and we share a lot of laughter and fun together. Their house is lovely and I even have my own room!? There is no running water or electricity though they do have a generator which they turn on for around an hour each evening. To wash we just have a bucket of water and sometimes if your lucky its warm. The toilet is just a hole in the ground as expected…. I have been really well and starting to get used to the heat now, it's been 30 deg every day and the lowest I have seen the temp is 24 and that is at 6 in the morning before sunrise!

I have a programme of what I do each day; on Mondays and Thursdays I go around the widows of the community to see how they are doing, and I have bought lots of maize flour so that I can take that for them each time, along with matches so that they can cook ugali (the traditional Kenyan staple of their diet). On Tuesdays and Wednesdays I teach the children and basically keep them happy and entertained all day (as well as in the afternoons and evenings of all the other days). On Saturday the orphanage is open for all the community, some of the mostly needy come on that day for activities and fun. On Sunday we have a service in the morning and then the day proceeds as normal. Oh, and Friday is my day off :).

So far the experience has just been wonderful, the children at first were very shy but they have really come to love me now which is so nice. At first I felt a bit unsure about all the things I am responsible for doing with them but I just got on with it and I love it now. I have been teaching them many things, about penguins and Antarctica for example, where things are in the world, English, maths, weather, teaching them new songs (which yes means singing in front of a lot of people hehe but again I've jut got used to it) and telling them stories. We do a lot of singing and dancing too which is wonderful, the children regularly just burst into song and are so happy when they do so. We all also sit and talk about life a lot, they are all amazingly deep thinkers (which I think is a lot to do with the Christian faith which is so very central in their lives) and many of them have wanted to tell me about their lives which is really special…. Most of them are still extremely thin and many have swollen bellies from lack of nutrition. But if you ask them they will tell you that they are very happy and that they have faith in God to lead them to a positive future…..

I'm working to organise the painting and redecorating of their classroom and dorm because at the moment it is just stone walls. We are making signs saying welcome to our classroom in English and Swahili at the moment. I am also going to buy them new mattresses (as they are so worn out they barely exist any more) and as they love to do artwork (they will sit for hours with a pencil and paper and draw) I am going to decorate the place with all of their beautiful pictures and work on getting a regular art class set up for after I leave. We are also organising for a swing to be built and put in place in the orphanage.

I think the hardest thing so far was when I visited the widows of the community yesterday, most are living in mud houses with leaking roofs (it rains heavily daily), either alone or with children to support, with no source of income and, previous to the help from the project, no support. I interviewed all of them and the things they told me were so heart-wrenching and their suffering was so very obvious. They were so happy when I gave them their flour but I so want to do more….

I am shattered at the end of every day but it really is so rewarding what I am doing and their beautiful smiles and endlessly positive and grateful spirit keeps me going even when I'm finding the emotional side hard. I am just so glad I have the opportunity to be here and help, everyone I have met is so in need and I'm so glad I can help a little.