Saturday, 7 July 2012

The last 5 months of my life in Kenya

5 months have passed and this is the first time I’m blogging since being back, wow have these last 5 months flown by, I cant believe how quick they have gone, the thought that I have such little time left is a hard thought… so lets leave that one for now!

What have I been doing over the last 5 months? Well….

Coming back just felt like home but I come back to so much change at work moving offices, new staff any my manager deciding to step down from her role all made things very different, and with this I was given more responsibility in my job role which has been good for me and taught me so much.

Over the last 5 months at work we have had some challenging and difficult volunteers which has been so frustrating that you want to quit your job and pull your hair out especially after investing in them and organising so much for them! The most recent being a sorority group we had which were difficult to say the least writing awful feedback making me in tears and stressed at the end of it, boy were they hard work! You see the good, the bad and the ugly for sure, it for sure gave me a dislike towards Americans! But you then get the good volunteers who you stay friends with, one of which is already planning on coming to London!

I have really learnt a lot in my job role, and gained so much experience they say that after working in this industry in this job role, you can really say you can work with people! You can be tested to all lengths for sure! I learnt more than I ever could in a book including working with projects, and theory really seeing the life scenarios happen that you read about especially with volunteers and within the projects with development, working with and not for, the “hand out” mentality and much more! Reading “Helping Hurts” taught me so much and I really have seen this come to life which has grown and developed me so much in so many ways really know the right way to help and to empower many people within a community, and how to really help Kenyans, and what they need from outsiders. You see so many volunteers come and after trying to educate them they still don’t get it, think they know best don’t help but actually cause so much damage when they think they are helping, its far from it and it happens so widely, people really need to learn the culture, build relationships and get to know people first it’s the key!

It has been great to see the projects growing, building stronger relationships with the children within the different projects. God has really deep rooted such a love in my heart for these children and children generally especially those in poor and needy situations, who are less unfortunate.
Me & Joy
One special girl is Joy at Angels which is a centre for abandoned children. Joy is nearly 2 she is a child that wont go to anyone she will select who she goes to. The home has 10 nannies and out of them all there is only one she will go to, out of all the visitors the home has she wont go to anyone, I am the only person she will go to when I come she comes to me and if I leave her for a minute she follows, or wont let me. She knows if I have to leave she will grip on and hold me so tightly or pull on me so I cant let go, she will then cry so much when I leave, sometimes when my colleague goes there she comes looking out the window for me, she calls me mum and when the nannies ask her who mum is she points at me and then wont go to the other nannie she likes even. She gets very jealous if I’m playing with the other children they sit on me, hug me or hold my hand she starts crying.
Everyone keeps telling me I have to adopt her, she has chosen me! I have grown to love her very much. She is so young but yet you know her behaviour is rooted from how she was abandoned and being left. The day I have to leave her is going to be so hard knowing she wont be able to understand.

Free Spirit Logo
When I went back home in December I felt something being stirred in me about starting a home but I thought it was a long shot and such a big idea that was impossible and it wouldn’t be until way in the future if it was to be. When I came back I felt really stirred and having such compassion for street children. I was also reading the book “Compelled by Love” at the time and it really stirred me wanting to have that passion and faith with God, being about the poor I knew it was my passion to work with the poor and yearned to see the power of God break out amongst the poor in Kenya. I then kept getting ‘break my heart for what breaks yours’ it was like God was really breaking my heart for street children. It was then that I knew God was putting it on my heart to start a home for street children, but how it was just impossible so I just pushed it down, but I just found myself having this yearning inside of me and just thinking about it all the time. One lunch time I was talking to Maureen who I work with and she said you have all this in your hands, so what are you waiting for! It then begun! Going for endless meetings, gathering information, making plans and so that is how it all begun! So I am in the process of setting up a home called Free Spirit ‘ A home of freedom in the transformation of new life, you can follow the blog for Free Spirit for more information on where the home is at etc! But it’s a working progress! Working hard for funding, sponsorship, fundraisers etc to fund, set up and run the home long term.

The home has been the main thing that has been filling my time and keeping me so busy, it really is all in faith not knowing how it will all work out, and with so many discouragements along the way, but I’m trusting God knowing its done for him and his children.

Another big thing was that I became sick with malaria; wasn’t a pleasant experience to say the least, at one point I felt like I was dying but thank God I am now well and recovered. I still feel tired and weak at times, but it can take a long time for your body t recover so I’m just bearing with it, but otherwise I am well.

I was meant to do the bungee jump, it was postponed several times due to work commitments, then I became sick so it was postponed again, I am hoping to do it before I leave! Eeeek!

I got to go to Encounter Mara which is camp my company's camp that is based in the Masai Mara one of the seventh wonders of the world. My company paid for me to go on safari there all expenses paid which was such an incredible blessing and amazing experience. I was so blessed and it was a great time including many dramas! Running from lions, nearly being trampled on by an elephant which resulted in me hurting my back, cutting my arm and cracking my camera screen least it wasn’t worse! Animals at night hyenas scratching at your tents, hippos, lions, buffalo as well! No experience like wild animals at your feet!

Me & Martin
We had this group come for 2 weeks that worked with our outreach project a school for the deaf. During this time I was in a class with 2 of the volunteers, in this class there was 3 boys with special needs. The teacher had put them at the side of the class and excluded them from the rest of the class letting them sit there doing nothing. I begun working with these children really seeing when they were invested into and helped they could do such good work and were so creative. One of the boys ‘Kevin’ had been known as being naughty and bad by the whole school due to the teacher, she spoke badly of him, made him cry, laughed at him which only discouraged him further. I then told her the reason he was behaving this way was because she had excluded him from the class so it was like he wasn’t one of them, making him think something was wrong with him he needed to feel equal. We moved the boys and mixed them up with the rest of the class, within hours there was a magnificent difference Kevin was now so attentive he was finishing before the other kids, doing more was so creative, helping others and loved to help me, one of the other boys Martin also improved, with guidance he was just at the level as the others. 

Me & Kevin
There was another boy who has more extreme difficulties, he was unable to hold a pencil or anything everyone would say oh he cant do anything leave him, they never knew his name even they would call him Vincent, Benson after persisting I found out his name was Stephen we soon see him holding a pencil he does need a lot of help but he got so excited and was so happy. Being a deaf school was so hard to communicate but it was great to spend time with these beautiful children, such children are rejected, looked upon and disowned by their parent and society for being deaf but these children are amazingly talented, being deaf doesn’t stop them being able to dance, play instruments when they cant hear sound and so much more! They are incredible! I love working with the school. I became to have such a love for Kevin with the friendship we built, by investing into him really see such a difference, he would always want to be with me. Just shows what a difference it can make by investing ‘time’ into someone, this is what so many needy children need, and someone to love them. 

Class 3 working with @ Kambui school for the Deaf

 Being with the boys in Mombasa is always good, although its been hard due to the difficult circumstances, but we have celebrated birthdays and had some fun times together despite all the difficult situations that have taken place along the way. But I still continue to love them, and to invest into them seeking God for a lot of grace and forgiveness along the way!

Summing up 5 months is not easy, so many things have happened but this is just a few stories about moments that have impacted me, grown me and touched my heart.

 Oh and riding camels!

I love Kenya, and I just don’t want to leave that’s all I can say……..

1 comment:

  1. Hi Charlotte. I know this will come as a surprise to you... but I am Joy's adopting Mom. We are Canadian and adopted Joy at the end of October. We are still in progress with the legal end of things here in Nairobi. I found your blog, while searching for photos of her from former volunteers. I am trying to compile some photos from her life prior to being with us, to put in her life book. I would love it if you could send me any of her that you may have, along with any words or stories. Thank you so much for loving our daughter, even for a brief time - you are right, she only goes to a select few - you must be special! ;) Please email me at Asante sana!