I've been here for 3 1/2 weeks now and every day holds new adventures, hilarious stories, and the chance to get to know all of the incredible children here a little better. One of the children that I really love spending time with is my adopted cousin Tenzi; she's about 7 years old, has the most beautiful smile, and she can bust a move like no one's business. Yesterday after I'd finished my work, I was playing with little Tenzi and we started singing "Hakuna Matata" and dancing like Timon from the Lion King (the kids here have all seen The Lion King because every couple weekends we hook up a projector to a small generator and have a movie night). So Tenzi and I are strutting around, dancing and singing like cartoon animals, when suddenly I hear laughter behind me. I turn around, and the entirity of Class 3 and their teachers have just come in from working in the field, they're all carrying their tools, cheering my name, and laughing at me.
Shortly thereafter, a huge rainstorm blew in, so some of the girls grabbed me and took me into a classroom on the school side of the building to wait out the storm. Several more kids came in, and soon it turned into a dance party, with the kids trying to teach me songs and traditional Kuria tribal dances over the roar of the rain on the tin roof. I'm convinced that the youngest kids here are the best dancers, they have incredible rhythm, and once they get going it's hilarious! Also, I've never seen boys who can shake their hips the way these boys can. :)
Two weeks ago a few people helped me turn one of the guest rooms in the children's home into a classroom for my art lessons, and I'm now teaching 15 art classes a week in 30-45 minute blocks in the morning, and starting this week I'll also be teaching a couple science lessons with another girl named Amy (who rooms with me and my sister Alaina), that are very hands-on and interactive. Today I did bubble paintings with 2 of the older classes and they really enjoyed it, in fact they didn't want to leave the class when it was time for them to go!
I think I'm about 3/4 of the way to knowing the names of all 88 children here at the orphanage, plus I'm attempting to learn the names of the 50 or so day scholars that come to the City of Hope school from the village. Every interaction I have with these kids, each time I learn something new about them, I am just so amazed at how talented, hilarious, adorable, determined, and smart each one of them is. The children here are just so incredible, and I feel so priviledged to get the chance to get to know each one of them. I'm so impressed that even after all they've seen in their young lives, and after having lost people very dear to them, they still love so freely. I've only known these children a few short weeks, and already they have impacted my life greatly... I only hope that I can do the same.