Woke up early this morning to get packed and clean the Karibu House! After we finished up, Kate took us to Karen and we went to the Kazuri Beas and Pottery Factory. The factory started in 1975 and employed Kenyan women to make beads, specifically focusing on employing single mothers. The factory expanded to include pottery and incorporated male workers. What an awesome place. We did a little shopping and then had a cappuccino in the coffee garden.
We then went to the Karen Blixen Garden for lunch! Best meal we had in Kenya. It was delicious.
We returned to Hekima Place and hung out with the girls and then joined them for dinner. After dinner, much like the birthday celebration, they held a farewell celebration for us! A girl from each house came to wish us well. Each one asked that we tell everyone at home about them! Next came the mums.
Then baby Bridget wanted to come up and do her part! She gave us each a hug. As baby Bridget does so must baby Maya Angelou. I was keeping it together until this point. Then baby Blessing, the little sparkler I just fell for came up to hug us. She refused to let go of me. So she came and sat with me for a little while longer. Next Kate spoke and her graciousness and pure wonderful mess was at its finest. Finally, our wonderful Yvonne came up to the head table and one of the older girls spoke to her in Swahili to let her know that since she arrived when we were there, I decided to be her big sister - a pen pal - and Joe and I decided to sponsor her. In true Yvonne fashion she smiled and hugged and huffed some more. As she walked away she turned around and screamed "Thank You!" I was officially a mess at this point. Finally several of the little choir girls came and sang 1,2,3 little Kenyans. They brought us each a gift. An African music CD for Joe, he really did try so hard to sing and participate in Swahili, and a necklace for me. It was such a beautiful and gut wrenching half hour. I truly feel so blessed to know these girls, mums, uncles and Kate, and here they were making a fuss for coming to spend time and work with them and bring some supplies! Our cab arrived and no shortage of 10 girls came to help with our luggage. Leaving was INCREDIBLY hard. Not because I felt bad for the girls, but because being with them makes you feel so special and part of something enormously important. I was still crying by the time we sat at the coffee shop hours later.
Joe and I are definitely coming back. These girls are special young women and true survivors and I would not miss the opportunity to be a part of their development. Plus, I also love Kenya! It is the most welcoming and friendly place I have EVER visited as a tourist.
All this mushiness aside, I do want to mention that I will not miss the following:
1. The bed: this bed is too small for Joe, let alone Lexie and Joe.
I'm going to keep the blog up and running so I can keep you posted on how our plans develop as Hekima becomes the Rotary Club of Pittsburgh's International Project for 2013-2014. Thank you all for embarking on this journey with me! I truly believe it has just started and the best is yet to come!