The grateful smiles, the offers of eternal friendship, and those overwhelming emotions are things that every volunteer comes to know. But, this time, I was blessed merely be being the courier of someone else’s goodwill, at the Tujiinue Youth Group car wash.
On 20th March, I celebrated the opening of new premises with the children of Future Stars. I bought soda for everyone and then we danced late into the night.
Back in January, we lost 50 children from Future Stars due to ‘overcrowding’. Now we have new rooms. There are plenty of plans for future expansion that I hope will be reality very soon.
I’m instantly greeted by a beautiful giraffe. Her head brushes against my shoulder and her long blue tongue flicks out to explore for treats. I grab a handful and hold the pellets out one by one, rewarded each time by its gentle removal from my fingers. I’m at The African Fund For Endangered Wildlife, more commonly known as the Giraffe Centre.
The opportunity to spend time with some of the children of Future Stars whilst also teaching them a few simple crafts has been so much fun. My first ‘creative arts’ session involved the school children from class 1 to class 5. The second was for all the children who live at the centre.
I arrived in Kenya with more items from Chaffinch supporters. Donating to the vulnerable children may be altruistic but that doesn’t mean it’s only one-way. I always find this bit intensely emotional!
You wouldn’t perform surgery in Kenya without medical training, so why treat teaching any differently? I found myself reflecting on the issues that arise when untrained volunteers choose to teach. I have made the mistakes in my enthusiasm. Did I do more harm than good?
Time to tell some of the individual stories from the children of Future Stars. All of the children have amazing tales to tell. Whilst often tragic, there is also so much hope and so much faith. It is the stories of the children that have the power to make me cry and I refuse to be ashamed of that. Here are the stories of Mourine, Judis, and Khamis Abdi. Every child has a story to tell – why not become part of the next chapter?
The last night of my trip was fantastic – a party with the children of Future Stars. There were loom band lessons, donations of clothing from Chaffinch supporters, a farewell meal, and plenty of dancing. Come and join the celebrations!