Snow, Hail, Mud, apes and big cats…. my trip to East Africa had it all and still, my final day managed to top the previous experiences!I had the pleasure to visit “Flying Kites”, an orphanage in Njabini, around 100km outside Nairobi. Its run by the charity if my friend Mike, who I shared a tent with on Everest. In a romantic stone house at the foothills of the Aberdare mountains live 37 kids – from two to eighteen. All of them have lost their parents and had a very rough upbringing before finally finding a home with Flying Kites. As I arrive most of the kids are in school, so its up to Steve, a volunteer from New Jersey to show me around and introduce me to the local stuff that runs the house…a great operation. But the higlight are the kids. I have the opportunity to visit the school (Flying Kites also operates a primary school – around 60 pupils, part from the village, part from the orphanage), which is a 40 minute walk through amazing countryside away. Paul, the headteacher (an avid Chelsea fan 🙁 but he assures me Arsenal fans are in the majority here) gives me the insights. I take a quick sneak into mathclass – I am surprised – did I do square roots with eleven? Teaching language is english, but next to their native Kikuyu the kids also learn Swahili.
I am attending lunch break, and while I remember from my school days that we tried to extend the break as long as possible, these kids eat quickly to return back to their books as fast as possible!! Wow!
Just the first and second grader start playing and wrestling on the lawn….especially my camera provides a useful toy and picture after picture is snapped by the kids, not always sure on the motive though (see short movie below 🙂 After 45 minutes chasing, getting chased and climbed on by lots of youngsters, I am exhausted, and as school starts for the afternoon sessions I can relax in the calm.
But its not for long before the hurricane makes landfall again (= the kids returning back from school) – like a stampede they rush into the house, enjoying their freedom and the coming weekend. I am getting shown new born rabbits, and allowed to kick around a few balls. However not before long its time for me to say goodbye – my plane to HK is waiting!
Paul (also know as the lion:) – a small boy holds, onto me as I need to bid my final fareawell – a few moments earlier he told me that I am now his Paul number 3 – there is Saint Paul, Headteacher Paul and Uncle Paul (me:)
Before I can reach the car, Njeri with two years the youngest, hands me a bunch of flowers (freshly plucked from the garden) with the biggest smile imaginable – I had totally forgotten it is Valentines Day!