Greetings from Nairobi!

Peter and Andrea

Greetings from Nairobi! I’m currently on a brief trip up north to Kenya to drop off Riz at the airport – I’m going to miss him! The kids loved hanging out with the “big boys” this summer, and they’ll be disappointed now that Peter, Adam, and Riz are all gone. Andrea and Simoni were especially thrilled to hang out with them – there are some very cute pictures of them together. All three guys are hoping to make a return trip at some point, and we also strongly urge any guys considering volunteering to take the leap – it’s a really wonderful experience and the kids benefit hugely from having positive male role models around.

It’s been a rough week at the orphanage – everyone still has the flu, and it’s hit the little ones especially hard. Ebenezer is still in the hospital in town, although his fever and vomiting have subsided, so now we’re just waiting on the diarrhea to stop so he doesn’t need the IV fluids. Peace is also in the hospital, although he’s been able to stay at Nkoaranga – the fever that was mild and transient in the other kids has been high and persistent for him. However, we’re hoping he’ll also be out soon. Medical students Martina, Lorenzo, and Daria (from SperanzaTanzania) have been of immeasurable help with keeping a watchful eye on all the kids, going on hospital visits, and helping us to figure out when to seek more help.

Riz and his baby Peace

I had the flu early and so was out of commission most of last week, but have been available now that more of the kids have been hit. That said, we’ve been having lots of meetings and hospital visits, so it has been busy for me too! Meanwhile, many of the mamas have also come down with the flu, and since we’ve needed even more staff than usual to stay in the hospital with sick kids, many of them have worked straight through it. We are so grateful for their superhuman strength and dedication!

Mama Pendo has started her management course, and is enjoying it despite having to get up very early in the morning to make it to Arusha on time! Although we and the kids miss her daily presence at the orphanage, it is worth doing without her for three weeks for her to attend such a prestigious program. We’re confident that it will help all the staff and kids in the long term.

In completely unrelated but fun news, Chundvi and Pili Pili (our rabbits) have apparently been having fun together in their hutch – I’m told Pili Pili is pregnant! Once she gives birth, we’ll be separating the males and females to avoid a rabbit overload. I’m excited to hand raise a few of the babies to be pets for the kids – it’s good for them to learn responsibility and compassion, and it might just keep them from trying to chase down the chickens! The other rabbits will eventually be either sold or eaten – while I am officially neutral on which course they choose, I would prefer not to be present for the eating of the bunnies! That said, anything that leads to better nutrition for the kids is a plus in my book.

Anne with Neema

Anne has been busily at work on some great English/Swahili books for the kids, most new ones and a few translations of our favorite classics – currently working on “The Very Hungry Caterpillar”. Leave a comment if you have any ideas for good books with simple vocabulary that might work for the project! It’s going to be really useful for instilling an early love of books in the kids, and for volunteers who want to improve their Swahili. We’re very lucky to have Anne working with us!

I’m in contact with Mama Pendo and the other volunteers daily, and I’ll let you know as soon as possible if there are any changes with the kids. Keep them in your thoughts!