08 April 2017

Our First Full Day In Town

After a really great night's sleep, we were ready for our first full day in Kitale. 

Sunny mentioned she'd never been on a motorcycle before and it only felt appropriate that her first experience be through the streets of Kitale. So we called up the most trusted piki (motorcycle taxi) driver in town and made our way back to Precious Kids Center.

As soon as I got on the motorcycle, David started through the list of people he hopes return to Kitale soon: Cassie, Meghan, Jacob...and the list goes on. He asked about each of their lives and when they would come back to see him.

When I took this picture, David said Cassie had taken another just like it and put it on the internets. He asked if I'd do the same with this one and I said, "Oh, absolutely! You'll be famous!" He, of course, knew I was joking, laughed and said, "Oh, Alice!"

(To our mothers: I promise I waited until we were off the busy street to have David turn and face the camera)

We were greeted by a handful of kids standing just inside the gate. The most memorable, of course, being Bramwel, who said, "Oh, hi." and went back to playing in the chicken feed.

As we made the rounds, saying hello to everyone, we stumbled upon Allan and Willy who had gathered outside to watch the men working on the well. Willy was not interested in having his photo taken--or his concentration interrupted.

Allan...as smiley as ever.


Trinah and Sunny were inseparable! Look at those smiles!

Suzie was making sure all of her treasures (grass, string, hair) were safely stored between her toes.
She's just so wonderfully bonkers.


Manu and Jabal in their matching Yankee shirts.

The boys take turns running and catapulting off of this tire. 
It's simultaneously breathtaking and heart-stopping.



Can you spot the treasures?


Though we planned our trip around Sunny's Spring Break, I'd also been planning to come in April when all of the big kids are out of school. (They're in year-round school here, so they have a month-long break three times a year.) It's so fun to have them around--to hear about their lives, watching them care for the younger kids, and have their help for the projects we're planning while we're in town!

Two of my favorites: Manu and Ezekiel
(After this picture, Ezekiel said, don't you already have pictures of us? Why do you need to take more?)

Sunny has been trying to learn a few Swahili phrases and, man, were the kids happy to help! Marvelous (on Sunny's right) and Maureen (on Sunny's left) sat with her for over an hour writing out lists of terms, making sure each was spelled correctly, and even quizzing Sunny on a few of the words she'd learned earlier in the day.


Look at their sweet little lists! Sunny said they'd stop to compare to make sure they weren't giving her the same words. Oh man, I love those girls!

And then it was lunchtime. When friends had asked what I was hoping to do on this trip, I had said, really all I wanted to do was feed kids and snuggle kids until I was covered in food and dirt and drool...and, if those two things were accomplished, everything else was icing on the cake.

So, sitting with Rooney this afternoon, feeding him mashed potatoes as he danced to the music on the TV and alternated between giving me thumbs up and the okay sign, was step one to the ideal Kitale visit!

On my last few visits, Marvelous would hide as soon as the camera came out...yesterday, she tapped me on the shoulder and said, in perfect English, "Alice. Can we take a photo together?!"


I've been working with Sammy to update the Precious Kids website, since there are a few newer kids whose stories haven't been shared yet. Phoebe, the PKC social worker, pulled out a list and arranged for each new child to line up outside on the step so I could take a photo of each one. She's amazing! We were done in about 5 minutes! I'm so excited to get those smiling faces up for you to see!

Of course, taking pictures of some kids leaves others feeling a bit overlooked...so we took quite a few more of the crowd that had gathered.

Sherry, Quinta, Moses, and Manu

Check out these big grins! Manu insisted that he put his arms around us. 
(I love Rael's squinty-eyed smile!)


And I'll never pass up a chance at a photo with Suze!
Suzie, Marvelous and Eric David (who, for the first time said about 4 full sentences to me!)

One of the newer little boys in the house is John. John is about 7 years old and blind. He was found wandering around town on his own and some local officers knew Sammy, called her about bringing him to PKC.

She sent me a picture of him a few months ago and I burst in to tears every time I looked at him. I can't explain it--I just love him. I could not wait to meet him!

Look at that sweet face! He's not quite ready to be my friend yet, (I may be trying too hard) but I think we'll get there.

I try to bring a few new movies with me every time I visit...they are extremely appreciated during school breaks. Remember how long and boring the days could be during summer? It's nice to have a new movie or two to watch!

After lunch, I sat down next to Manu while they watched Happy Feet...asking him about school and his family and wondering if we could go visit his mom and take Sunny to see his village sometime next week. He's my favorite.

Next thing I knew, Sunny was calling my name. When I looked over, she was taking a picture. I had no idea how large the crowd had grown around us!

(My blurry hand making sure Manu was in the photo, too.) 


Lillian walked over to give one of the kids a cup of water and I knew she'd try to avoid being in the picture. But look at Moses' face--the sheer panic that the water would be given to someone else--I love it.

Given the list above, I think we can call this trip a success already. Honestly, this is exactly what I wanted from my time here: dog piles and conversations over meals...and it's only been two days! We still have church visits, home visits, dance parties, CHAPATI.

Oh my goodness, I'm excited for all that these weeks will hold!!!

1 comment:

Pete DiLallo said...

Thanks for the brief history and especially all the photos of the children who love you. And it appears Sunny is fitting right in too. You are doing a great job taking cafe of these youngsters. I would have loved to join you two. Maybe next year..XOXOX Papa D.