So it is my last day at school and I can’t even begin to explain how sad I am to leave. writing this (both at the time and now I am typing it) is bringing a tear to my eye.
I arrived at the school a little later than planned. Having being woken at 4am by Anna who forgot the key and was then her usual inconsiderate self with her loud voice waking us all up. (There is no baby by the way, false labour. Contractions have stopped!) I was then late getting up, and somehow managed to forget my water so needed to go back!!
When I finally did arrive I got the best welcome I could have ever imagined. You know those films you see on Comic relief…kids running up to the celebrity visitor…THAT!!! about 6 of my kids ran up to me and just threw themselves at me. I was right outside the directors office as well but didn’t think he saw. He did, and mentioned it when I was leaving stating you can see the positive impact I have had here at Shikamana just by the greeting I received that morning.
Today I think a few of the kids realised something was up. Teacher Gemma was sad, but I don’t think they all knew why. Little Ruwa was definitely sensing the sadness in the air.
I spent most of the day with the kids climbing all over me, giving me cuddles and asking to have their picture taken. I also added a final poster to my collection. I really don’t think I will ever make it as an artist!
Madam Mariam did explain to the children that I would not be coming back on Monday and some of them were saying (in Swahili so I am going from Mariam’s translation)that they did not want me to leave. Little did they know that I didn’t want to go! I was also told that when asked who their teacher was they said Teacher Gemma which is really, really cute.
A few rounds of Wheels on the Bus, Heads Shoulders Knees & Toes and Paka Paka Paka (which means cat cat cat) later and it was nap time. I used this time wisely – finishing off my picture above with Siti, spend a bit of time with the staff and other classes before my last day drew to a close. I have to be honest I was holding back the tears.
Lunch time was on major delay today, I really hope it was not my attempt to help:
Ugali is NOT easy to mix!
I spent the afternoon and most of lunch time with my little soldier attached to my hip and just hanging out with the kids, taking pictures, doing some last minute bonding. I really didn’t want to say goodbye so I took every chance to hang out with my little angels! This is why I love them all:
Despite their earlier nap some of the children still managed to fall asleep after lunch. So off I went to a CRE lesson where the teacher didn’t seem to accept I was a practising Christian. Slightly strange but interesting all the same.
Actually, I have totally missed a section of the day! Whilst we were waiting for lunch to be ready the kids had a mass colouring session. Big Saidi was super cute with this…every picture he coloured he would come and show me, looking for approval. They also had a little bit of a mad hour which was kind of funny.
As the day drew to a close, I made my way to my class, tears in my eyes camera in hand ready to snap away. The pics below show how sad I was to leave. This SUCKED!!
The plan was for a group shot…but the children didn’t realise exactly how this should work and all wanted to be next to the camera as usual! eventually we got it right and although they are all looking in different directions and at different things…here is (most) of my class in 3 photos I will treasure forever!
I said my teary goodbyes to them all as they left for the day and walked to Jackson’s office unable to really see where I was going! I wasn’t the only one who was emotional, Jackson & Mariam were too.
As a thank you for the work I had done (which felt like nothing to be honest) they gave me a stunning ostrich egg decorated with Maasai beads. It apparently brings good luck so will be hanging in my room if it clears customs. (It did, and I look at it every day)
And that was it. A quick exchange of contact info, a promise to stay in touch, some pictures and I was gone. Not even sun glasses could hide the tears!
There is no way I can leave this place and not come back. It has been one of, if not the best experience of my life!
The children, despite their poverty are so happy (well, except when they fall over, stub their toe, etc) They are full of love, no matter of race or religion. They want to learn despite the lack of resources, I have seen 6 pupils share 1 book. And the teachers continue to give the best education they can to these children in order to better equip them for their future.
I have sworn to do all I can to help Shikamana. As soon as I get home I will be looking into setting up a fund for the school. Now that seems insane right now but I can not sit back in England and go ah yea, Kenya was cool, nice place, would go back there! It will take a lot of work, and require a lot of support from friends and family.
if from reading these posts you feel moved at all, please check out the other areas of my blog (how you can help…) drop me a message, tweet me, or just comment below and I will happily give you more info.
So, bye for now… Next post my last night/day in Kenya 😦