Tuesday, October 21, 2008

My 2nd Home in Embu!

As of October 1st, I have found a 2nd home in Embu, the Child Welfare Society. I have spent every free moment there where I have been peed on, thrown up on, bit, hugged, slobbered on, but ultimately loved by the most precious children you've ever met! This Child Welfare Society is a Catholic orphanage run by Italian nuns. A vol recommended that I visit it just to see if I can volunteer there occasionally, and so far its been the best recommendation yet. I spend my time with the toddlers (4 years-old and younger) feeding them and playing with them during and after lunch. I occasionally help out in the kitchen. Its a wonderfully run orphanage since they also have a salon and dress making school for the older children to train in a skill. The children are so happy there and its the most amazing family I've seen yet. The older kids care for the younger ones and the sisters and other workers there are just absolute outpourings of love, joy, and patience for these kids. It is a beautiful example of communal living. These kids and the staff are each other's sisters, brothers, mothers, friend...everything! And you can see the kids really love each other and are truly happy! The first day I went, I got to be with the older kids (around 7 year olds) for lunch and watched the kids serve each other and pray before they eat. I almost cried as I was watched them and served them food. I surely hope Heaven will be full of this- each of us serving one another with the most sincere and genuine love!
I have taken almost 500 pictures since I've been there and am making a small "movie" with the pics I've taken (will post when done). I've gotten to really know each of the toddlers I work with and they each have VERY distinct personalities (which you will see in the movie I'm working on). I am particularly smitten by one boy, Francis, who is by far the BIGGEST "Mama's boy" I've ever met. He clings to me (and almost any familiar female adult). He wraps his tiny arms around my legs, and for the rest of day I walk with a new appendage on my leg. If you are upset with him for any reason, he bursts in to tears terrified that he's disappointed you. But his eyes are the most innocent, "puppy dog" eyes you will ever see. I have seriously considered adopting him (but maybe I should get married first before adopting :)). I have included a movie clip of these kiddos as they pray before the meal. Warning: this could make you a little teary-eyed. I have taken more photos and videos that are posted here.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Elisa, Boys Scouts, Wrestling, and Kenya

So get this.... one of my routines in the week now is watching WWE Smack Down with my twenty-something year-old Boy Scout friends who work at the guest house I'm staying at. Seriously though, I just got done watching Kane, Cena, Kofi and Batista have a throw down while finishing my meal and chatting with Willis and Peter who are Scouts and absolutely in LOVE with WWE. Sadly, I had to break the news to Willis that WWE is not real (like Santa isn't real). He was in denial at first but finally realized that maybe the long-haired, speedo-wearing muscle men really didn't act like that in real life. I was pinching myself thinking "OMG am I really in Kenya right now watching WWE with 25-year old Kenyan Boy Scouts....someone please wake me up!" Not that its a bad thing. I actually really like it. In fact, I take comfort in it since ....ok..fine.. I used to watch WWF with my dad when I was younger and I LOVED it too. I can bond with the guys as we wince or yell "Ohhhh," "Ouch!" or "BAM!" at the stunts (and terrible acting). Ha! And you thought I'd be in some hut eating dirt....

Friday, October 10, 2008

My Close Encounter with Turning African

Funny story:
While strolling in Embu with my friend Anne, I walked past some kids on the street. As usual my "whiteness" attracts attention, especially from little curious children. Of course there was hollering of "How aarreee youuuuu?" followed by pointing, staring, and chattering in Kiswahili. Anne quickly translated to me that they said "Look at the mzungu (foreigner)! Look! Look! Wait! Don't look at her too long! She may turn African like us!"
Whew....that was close....after a few more seconds...who knows??!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Thank YOU! Yes, you!

I am overwhelmed by the encouraging responses from my first email update! Seriously, it brought tears to my eyes. Everyone who emailed me back encouraged and lifted my spirits. Thank you (Asante in Kiswahili)!!!!! You make my days so much better and keep this little tug boat keep on tuggin'!