Categorised in: Kenya 2016
By Tour Updates
Gabriel’s Learning Centre – Nakuru Hope Project Kaptembwa
24th February to 2nd March
written by Katie Alexander
Sandstorms, rain dances and Hope in many forms
“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” – Christopher, Director of Nakuru Hope.
On our second day in Nakuru, Winnie and I did a rain dance. We were supposed to be playing football but she turned to me as we were waiting in the dusty field and confided in me that she loved the rainy season and couldn’t wait for the endless dust storms and dry heat to let up. Winnie is a gorgeous, intelligent, inquisitive class 3 student and her bright eyes sparkled as we shared a smile and began to dance. She was free, joyful and beautiful as we spun and twirled around the field to the dismay of the football coach and other students.
Fast forward 10 minutes and it turns out rain dances do work! As quick as a flash the wind picked up, clouds blew in and as the clouds reached their capacity they unleashed their heavy load right on top of Gabriel’s Learning Centre. As a wise man once told me, seeing is believing!
This wise man is Christopher, an extremely kind hearted, warm, giving man who is the director of this wonderful centre. There are 250 children in the school here, 35 of whom also live on site with the Aunties and Uncles who dedicate their lives to living here with them.
On the first day here, my team mate Lillian said ‘uniform is the best disguise’ and I couldn’t agree more. During the day there is no way to disguinsh the orphans from the rest of the school which seems to enhance the sense of community and friendship for these kiddies.
We have the priviledge of living here and working with the school children during the day in their PE classes, and orphans who live in the home (from now on referred to as ‘homies’) in the evenings and weekends.
They grab everything we offer firmly with both hands, from acrobatics and circus, to yoga, self-defense, painting and dancing and they are an absolute pleasure to teach!
The structure of life here puts me right into my organsised, slightly OCD comfort zone which, in my experience is rarely found in Kenya. But the beauty of this place is that the children are still allowed their childhood, and to have fun whilst being in the safety of a compound that surrounds them with incredible people, brightly coloured doors, murals on the walls, delicious food on the table and the forethought to know that knowledge is power.
Speaking of delicious Kenyan food, here is a little ditty about chapatis: the centre is very used to having volunteers here and encourage you to help out in as many ways as possible. I am always eager to get stuck in and that is how I found myself rolling out over 300 chapatis (similar to pancakes, savoury dough balls that get rolled out, dry fried then fried in oil. Delicious!) which, let me tell you, is no easy physical or mental feat!
My Chapati Journey…
1pm First chapati ever. Feeling great.
1.30 Starting to get the technique, chapatis are coming out round!
2.15 It’s getting hot and my arms are aching. Some chapatis are absolutely perfect (even if I say so myself!) Not yet half way through.
2.40 Another tray down! Don’t dare ask if we are nearly done when yet another tray of dough balls emerges from the kitchen.
2.45 Two trays of chapati dough balls fall on the ground. Roll them out anyway even though we are outside!
3.00 It starts to rain! Get very wet but all the chapatis are saved. Celebration as we are over half way!
3.45 Need a drink of water…
3.50 Still need water…
3.55 Passed the need for water.
4.00 Last tray!
4.30 Done at last. I’m going to dream of rolling out chapatis, but for now flour monster Katie must go and teach. I never want to see another chapati again!
6.30 Dinner time! Delicious daahl cooked by our wonderful housemaid and friend Lucy served with, you guessed it…CHAPATIS!
This centre is part of the Nakuru Hope Project. When I first met Christopher he talked a lot about giving people hope. The youngest ‘homie’ was found abandoned on the street, she is thought to be 1 ½ years old and they named her Hope.
But my question is, what is Hope?
Being here is really inspirational and has got me thinking a lot about how I hope the future will turn out for these children and how I can play a part in making that happen. The way I’m starting to see it is that hope is an idea that forms within a community where every member is reaching for a common goal.
It is not a solo endeavour, but rather a positive group dynamic that gives hope power to make a difference and that is why this centre is so successful and will hopefully continue to grow and develop for many years to come.
Hope is the heart of this community.
I am really looking forward to the next 2 weeks, my heart feels happy to know we will be staying here longer and the team are looking forward to updating you on our progress over the coming weeks!