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On Friday I was lucky enough to get to go to Jitihada orphanage with Antonia. I helped out in the classroom grading the children's work and keeping things in order. They have these paper notebooks that look like they were thrown together and don't last very long. They are about the size of a 5 X 7 and not a single page is wasted in them. They write and do their math and homework in these little notebooks. They have all of 3 or 4 pencils for a room of 20 children so they take turns with the pencils. It was sport day so we got to play outside for a few hours with the kids doing all sorts of games and activities running around. They had a few frisbees other volunteers had brought for them, a few jump ropes, and a soccer ball or two. They mostly ran around and hit each other which used to be odd to me but here it is common and goes unpunished often. There was a group of children and teachers doing relay races which were really fun to watch and I went to cheer on one team while the other teacher cheered on the other. I don't think I have ever heard the statement "Teacher, look" more than when I was here. These children just starved for attention which was difficult to give to all of them at once. 

We were lucky enough to get to go and do home visits which were amazing and really put things into perspective for me. We went to two girls houses and saw how they live. One girl was 1 of 9 children and they are a Massai family. (Picture above is of us with the mother and two of her daughters from the school). It is customary to take a picture with the family giving them our offering of food as they invite us into their house. We are supposed to bring 2 kg of rice and 1 kg of sugar, but we decided to bring extra rice, juice, and some candies for each of the families. It was not super expensive and it was very much needed. This family struggles to get food as the father is dead and the mother has no job. She even put on her Massai necklace for us and showed us a dance in it which was really cool. The women slept on one side and the boys on the other. They are crammed into an extremely small room and share a bed between the 4 girls. It is very minimal there. They don't get food other than when the children are at school, which was extremely disheartening and sad to me. 

The other girls house was the leader of the group. She is an orphan with no father or mother and was picked up off the side of the street to live with this leader. There are a number of other children living in this house with them. It was a bit nicer of a house compared to the other as it had electricity. We saw the kitchen (below) and it was extremely interesting as it was bare and outside in a make shift area. They do not have ovens or microwaves here and often are cooking in a place with very little ventilation. It gets quite hot if I don't say so based on my experience at the school I am at. 

It was a very sad but eye opening experience to get to see the way people live in the world. I wish there was more I could do to help these people as they live such a hard life, especially the children who often go without food for days. School and orphanages are a great place for them as they provide them with at least a meal to have. I look forward to going to do more home visits but know they will not be easy. I have lots more pictures, which was odd to me to take but Michael, the director of the school/orphanage, kept telling us to take pictures. It felt disrespectful to these families as it is the way they live their lives on the daily. A picture only says a 1000 words but being here and seeing these places in real life actually made me realize the difference I am making here and the way in which I can help, even if it is just in the slightest. Even just bringing pencils to the school helps more than anyone could even imagine. 

With love from Africa,

Lauren

Ps- I would put up more pictures but it gets very difficult and time consuming to get them to load all the way. Have to pick and choose but I'm sure once I am home it will be much eas

 


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