Monday, June 19, 2006

St. Francis Integrated School

I couldnt resist this you know but the picture has nothing to do with this post.

Their neighbours read as “who is who” in the affluent leafy suburb of Karen where this unfortunate school/home is located. Driving on the narrow road in the estate tells you that the public transport is not a considered mode of transport.

The stark reality of the poverty that this children live in is evident from the gate. Never mind their immediate neighbour call themselves the Great commission school. What one wonders is if Jesus taught the principle of neighbourhood, then the Karen residents have chosen not to practise good neighbourhood.

I have been to some children’s home and the number of masses that flocks over the weekends is amazing.

Let me get to the point.

I met Kibet and Cowi of virtual Insanity in town and we headed to the place. What first met our eyes were children playing in soil not grass. So we go chat with the mama and she cracks quite some jokes. She tells us she started the school in 2000 and the school currently enrols 400 students.

We take a tour of the school and the shocks of shock begin. The dormitories/classes are in a bad state. The floor is in a mess, it probably not seen cement in many years. They have no beds to sleep on and no the mattresses are not any better. They have seen many days and with bedwetting children you can only imagine.

The children are playing outside obviously oblivious of the disgust of those visiting. They probably have seen worse, slept hungry for days, and after being orphaned where else would they have gone.

Some people are drawing maps outside, reminds me of my days when I could not draw the map of Kenya to save my life.

The kitchen is the bare minimal. Surprise surprise,. There are people using firewood to cook in Nairobi. The children are busy making chapattis after a good neighbour brought them some ungas for making chappos. Only God knows how to satisfy 400 children.

What I admired most of the mama is that she has a very good command of English. She has sacrificed her life after retirement. She also lives in poverty and she tells us she is just like the children.

Only a visit can put the clear what goes on here.One of the children i hear called Njoroge has scabies and so it has been spreading over to other children. Obviously if a disease like cholera broke out you can guess what would happen.

Getting sleep was hard last night I must admit.

I can offer the schools neighbours this prayer since I must guess the school is renamed after this Saint;

The Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.