A lot has been going on lately but one of my more favorite moments last month was a field trip we took to Nkoaranga Orphanage with some of the older students. What was more amazing was how it all occurred. I was at school one day hanging with the kids when Isak, Richard and Simon Peter approached me. Isak has really been working on his English lately, as before this past year he was in a Kiswahili speaking school and wasn't exposed to the language much at all. After they all greeted me, Isak asked to speak to me. He then, in his broken English, told me that he and Ombeni (his best friend and another TFFTer) and the 3 other boys from his hometown of Lushoto, (Zacharia, Simon and Richard) wanted to go up to NK Orphanage. He tried to explain to me that they too are orphans, but now they are being helped and given an education by TFFT and so now they want to go to a local orphanage, (more specifically the orphanage in Ombeni's village where many of our kids come from), so that they can help the little kids there. He asked if I could pick them up from school and take them up to play and give attention to the kids and then bring them back to school later that day. I was thrilled and amazed at the compassion these young men have and continue to show. If any of you were to know Isak, you would also know that when he speaks he can't stop smiling and he often gets excited and giggles, which only adds to the sweetness of the kid. So of course, I agreed to their outing request.
The next weekend Meghann, Alley and I headed out to Usa River Academy where we then squeezed 5 grown boys in the back of our Suburu, Ombeni, the tallest, may or may not have been in the hatchback, while Alley and I squeezed our full grown (and growing thanks to all the rice and beans) bodies in the passenger seat. We headed up to NK where the kids were all waiting for us to walk up the hill and see them.
Nkoaranga Orphanage houses between 25-30 kids at any given time, all under the age of 5. It's run by Mama Upendo and Mama Andrew, along with several other Mama's who rotate care of the kids. There are typically about 3 Mama's on duty with all the kids at time.
The boys were great with the kids. Within minutes Isak had baby David in his arms, and shortly after the others followed suit and grabbed babies as well. Actually, somehow Simon, who's not a big kid, ended up with Faraja in his arms, who's probably about 3 years old and looks like she's 5 (read: meatball status), which of course had me laughing and probably hurt poor Simon's back. We brought a parachute up to play with and the little ones had a fun time running under it, lying on it, running with it and anything else they could think of. The boys then found themselves back inside for lunch and were a huge help while feeding all the babies their rice. We even saw a few faces coupled with noises to get them to open their mouths!
When we finally left, I think everyone was exhausted and happy at the same time. Isak had brought his little notebook to write memories from the day and had an ear to ear grin on his face. On our way back home we stopped off for a little ice cream to treat everyone to a day well done and then turned up the radio and sang a little Akon for the drive into school. It's truly unbelievable how much I end up learning from the young people I'm supposed to be teaching so much to each day.