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A typical day in Kimilili…

Always wondered how a typical day as a volunteer in Kimilili looks like? Read about it here…

A typical morning in Kimilili

The cock crows. It’s around 6 o’clock. I feel a bit stiff, as the mattress is hard. I crawl out from under my mosquito net and direct myself towards the bathroom. I need to pee. When I open the bathroom door, the smell makes me stop. Damn, I forget something… where are my flipflops? Mhhh, my sister has used them without putting them back where they belong…It’s not advisable to use the bathroom without shoes. When I find them I take a deep breath and open the door again. Quick quick, I pull my trousers down and crawl down to… oh no, wait… I still need toilet paper. It’s hanging on a nail in the wall and one needs to grab it beforehand as you can’t reach it from your crowed position.

Business is done, now I just need to flush: a bit of water from the bucket and off it all goes…

Astrid is a running freak and given there is no other exercise option in Kimilili she forces us to join her. Off she goes and we trot behind. “Not so faaast!!!” Damn, she is in her element…

After the run there is the shower part. It’s a lucky day as water is currently running. About every second day the water is off for a few hours. Brrrrr, the water is freezing cold.

Breakfast consists of two pieces of (untoasted) toast. We found some honey in the local supermarket to pep it up.

After breakfast we walk over to school. At 8am there is the morning assembly where all children and teachers gather for around 15 minutes to listen to the daily updates.

When the students disappear into their classrooms, we decide what to do: checking the construction side, organising a health care day or buying some kind of material that we might need for the day. Today we decide to walk into town to check out the prices for metal doors and windows for the construction side.

We walk down from the school to the village centre, about a 15 minute walk mostly along the main road. From all over we hear little children shouting “Mzungo, Mzungo, how are you?”. Mzungo is how they call a white person and we are definitely the only white persons in a wide range. Small children often start crying as they are scared of us

After finishing our to-do’s in town, Fabienne (one of our volunteers) realizes that she has a blister from walking in flipflops so we decide to stop by at one of the pharmacies. “Do you have stripes for blisters”?. Of course the pharmacist has some and he pulls out 1 plaster of a box. “It’s 5 Shillings each”. He looks a bit puzzled when we request the whole packages and gives us a discount of 40%. It’s common to sell individual pieces (e.g., cigarettes, sweets or condoms) as the Africans buy when need arises, not to have them handy in stock for when you might need them in at a later stage.

On the way back we meet one of our friends: Jack, the farmer. During our first visit to Kimilili he had helped us out with his jembe and we had given him a little money to appreciate his help. Unfortunately, in the evenings we found him drunk. But today he is sober and he starts a monolog: “Since you told me off last year I haven’t drunk nor smoked anymore. I really think God sent you to bring me back on track and into his fellowship. God has spoken to me through You! Thank you so much!”. I’m not so sure about the God-part but I’m happy that he stopped drinking. So I shake his hand and continue my way.

We are back at school at 12.30pm. it’s lunch time for the children. We help our cook mama Beatrice to distribute maze and beans to our 400 children. The children line up by grade starting with the youngest. They all have a big smile on their face when they pick up their food. For many it’s the only warm meal per day. Once again it strikes me what a huge impact the lunch programme has on our kids…

After finishing the distribution of the children’s lunch we walk back home. It’s about 1.30pm and my tummy is rumbling heavily. Time for our daily plate of rice and beans…

After a steaming plate of rice and beans we head back to school. The kids are back in class, some of them still in mud huts while others are already using the proper classrooms. From baby and nursery class you hear happy children citing songs, alphabets and numbers while our 8th graders are silently doing another mock exam. There are just 30 days left till the national exam and the tension is growing every minute.

National exam is not just important for our students, but also for the school as a whole. The results of all participating students get averaged and the quality of the school ranked by the average number. During mock exam CBSM school managed to become number 3 out of 17 schools in West-Kimilili and even ranked 9 out of 64 school in the county. An amazing achievement resulting from hard working students/teachers as well as the resources given to them (school books and materials). For the national exam CBSM will be compared to all schools in Kenya and we hope to be among the best 25% of schools in Kenya. Thanks to all our friends who have supported us so far on this journey! This wouldn’t be possible without your support!

We spend the afternoon at school, either playing with the kids, continuing our health campaign against jiggers and ring worms  or teaching. It’s rain season in Kimilili so it rains nearly daily heavily for a few minutes sometimes up to 1 hour. Afterwards the sun comes out again. But this heavy and short rain is enough to turn the road into a river. It becomes so muddy, that walking becomes a challenge.

I was revising the alphabet with the baby class in one of the mud huts when suddenly one of these heavy rains started. Big rain drops knock so heavily on the metal roof of the mud huts that I can hardly understand my own voice. There is no way of continuing class so I stare out of the wooden window through the heavy rain into the black sky. Within a few minutes the small water puddle in front of our classroom door growths to a little lake running into my classroom. 10 minutes later the sun is out again, but my classroom is flooded…

The entire family gathers for dinner at around 7pm: another steaming plate of rice and cabbage. One of the family members will pray beforehand, thanking for the plate of food. After lunch we walk over to the orphanage, where currently 10 children and all our 8graders share two mud huts. We play with the kids in candle light as the orphanage does not have electricity. It is pitch dark outside and most of the time I can only make out the blinking white teeth and realize that they are all smiling.

Another day is over at around 10pm and I crawl under my mosquito net thinking about how little one really needs in life…

Please come and visit us in Kimilili.

A big hug from Kimilili,

Agnes, Astrid & Fabienne

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