As you will all know The Good Life Orphanage is a registered Charitable Children’s Institute in Kenya, we accept both boys and girls and the children can be any religion or any tribe, able bodied or disabled – all children are equal in our eyes. Each house has a House Mama and House Auntie. Religion is a very important part of daily life in Kenya, so it was decided when we established the Orphanage that children would follow the religion of their House Mothers if they were not aware of their own religious beliefs, until they came to an age when they can make the decision for themselves. As a result we now have Christians of different persuasions and Muslim children as well. The Christian children attend services at nearby churches on Saturdays and Sundays. As our new driver Abbas is Muslim we are now arranging for the Muslim children to attend prayers on Fridays and to receive Madrasa from a teacher. Each house has an understanding and mutual respect for each other’s beliefs.
In our western culture, children have lots of opportunities to interact with others at a variety of social gatherings, whereas Church services are often the only time when Kenyan children meet other children & adults outside of school hours, which we feel is a very important part of their development. It gives them an opportunity to feel a sense of belonging and that they are part of a bigger community, beyond the four walls of the Orphanage.
Both Kilroe and Keogh Houses have Roman Catholic mothers, the older children in these two houses have been asking to be baptised so with the help of parishioners from The Infant Jesus Catholic Church in Mtwapa all was arranged for St Stephen’s Day at 9.00am.
Papa Kevin & Mama Mary arrived at 8.50am only to find two people in the church, the orphanage entourage arrived at 9.30am with the Parish Priest starting Mass at 10.30am, our founders need to remember that its Kenya Time we all keep to! All the children looked so smart, all were prepared for their special day but not the high temperatures, it was so hot and with fifteen children between the ages of one year old and twelve years old, military precision was needed to ensure all went to plan.
Over thirty children were baptised on the day but everyone in the congregation made a beeline for the children from The Good Life Orphanage as they believe these children are equals and must be treated as such, they received a very warm welcome. Our biggest problem was making sure the children did not burn themselves when their candle were lit (sound familiar?!) but they did very well, with our children bringing up the gifts to present to Father Muata.
The children had a lovely day, it was indeed a celebration with our older children cherishing each and every minute of the day. Chabetty and Annie will now receive extra guidance and we are hoping they will receive their 1st Holy Communion in June this year.