My friends Paige and Billy from the terrific Africa Yoga Project took me to an orphanage in the outskirts of Nairobi today. It was Paige's first visit too, to this underfunded home for 36 boys and girls. En route, I stopped in a slum marketplace and picked up some vegetables, corn flour, cooking oil, tea, sugar, and soap as a gift. Billy helped me negotiate how much we needed to bring and where to buy which items. When we arrived, several of the kids started introducing themselves and we conversed in Swahili, though they also know some English. Some were quite shy, while others got less so when the camera came out. They each said their name and what they wanted to be when they grew up. Teacher, pilot, policeman, doctor and…. psychopath. I asked her if that's really what she wanted to be, and then she corrected herself – psychiatrist. I told her this was a much better career path.
They have beds and trunks to hold clothes, and little else. They've converted 2 rooms into classrooms, but they had few desks or chairs. The most popular toy seemed to be dirt – there is an large area without walls or a roof and they kids play in it like a sandbox and seemed quite content with it.
The 2 young men who run it said their greatest need is food. They're going to start growing vegetables in the dirt.
One boy, Evans, is only a temporary guest. He wandered away from his parents 3 days ago and found his way to Treehouse wearing an oversized black winter coat. He knows his parents' first names and the general vicinity where he lives, but he doesn't know his last name. As you can tell from the photo below, he is such a happy kid. I remember getting lost for 2 minutes in a grocery store aisle when I was his age and I was a wreck. This trooper's been lost for 3 days and was taking it all in stride.
A gentle reminder that anyone reading this on their computer has the world at their fingertips and, really, we have little to complain about. If you're ever in Nairobi, stop in at Treehouse and bring some groceries with you.