This weekend I did not go home. Now that my parents have gone through Malindi and Naivasha in less than two years, we are back in Nairobi and am expected to make a visit ‘weekendly’. Folks have to make sure there are no new scars on my face. This weekend, my class had planned a visit to a children’s home so I had a legitimate excuse not to go home. It’s not that I mind going home (I love going home, but what is it about independence again?)…it’s just that I don’t want to get so used to it. There might be some weekends when I might be up to some mischief and the last thing I want is evidence of my weekend shenanigans at home.
On Sunday afternoon, after a lazy morning of me catching up with the Simpsons, I wore my green t-shirt, blue jeans and rubber shoes. The rubber shoes are in vogue now. We gathered with the class at ‘the airport’. This is the place where any class going for a trip gathers for take-off. It’s really the place in front of the staff cafeteria, near the graduation square where the camera guys hung out.
While we waited for the late guys to catch up, we took a class photo. I don’t mean a digital one, nothing like an old-fashioned Kodak picture to capture the class spirit. Sometimes I think am friends with everyone in my class.
With plenty of good feeling, we started the walk. Now, j-town is one hot and dusty place. I haven’t walked this far in so long. The walk is along the railway, and there is this bridge that is made using horizontally placed logs. The railway passes over and there is no space to get out of the way if the train comes by. The worst thing about the bridge is the wide gaps between the planks of wood. The gaps are big enough to fall through to the gaping canyon below.
We were hot and dusty and thirsty by the time we reached there, kilometers away. We were expecting small, sad-faced coochy faces wanting the love. At least I was, I confess. This was my first visit to a children’s home. What we faced was confident pre-teens all happy and quite frankly, I was scared of them. We introduced ourselves, trying not to stammer as I uttered one or two words.
After the preliminaries, and we got over our initial nervousness and interacted with the kids. We had to each go out to the field with at least a child and I was standing there wondering who to befriend when this girl Adhiambo came to my rescue.
Adhiambo is an energetic who befriended me and almost broke my back in the process. She pushed me so high in the swings I realized I am now over my childhood days for good. Just when I was catching my breath, she suggested we join the boys for some football in the dust bath that is their football pitch, I was literally covered in dust from head to toe.
It was a worthwhile visit, though it was not I who came up with the idea nor lobbied for the contributions but a dedicated classmate who once wanted to be a priest. I don’t know where he is in his quest, but I’ll be finding out soon.