So, the title. I was talking to one of the kids today and we were discussing how many Kenyan people wear sandals that are made from old tires. They last a really long time, and are really cool. He said something along the lines of "Haven't you seen mine?! They're so old Jesus could've worn them!" and I was like "haha! Jesus wore tire sandals!" and thus, the title of this post. While we were sitting there, a younger student came over with two heaping portions of food; twice as much as the student is usually allowed. He proceeded to sit down and start eating and guarding his food. I asked "How did he get all of that?" and one student said "The smaller the monkey, the longer the tail." I asked what it meant, and he said that the younger a kid is, the more he eats! I thought it was really funny that he used a monkey analogy and then I realized that they were just a common part of African life, and so it made sense that they would use them in common phrases.
The students have mock exams this week in order to prepare for their national, end-of-semester exams next week, and we have had a lot of downtime. Earlier in the week, a few of the other volunteers and I went to the New Hope Home. It is a place that takes in abandoned children, and raises them. These children are abandoned anywhere and everywhere. There were about 50 or 60 children in the home, ranging in age from newborns to toddlers. There is a medical unit there for newborns with medical troubles, along with a unit for children with special needs. I spent a little while feeding one of the infants his morning bottle, and then we took them outside and laid them down on a blanket to play. I had brought my guitar, and played some music for them. A few of them fell asleep. I mean, it's completely understandable: a nice bottle of warm milk, and then lying in the sun listening to music.....sounds like an infant's heaven. It was extremely sad though. I couldn't believe that there were so many beautiful children that had simply been abandoned. We spent about two and a half hours there one morning, and then returned to the school.
Another day I worked on the history of Father Tom's Kids and Our Lady of Grace School again, as more information had come to light from an interview with one of the Dominicans who has held the reigns of the organization from very early on. I have been finding creative ways to have fun with the students. Occasionally at lunch we have push-up contests, and I am currently undefeated, but apparently they are practicing at night, and my defeat is imminent. On Friday, I was given the task of teaching the whole school the mass parts from the 10:30 mass. They already knew the Alleluia, but they had not learned the rest of them. It was quite a challenge to get the 175 students learn them. They did not seem all that interested, and yet this morning, after Sunday mass, we went through them again, and they knew them all, which was nice. The only one they do not yet know is the Gloria, which is rather difficult to begin with. We wil work on that one in the last week.
Every Monday morning they have an assembly at which they put up the Kenyan flag, and the Vatican flag, and sing their national anthem. The head students give short speeches about the past week and the upcoming week, and the Principal addresses them. The two flagpoles are surrounded by concrete walls, and the paint job on the walls has been destroyed. The walls are crumbling a little bit, but a new paint job would make work wonders for the walls. I had offered to do this much earlier on in our time here, and now that we are leaving, they have jumped on the opportunity to have it repainted. The school social worker and I are heading into town on Monday to buy paint and brushes in order to paint the walls. I have an old t-shirt that I can wear, but I don't have any old shorts with me. I am still not sure what I am going to do about that.
The students realize that we will be leaving shortly as well. They keep coming up to us and asking us when we will be back again. I have to smile, only because they don't realize the time, effort, and, primarily, generosity of donors, that allowed us to come here at all. I have to tell them that regrettably, I will most likely not come back here again. One student said "But you will have a job when you get out of college right?" And I laugingly replied "Hopefully!" He then proceeded to say that as long as I had a job, and was making money, that I could use that money to come here. I had to explain that there are expenses that the money you make at your job have to cover, and that it would take a long time to set aside enough money to be able to come back, not even mentioning having the time to come. I have done my best to make the biggest difference that i could possibly make while I have been here. Ironically, as much as I came to help them, they have taught me more than they know already, and I am sure that this experience will continue to teach me more and more as life goes on. But it's not over yet! We have eight days left at the school, and I intend to make the most of all of them.
I neglected to mention that last week I taught a few history classes to the freshmen. I didn't know much about Kenyan history before this, but I do now. I had them answer a few questions and then when they handed it in I graded it. I taught them a class in agriculture as well, but their teacher wanted to grade their assignments.
All of the students are in exams until Thursday this week, so we have lots of time to finish up our work on the website and a few other things. We are also putting the finishing touches on the retreat that we are running on Saturday. Last night we had dinner with the Hawthorne Dominicans, which was rather nice. They made quite an American meal; Spaghetti with Meat Sauce, and garlic bread. It was delicious.
I will be uploading lots of photos to facebook tommorow so check back for a link!
Thanks again for reading!