Week 2 - Sister Freda's
Trip Start Aug 26, 2012
129Trip End Dec 22, 2013
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In the afternoon of the same day, I started saying “Lord give me strength”. A volunteer who was only here for 4 days, wanted to do something with the orphans, and she had decided to buy beads and make necklaces. As her assistant, we went over to their house and tried to calmly introduce the project to them. We thought we were being clever by giving each kid a kit with beads and string and it worked for about 30 seconds. But once they started dropping beads the others would dive bomb for them and others would just knock beads out of each other’s hands. The string we used was also not very good and kept fraying. After about an hour I was about ready to get out of dodge but stuck it out until everyone had a necklace around their neck. By the next day maybe half still had their necklaces. But they were still smiling, so I guess it was worth it.
On Wednesday of this week, thanks to Celyne (another volunteer at Sister Freda’s) I was able to go to the district hospital in Kitale and spend the morning at the Volunteer Testing Clinic. This is where people can go to get tested for HIV or other STD’s and get counselling for free. A nurse by the name of Sister Veronica gave a tour of the facilities and then allowed us to set in on three sessions (a HIV test can be done in 15 mins)
My painting project wrapped up a day before I left with a nice thick coat of grey paint on the floor. The walls look great if I do say so myself and I was able to get a plumber in to fix the leaky faucet in the sink and get the toilet working again -all for 2200 KSh, about $25.00. I wish I had taken a “before” picture of the room and I’m waiting to get an after shot from Celyne who will be staying at Sister Freda’s until mid-October. It was slightly more work than I thought it would be, but definitely worth it. All the doctors, nurses and nurse aides would periodically check in on my progress and they were amazed and grateful. They were amazed at the fact I knew how to paint and kept asking if I painted for a living because they said I was doing such a good job. They were grateful because it was a really dull and dirty room with bad memories of the last patient
On my last day Emily, Celyne and I took a trip to the small town of Kiminini to visit another project sponsored by VillageVolunteers, a school called Pathfinder Academy which also has an initiative that makes ceramic filters with sawdust, and a particular type of clay that will fit in your basic white pail with a spout attached. It is called a Cera Maji and it will filter water for drinking and it is good for life. When the water flow gets weak it means the filter needs to be scrubbed and then it’s good to go again. It has been sold and donated all across Kenya and other countries in Africa. And I’m told it also has been exported to parts of Canada. We got a tour of how they make the filters but couldn’t actually see the real process because they were waiting for a shipment of clay to come in.
Afterwards we got a tour of the school that has classes from pre-nursery to standard 8(same a Grade 8). There are both boarding and day students that attend this school. There are more boarders then dorms so they’ve had to convert some class rooms into dorms
My little buddy Moses was scarce my last day which was rare because as long as I was around, he was attached to my hip after my first day. My goal was to get some pictures of him, which I managed to get before dinner. After dinner I went into the hospital to find him and spend some time with him. I found him watching a nurse put an IV into a child’s hand. When he saw me and gave a big smile and said “beba” (carry in Swahili). After I picked him up and held him for a bit, through our method of communication he led me to the linen closet because he knew he needed sheets and a blanket for his bed and he wanted to go to bed. So I was able to put him to bed and kiss him good night. There were definitely tears in my eyes.. He is a very sweet and smart boy and I wonder what his future is going to be like. I’m not in a position to right now but I would like to sponsor him to go to school (the one we visited above). Aside from getting an education, he needs the structure. Living in the hospital is not a solution and he is healthy enough to be a boarder at school.
My time here has flown by and it’s been a really unique experience. I’ve met so many nice people and have had so many different opportunities. But it feels right to be moving on and seeing what’s next.