Our first day here brought only joy and confirmation that would fall in love quick with the children of Huruma Children’s Home!!!
Well, in case you didn’t know, Africa is very far away!! We flew 4 ½ hours to Washington D.C., 8 hours to Belgium, 12 ½ hours to Nairobi!!. With our layovers, we logged 32 hours of traveling!! Honestly, as EXHAUSTED as we all were, the traveling could not have got smoother for all of us. We had no significant delays, zero cancelled flights and most of us got to sit relatively close to each other (so we could complain about how tired we were :). It seemed like we got a second wind when we began to walk through the exit doors of the Nairobi terminal. We were met by Mama Zipporah (jumping up and down, clapping her hands in excitement), Mama Roberta (ecstatic to see us), Mama Lisa (teary eyed, she worked so hard at getting our sew team ready for travel) AND several Huruma kids with big smiles, hugs and beautiful roses for each of us!! What a beautiful Kenya Welcome!!
The children at Huruma are extremely friendly and always have a ‘hi” and “what’s your name?” for each of us. Their smiles, as you can see in pictures, radiate love. They are absolutely grateful for all that they have been given. And despite their difficult beginnings to life, they are so thankful to call Huruma their home. Huruma offers them love, a bed, food, clothing, education and the knowledge of God and His word. I’m amazed at the appreciation these kids have for what they’re given. Many of them share a twin bed, they don’t have nice clothes or shoes that fit (by America’s standards anyway), you can imagine their menu options are quite limited, and their dormitories are extremely crowded. Yet to them, Huruma is a safe haven and an answer to their prayers. Their gratefulness is never ending. They will thank you for just holding their hand or for showing them your family pictures on your phone. They soak up every moment with the volunteers. Today, I found little Elisabeth playing in a stairwell. She had her toys out, 6 Fanta bottle caps, 2 of them entirely rusted. We played ”flip the bottle cap with your finger and then cheer like crazy” game. She loved every minute of it and frankly so did I :). The hugs and smiles are endless here. We are floored by how bright these kids are. Many of them have moved far ahead in their classroom at school because of their intelligence and determination. Our entire team is in awe of the children. They are absolutely amazing. And beautiful. And have stolen our hearts.
The Sewing Program:
After breakfast, we were brought to the new sewing room. That was exciting! We arranged tables, chairs, supplies and their new sewing machines. With your donations we were able to buy 8 machines and our plan is get 7 more this week. Awesome! We were just half way through setting up our classroom, when children began to enter the doors and jumped at the chance to learn how to sew! Their excitement encouraged us. One of the teachers from Huruma is the new Sewing Program Director. She has background in Home Economics and even she was elated to learn! She had never sewed on an electric sewing machine before and she had the time of her life!! Chaos began to ensue though, as the classroom was buzzing with excitement, so we kindly locked up the room and invited others to come later for our class. Their excitement was such a huge encouragement to all of us, especially the teacher’s own excitement for her new found love of machinery :). We had prayed so much over this program, one of the things being that we plainly wanted the kids to have fun and enjoy this! Thank you Lord, they loved it.
Later after lunch, we gave 15 girls and their new director a two hour class on the basics of sewing. It went beautifully! We never imagined the students would pick up on things so fast. They learned all of the parts of their sewing machine, how to thread their top-thread and bobbin and then they spent some time practicing a straight stitch. We explained how this skill could be a fun hobby, a sustainable trade, and a means to raise money for Huruma. We showed them the projects they would be working on this week and how each project would have their very own “Huruma Family” woven label sewn into the seam. You should have seen their faces when we explained they could sell these items in the market to raise money for their home! Priceless. And when we showed them the drawstring backpack that they would be sewing, they were giddy! By the end of the class I can easily say they were eager and all of us on the sew team were deeply encouraged. Thank you Lord!
The Dance Party
After we ate dinner we were in for a dance party. And I mean DANCE PARTY. On Saturday nights they meet for prayers and then when the music starts, they dance like there is no tomorrow! It was a cross between the best Zumba class you could ever take and an African Bandstand. Those kids can MOVE!! We had a blast dancing in line with the older kids and holding hands with the little ones. Their music just rocks and I’m hoping to get their playlist :).
After dancing our tooshes off, we headed back to the dorm to reflect on our day. It was just wonderful. We shared what our expectations were as we came into the trip and how God surprised with so much more than we could ever imagine.