By Angela Wilburn
After 4 years of waiting we were able to go to Kenya again this year. Visiting the GLO is always something that we look forward to as part of our trip and this year we were welcomed just as well as any other year. The orphanage has gone through so many changes during the past 4 years but we are happy to say that regardless of the changes and the impact that Covid has had on daily life we were as impressed as always.

The children were very happy to see us and interact with us as they have had no overseas visitors since February 2020. There are now less children that call the GLO their home due to the change of government policies regarding the care of orphaned children but the standards remain high and those that are there are well looked after and happy. It’s good to know that those children that have left are still under the watchful eye of the GLO. Regular contact and check ins with the family and the continuing financial support for those children and families means that none of the children are moved on and forgotten.

Some more of our family came with us on this trip and after hearing all of our stories got to experience it for themselves. Needless to say they too were impressed by the care and dedication of the staff and felt very welcome being there. Fran said that she really enjoyed meeting the children and staff, they got to help prepare a meal and had the pleasure of tasting it too! Fran and Josie had their hair done by some of the children and Austin and Cameron played football.

The children were visibly excited to be having this interaction and never stopped talking, asking all sorts of questions and being genuinely inquisitive. I’m certain that they learn a lot from these interactions, and I hope that more visitors are able to go in the not too distant future.

Saidi was pleased to see us all and it was great to see how much he has learned and how well he is developing, there is still a long road ahead for him but with the care and attention he is receiving then I’m sure he will continue to improve. It is very obvious how much the children care for each other too, growing up like siblings and helping each other along the way. Lawrence is as cheeky as ever – in a good way! He was the first to come and start asking questions, telling jokes and winding us up. Such a lovely polite boy despite his own struggles with his health. He always has lovely chats with Mum (Sheila) and has her in stitches laughing.

Covid had meant that a lot of the minor maintenance work had to be held back but that was all being done when we were there, painting, building, repairs, all to keep up the high standards for the children and their safety. The shamba had some new calves, again all very well looked after. Austin helped to feed them with fresh grass brought in from fields in the surrounding area. The fruit and vegetables are growing well and the children get a very balanced diet from the supply.

The new therapy centre is going from strength to strength, and it was lovely to meet the staff in there and see all the great work being done for children with disabilities from the surrounding area who would not normally be able to access any kind of therapy programme. Seeing them there with their parents/carers was heart-warming as we know that it makes a big difference to the families of these children. We were able to take some supplies over for Mary for the centre and Jason and I had the pleasure of assisting to brighten it up inside for the children using wall stickers.

Supplies for the orphanage are becoming more and more expensive and so it was a pleasure to be able to go off and do a monthly shop with Mums donation again. Going out with staff to the market is an experience in itself and when I asked Cameron to carry the beans back to the bus I think he was expecting a few tins, not a huge bag of dried beans.

There is so much more we could say but I think this short piece covers enough. We can’t wait to visit again

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