Published: June 28th 2008June 28th 2008
I decided to change my wake-up call to 6:00 am. It came right on time this morning, although I have been up, off and on, since 3:00 am. I am feeling a slight sinus infection coming on and the eye infections that have dogged me for the last two months are also starting to irritate again.
I pondered how to avoid another shower incident today and decided to just have a good "wash over" in the sink of the public washroom. That actually worked very well and relieved me of any subsidiary guilt
I had breakfast and was at the school by 8:00 am (school starts at 7:00 am, even thought some of the students walk miles every day to get there). Charles and Pius were not expected to show up until 9:00 am, so I took out the skip rope that I brought for the kids (thanks Heather!!) and introduced it to them. Well, THAT WAS IT!! The whole school erupted into spontaneous play and everyone, including the teachers, joined in on the fun. It was a splash and I got lots of video to prove it.
Charles and Pius showed up on time, accompanied by a big blue bus! I had planned a field trip to the Kisumu Museum for about 65 of the oldest students and 10 teachers and adults. The kids were ecstatic! They loaded onto the bus ad down the road we went. This was a real treat for the children - not only for the experience itself, but also because they they are do low in the ranks of community children. It was a real boost to their "standing". These "special occasions" provide for them a real sense of esteem and pride in themselves and their school. As we left the school yard, our bus erupted into volumes of music and singing, and only increased in intensity as we idled through the streets of Bumala, past other schools, or near gatherings of people. They were letting the world know who they were and they were belting out songs at the top of their little lungs in no uncertain terms!!
The two hour trip was non-stop music. Their full repertoire of songs seemed inexhaustible and I recorded the entire episode. When I get some time, I will cut them into and album of 10-15 songs that we will make available to the public. If anyone would like to help with this project, please let me know....
We arrived in Kisumu (2 hour drive) and went straight to the museum. We negotiated a price to get everyone in and a tour guide took us through. Beyond the cultural items on display, which was really interesting to me, there was a fish house with varieties of fish in tanks, an authentic Luo village, live snake pens, a live alligator, and a tortoise pen. Charles, Pius and I went for a walk down tot he local Nakumat store where you can buy everything you need from food to hardware to household appliances. The bus driver, who had previously gone for lunch, now arrived and took us on a little journey into the heart of Kisumu to "procure" (I am choosing my words carefully here) some sodas and bread for the children's lunch.Back at the museum grounds, we assembled the children for a big picnic...
After the picnic we were back on the bus and headed home to Bumala. Once again, as we made the two hour trek, the children sang their endless list of songs and praises. It was really amazing to see the seemingly endless happiness. The voices of the children raised to a frenzied pitch as they made their triumphant entrance to Bumala. It was like a full celebration of the pride in their great adventure and this bus load of little kings and queens continued their royal procession up to the gates and into the school yard. As the bus came to a halt the doors swung open as throngs of children flooded out onto the lawns in joyous dancing, drumming, and singing. The African "ulula's" pierced the air and only heightened the excitement. The atmosphere was simply electric and was an overwhelming sight to witness.
Finally, the teachers assembled the children, gave them their final instructions for the next day, and released them to go home. Charles, Pius and I retired once again to the bar room with several bottles of water, and discussed plans for new and upcoming expenditures.
Tomorrow is my last day in Bumala and I leave for Nairobi in the evening.....