A day with Moses

 Posted by Meredith Rosson at 12:04 am  Kenya
Oct 222013

well now it is down to Mariana and me at daylove. We went out for Chris’ final night and I’m not sure why this surprised me, but nightlife in kenya wasn’t much different than in texas. perhaps this is because we were escorted by locals (friends Gemma and Chris made here.

it was a national holiday on Monday, so the kids that live I site had the day off. We had received permission from Priscilla to take the kids out in groups of 4 each Sunday ( but we started with the first group on the Monday holiday. We sat the kids down as a group and explained to them that they would all get a weekend out but since there were just two of us, Mariana and me, we could only take 4 at a time.

This first group we selected rose, Beatrice, Peter, and Brian. Brian said he wanted to wait until he could go in a group with Peter kimani (his Best friend). So we then selected Moses to take his place. My buddy! He was so excited, you could see it all over his face despite his efforts to play it cool. I told the kids that were going to go get changed and meet us in 5 minutes. Moses didn’t move. I went up to him and asked him if he was ready and he whispered ashamedly that he didn’t have clothes for town. I told him that what he had on was fine (sweats and a Tshirt) but clearly in the Kenyan culture or because he felt so special to have been selected first, he wanted to dress nicely for this rare outing. I spoke to Beatrice (she is one of the older girls and plays the big sister role perfectly to the rest of the kids) and she quickly took him upstairs and borrowed jeans from another kid and styled him for their special outing (at this point they didn’t know where we were taking them). The excitement in Moses eyes (he was the youngest of the 4 chosen this week, at age 10) was all I needed to feel the same excitement for him. The day before, he had received word that us little sister had been hit by a car and taken to a hospital. The sadness in his eyes about not being able to see her broke my heart so I was so happy to see that this adventure had replaced his worries as a young big brother, with personal happiness.

we caught a crowded matatu to junction and Moses had to ride in my lap. I loved it. He is just so small and quiet, yet so aware of everything going on around him and quickly caught on to the ways/rules of the matatu. All of the kids were excited. Beatrice and Rose had received some special one on one time with Chris before, so I was mostly happy to make Moses and Peter feel special to have been selected for the first group outing.

we caught a bus into town and realized our plan hadnt included lunch so we decided to treat them to lunch in town . we all got beef kebabs and shared large helpings of French fries (or chips). The real treat seemed to be the sodas they selected for their drinks. Then we followed it with ice cream.

After lunch we got on the final bus to our final destination and here we told them we were taking them to the giraffe sanctuary. Theory told us they had been there with other volunteers within the last year. Our sails deflated. Quickly Moses suggested to Nairobi national museum and the others excitedly joined in with his eagerness to go there. So thankfully we jumped off the bus to the giraffe sanctuary just in time before it left. We navigated our way to the museum, which wasn’t easy without our map and going against the plans we originally made (as foreigners you plan in advance so you know what buses to take), but we managed.

The kids loved it! I loved watching the run from one exhibit to the next, explaining it to me before i could catch up. I felt very honored to see their excitement for an educational outing and it just proved once again how special they are and what unique children they are- kids in the US would almost always chose a zoo over a museum, but these kids thrive on learning new things about he world.

at about 4 we made our way back home. The ride home took quite a while due to a van hitting a power line that crossed the main rode back to dagoretti. When we arrived home the other kids met us happily with excitement bc Gemma had come to say goodbye to them and gave them each pictures. They chanted “we got pictures” as we walked in. I think it was their way of making themselves feel better that they weren’t part of the first group outing. They have grown up with the rule that what is done for one must be done for all. I disagree with this rule mainly bc it ruins the opportunity to teach them how to be happy for one another if something special happens for one. The real world is not as fair or spreads joy as evenly, but  I also understand why they have it in place. Some kids make a quick impression on you as a volunteer and the shy ones could slip through the cracks with volunteers’ kindness- like I felt had happened in the past for Moses. Again I was comforted knowing he got the special outing first.

it was sad to see the kids say goodbye to Gemma. She had been with them since February and they all love her. But like kids do, they bounced back to their evening routine fairly quickly. It offered a glimpse into the lack of aftermath with my own departure rapidly approaching. But I know she left a place in their hearts and for many I hope I do the same.

That evening, we experienced the aftermath of the van’s accident with the power line. We lost power. The stars are  bright in the slums, but not enough to illuminatE the night shelter enough. Thankfully Gina had talked me into purchasing a hand cranked flashlight and the kids clung to me with it guiding us through the shelter and going through nightly rituals of bathtime and dinner. We had several moments with it off and sitting in the dark. I felt so much comfort and love and light during those dark moments. Coco crawled into my lap and Moses reached out for more affection than he ever had during that time. It was like he felt ok asking for love when no one could see him reaching out for it. He no longer had to be tough. He leaned on my back and wrapped his arms around my shoulders wrapping me in a sweet embrace. Then on each side i had 3-5 kids clinging closely. I felt in this moment the immense and overbearing joy of motherhood. I couldn’t help but think about wanting to bring them home with me.

My thoughts drifted to a mural some previous volunteers had painted of the scene from the Bible where baby Moses was found in the Nile river by the pharaoh’s daughter and how quickly his life changed. I imagined whatever background that led to my Moses ending up in the orphanage was much like the biblical Moses ending up in the river. my Moses’ life could be changed the same way if I could adopt him. I know the reality of my life is not conducive yet to this option, but the moment in the dark with his arms wrapped around me and that analogy playing in my mind will never be forgotten. I wish I could be the pharaoh’s daughter for him.

what a sweet day and hopefully the memories will be replayed and enjoyed by him and the others. They desperately need these outings and I feel honored and grateful to give them these moments.

Gina, Meux family and mom you should also feel honored as you are helping fund these memories and moments ( the special outings ) thank you for allowing me to be a part of it.

Many hugs!


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