This is the thought that was constantly crossing my mind during our first day back at Lewa Childrenâ€™s Home. Has it really been a year since we had to say goodbye?…because it seems like I left just last week. Itâ€™s like I never left the rambunctious Ki-Swahili babblers and their constant demands to â€śLook me, look me!â€ť Â I still remember all their names, their personalities, not to mention their ploys for attention. It was great to return to their loving, welcoming environment of warm handshakes, hugs, and unbeatable Kenyan tea.
Lewa Childrenâ€™s Home, better said with the words on their website, is â€śthe reality of the dream of Phyllis Keino. It is the home to up to 120 children, ranging from infant to eighteen years old. All of the children are either orphaned, abandoned or destitute when they come to Lewa. Phyllis is dedicated to raising these children in a loving, caring environment with their education as the top priority.â€ť This statement couldnâ€™t better explain the situation of the children at the homeâ€”the combination of education, communication, and play mold well-rounded, curious young adults that may have otherwise faced a very different future.
Lewa is situated on a plot of land, shared with Baraka Farms. The farm provides milk, cheese, vegetables, and eggs for a large portion of the meals for the children and staff at Lewa. Subsistence farming at its best, really. One other girl from IUPUI is also working at Lewa with me. She spent an exhaustive part of the morning playing soccer with the older kids, while I stayed with some of the younger ones in the field. I even had a heart-to-heart with one of my favorite kids (not that I have favoritesâ€¦). And by â€śheart-to-heartâ€ť with a six year-old, I mean he wants to be a pilot and his favorite color is red. We also made a flower bouquet together and he fashioned some â€śearrings like mineâ€ť out of grass.
After a long, but enjoyable day at Lewa, we headed back to IU House where we ate a nutritious, delicious dinner of fish and vegetables in the communal dining room and mingled with some other students. We wrapped up the day with our second Ki-Swahili lesson on greetingsâ€¦kwa heri, marafiki!
Ki-Swahili Phrase of the Day:
Ninatoka nchi ya Americaâ€”I am from America