Final Day in Kitale
Today is our final day in Kitale. Our home for the last week has been at the Karibuni Lodge. This lovely home has been extended with rooms and outbuildings to provide accommodation for up to 50 people or thereabouts. The owner is an expat from East Sussex that makes everyone feel welcome and this home from home. She has fostered 9 Kenyan children in her home and supports lots of local organisations mainly in helping children.
Since we have been here we have seen different people from different organisations helping this region of Kenya in various ways and from various countries. Bob & Luann help in children services, Bennie and Christina provide cows to people with nothing, Geoff brought a group of teenagers on a mission from Seattle.
Today we visited an Orphanage that supports 86 children. The owner finds it really difficult to not help children but ends up filling her orphanage with too many children. She is building a school on a field that she has purchased next to it and she is planning on building a school on the field that will provide a school for primary and secondary aged children in the village so that they can pay fees and will support the orphanage too. The Orphanage is supported by a church in the UK and another in Germany. The Orphanage also has bought a field to grow their own food. If the crop grows as planned then they will grow enough food to feed the whole of the orphanage for 3 months. A tractor is needed to plow the field and then the seeds sown by the children and the total cost of this is about £100. Imagine feeding 86 children and 10 staff for a £100 for 3 months anywhere else.
We played a great game of football with the children of the Orphanage and it is amazing how quickly you get out of breath playing football at 1800m above sea level. The children were really playing hard and the girls were not holding back against the boys. It was really interesting when we arrived that the children would come and say hello just give a handshake but when it was time to go they wanted to give a hug. It is amazing how quickly connections are made between people without a need for real dialogue other than a game of football and a shared experience is enough to break down the divide.
The stories behind how these children arrived at the orphanage and at the baby orphanage are really harrowing. How some of these children are abandoned or rejected by their parents or how depression can leave a mother unable to cope with the additional needs of bringing up a baby is really worrying. There were also children who were the product of historical abuse within the orphanage. This was years before the two charities got involved in supporting the orphanage. I am horrified by these stories and can really appreciate the need to look after these children but also understand that finding the parents and family and supporting the issues can be far more successful than simply keeping them in a home. The UK moved away from Orphanages in favour of fostering and adopting and some of the organisations out here are trying to do the same.
There are so many orphanages in the area around Kitale that I worry how many kids end up being left and abandoned and how many are left and not picked up soon enough.
Once we left the orphanage we went into town for lunch and had a large lunch for a small price. We were surprised at the size of our lunch but especially as we were going to Mama's for dinner. Going to a Kenyan for a meal is always an occasion. Mama spent most of the afternoon preparing our dinner of Matoke which looks like a banana but is more like a potato, Chapatis which is like a pancake and also fresh chicken. On my previous trip, one of our groups was given a live chicken as a present as a thank you which we gave to mama. She remembered the chicken and has had chicks and eggs from it before eating it and she still has some chickens from the line of that Chicken.
Our last evening at the Karibuni will be spent enjoying a beer and a game of cards with some of the other guests and we will drive down to Nakuru tomorrow.