Sunday, June 27, 2010

Children of Africa Hope Mission

I have been putting off writing about our volunteer experience thus far, cause I honestly don't know where to begin.

Perhaps I can start by telling you that the program is called Children of Africa Hope Mission. It is a school of 106 students in the Nairobi slums. At one time, there were 255 in attendance, but they recognized the overcrowding was benefiting nobody. So the first criteria in narrowing it down to those who REALLY needed it most - Children who do not have two parents. In many of these cases, the one living parent is HIV positive. In a heartbreaking handful, there are no parents at all.

The school consists of a shabby structure, much of which is protected from the elements by just a corrogated iron roof and torn plywood walls. In one room about the size of your kitchen, three classes are taught simultaneously, facing different directions. The playground is a small dirt yard with a heaping pile of garbage in one corner and an overflowing squat toilet in the other (they don't have the funds to empty it). In the US, a school without electrcity would be a pretty big deal. Here, that is the least of your concerns.

The kids however... In a word, they are freaking awesome. I guess that's two words. Energetic bundles of exploding happiness. Cuter than the f-ing day is long. And more excited to see us that you can possibly imagine. The moment Reece and I ducked our head through the narrow steel opening and into the compound, we were rushed by seventy screaming, sniffling, jumping-up-and-down, going-totally-apeshit kids.

Our role is to teach English, Math, Music and Science to children grades 1 through 4. We write stuff on chalkboards. We give enthusiastic high fives. We wait patiently while three kids pass around the one pencil they are sharing. Most importantly however (I think), is that we demonstrate to them that someone out there cares. That a few folks have come all the way from America to help them learn. And I think word has spread fast. In the three days we have been going to the school, attendance has skyrocketed.

Half a week down, and we're starting to feel right at home. Waving at the curious locals as we walk through the slum each morning. Eating sakuma wiki and ugali for lunch with the small staff. Taking the kids down to the nearby field for a game of soccer. We anticipate that over the next few weeks the teaching will become easier, and the leaving will become harder.


  1. that is so awesome you guys are doing that!

  2. Shannon Ho'NealJune 28, 2010 at 11:41 AM

    It's a wonderful thing you're doing. Very inspiring and heart-warming. Thanks for sharing!