#23 New Uniforms, A birthday Lunch, More Readers July 23, 2015
Today was the day we were to distribute 33 new uniforms to Milimani Primary School, right next door to Mji Wa Neema. I walked over, planning to meet Ann, Simon Kingori and Teresia, but due to a mix-up they thought I would come to the ETW office. It took several phone calls to get that straight, but they arrived in time, only because we thought it was to be at 10:30, but it was more like 11:15. Ann is the ETW social worker who made all the arrangements, Simon owns the largest uniform shop in town and gave us a really good price. He’s a very generous man and has been a friend of Fr. Kiriti’s since Kiriti came to Naivasha in 2004. Teresia is a member of SFG 2010 who recently completed university and is waiting to get a job. In the meantime she is volunteering with ETW until one comes through.
Milimani is a really big school, 2568 students in grades 1 – 8. Here they are, except there were many children on either side whom I couldn’t get in the shot. It was a sea of faces! At one point the ones in back wanted to get closer and I was afraid the little ones in front would get crushed! The teachers waded into the crowd and ordered them back. It was quite a sight.
It took some organizing to select the neediest children, get their measurements, then Simon had to make some of them, some he had in stock, make up a packet for each child, for boys shirt, sweater and shorts, for girls, dress and sweater. The lucky children were called out of class early and posed with Ann, Simon, and the deputy. Called out of class AND get a new uniform all in one day! That’s one lucky day.
After the event was over we collected the uniforms for the kids to pick up after school, lest someone grab it during class or recess. We wanted to be as sure as possible that each child actually arrived home with uniform in hand. Jackson, the boy who’s very tattered sweater began this whole thing by triggering a very generous donation for new uniforms was very excited. I took his, plus those for Joseph and Lucas of Mji Wa Neema with me. Jackson is one of the readers from 3 years ago when Judy and I first began bringing books. I knew he’d be by to pick his from me after school.
Here is a girl wearing a dress WAY TOO BIG, receiving one that will actually fit.
Here are Teresia and Simon.
Today was also Teresia’s 24th birthday, so I offered to take her to lunch. We went to La Belle, an OK restaurant in town. She had never eaten there and while we sat she told me it was the first time anything special had ever happened to celebrate her birthday. I know it’s true that many Kenyans pay little attention to birthdays.
She has had a tough life and is so grateful for the opportunity she had to attend SFG and then university. She has very little money, but she found a room to rent not too far out of town, which she wanted me to see. It was SMALL, but it is hers, she found it and is paying the rent from the very modest stipend she gets from ETW. She has nothing except a mattress on the floor and a tiny cooker. I gave her some cash to buy herself something she needed/wanted. She’s thinking about a chair for her digs – the molded plastic kind.
I had to return to SFG in the late afternoon to do a session with 6 form 2’s who are struggling with math. Oh, my, I can see why they struggle. Not totally sure of the multiplication facts, not sure how to add positive and negative numbers and they’re trying to understand logarithms!!!!! ARGH!!! Just how much can I do in 1 hour? Well maybe some now can figure out –12 + 5. I despair at the math curriculum in this country.
Arriving home after 6 pm I found a contingent of the readers awaiting me plus 3 newcomers. Almost all are 6th graders. Here is yesterday’s group, which included 2 girls.