Cannon King Walking With Africans July 2014

July 10th-Orphan visits

- Thursday, July 10, 2014

Today I took a day off of my micro finance trips to tag along with a group of people from my camp who tend to the wellness of about 35 orphan children from the surrounding communities. On a weekly scale, they bring food to the families who have volunteered to take care of them (often extended family). They also cover costs associated with schooling, which in most cases would prohibit them from getting any kind of education. The work that they do is really something else. The visits offer a whole new view of the lower Kenyan class, one that cant be seen from the main stretch of road that we often use.

One school that we visited was a public school in one of the poorest areas in the region. As you can imagine, a public school in a poor area of a relatively poor country can be pretty barren. The children were tattered and dirty, and the teachers were overwhelmed with class sizes of up to 80. The orphan girl we came to check up on was assumed to have learning disabilities which, in an environment like this, meant that she was consistently being held back with test scores at the bottom of her class. She was assumed to be 18-20 (they don't quite know for sure) yet she was struggling to pass grade 7. As we arrived in the office, the principle informed us that she had been absent for a few days. We then loaded back into the truck to go to her home.

 Much credit has to be given to the Tumani Orphan Care program, as they spare no expense of time or money trying to guide these kids to success. The girls home was a complex of three square mud huts with walls about 4 feet long. The kids did not have shoes, and their shirts were held on by a few threads. There was also what I assumed to be a severely autistic child shuffling around the outside of the compound. The challenges facing this girl, and many like her, are daunting. You feel an extreme sense of hopelessness seeing situations like this. However, I hope that Walking with Africans' efforts in strengthening the local economy through our micro-finance programs can make a huge difference in many of the local families, allowing them to feed and pay school fees for their children. 

It is not all sad news however. One of the orphan kids, Benson, goes to school at the Imani school on the same compound we are camping at. Despite loosing both of his parents to the AIDS epidemic, his teachers inform us that he is consistently preforming at the top of his class, and has earned test scores that have given him a very high chance of getting into one of the extremely selective national schools. Also (and perhaps most important to him), his classmates inform me that he is the best football player in the area. One even called him "Kenyan Messi". Without the help of Tumani, he would have never had such opportunities to reach his potential. 

Thanks for reading,

Cannon


 

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