Inspired Words

These are the experiences of our volunteers in Kenya.

June 12: Saying goodbye is hard to do

Posted in Kenya on June 16, 2009

We're all happy to end the week by spending a day at Malaika Kids.

We all feel so much more at ease this time, as most, if not all of the children recognize us. Tabitha, (whom we've nicknamed Drooly, for leaving behind trails of saliva wherever she goes,) immediately raises her arms up to us to give us a hug. Abbey has also developed an attachment to Quentin, and clings onto him for most of the day, despite being shy with everyone else.

Instead of splitting into groups, we all pile into one room to play with the kids. There's not much of a fixed schedule because Fridays are half days for them. As we practice writing out numbers and reciting the alphabet, George picks up a ball and bounces it around the classroom. Despite attempts to get him to slow down, the ball rebounds uncontrollably against the walls, taking turns to whip us in the face. Eventually, Mike gets riled up too and begins running around. He's frustrated about something, as he screams, kicks and hits the other children. Tabitha starts crying and all hell breaks loose. The teachers remain calm somehow, while the rest of us are frantic. I have no idea how the teachers have the energy or stamina to do this everyday, and I admire them for it.

By 12:30pm, we're all drained. But even so, saying bye to the kids is so difficult. We've only spent a couple of days with them, and we've already developed such an attachment. For Quentin, it's particularly hard to leave Abbey, whom he absolutely adores.
Then, we say goodbye to the teachers. Jane cries as she hugs Kayla, and we all turn away before we start to cry too. Without hesitation, we all promise to come back to visit them soon. I can't imagine now coming back to Maai-Mahiu someday.

Back at the hotel, we lounge in the sun and read. We're gearing up for our 'awards gala' this evening, which is the brainchild of Kayla, Anisha, Holly and Heidi. I have no idea what to expect, but everyone (Dominic, Mwaniki and Rocky) are coming, and knowing our team, it'll probably be a hilarious night.

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