Matunda News – July 2008

Matunda News from Johanna Hemmingsson, Project Manager

Just like in June, many volunteers have been coming and going this month. At the most, we had 10 volunteers at once. Currently we have a really good group of 6 volunteers staying at Peace Matunda. All volunteers passing through have contributed in different ways, and I would like to give special thanks to some of them.
Bridget and Danny, who left mid-July made sure Magreth and Jesca got eye glasses. They are only using them in class and they have been very good at keeping track of them.
Volunteers Michael and Kasey also left in mid-July. Kasey is a student teacher in the U.S.. Together with Michael she spent 8 weeks at Peace Matunda and was a great asset to the school. From friends and family, they also raised money to buy text books, in English, Kiswahili and Math, for our Standard 1 class. We were very happy to realize that we had to buy the Standard 2 text books in both English and Maths since the Standard 1 books were to easy for our kids.
After teaching the kindergarten class in a half finished class room, volunteer Lindsay had had enough of the prison-like room. With the help from her family, she is funding what was left to finish the classroom in terms of walls (outside and inside), floor and furniture. We are very grateful for this and admire her will to help after her patience has been pushed to new limits by Global Crossroads’ malfunctioned organization. Together with volunteer Jenna, she has also introduced, in the kindergarten class, a green-yellow-red light system in order to encourage the kids to behave in class. Apparently it’s been working very well and most of the kids find satisfaction in behaving well and staying on green light.
Jenna also brought Uno cards and volunteer Jessica taught the kids how to play.
Volunteer Jason took the kids “swimming” in the river, which was a lot of fun for everyone.

With a complete lack of objectivity, I always like to say that our kids are geniuses. Lately, however, they have been even more creative than ever. Especially Ema who made a swing last week. Maybe not the most advanced swing construction one could think of, but pretty impressive for being made by a 7 year old! He also makes slingshots on his own. And under the direction of Ema, the kids’ mud house constructions are getting more and more advanced.

We have a new child with us at the orphanage. Neema. Both her parents are deceased and she had been living with her grandparents. Due to their old age, they have not been able to take very good care of her so we offered to let her live with us at the orphanage. She has adapted well to living together with all the other children, and they, in return, have accepted her as a part of the group. She had very bad clothing when coming here, but thanks to a donation left by Michael and Kasey, we were able to buy her what was missing in terms of clothes, shoes etc. However, her first couple of days have been pretty rough. She got the chicken pox. She was taken to the hospital where we found out that she also had malaria and pneumonia! She’s doing well under the circumstances, and, so far (crossing my fingers), none of the other kids have gotten the chicken pox. Since most of them only have been living with us for a year, we’re unsure as to who has already had or been vaccinated against the chicken pox.

This might be new to most of you, but Jastin’s name is actually Godwin… and Jastin is his last name. The other day, Jastin made it clear that he, from now on, wants to be called Godwin, and not Jastin. In the long run, this is a good idea since it will be less confusing. However, it is very hard getting used to it. Luckily, the new volunteers are very good at being consistent in calling him Godwin and hopefully it will stick to everyone soon.

Thanks to a donation made by Peter Downs, we have been able to fix the laundry machine. Joyce and Mage did a great job hand washing while it was broken. But it’s hard work and very time consuming, so they, and everyone else at Peace Matunda, are very happy to have the laundry machine running again.

A group of high school students volunteering at a nearby secondary school made a day visit at Peace Matunda last week. They were travelling through an organization called Global Routes and were helping with building at the secondary school and staying in local host families. It was very nice to see how interested they were in the orphanage and before leaving they made a very generous donation.

Last but not least… Welcome to our new website! It is almost completely finished except for some details. I want to give a huge “Thank You” to Lori Beckstead, without whom this would not have been possible.

Johanna

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4 thoughts on “Matunda News – July 2008

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  1. Hello from Canada! I am the mother of one of your volunteers that is at Peace Matunda right now. Her name is Nicole. She is there helping with some other girls. I was excited to find your website and to be able to connect with you. This is such a great experience for my daughter and her friends!! Thankyou for having them at your orphanage and being wonderful hosts! Nicole has had many good things to say about your group. You are doing a wonderful thing by giving these children a place to call home. Blessings to all of you at Peace Matunda!!

  2. I’m so glad to hear that Nicole and the other girls are enjoying their stay at Peace Matunda. I’m in Nairobi at the moment, but I met them before leaving. They are an amazing group and they are really doing a great job, especially considering how young some of them are. I was also very impressed by the amount of donations they brought to the orphanage. They told me that most of it came from people in the town of Esterhazy, Saskatchewan. I and everyone else at the orphanage are very grateful!

  3. Hi, Johanna.
    The 8 of us made it home safe last night. Kathy got her passport back and all was well, until she stepped on a sea urchin…what luck she had on this trip.
    I had such a wonderful time at Peace Matunda and had a VERY hard time leaving…a lot of tears were shed. What a wonderful group of people you all are. This was one mistake that Global Crossroads made that I could hug them for.
    Hope you liked the yellow kitchen!! I wish I would have had more time to paint the rest of the walls.
    Thanks to all of you for adjusting your lives for us.
    The children were amazing…loved them all!!
    Hope Stella liked her blanket and pillow.
    Take care and thanks again.

  4. It’s great to hear that you guys got home OK! I hope you had a good time in France too.
    The kitchen looks great! Thank you so much for doing that! It’s less depressing for the ones who have to spend hours in there every day…
    I also saw the message you guys left on the volunteer wall. It was very sweet! Thanks again for everything!

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