I wish all of you had been with me today as I entered the Mathere slum here in Nairobi. My visit was extraordinary, and I will try to give you a feel for the experience. I am so grateful for the opportunity I had to meet such wonderful people.
The slum where Kwa Watoto is located is a concentration of over a million people who live in very difficult conditions. The dust rises as we drive through the dirt pathways. Most people are on foot.
The teachers are strict about homework and students have to complete it as soon as they get home. They have no electricity in many homes.
After visiting classes from preschool through 6th grade and getting some lessons I Kiswahili, I met all the teachers in the Library where I gave them the flash drives sent by the Waring students. We got out the computers and the teachers were immediately immersed in looking at the flash drives and the photos of Waring students. I encouraged them to be creative with how they responded, and assured them that many of the Waring students would answer if they wrote back.
We finished the visit with physical education for the whole school. The Salvation Army has a building and dusty field, which they allow Kwa Watoto to use. The teachers are in charge of activities for their classes. Soon the kids were doing jumping jacks, stretching, running and skipping rope. The slum has no other place where they can run, and they loved it. They ran like they were training for the Boston Marathon!
Finally it was story time. One class gathered around me as I told the stories of Goldilocks and the Three Bears and Little Red Riding Hood. Two of the kids told stories: The Boy Who Liked Animals and Three Girls and the Giant. We had a lot of fun together.
On Friday I go to the Gentle Bells school in Longonot, an hour outside of Nairobi. Stay tuned.