Today was NUTS! thats all I feel like writing.
I’m exhausted and today proved that I may just be in way over my head. Thank God for Kendall cause honestly I think I’d be crazy to come here and think that I can help this village alone. Honestly, you tackle one problem and then you realize there are about 14 more that exist. On a side note though I had such a laugh today walking through the village with Kendal on our way home from a 3 HOUR cast out the demons, women having Jesus seizures Pentecostal Church service. She went into a speech about how it is here and she is exhausted just doing one thing that can take all day to get done. I have to video record it and upload it cause it was a perfect rendition of a day in the life of an African village. example: to wash your feet – go walk to well, lift water, pour into bucket, carry bucket to house, transfer water to another bucket, wash feet, go outside return bucket and feet dirty again. total time taken 35 minutes. Then this one, go to get a few groceries – get dressed, find a motorbike taxi takes 20 mins, sit on motor bike 30 mins, transfer to matatu, wait on matatu till its full 45 mins, drive 60 mins, go through town, go into store, get stuff, pay, go find a matatu, wait till its full, drive, transfer to motorbike total time taken 7 hours (NO JOKE) nothing here is easy. NOTHING. Make tea, go to well, get bucket, lift water, transfer to another bucket, warm coals, transfer to another bucket….. I think you get the drift.
Well anyway, to get to the point. We had discussed this water project this morning and went over the details and the costs. It seemed rational to have running clean water for the house and the orphans. We looked at the costs when the contractor came over and for me to fund this alone was simply expensive. I had to really have them look at their costs and try to bring the expenses down. We had agreed on a price of $400 to make a simple water line through the house, and this is just a basic line and nowhere near the kind of lines they need for efficient water flow. So as it goes when I give a green light and hand over some money then action begins and within hours we have the start of the wood being delivered to build the posts to hold the pump and generator. All is good right? so far… just wait.
Next we take the tasks of organizing all the donations. Now this was totally awesome. Even when I saw it laid out I was completely overwhelmed by how much everyone actually gave. We had to take a few hours to really sort through how every child in the orphanage will get something. Whether it be a pencil, a toothbrush, crayons or whatever… also that the school is equipped to with these resources in supply and putting aside packages to do home visits with some of the families and ensure they receive something and then looking at the stuff that kids that actually have sponsors are getting. I am telling you it was a a lot of work. We basically piled it all into sections and we had tasks, Kendal organized the packages for the teachers and a few of the home visits, Francis put aside stuff for the school, I organized the sponsored kids and then we put aside the individual items that all 200 kids will get something of. This in itself was an ordeal but a very good problem to have. I assure you.
Now just when you have it all organized…. 14 kids and counting. It comes up that Kendall mentions the show we have back home 19 kid and counting and how crazy it is that this woman has all these kids, well Francis is not shocked and kind of looks at her like and??? so we then find out about the lady next door lady. 14 KIDS! and three of the oldest ages 15, 16 and 17 now also have kids. Guess where all these kids live…… Well look at this pic (not all kids made the photo) I wish you could see how they lived. We took some of the donations like toothbrushes and soap and walked over there. they live in a house that is made of mud. The entire house is about the size of a 9×9 bedroom and they all sleep on the dirt floor with no mattresses, blankets, sheets or any stitch of anything. THEY HAVE NOTHING. What’s worse is that none of these kids go to school because the parents cannot afford the public school and they can not go to the Orphanage school where we are because they are not orphaned. Now, you have to understand what happens here, Kendall and I just sorted out donations for over 200 kids, We started a water line project for Pamela and Francis and then to boot there is a big discussion over Pinny’s university (Franics and Pamela’s daughter that I have taken as my own) that I will tell you about in a minute. So walking into this place where we have basically only brought two toothbrushes, a tube of toothpaste, two bars of soap and a hand made dish towel. I handed it to Kendal and said OMG this is all we have… she is like OMG YA why didn’t we come here first before we opened the donations. I was like… OMG you give it to them, she is like no way this is just awful you give it to them… so we handed it to Pinny to give them. And I stand in the corner with my back turned to them and cry. We were all jammed in the house like sardines. it was dusty, dark and smelled awful. 16 PEOPLE in this house. Kendall brought her polariad camera to take photos so she had taken this one for this family. They loved the little paper picture looking at themselves. I think that gift was better than any toothbrush or toothpaste.
Here is where the day turns into disaster. I am haunted by the fact that not one of these kids can afford to go to school and I ask why they can’t come here to the orphan school and Pamela and Francis said that they can’t take just one they would have to take them all and they are not orphans. I was like SO WHAT. Take one kid. Take the one with the most potential. In their world of hierarchy as fucking messed up as it is they can’t disrupt their order by taking any of the kids. I AM FUCKING REALLY REALLY PISSED OFF NOW!
Do you know how much a child needs to attend public school down the street here for one year? $20. that’s grade one and the total by grade 8 is $95 as it increases a bit every year. JUST $20. A lousy crummy stupid $20 can save one child in that family. At the most expensive case scenerio to send all their kids ranging from grade 1-8 is probably about $500 and everyone of those kids gets educated to grade 8 and can have a chance at highschool. A CHANCE. but because they are not orphans they can’t come to this school. I am dumb founded. Why am I putting in water lines, giving kids pencils and books and then there is the kids next door that will get NOTHING cause they are not in this system. So I make an announcement: These children are going to go to school no matter what I have to do and tomorrow I am going over there and talking to their parents about making sure they show up. I will pay for at least 3 myself. because that family is the reality of Africa.
but here is the missing part of this story, I will tie in now… As we finish organizing donations before we head over to dooms day family next door, Pinny has just arrived home from University. Literally just arrived. As you may have followed my blogs from my last trip Pinny is Francis and Pamela’s daughter and I have become very close to her. She is 17 and in my heart I feel that this girl is in many ways is my daughter. I deeply care for her and I think of her as their golden egg. She is smart and skipped two grades in school. When I was here last time, Pinny did not receive the government funding to attend universty so Pamela and Francis wanted her to stay home and help with the orphans as education was not going to be possible to pay for. Well as you may have read, that just did not sit well with me and I took her on a trip to Lamu and showed her life outside Matunda and explained that with her passion to learn french she can have life at the palm of her hands. I begged and pleaded that she do everything she can to make it to university, to make a long long long story longer..well… here we are and she is home and I say so when are you going back to write the exams and the a sudden hush hush happens and I immediately put my back up and WTF NOW?
so Pamela goes in some odd circle I don’t understand, Pinny, head down is not making sense either and I am like Francis WTF is happening. and soooooooooo it begins…. NOTHING HERE IS EASY! Francis sits me down and explains that they have no money to pay the $600 semester fee and she has been refused her exam writing till her fees are paid. so, we didn’t know how to tell you this. YOU DIDNT KNOW HOW TO TELL ME THIS??? are you fucking joking? you had no problem telling me how much a fucking water line to your house was going to cost and ran out to get the wood to begin in less than 10 minutes. BUT PINNY HAS NO FUNDS FOR SCHOOL AND YOU DIDN’T KNOW HOW TO TELL ME THIS?
There is no damn ass way in hell I will help put water in a home so you guys can have clean water while the smartest chid I know that actually has a chance to do something with her life will be sitting at home with fucking water (and please people reading this don’t get me wrong, clean water is so important. It can reduce the amount of Typhoid and hepititis diseases in this village and save lives, but at the same time if kids are not educated this villages will always suffer anyway in many other ways) So I am a mess. It’s never just one problem. Kids have no food, I buy rice, it won’t last, they have water water but the village does not, Pinny needs $600 but next door they only need $20 for 1 kid and $500 for all 11 kids to go to just elementary school for one year and I really need to find sponsors badly now. HOW THE HELL DID I TAKE ALL THIS ON? and poor Kendall is just in absolute dismay cause she can’t make heads or tails of whats right or wrong either.
Now to tie this together… 14 kids in counting all sleep in one room 9×9, no cement floor just dirt, no matteress, running water HAHAHAHAH are you fucking kidding me? food? NOT A CHANCE! and not one of them has ever been educated. So you wonder why their three oldest at 15 16 and 17 have babies too? OMG. But let’s bring it back to how I am told that they can’t attend the orphanage school when I flat out ask to please take one child, we will pick the one that has the most potential and please help that family. But they can’t because it doesn’t work that way for them.
If you are reading this can you even imagine how I am feeling? I have just been working on installing a running water line, paying for Pinny to finish school and make their life better and yet they have village poverty protocol to follow. Now I don’t mean to sound harsh, it’s the African mission work bitch in me BUT I SIMPLY SAY to them WELL my friends you can make a choice…. The waterline or your Daughters university expenses. Cause I can’t fix all these problems in two weeks. Now you see this was a test. Because they know how I feel about educating the village children. and we were at dead lock. Francis said that I really made them think in a different way and they never saw it come down to this. Really, you want water, you want Pinny to go to school and yet you can’t take one child next door? Well in my world of protocol we can’t always get what we want. Now, I need you reading to know that I would have made sure that line goes in cause I know how important it is to the village, I would have made sure Pinny went to school but this is an extremely poor village and for the first time I saw that the orphanage has its own poverty heirachy. It’s mind blowing. There is never just one problem.
After much intensity in the room I finally said this…… look, I didn’t come here in July and make it an experience and leave. I hated it. I was overwhelmed, confused and plain out had a hard time. BUT I went home and I sat with it and I thought about it every day, and I looked at my own graces in life and I made a decision to take this on. By myself. Yes, I started a non profit to help YOU. yes I asked for donations to HELP YOU and these orphans. and I came back and with a recruit to boot! I am 150% committed to helping making sure these kids have a fighting chance. It really is how I am going to leave my life one day, knowing that something in this world changed for the better cause I was alive!!! Now Pamela and Francis you have to take a look out that window of your house…. you are poor compared to me, you have nothing compared to me but if you look out past this orphanage you do not seem poor to those people that are not orphaned and don’t fit the criteria to come here. We need to sit down and figure out how every blessing that happens in this orphange, one child or family that is suffering out there benefits as well. Then Kendall says to them, after seeing that family a while ago as sad as it is to say I can’t even say your poor. and she was RIGHT! and I said, now if I keep bringing volunteers here and we gave you running water, kept looking after these orphans and then walked out the gate to the 14 kids and counting home what do you think people will think? Yes, when they see just you then this is extreme poverty. When they see beyond you they see an extreme injustice. So how do we make this work? then the solution came from Kendall…..
the water line will not be connected to the inside of the house. The water line will run from the well to the side of the house that has a sanitary cleaning system and tap that is accessible to the entire village. People will not need to draw from the community well, they will now draw from the community tap that is on their house. Eventually someday as we raise more funds the pipes will go through the house and directly to the outdoor toilet holes for flushing toilets and a public running shower, maybe someday… but right now the water system is for the entire village not just the orphans. I’m happy, you happy? and they completely got the point and were very happy. You see, cause I am committed, I have come this far and I will make sure I finish this to the end and when its all done move on to the next village in the world and start over. Now, with Pinny, since we pay a home stay fee to them, we agreed that they will put some of those funds to their daughters education, I will take care of the balance of her school fees. cause they have to care that she goes to school, they have to invest resources too or I shouldn’t have to care about everyone else. DONE!! I’m happy, you happy? And finally 14 kids and counting… Their daughter Hilda who has the brightest future will have a chance to come here to orphanage school and be educated and I personally will take care of at least three of the other kids financially at $60 to go to the public school… REALLY why wouldn’t I? and to be absolutely blunt to you reading this WHY WOULDN’T YOU? so I’m happy, you happy?
And that’s a day in Africa. I’m off to bed cause I am just exhausted, depleted, my mind is fried and tomorrow is a new day, and a hospital day of all things. God knows what happens next! On a positive note Matucma and Blessings got their donated dolls. Matchuma also got all new clothes from her sponsor and the joy in these little 2 year olds washes away all the crap that happened all day and quite frankly every day. So maybe you can help make more joyful days here… Please think about sponsoring a child at $25 a month. maybe donate a one time amount? help a village child go to school for a year from $20-$95, how about sustaining rice at $30-$100, maybe help fund the clean water lines at any amount? If you are moved in any way please reach out and donate through paypal at Rebirth the World one village at a time firstname.lastname@example.org