|A child outside the Village that was born with a physical disability. He treks more than one mile each day to fetch water.|
I recently attended two home visits with the homecare psychologist, Lillian. A home visit consists of picking up a family of children from their school in the outside community, driving them to their home so the social worker can see the conditions they are living in and then documenting information about the visit. The purpose of the visit is to identify if the children and the grandparent, if one is alive, have reached a level of destitution warranting an invitation to move into the village.
|Children of my first Home Visit. They are sitting on their 5' x 4' bed that they share.|
|The house of the first Home Visit.|
|The grave of the parents of the first Home Visit with the homes in back.|
We took a picture of the burial places of the parents at both home visits. Because people in the area can not afford grave stones, they bury loved ones near the home and let the grass grow undisturbed.
A week after the home visits, I went on a Rescue Visit. A Rescue Visit occurs when the Village is informed about a situation inflicting irreversible physical and emotional damage to the children. Homecare staff must visit the home to confirm that the situation is as dire as described by the informing organization. If the situation is as dire as described, Nyumbani will relocate the children to the Village that day. This particular organization, managed by a congregation of nuns, sent two Sisters to the Village to explain the situation. The next day Lillian and I went to assess the home environment and determine whether the circumstances warranted an immediate relocation into the Village.
|The home of the children of the Rescue Visit.|
|Four of the Five children inside their home. They slept on the dirt floor.|
|Dokas after chugging several ounces of milk.|
|I took a banana from Benson, the three year old, and fed him small pieces after he devoured half of the banana in one bite. He was literally "starving" of hunger.|
|Four of the Five children, the principal of their school, neighbors, and the chief of the area (in the back right).|
|Dokas' malnourished body.|
Upon arriving at the Village, we move the children’s possessions, packed in two Wal-Mart size plastic bags, into their new home. They were welcomed into a home of 7 children governed by a grandmother (now there are 12 children in the home). I accompanied the children to the home and spent the rest of the night with them, mostly holding Dokas. Because I have continued to check on the children each day, especially Dokas, Lillian has begun to jokingly refer to Dokas as my first born child.
|Dokas and I after reaching the Village.|
Guest House Cat
|The Guest House Kittens|
The grandmothers have given me the Akamba name “Matiso” meaning “bright”. I am unsure if they are saying that my personality brings light to a room or that I am intelligent. Either way I consider it a compliment. Add Matiso to the list of names people call me: Dag, John Mike, John, Mike, John Mark, Dagger, smart-ass, etc.
I decided to make Karubu (a Kenyan beer that is popular in this area because of how cheap it is to make) for a party we had in the guest house. I bought the ingredients, sugar and pure honey, and mixed them in a five gallon bucket with water. A fermenting component found on a tree is then added to produce the alcohol. I made the concoction three day ahead of time and put it out in the sun to ferment each day. The day of the party I left the village early in the morning for a home visit. As the vehicle was driving me and others back to the village, something in the engine exploded. By the time I arrived in the village, the Karubu was gone (except for a liter that they put aside for me). I really wanted to take a picture for you all to see. I will make sure to get a picture next time.
|The remnants of the Village fire.|
Until Next Time……