Kileva is small. Pre-school through Class 4. An intimate community of parents and staff members set up a celebration inside a classroom. We're delighted by a song and dance by class 4. Parents in the audience yell and scream with support as each boy and girl come together in unison. Then it's the grown-up's turn to dance! Men and women move and groove with reckless abandon. With every sway, every twirl, there is no hardship, no worry, nothing but joy and goodness and utter appreciation for life. It is such an honor to be there firsthand, absorbing their positive energy--a feeling that leaves you remembering how beautiful and meaningful life is--and how fortunate we are to be breathing.
We pass out pencils to each class. These students are calm and reserved, and they cradle their pencils like treasure. It is such a gift. The potential of their small hands. Inside, I'm giddy thinking about the possibilities of education and connection. I want to hold each hand and bask in the glory of what they can do. What we can do together.
Outside, Julius, our wonderful driver (and Swahili tutor,) sets up a game of catch. I orgnaize more relay races. Ndovu, ndovu, simba. Frisbee and jumprope. Boys vs. girls (which seems to be the norm here.) Of course, girls seem to have a slight advantage... but I'm not partial. Nope, not me.
I ask one of the older girl's for a pair of scissors so I can cut a plastic tie on a jumprope. She bends down to her tiny, pre-school-age-brother, and he pulls a razor blade out of his pocket. I'm shocked. In amazement, I hand it to Julius, our wonderful driver, and he cuts the tie for me. I'm reminded again that Kenya is a different place. Kids here learn to survive at a very early age. Whether it's push-starting our car, carrying a razor-blade in a pocket, or using a machete to help cut down grass around the school to keep out snakes (as Nicola saw earlier,) these young, young kids figure it out.
They learn how beautiful, yet absolutely trying life can be. The result? I'd have to say appreciation. A thankfulness for all that is. Family. Food. Friends. Balls. Frisbees. Pencils. Laughter.
And I'm right there with them.