My journey to Muhoroni...

Friday, January 8, 2010

Back to Muhoroni

In Muhoroni I was welcomed by the warm supper from Sister Vincent. And my empty house. My fear of spider invasion during my two-week absence did not prove legitimate. They have probably understood what they should expect there. It took me a while till I realized that there was no one else coming out of the next door to greet me.

I was surprised to see that the clothes pegs were still hanging on the string and other things that I left outside were also untouched. (In Nairobi whatever I left outside was taken – from a plastic bag to a mop.)
And so I settled in again. Today I was painting the names of the hospital wards.  Yesterday I was visiting houses in Shauri Yako. Literally it means „your problem“. Supposedly because of the high criminality that made this quarter notorious in the past. I don´t know if it was just me but it seemed that these people don´t know their neighbours very much. Maybe everyone deals with their problems, not „yours“. We went from house to house asking about my families but no one knew them. Of course, „your problem“ is a big one so we did not solve it. My guide has a good and rare character trait – he does not give up. So we were walking around Shauri Yako for two and a half hours. At last, thanks to all of the advice, we managed to get to another quarter where the neighbours knew our mother under her nickname, not her real name. It turned out that she had left a month ago because she had had an argument with her husband. That might explain why we haven´t seen the boy for so long.
Apart from stepping in an unidentified piece of shit („your problem“) in Shauri Yako it was a strong experience. Some children were running away from me, others started crying heart-rendingly and they didn´t stop until I was behind the corner. I noticed that the children who came to me out of curiosity did not ask for anything. I think that the children that I meet at the main road must have been taught to beg for sweets by some white person who started giving them things. They already have a list of things that they want from me and that I should bring them.
The children in Shauri Yako either didn´t have time to start begging or it didn´t come to their minds. A group of children wished me safe journey home – something like „chop ma ber“ and that really got me. Although we didn´t find the other two moms I managed to find my way in the area and I also realized that I would have to improve the locating system for our families.
The last visit in the family – a hut made of clay, a fireplace, water from the stream convinced me that the food itself is not the solution of malnutrition. The families could use vacuum flasks where they could store the drinking water prepared for the milk powder or milk squash and feed the child more often.
I am considering the idea of creating a space where the mums could play with their children. I realize that many of them barely communicate with their children while visiting our centre. Some of the children are afraid of me, some are afraid of being measured. I try to speak with them but I am not good at speaking Luo and the mothers are silent. The other day I asked one of the fathers to tell his 2-year-old son to open his mouth and the father started to open the boy´s mouth by force without saying a word. I tried in vain to convince him to speak to the boy in his language.
Next week I am going to see what the school looks like. I should teach a few religion lessons, maybe social studies. I have already seen the teachers sitting in one room while the kids were in their classrooms and so I asked if it was the break time. It wasn´t. Well, that happens. I am curious to see what awaits for me there. Today I made a child cry because I handed him over to his mum. He wanted to stay with me. Well, at least one time the child cry for a different reason than the usual one.

1 comment:

  1. Shauri Yako ahaha means everything from your problem to your fault. in 1990s Aids swept through their like a Germam panzer division. As a boy in his early teens i saw it all. I was privileged to live in company housing, free water and free electricity, free school, free medical provided by the company in exchange for measly salaries. I am surprised you havent written about an encounter with a Chief or a sub-Chief. They are relics of the British colonial government system that specializes in harassing populations like Biafra and Shauri Yako. It is good that you are helping their, most Kenyan generally dont give to charity. Not becasue of selfishness but due to the fact that families have very many poor relatives who come first before they could give a penny to strangers.