As the year 2012 comes to an end, I celebrate those who took a chance to put a smile on someone’s face. Those who dared to make everyday richer with love.
I believe that the road wasn’t easy all-year-round, but we should count ourselves champions for we have made it to the end. Many started the road with us this year but they didn’t make it this far.
So I pray that your heart will remain youthful and full of cheer all through the new year.
Thank you all for taking the time to read my blog and beautify it with your thoughts. Let’s talk some more in 2013!
Love and sunshine…
To put a smile on your face as we countdown to the new year, here’s a lovely tale about my favourite day in December this year. Photographs are courtesy of Paras Gudka of Westlands Chess Club (WECC) and Kirsty McLullich of Vision Africa.
Enjoy the read!
My little friends at Kandara Children’s Home
Oh December! What a lovely ring this month adds to the conclusion of a lovely, yet monstrous yet again a typical other year – 2012.
Let us do a little math, shall we?
Q: What is the result of a public transport strike, plus a car full of visitors, plus road directions, minus following road directions, multiplied by hours in a day to spend?
A: Easy, a Fun Day at Kandara Children’s Home in Murang’a!
Ok fine, not an easy challenge or even math for that matter, but this sure was the plot of the story that led me to the most amazing place to have spent a fun day in December this year.
Swaleh, a trusted taxi driver chatted with my good friend Esther Neema and me as we headed to the Nairobi City Centre to meet up with Paras Gudka, the founder of the Westlands Chess Club (WECC).
Esther Neema and her new baby buddy
Paras Gudka; WECC founder
To our surprise, the matatu strike was still on and Swaleh swore that it had reached a point where the public transport operators were charging as much as KSH 400 for what would normally cost KSH 50 for bus fare.
Paras gladly came with his team from the WECC to join us for a day of fun and games at the Children’s home. I was super confident that the directions that Kirsty McLullich (a full-time volunteer with Vision Africa) had given me will make me look good as a navigator.
The WECC crew; Shammah, Gweyani and George
Being the social being that I am, I coloured the atmosphere with my warm personality through a story or two…or three… Ok, I might have talked quite a lot but I promise that I gave everyone else a chance to tell an anecdote or two…Hehe!
All this got me to a point where I forgot to check my phone for directions and we used a route to Thika that seemed familiar yet unfamiliar. What gave me confidence was the fact that the other passengers were on Google Maps, confirming if we are on the right path. Technology!!!
Unfortunately, we confidently made a turn that took us to a town that seemed familiar, yet unfamiliar. When we stopped to ask for directions… Typical Kenyan “asking for directions” Drama happened! There was a gent who went on with stories about how we are so lost and that he doubts if we’ll find our way to Kandara. Talk about a prophet of doom!
Seconds after what we seemed to have been an understanding of the directions the gent gave us, we were lost again.
We took on a challenge and asked a matatu driver for directions and his directions sounded like, “You see that road… Drive down till you reach a junction, ignore the junction and drive on, you’ll see another road but ignore it, then you take a left, then go, then take a right and if you even ask a small child for directions, you will find your way to Kandara.”
[Trust me, this English translation sounds nothing as hilarious as the original Kiswahili one with a local accent.]
As we got lost some more on our way to Kandara, we at least took the chance to sample the lovely green countryside. It was a farming community judging from the patterned strips of crop against recurring steep slopes.
Aha! An old wise man of the land who probably knew the paths more than anyone we had met already. Luckily we had a “translator” amongst us who could communicate with the old “guardian of the land”.
We were directed to a road though a steep slope even though we all doubted it. And soon our doubts were confirmed “doubtworthy” as several little boys directed us back to the right path to the Kandara Children’s Home.
Finally, we arrived after hairpin bends and as soon as we saw the writings on the entrance of the Orphanage’s gate – Kandara Children’s Home – we took a deep breath.
As soon as we arrived, we introduced ourselves to each other as Kirsty made her way to the parking area to welcome us. Yes, we forgot that tiny detail of introductions. Haha!
Kirsty McLullich of Vision Africa and Mary Mwangi of Kandara Children’s Home
The day ripened with richness as soon as the kids came running to hold our hands and welcomed us. The atmosphere was filled with a great anticipation for a great happening judging from the preparations in the kitchen and the farm.
A goat had been slaughtered for a great feast! YUMMY…Mbuzi (Swahili for goat)
After a short tour by Kirsty round the orphanage, we were led to the baby unit. I actually got to learn how to hold a baby, play with one and feed one too. That beat my fear of dropping a baby just because of my skinny hands…Haha!
Later on the WECC set up a table for a good game of chess starting with some quick lessons for beginners. The magic began! Esther and I got our girl-power kit and secured a spot for the girls on a green yard. Manicures and pedicures, hand massages, make-up and dress-up glam time and not forgetting the girly chat to complete this female bonding session.
There was also some face-painting in the dining hall and the little ones got creative with how they wanted their faces to look with face paint masks.
A lovely game of chess with WECC and the Kandara kids
Pampering the Kandara girls
Some football for the Kandara boys and friends before lunchtime
We girls and make-up. Can’t get enough of it…
Face-painting at Kandara Children’s Home
The kids who worked really hard this year got their gifts
Goat stew… Yummy!
Fooooooood and cute face
Tasty Mbuzi Choma (roasted goat meat)
Lunchtime was absolutely heartwarming as all the kids sat together and ate as one big family. As soon as I saw chapattis, my search was over. I love chapattis!
The Kubamba Crew had a great Dj entertaining the crowd as we all gathered for a little booggie woogie outside. As I danced with Teresia, one of the little ones, I realized that the joy I felt inside was more than what I expected from the visit.
There’s something about a child’s smile that somehow makes everything seem alright. It was most definitely hard to say goodbye as well.
Tasty mbuzi for the boy
With love, from Kenya
When I say chow-time, I mean chow-time
The smile of an angel
Jolly good times at Kandara
On our way back, we almost got lost again, but we somehow found our way to Nairobi.
A Fun Day?
This was more than just a fun day. It was a great day to get lost, LITERALLY, in fun adventure!
Have a fun-filled 2013!!!
Kandara Children’s Home
More about Westlands Chess Club (WECC)
More about Vision Africa and Kandara Children’s Home
More photographs on Kandara Fun Day