Christmas Preparations….. 09
Well, a manic time as always but not quite the same as things back home. My mission was to complete the allocation of the donated clothes to the smaller boys at SCANN before Christmas so that I could send back to the Hawes Down School the photos and information.
I chose the day that the doctor had come to give the all clear medically to the 26 boys who had been circumcised as part of their cultural right of passage. Part of this ritual is that the boys have confinement for at least 2 weeks with no contact with any females, which was the reason why my job was delayed. I called the doctor to come and give the boys the all clear as the next day was the party by the Coca Cola Roadshow courtesy of the Nairobi Bottlers and I wanted all the boys to be present. As hoped they were all fine and very pleased to hear they were to be let out of the dormitory. I allocated the clothes to the boys that most needed them – finally the months of sorting through the boys clothes doing the locker lists paid off!
The boys were delighted with their gifts from the UK, and if I go by the last few visits to SCANN I don’t think some of the boys have taken the items off!!! The fleeces and sweaters have come in so well as the weather has changed and it looks like the rainy season has come at last ….. only 5 months late. The mornings start cold and the evenings come in cold too with hot temperatures during the day with thunder and storms followed by heavy, heavy down pours.
The Coca Cola party was like none we had had before, they came with a bus and mini bus with staff and a very large articulated lorry used for outdoor events, with sound systems etc on board and its own stage. They erected a marquee for the smaller boys to sit under, a bouncy castle and face painting, the boys were in ecstasy. The Team spent huge amounts of energy entertaining the boys, providing lunch, coaching the older boys in ‘safe’ issues, playing football, we played musical chairs, and had dance off competitions that we were all encouraged to take part, me included! All in all a great day was had by all. The whole neighbourhood gathered outside the walls of SCANN hankering for part of the action and dancing to the music that was on offer.
I don’t know about everyone else but I definitely slept well that night.
Christmas was a low key event, with Yasmine away we postponed many of the activities. Yasmine is receiving radio therapy in India following her surgery and Chemo therapy here in Nairobi, we are hoping to see her back in a month or so.
The day before Christmas Eve I was informed that there was a Youth Group from Nairobi who wanted to come and spend Christmas Day with the boys playing football, interacting with them and doing workshops. I was despatched to the Director of SCANN to get approval and make arrangements for extra supplies etc.
On Christmas Eve I was running round town trying to find items for two of the older boys as they had been missed off the list I was given for gifts supplied by the trustees. I ended up changing the offerings this year and opted that the older boys got body wash and deodorant, something that they do not readily get hold of here after all while at college and university they become more aware of what is considered acceptable on a personal hygiene level. The school boys got geometry sets and the youngest ones got colouring pencils and drawing books, along with everyone getting a bag of crisps, some biscuits and sweets. This was all collated and bagged up Christmas Eve into carrier bags from the supermarket and I worked with Catherine and Anastasia to get their names written on each bag so it was easier to hand out the items. I also ordered a carton of milk and an orange for each boy which were to be handed out during Christmas Day, I also needed to include the 20 visitors in this so they didn’t feel left out.
Christmas Day was another thing altogether I was called in the morning and asked to bring my camera as the Youth Group didn’t come with one. When I arrived everyone was in the dining hall watching a DVD made about a missing Street Boy called Emmanual, I sat and watched what I could then disappeared to help in the kitchen. When the movie was finished all the boys headed to the field opposite SCANN to either watch or take part in the football tournament, Youth Group against SCANN, I took many pictures and as hoped SCANN won!
We then gathered in the dining hall and together with some of the staff on duty we handed out the 'booty' bags to the boys along with their lunch, sodas and oranges. I think everyone was happy although due to a miss-calculation on the catering side, the staff ended up with no food. I personally think it may have had something to do with the fact that the 'visitors' had increased in number as they had phoned friends to join in the fun. I considered this to be a little impolite as the staff had worked very hard to ensure the day went well and we were working to the numbers they had given us of 20!
As the day was to be planned by the visitors I decided that after lunch my presence was not needed as everyone was busy, so I left and headed home to spend the rest of my time with my dog, Kim and cat Paka resting after the mad rush getting everyone else sorted.
Hoping you all had a lovely time and are not now regretting eating and drinking too much. I am pleased to say that not a drop of alcohol passed my lips nor a piece of chocolate, must be a record!! Will make up for it at some stage I am sure. I am also managing a good nights sleep as Henry my guard went home for Christmas and I gave him my cockerel, Colin as a gift to his family for Christmas. Henry told me they would keep it as a pet, but I think that is Henry saving me from knowing that Colin went in the cooking pot, hope he was tasty. I decided that Colin needed to go before my guests come so they can get some sleep.
Oh and for those that I told about the party Christmas Eve, that I was so looking forward to. I didn't go as we had a power cut which lasted for some hours and I decided that I didn't want to leave the house as an easy target with no guard, no security lights and no one at home. I think everyone at Cafe Guava had a good time, will have to catch me next time.
Love and festive greetings to you all, attaching photos of the boys from the Coca Cola event (hope you get them OK)
Susannah aka Santa Claus