Day 351: Phones and the orphans that steal them

by lara vogel,

So we have been on a pretty big high here in Kenya. We have basically just gotten started at this new place that we love. We are working to turn this running program into an even greater beneficiary for the orphanage by expanding it into non-profit type status, and expanding our plans accordingly. Obviously, things have been hectic and happy here, all caught up in a new exciting project that is in such early stages that it feels impossible people don’t always just dream maniacally big.

Obviously, such a high cannot be maintained. And as the first burst of energy lowers to a more sustainable level, the fact that we are surrounded by sad things here means that occasionally such sad things catch up to us. Like Yoda’s dad that Claire described yesterday, or various bits of news from home, or just the basic fact that we are living in an orphanage.

Tonight, a Sad Thing happened to us. Someone stole our cellphone from Claire’s windowsill. Why would a phone be on a windowsill? Is a very reasonable thing to ask. Turns out it is the only small space where we can put the phone to make it internet-friendly. Conveniently, Claire was on the internet at the time of the swiping, so we knew within two minutes that it was gone (Claire is a very diligent internet user).

We alerted the staff, and within minutes all 170 orphans were gathered together. The manager here, who had admitted to the other muzungus that she didn’t know how to deal with such an issue, did an unbelievable job and recovered our phone from a chink in the wall of the boys’ bathroom within an hour of the theft. As one of the few authority figures in Kenya who does not believe in corporal punishment for the children, she is a wonderfully and loving caretaker who took this theft very deeply to heart.

She then came to give us back the phone and spent twenty minutes lecturing us on the importance of cooking and eating well since we are so active because all we had to offer her was homemade bread (which we felt fairly smug about) and tea.

We came here to work and make life easier around here for such people, but now this wonderful woman is acting as the mother to over 170 orphans, and 3 muzungus far from home. Who apparently do not know how to cook.

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