Thursday was an amazing day crammed it full of activities and people we love.
Wednesday afternoon, we stopped on our way back from town and delivered the beginnings of a small shop for Mama Sammy. We brought boxes of single-use salt, soap, sugar, tea, and matches, plus onions and tomatoes for her to sell out front of their home on the main road.
Sammy lives down the road from Precious Kids Center and is the smiliest little boy I've ever met. When we stop to say hello, he freezes, then smiles, raises his shoulders and giggles...my goodness it's the cutest!
Thursday morning, as we drove by, we saw that they'd already begun construction on a very small store. I'm hoping to get a picture once it's all set-up, but for now, you'll have to settle for this adorable picture of Sammy.
I'm working with Sammy to update the Precious Kids Center website with photos and stories of newer children and staff. So, before we started our day, I set about taking as many photos from the list as I could.
As I took a photo of Jackie and her family (she's been on staff for awhile, but since she has a new baby, I thought it might be time for a new photo.) She then asked for one of just us (and Samson, of course.)
Wednesday, we worked with Phoebe to make a list of all of the Precious Kids families that live in two local neighborhoods and then ran to town to purchase house gifts for each of them.
Thursday morning, with the help of Hilary and Ezekiel, we packed bags of salt, sugar, ugali flour, lentils, and soap for each of the ten families we'd visit over the next few days.
With a van full of friends, we headed to Shimolatewa. First stop...one of our favorite families in town!
Lucy, Christine, Baba Patrick, and Ericka
We've been visiting this family's home since 2008, but this is the first time I've met their dad!
While I talked with the girls about school and home, Sunny was talking with a neighbor, who ended up asking me--and then Sunny--to dance. It was really something.
Up next: the Shimo bridge. I've been so excited to bring Sunny here! It's gorgeous!
Phoebe's the best tour guide around
From the other side
Sunny and Hilary
Our little crew walking toward Mama Rispah's house
I don't have a picture of Mama Rispah's, but hers is another home we've been visiting for years. Two of her grandchildren attend Greenfields Primary with the big kids from Precious Kids and the two youngest attend school at Precious Kids. She was very sweet when we walked up and sent a neighbor to go gather the children--who have all grown so big!
While we waited for the kids to return home, we walked down the street to see Grace and her family. Grace was born with spina bifida and had an incredibly successful corrective surgery at Kijabi Hospital a little over a year ago. It's amazing!
On our way to the final home, we ran into Mama Rispah's grandchildren! The oldest holding the youngest.
On the walk to Mama Newton's
We spent some time chatting with Karen and her son Newton before heading back to the van. The kids took us back through a different path that led us under the bridge. I'd never been down past the stream before...my goodness, it's beautiful.
We headed back to PKC and switched kids. Japheth and his brother Pascal, Manu and Gracie jumped in the van for lunch in town before we headed to visit their families.
Gracie chatted and giggled through most of lunch.
Gracie was born with a spinal deformity that caused her to walk hunched over and put stress and pressure on her lungs. About a month ago, she had a surgery at Kijabi Hospital. Though she still has a noticeable protrusion on her back, she is walking much straighter--and is definitely back to her cheerful self. Last week, she went for a check-up with Eva (sitting to the right of Phoebe). It's about a 6-hour drive each way and Eva took Gracie by herself and returned the next day. We decided to take her for a nice lunch as a thank you for a long journey and a sleepless night.
After lunch, we dropped Eva at her home and drove to the village of Birunda to visit Mama Manu and Mama Gracie. We'd hoped to see Mama Victor, but she was at work.
When we walked up to their home, Mama Manu looked up from her laundry and said, "Ah, Alice! It's been too long!" and greeted us with big hugs. Even Manu's sister, Francis--who used to be so shy that she wouldn't even look at us, came over and greeted me. (She then ran off and hid.) Mama Manu took us into the house and we chatted for a bit wandering around to take pictures of their land.
Sunny and Manu in front of one of the small homes on their plot
Mama Manu and her grandchildren (and our crew)
We said our goodbyes and walked back toward the car--we'd parked next to Gracie's house hoping her mother would be home from work by the time we left. Sure enough, we began to unlock the van when we heard small voices calling Gracie's name.
We turned and saw her two sisters, the bigger holding their small brother, Peter. I smiled and said hello and he reached for me...how could I say no to snuggling this tiny pants-less baby for a few minutes?!
Gracie and her mama--can you see the resemblance?
Gracie was tired from a long afternoon, so we made our way back to Precious. When we arrived, we found a few of the Moms outside taking a break (something that rarely happens with a workload of their size!) We immediately grabbed the bag of nail polishes and sat down with them!
Squeezing in a few minutes with Suzie, who I hadn't really seen all day.
Late afternoon in the living room
We were on our way out, too, but the moms told us to wait. They surprised us with big bowls of ugali and cabbage, this time the cabbage was fried with onions and tomatoes! I must have said, "Oh my gosh, I'm so happy right now!" at least six times during the meal.
Eating one of my favorite foods, with so many of my favorite people, while watching the sunset...that's a pretty great way to end a day.