Three of the happiest children in the orphanage…or maybe the world!

So everyone knows from our last few blogs that we are looking for sponsors for the kids at the moment. We want to find people who really care about these children to make a committment to helping them start out in life. We have a bit of an urgent need to find sponsors for the kids who are starting school in January:  still sponsor-less, we have Isaak, Queen and Auntie…

Here’s Isaak giving us jaunty wave…

…Queen giving us her trademark massive grin…

…and Auntie giving a twirl.

But these three have already been the centre of attention for one blog. You know the need.

So, what I thought I would do this week is try to feature a couple of the other kids who also need sponsors and just give you an insight into their absolute incredible-ness. It’s always tricky to be choosing between children, but my selection is based purely on the kids that I personally know the best, not on anything else. My challenge to the readers of this blog is to find someone to be a ‘friend’ to these children, to put them on our ‘Give to Receive’ Christmas tree. That means signing up to $15/£10 per month, which really isn’t that much when you think about it.

So…introducing Baracka, Neema Kubwa and Maureen Kubwa. They are among the children I know the best because I met them nearly three years ago when they were toddling about around the transition from the toddler dormitory to the big kids’ room. Then, when I went back last Christmas I got to see how they have blossomed at age four. Here they all are dancing together back in January:

As you can see, Baracka (at the front for most of the video clip) has tons of spirit. He was a massive surprise to me in January because when I left him a year and a half before he was very definitely still a toddler. He had (and still has) the loudest scream in the world, which he would use at every opportunity. He seemed to be quite often crying and had a tendency to run away with whatever another child was playing with. I’m not going to pretend that some of that isn’t still true, but let’s give him a break – he is only four!

What amazed me in January is how keen he was to help, to learn and just generally to socialize with me. He was probably the most verbal out of all the children in his interactions with me. He was desperate to learn to read, and sat and listened to me read ‘The Cat in the Hat’ in my very broken, spontaneous translation into Swahili about five times in two days. We couldn’t tear him away from the book because he got so involved – it was all that he wanted to do over, and over, and over, and over again. He’s still full of mischief, but I wanted to post the video below of him because I think it shows how smart and engaged he is. Please excuse the poor video quality and the crying in the background, I think there was a major dispute over a crucially important toy going on behind us!

For the record, we are naming fruit: pili pili = pepper; chungwa = orange; nanasi = pineapple. 

I am extremely proud of the progress Baracka has made and can’t wait to see how he does when it is his turn to begin school!
Next, Neema kubwa (Big Neema). Neema and I have always got along well, right from when she was tiny. She was always a happy little soul, but it’s amazing to see how her personality has developed. She loves to sing, loves to eat and loves to dance (as I’m sure you can see from the groove she’s got going on in the first video – and that’s with no music on a day that she was feeling shy). Neema is the one to find if your day at the orphanage is getting a bit much. There are never any tears unless it’s for a good reason, and where there are they get blown away quickly by the next new game. She’s active, a little bit of a tomboy perhaps, always on the swings and apparently has now perfected the art of the monkey bars – go Neema! Here she is with me in 2011 doing her favourite thing in the world for that week:

And here is a collage which some of you may remember from a while ago on Facebook – the endlessly-available-for-photos ‘Neema grin:’

Finally, let’s get on to Maureen Kubwa. Maureeni can be a little shy at first, but if she decides to shout then cover your ears! When I first met her she was the furthest ahead of these three and on the way to ‘moving up’ a room from toddler to child. She was gorgeously sweet wandering around when all the other little ones were in bed and the older ones (including her!) got an extra half an hour to stay up. Here she is at that kind of age:

I have to say I was pretty disappointed when I got back and they’d got rid of her little bit of hair! Once again, it seems obvious to comment on how much they’ve all grown up in two years, but that really is what strikes you most. I would say Maureeni is now very mature for her age. She has her best friend, Miriam, is lots more confident, and did plenty of singing with me. She’s also been really into the art they’ve been doing in the schoolroom and she loves, and I mean really loves, the camera. Although to be honest, that’s true for pretty much all the kids.

Showing off her artwork.

I’m so proud of these three. I have watched them grow for 2 years and I’m so glad I got to go back and see them and I hope I will again. I’m not encouraging you to sponsor any one of the children over the others. I just wanted to try and paint a fuller picture so that those of you who have never met them see them as the people that they are, with full personalities and a serious love of life, rather than just some cute pictures.

If you can sign up to be any of their ‘friend’ this holiday season (or sponsor them at a higher level!), we would be so grateful and thrilled to welcome you to the Nkoaranga family! Check out our sponsorship page for all the details.