Wednesday, June 13, 2012
First Day in Kibera
After breakfast we loaded up on the bus to go to Kibera. I could not have been more excited. There were a few times driving to Kibera that I thought we would die, and even more on the way back. Riding with the window open next to me I was once again introduced to the smell of Nairobi, burnt oil and trash, and clutch. We arrived in Kibera after about 20 minutes of driving. I was greeting with the sight of an entire hillside covered with rusted corrugated tin roofing. Walking to the school we crossed a "bridge" that crossed over "doodoo rapids," a river that was completely black due to waste and pollutants, really gross. Kibera smells, a lot. It really is a dump where mud houses have been built.
The fence itself is fenced off with two entrances, both guarded. The compound is comprised by five buildings, three two story buildings and two single story. Only four of these buildings are used for teaching about 600 kids, the classrooms are full as can be. Many of the kids are some of the funniest and cutest I have ever encountered. After walking around the compound and played with some of the Biashara ladies' children we headed out of Kibera for lunch.
After eating we returned to the school compound only to find that all of the children were out or recess. As soon as we were spotted we were swarmed. They loved us, and I can only guess because we were white and american. One thing that the kids kept doing was rubbing my arm, pretty much constantly. What was weird though was that they would rub my arms with their hands, arms and even their faces. I am still unsure as to their reasons for doing so. However, I did laugh quite a bit when a kid rubbed me with his face and declared "now I'm white like you!" Other kids would make similar remarks like "I want your color!"
These kids are just like any others, they want to play with anyone that will give them attention, especially if you happen to be 6'3'' and white (oh, hey look at that!). I couldn't give an accurate number of how many kids I had picked up into the air, arm wrestled, chasing, and just playing with. After about an hour, I was exhausted. Luckily, Isaac, a grade 8 student, was happy to just talk. It helped that he was almost fluent in English and was often translating for his friends who had joined our conversation. Our conversation ranged from my age, my university, my favorite food, different questions about what I owned back home, my family (if I had parents, many of the kids are raised by one parent), to how white my cousin is and really any question that came to their curious minds. After about three hours of conversation and play with a but of kids, it was time to leave Kibera and head back to the house to clean up and eat dinner.
I have been here for a day and the Lord has humbled me and shown we so many things that I take for granted. I am so thankful for Isaac, John, and Andrew and their probing questions that caused me to think about my life and how the Lord has blessed me so and how little I appreciate what I have.
Keep the prayers coming, specifically or strength, one day in and I'm exhausted. Thanks for the prayers so far!
[all of these photos were taken by my cousin Daniel]