Africa is a land of wonder. A place we have always wanted to go and see for ourselves just what this ancient continent offered. We have started our three month over land trek covering ten countries to get a glimpse into what life is like. If you have even wondered what African continent holds, be ready for the journey – it’s going to be one heck of a ride.
Our first day on the road we traveled over bumpy, dusty roads past the Rift Valley and to visit an orphanage. Here is a look at what we saw:
This was what many of the road sides stands selling fruits and vegetables looked like.
Donkey carts trotting briskly along and kicking up lots of dust.
Kenya roads are no stranger to holes, rocks, bits of broken pavement as we bounced our way toward the Rift Valley.
There were little shop offering all sorts of crafts.
Bathrooms at the rest stop.
Legs holding up the deck.
Then we carried on driving to the orphanage.
There was a lot of trash.
But there were many hopeful and smiling faces at the Saidia Children’s Home Project.
Founded by a lady named Jill Simpson from the U.K., this orphanage can hold up to around 65 children maximum.
Marie, a women with neatly braided hair, smart jeans and a black and white blouse greeted us and gave us the history and tour of the orphanage. This was a room for teenage girls.
The orphanage serves children from the Gilgil community. This community has a particularly high rate of HIV/AIDS. There are four barracks in the town. Men come to fill positions and work in them, leaving their families behind in other areas. As a result the men go seeking ladies and diseases are spread at a high rate throughout families in the area.
Ages range from nursery age (shown above) and some children stay even after they turn 18. The orphanage is mainly funded by an organization in the U.K. and Project Canada.
After the tour, we went outside to meet the children and interact with them.
A member of our group brought bubbles and the kids went nuts over them.
In short time I meet and befriended Caroline.
She has been at the orphanage for ten years and this is her brother Kevin.
And sister Mary.
She told me all about how life was at the orphanage. She said the staff members were very nice, she does not mind living there and she’s happy she can have her brother and sister there. Sometimes they get to do fun things and go on outings. They get clothes from donations and visitors like our group bringing them items.
This small girl is named Jill. All the kids fussed over her and looked out for her. She had a particularly horrific story.
She was found in a trash heap.
Her spine was broken and she had many health aliments. With care and love, Jill survived and has become a special member of the orphanage.
Well worn shoes.
Caroline she tells me I must meet the cook because she is such a nice lady. As we walked down the cracked side walk, she picks up pieces of washed clothes that have blown off the bushes and are now mopping up the dirt. I meet Rhoda who is more than happy to have her picture taken with Caroline. She removed her head band for the photo.
The soccer game was over, the bubbles were almost gone and it was time for us to get back on the road.
The kids lined up the corridors and poured out the entrance way to excitedly wave us goodbye.
I almost lost it a few times interacting with these giant smiles and laughs. As much as I would like to think I can imagine with empathy what it must feel like to be an orphan, I can’t even begin to imagine. In the snap of a finger that act brings tears to my eyes as I look at these young brave soles facing each day. I asked Caroline what she wanted to do when she grew up and left the orphanage. Without hesitation she replied, “I want to be a nurse.” “Why?” I asked. “So I can help other people and take care of young children.” Among these tattered clothes and dirt playgrounds there is hope. There is kindness. There is the will to live and help others. These children were some of the bravest people I have met, and within them is the future of Africa.
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