#17.5 Julia Holds Court

Somehow this email got destroyed in transit, so will try to reproduce it.  Last Saturday I wandered outside and found the children crowded around Julia as she sat outside her door.  Next to her was a big pile of used clothing, recently donated.  The kids took turns claiming items, sometimes of their own choosing and sometimes as Julia’s suggestion.  “Beth, this looks like something good for you.”  Beth happily reached for a cute skirt, amid much giggling and joking.

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John and Patrick show off their finery. 

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Uh, oh, Tabitha has claimed John’s skirt!

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Much later came a knock on my door.  Joseph wanted to show me his new sweater.  It’s a very nice one, with no holes nor rips.  A treasure for a small boy who has so little.  The children get to wear their new duds only on the weekends or during holidays.  Otherwise it’s the uniform—see Joyce below.

Here is Joseph with Agnes (aka Auntie)

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Last night I heard him crying and went out to see what was wrong.  Rubbing eyes, like little kids do, he said what I thought was “An ant bit me.” We were near the kitchen where John was helping.  “What did he say?”  Then I thought it was something on his foot.  “Does it still hurt?”  Finally Agnes appeared and explained.  Joseph and Evelyn has been tussling in the dining when it evidently got out of hand.  Evidently this boy with the face of an angel has a mouth that isn’t.  He had called Evelyn a very nasty name in Kiswahili having to do with a backside.  Evelyn, outraged, reported to Aunty.  Joseph was duly called to be chastised.  It would seem that Joseph has been listening to the big boys at school and trying out some new vocabulary.  Aunty pinched him, which came out as “Aunty bit me.”  Asked whether he was ready to say “sorry” to Evelyn, he solemnly nodded.  Evelyn announced she had forgiven him, but he was still rubbing the eyes.  After being reminded by me that only good boys get peanut butter and jelly toast, he promised to reform.  Agnes tells me he has “reformed” before, but small boys sometimes need time to learn.

Among my newer customers for math help is Margaret—somewhat shy and very bright.  She is in class 7, so already setting her sights for a very high mark on the KCPE.  She hopes to go to a national school, which means she must earn well over 400.  I suspect she can do it.  Here she is wearing the skirt earlier claimed by Patrick.  Definitely looks better on Margaret, with a nice matching top and a smart looking jacket.

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Joyce (right) came in after school yesterday, proud as punch to report her latest marks, up from 257 to 305.  Note her uniform.  They get very hard wear.  Her skirt was evidently torn at some point and mended hastily.  Most of the children at Milimani, next door, where our children attend have equally tired uniforms, so it’s not shameful for them, although they do love to get new uniforms  Joyce has one more year, so my guess is she will have to make due until she get a high school uniform.

 

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