Friday, July 19, 2013

Wamunyu Disability School

    We drove up to this school to see a newly painted sign, and once inside the gates we saw all the kids sitting taking chai and bread. As we got out of the bus, we went and said hi to all the kids and they were all so happy to see us. There are about 60 kids that attend the school, but because of the teacher strikes, there aren’t as many students at the school. This school is a school for disabled students. Wamunyu specializes in helping those in wheelchairs who can’t walk, trying to help them to walk again. 

    After saying hello to all the students, we went to the principal, Damaris’ office. All 13 of us (Rose and Pastor Williams were with us) squeezed into her office and she told us all about the school. There are 5 different classes: pre-school, Class 1, Class 2, Class 3, and Pre-vocational. All the classes are based on the students’ abilities and if they are succeeding, they will move up into a higher class. The pre-vocational class is for students in high school or older, and it teaches the students life skills so they can go into the community with confidence and have a trade skill to get work. The principal showed us the syllabus for the pre-vocational class, so we could see what they were learning. They learned life skills such as weaving, gardening, bead making, wood carving, and other practical trades that would help them in the community. In the future, the school would like to open a wood shop so the students who have already graduated, can make and sell their wood carvings. When a student graduates and enters into the community, it’s hard for them to be accepted in the community and sell the work, so it’s hard for them to make a living. 

    One of the challenges they have at the school, is that they don’t have at the school is that they don’t have any nurses on staff, so when the students get sick, they must take them to the hospital. But the problem there is that they don’t have a school bus, so they have to put the student on the back of a motorcycle to take them anywhere, which could be dangerous. Another issue they have is the support of the parents. Many parents don’t think their kids are worth the time of day. Some of the kids are epileptic, but the school doesn’t know about it because the parents don’t tell the school and they don’t give the school the medicine. This makes it hard for the school, because the staff doesn’t know about some of the students’ complications. 

    After talking with Damaris, it was very clear how passionate she is about her school and her students. She cares so much about what she does. It’s pretty awesome. Damaris then took us for a tour of the school. It was really cool to see everything the students work on. The gardens the students plant with the corn, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and other vegetables. We looked at the classrooms which were permanent buildings and pretty big. The classrooms were nice. We then moved to the dormitories. We saw the girl’s dorms and the boy’s dorms, both were long buildings with beds lining either wall. We met a lot of the students while going through the dorms. It was so great to interact with the students as the greeted us and shook our hands, and gave us fist bumps. While we were walking around, we saw the boys walking to the middle of campus to meet. We saw the wheelchairs go by, and there was the last boy and his wheelchair’s wheels were just metal rims. It was so loud when he got wheeled around. His wheelchair was falling apart. It broke my heart to see this. It was really hard just to keep myself composed after seeing that. Some of the wheelchairs here are literally just plastic chairs on wheels. It’s crazy. 

    One of the great moments in the day was when all the kids were sitting in the middle of the campus and were singing for us. Let me tell you, these kids can sing! They were fantastic! And the students, who couldn’t completely talk, were singing at the top of their lungs as best they could, and they were clapping as much as they could. It’s really hard to describe the atmosphere in that moment. The best way I can put it, is pure joy. It was awesome. These students, who might have parents that completely ignore them, who the community disregards, and who have face more challenges than any of us can even imagine, were worshiping the Lord with such joy in that moment. It was so incredible and I’m so thankful to have experienced it. 

    When the students were finished singing, we presented the mosquito nets that we brought for the school. We brought 60 nets in total, and each kid was able to hold a net for themselves. After presenting the nets, we helped hang up the nets. We got a whole row of beds in the girl’s dorms covers with mosquito nets, and it was AWESOME! All the girls were so excited; they were climbing under the nets, and wanted their pictures taken. They were so happy! During this, I met one of the students, rather one of the students found me. Her name is Mambua. She came over and latched onto my hand. I had a great time connecting with her. 

    After the nets were all hung, we went out with the rest of the students and passed out sweets and stickers to all the kids. These kids had stickers all over, on their ears, on their foreheads, on their sweaters. It was so great. At one point, Mwambua came up to me and showed me her hand and she had 3 sweets. She was so excited. It was so much fun to be able to spend time with these students and to be able to bring the nets that Emily brought for the school. It was an awesome day. It really made me remember why I loved these kids so much, and why I wanted to become a special education teacher. Being at Wamunyu on Monday, reminded me of being at Coach Marshal’s Summer Camp for kids with disabilities. We went to Belmont Park, and the beach, and Lake Cuyamaka, and all kinds of other great things. But it was just being with the kids that was the best part of it. And being there on Monday, took me back to then and I loved it. I loved that school. Out of all the things we’ve done in Kenya so far, that was my favorite thing we have done so far. 
The girls under their mosquito nets!

I couldn't believe how awesome these kids are!

1 comment:

  1. That was one of the most beautiful days we had there