Friday, July 10, 2009

Dancing and singing through the slums of Kenya

-July 10, Friday
Kisumu, Kenya-

Today we decided to have our drivers drop us off at a five or ten minute walk away from the school, right in the middle of the slums, so that we could get a full understanding of the area in which these people live. People beamed and waved at us, shouting out, "How are you? How are you?" and never, "Hello." If I ever tell a Kenyan, "Hello," the automatic response is, "Fine."

At the school, I took pictures of the teachers and then went into town with James, Audie, and Chase to buy paint supplies. We went to the Nakumatt and two hardware stores.

Lavin follows me wherever I go, and every time I catch her eye, she beams with joy. She is precious. She loves the song in Swahili that I taught them- Yesu ni Bwana- and she sings it all the time.

After VBS, we went to go watch the students play futbol. We walked through the slums to the soccer field and sat on the sidelines, eager to watch the school team play. I got out my journal and began to teach the children surrounding me how to play Tick-Tack-Toe, and then Puppet, which is less morbid term for Hangman.

After we played, we sat down and sang songs until the games were over. Everyone's favorite was Yesu ni Bwana. One little girl named Sarah said, "We will sing this song every day, and every time we sing it, we will think of you, Emily." Lavin stayed by my side the entire time, singing the loudest of all.

We finally got up to leave, and Lavin took my hand. I took the hand of another girl, and then there was a great line of us, holding hands and walking through the slums ahead of everyone else, taking detours and shortcuts, and loudly singing, "Jesus loves me, Jesus loves you... Yesu ni Bwana..." (and yes, I realize that it does not translate into the same thing.) Everyone stared at us as we skipped past them. It was wonderful.

I told my dear new friends that Sunday would be my last day at Ring Road, and one girl said, "We will never forget your face." Lavin said goodbye over and over again, holding me close.

Tomorrow we are going to Lake Victoria to hang out with the hippos. It should be an interesting experience.

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