The troops have arrived! Bill and Penny, Mimi and Preston, Betsy and her PT friend TR have come to Tenwek! Bill and Penny were detained in Nairobi for an extra night due to some student demonstrations but were able to come the next day with no problems. Betsy and TR began their trip with a visit to the Giraffe Center where they were able to feed the giraffes and even have them give you a kiss if you so desire. Then they went on to the elephant orphanage where rescued elephants are nursed to health and returned to the wild. The orphanage is a direct result of poaching; a serious problem in Africa. Then they were off to the Mara where they went on safari and saw all of the Big Five! It was a relaxing way to begin their trip and get over jet lag! Then they came here to begin working with the physical therapist, Solomon, at Tenwek.
Bill and Penny began their trip out of Nairobi by visiting a place called the Heshima Center for children with disabilities. It is a new facility which is dedicated to helping these children not only function better but to also teach them how to be gainfully employed. Built by an expatriate mother who has a child with a disability it also employs the mothers of the children and teaches them a skill. At Heshima there is a store called Dignity Designs where many of their beautiful products are sold. Penny has dreams of improving the services for children with disabilities here at Tenwek. This visit gave her many ideas!
Meanwhile life here at Tenwek was quite routine until our visitors arrived! With the twins and the triplets gone home, there has been little work in the nursery for me. So the timing was really perfect for a new routine. We have apartments right across the hall from each other which has been convenient. Betsy and TR have an apartment about two blocks away so they have a little privacy! We have been doing homework in the mornings and then playing in the afternoons. My prayer had been that Preston and Mimi would find friendship among the missionary kids and so far it seems to be answered. There are lots of 10-12 year old boys but only a couple of girls age 10-12. They seem to be having fun and in fact both have said that they would like to stay longer.
Yesterday the kids and I hired a driver and went into Bomet to go to the bank and pay school fees for a child we sponsor. It was an experience! We had to take numbers and then wait to go to a teller. They were very patient as it was a long process much like everything here. After that we went to the fabric store and then to the grocery for a few items. The kids particularly like a soda called Stony, a Coke product not available in the US. It is strong ginger ale much like ginger beer! That was our treat for their patience in the bank.
School fees for a year are approximately 53,000 shillings which is about 530 US dollars. This pays for a year of schooling, room and board for a high school student. As I have mentioned in the past this is a huge amount for most Kenyans to pay. The desire for their children to get an education is paramount to anything!
Tonight we are having a community potluck Italian dinner. This is a chance to meet other missionaries and for the kids to see their friends. It should be fun! There should also be lots of good food as our Kenyan household helpers are really good cooks! Believe me I am not losing any weight! Way too many carbs are available like home made bread, cinnamon rolls, and homemade bagels! We are not suffering!