Saturday, June 12, 2010

Day 7: A rush of blood to the head

Day 7: Me & schoolchildren
Our first full day in Oloosiyoi was also our first time meeting the schoolchildren we were helping. When I arrived at the build site, this little girl in the yellow came right up to me and wrapped her arms around my waist, smiling up at me. From that point on, she was always around, being hugged by one of us. Totally adorable, our little ray of sunshine

Day 7: Mixing cement
Here is our team mixing cement with Peter, one of the fundis. Ashley was hilarious - the kids were fascinated by her but she kept telling them, "I can't play right now, I have to get back to work!" Free the Children was founded on anti-child labor principles. Classic!

Day 7: Finbar na watoto
Finn with some schoolchildren. The little one in purple started crying because big brother ran down the road and he thought he was being left behind.

Day 7: An overwhelming welcome from the community
After lunch we came back to the school for their welcoming ceremony. From the road, we saw them lining the entry way singing "Jambo Bwana" ("Welcome Mister") which is a traditional African folk song. The entire school, all 8 classes and their parents were there to welcome us. We walked in one by one, led by the children. It was very overwhelming and emotional.

Day 7: Emotional welcome
Here is Paul amidst a sea of children, documenting. They led us to the back of the school where they had set up an area for the ceremony.

Day 7: Welcome ceremony
The superintendent and headmaster got up to make speeches about the school and to thank us. At this point I couldn't keep the tears in any longer - they were so welcoming. They apologized to us for not having enough to thank us with, then told us to tell our families that they loved them and that they had friends and family in Kenya, always.

Then we were treated to traditional dances and songs performed by the school. We were asked to perform as well, and the only song we could agree on that everybody knew the words to was "If you're happy & you know it." Kid you not. I wanted to die.

Day 7: Rudi in a sea of kids

Day 7: The mamas danced and sang for us
The last performance was by the mamas, who pulled us into their circle and started taking beaded necklaces from their own necks and putting them on us. I'd never been a part of such a celebration before - great fun.

Day 7: The community thanked us with a goat
At the end they presented us with a goat, which is one of the highest forms of thanks. A goat is usually included in a bride's dowry. Of course, Ashley had to go and name him Sammy Maxwell. More on that in a later post but it became the source of many horrible jokes.

Day 7: Jim cuts the ribbon on the 7th grade classroom
The celebration continued until we reached the finished 7th grade classroom, which had been completed before we arrived in Kenya. Above, Jim cuts the ribbon to the classroom.

Day 7: Ashley w/ schoolchildren
After all the excitement,we went back to the build sit and tried to continue work but it was impossible with all the kids around us. We continued meeting everyone and taking photos with as many kids as possible. They are fascinated with seeing themselves on instant playback. We could not get enough of them, they could not get enough of us. So here are more photos of the Oloosiyoi Mutual Appreciation Society (Bryan's photos):

Paul with kids

Pretty girl

Me w/ school children


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