Tuesday, December 4, 2007

It sounds weird that the next verse should be "school's out until early January." Still getting used to the hemisphere switch.

For almost all of the 21 new TFFT kids placed in school this September/October, last week marked the end of their first term at Fikiria Kwanza Academy. The older students preparing to enter secondary school had to stay a little while longer, but the wadogo got to go back to their homes and foster homes for the first time in three months.

That's a long time to be away for someone Neema's age.

Joakim, too.

But they were happy on this day: summer vacation, a box of Crayons and an escape from the monotony of the less-than-stellar cuisine they're getting from the Fikiria Kwanza kitchen.

Joyce wanted to go home so bad, she went the five-year-old route and just straight up whined incessantly.

"Nataka kurudi nyumbani," she moaned, not wanting to wait another instant.

"Ngoja tu," I'd say, telling her to wait just a while longer. "Utakwepo mapema."

Joyce was ready to GO.

Seeing as we still don't have a car, and may never get one at this rate, taking the Nkoaranga kids home involved lots of squeezing.

The entire ride up from Kilala, I periodically kept peeking my head back to observe the facial expressions on all of our kids. Remember what it was like to have your parents come pick you up from summer camp, after two weeks or a month away from home? It was tough being gone that long as such a little kid. Multiply the excitement you remember feeling on those final days of camp by six if you went to a mama's boy two week camp, or three if you want to real man four week camp, and you'll have an idea of how close Veronica, Amani, Joakim, Daniel, Odemari, Neema, Roichi and Joyce all were to busting at the seams.

Hunter and I were about to restock an entire neighborhood with its most valuable commodity: beaming, giggling children.

Skips are always pretty good indications that a kid is psyched. They'd been smiling all morning, but it wasn't until the final stretch that I saw some actual skipping. School was out for the summer, after all. If I was that age, I'd be skipping too.

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