As I was preparing to come to Kenya this year, I was trying to think of what to bring as a gift to the staff of Precious Kids Center. These mamas work from 5am to 10pm bathing kids, dressing kids, changing diapers, cooking meals for nearly 100 people, feeding kids, washing dishes, cleaning the house, changing more diapers and more clothes, and cooking more meals...it's incredible to watch them in action. And they do all of this with big smiles on their faces--their love for each child evident by the way they look at and speak to each one (even those who are non-responsive). It's amazing.
All this to say, I look forward to bringing small gifts to each one on each visit. Last year, I brought a bottle of nail polish and a bracelet...this year, I was leaning toward something bright and fun for their kitchens. When I asked Sammy what she thought they might like, she said, "Aprons! I found two aprons in a box of donations and they've all been fighting over them..."
So, I wrote a quick Facebook post asking if anyone had gently-loved aprons they'd like to donate and I was amazed at the responses! In a matter of days, I had just over a dozen aprons! (With more on their way!)
Monday morning, when most of the house moms were around, Phoebe (the Precious Kids social worker) arranged for each mom to come into the kitchen one-by-one to receive her gift.
Not only were they excited and appreciative in the moment, but several of the moms have worn them every day this week...it was definitely the perfect gift! Thank you so much to those of you who donated!
I wanted you to see their individual reactions, since each woman is so wonderfully expressive and unique.
Alice (Mama Naomi)
Jackie (Mama Kevin)
Susan (who has stopped to thank me five more times since this photo)
Mama Owen (who's yelling to someone in the other room about how much she loves this while this photo is being taken)
Mama Maureen and Anet
Anet and her two girls, Joy and Imani
My friend Michelle dropped off a few children's aprons as well...the kids love them!
Jack, Linah, Male and Trinah
Lillian and Stellah help prep many of the meals, so they were also excited to have their very own aprons.
And a few kids just wanted to be part of the photoshoot: Zablon and Ericka
The PKC house moms
What an amazing group of women!
Tuesday morning, Mama Zippee, Senge, and Atieno received theirs.
Mama Zippee jumped up and down, clapped her hands, and (in a very loud voice) said, "THANK YOU VERY MUCH, ALICE! MAY GOD BLESS YOU!" (She's my favorite!)
When I posted about the aprons, another friend (also named Michelle, coincidentally!) mentioned that she didn't have any aprons, but would love to contribute, if there were anything else needed.
I spoke with Sammy and decided that the men could use some good flashlights. (Only 1 of 6 of the men has electricity in his home, so flashlights come in handy!)
Michelle and her husband Zach found heavy-duty flashlights (on sale!) and dropped them off just before I left. The men have been so excited to receive them (but less excited to pose for photos!)
At lunchtime that afternoon, I sat down next to Cyril to eat. She reached down and grabbed my hand and we sat, holding hands, eating our beans and rice. Sunny came by to take a picture and Cyril turned to look me in the eye. Cyril may not have words, but she definitely has a great sense of humor!
Manu, Ezekiel, and Frank
When we arrived at the house, the neighbor girls (who go to school with the big kids) came out to see if they'd like to play badminton together. Needless to say, nobody watched Batman that afternoon!
A few hours later, Sunny and I made hot chocolate and popcorn for everyone. It took three rounds, but everyone had their share! (Hot Chocolate on the left and popcorn on the right)
Back at the center, we played with the kids for a bit before heading out...but not before snapping a quick photo with Manu. (He's the best!)
And, of course, some quick snuggles with Suzie
After a very long day, we decided to treat ourselves to some Indian food for dinner.
Monday was filled with gifts and activities, but it was no match for the rest of the week! We packed our schedules to the brim with house visits, special trips to town, and even a few small business start-ups. So many more stories (and photos) to come!