Just days before this photo was taken, these smiling faces were dropped off on Flying Kites property by the police with nowhere else to go. Their eyes were wide with terror and grief. Their clothes were ratty and dirty; they hadn’t been bathed in days or weeks. The second youngest had a swollen welt and bruise under her right eye, both eyes were bloodshot.
I was on the way home from school when I had heard there were 5 new children at the house. I was anxious to meet them. Seeing them was overwhelming (not just because there were 5 of them!). I wanted to take them all in and protect them and make them feel loved, as it was obvious these sentiments were lacking in their lives. So how do they look so happy only days later? All I did was give them lollipops! If I knew parenthood was that easy…Just kidding! Just kidding, mom.
Flying Kites has once again shown how amazing it is as an organization. From the matrons, to the cook, to the laundresses, to the guards, to Leila and Mike and the rest of the board, to the sponsors, it’s thanks to everyone that these children have transformed so much. They were cared for immediately; bathed, clothed, fed, given beds to sleep on, loved, adored (they are ridiculously cute), shown affection, and spoiled. They were given a sense of security and belonging.
After a couple of days we started to gather their story from them. Their mother had run away a few months prior because she was pregnant and their father was abusive to her. The father was neglectful and abusive to the children as well. They were caring for themselves and eating a diet that consisted of ugali (a tasteless, filler of corn flour and water) and occasionally potatoes. They had left their home on a Friday night because after their father beat them, he told them he was going to kill them if they were still home when he returned from being out. The kids walked miles from their village to the nearest town and wandered the streets for the weekend, when the police finally brought them to Flying Kites on Monday.
Upon further assessment of the children’s bodies, multiple (more than 20) scars were found on the bodies of the 2 youngest girls. The oldest girl has a massive scar on the back of her head. The abdomens on the youngest girls were severely distended, significant of untreated worms and malnutrition. That Friday, the head matron and I brought the 5 five of them to the local health clinic where it was found the 3 youngest had worms, and thankfully all are HIV negative. These facts, along with a doctor’s assessment, were presented to the court. The father admitted to abusing the children. He was sentenced to 3.5 years in prison and a large fine.
So, here we have Tabitha aged 12, Stanley aged 9, Samuel aged 6, Ziporah aged 4, and Cecelia aged 2! These are our newest children. We have placed them all in school, except for Cecelia who gets to stay home and be doted on. Stanley is excelling quickly in school. Everyday he is becoming more confident and impressing his teachers. Tabitha is a great older sister. Samuel loves to play football. Ziporah has a big personality and is hilarious. It doesn’t get any cuter than watching Cecelia dance. The children are all blending in wonderfully at the home. They already have best friends at the house and are learning to speak English. I am amazed at their progress. And they need sponsors! Please help them and the other children at the home shine and succeed in life. The money you give will help feed, clothe, educate, and provide medical care. At Flying Kites, they are raising future leaders. Be a part of it!
In closing, I have to say how thankful I am for the experience I had and for everyone involved. I couldn’t be more grateful for the boda boda drivers who picked me up on their King Birds even in the worst weather, the teachers who gave me the classroom time and encouragement, the welcoming and loving staff, the children for being their amazing selves, the friendships I made and enhanced there, and everyone who supported me-financially and emotionally-on this journey. Flying Kites is a dreamlike place. I can’t wait for my next visit!
Here is where I sat for most of my writing and emails
Going to miss these runs
When I tell people I teach sex ed, the most common question I get is: Do the kids ask some questions just to be funny and make you laugh? Well the answer is yes. Beyond my most recent surprising/challenging questions of “what do I do if I’m ready for sex?” and “Because human desire is so strong, what do you do if you want to have sex with someone who isn’t your partner?”, here are few of the questions that made me laugh/blush:
“Why is the penis shaped like a pencil?”
“How many centimeters is a large penis?”
“If a woman wants to have sex when her husband is not home, can she have sex with a sheep? A chicken?”
“Is it healthy to eat paper and pencils?”
“What will happen to you if you eat ink?” (From the student with the exploded ink all over her face, hands, clothes)
“Because Rhianna is having sex all the time, does she wear condoms?”
“How many shillings is a condom?”
“For how many days do you do sex?”
“What time of day do you do sex?”
“Why do some men have big bellies?”
“Can the men with big bellies have babies?”
Thank you class 6!