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Taking 54 children to the beach is always going to be a challenge ! The local matatus are not reliable but the main obstacle is that most of the staff at the Good Life Orphanage can’t swim.
So , we decided a better option would be to take one house per week to the beach, which meant taking 10 children at a time! So every Saturday, we set off to the local beach, armed with floaters and snacks. Those afternoons at the beach were the highlight of our time at the GLO. So much excitement, giggling and generally having a good time meant teaching how to swim was enjoyable and so rewarding!
Lots of children can now swim although they still thought I was crazy when I ventured into deep water! Mind you, most Kenyans who were on the beach are poor swimmers and don’t go out of their depth! Michelle, who is also disabled had a brilliant time in the ocean, helped by her very kind Mama.
Peter and I took Lawrence out on this big floating crocodile and he loved it! He was singing : “I’m the King of the castle”. A wonderful moment was when Peter told Lawrence we love him and he replied “I love you too!” Good job I was in the water so he couldn’t see the tears rolling down my cheeks!
So, what’s the best thing about volunteering at the Good Life Orphanage? For me, it’s the love we experience from the children. They understand our aim is to make sure they have fun and learn.
I also spent quite a lot of time helping out at St Bernadette Mary School: teaching English, doing lesson observations of all staff but it’s the daily mundane interactions with people that make it such a rewarding experience: the chats and laughs with the Mamas whilst helping to prepare meals, the warm greetings, children coming up to hold your hand, little Jamie climbing on my knees for a cuddle. God willing, we will be back next year. God Willing we will return next year !!
“Love is not patronising and charity isn’t about pity, it is about love. Charity and love are the same …with charity you give love, so don’t just give money but reach out your hand instead.” Mother Teresa