| By Jeff Odhiambo Obonyo |
August 3rd was the kind of day that made me want to shorten and escape the warmth of my welcoming bed and the comfort that it brought with it. It was the kind of day that made me urge my muscles to operate properly to get me up. I woke up very early ready for all that the day had in store for me. When I left the house, the sky was as dark as slate and cold wind was blowing short showers of rain straight onto my face. The morning was cold and wet with brisk wind sweeping rain showers across the land. I was in all black because the cold was rough. I anxiously hit the road on my way to school to join my fellow volunteers from the Community Outreach Program (COP) in a visit to Hope Development Centre.
I got to school, and we embarked on the journey together, as a family. It was a 3 hour “road trip” but we eventually arrived at the home. The voices of the kids playing nearer the house, running around the spacious front garden, moved me. The sound of their laughter touched my heart. They raced to greet each of us as the head of the home introduced us to the home and some of its workers.
My love for cooking has always seen me and my fellow volunteers in COP being sent to the kitchen whenever we have visited a home like this. When people dispersed to perform their duties in washing and cleaning, I rushed to the kitchen with my fellow cooks and started preparing meals for the kids. In the process, I got to interact with more volunteers and at least got to know them. Cooking is fun, and the joy comes when one cooks for others, not for oneself.
When food was ready, I joined my colleagues in dancing to some songs whose beats were moving the children to greater heights. Besides the music beats that engulfed the dining hall, the kids sang some traditional songs and danced to them too. Simply observing their talent makes you feel happy and you wish you could spend as much time with them as possible. I could not help but dance to the songs too because they took me back to the fine olden days when connecting with a drumbeat was all I could do especially after classes.
I later got a chance to interact with some of the kids. When you are with these kids, you get a chance to learn many life changing lessons. Firstly, every individual has some tragic story through which they have come. Initially when I listened to their stories, it felt like my heart is tearing apart. I had a deep sympathy for those children but as I interacted more with them, my sympathy turned into a strong bond of care, love and affection.
Visiting the home was an eye-opening experience because one starts to appreciate the little things in life when he/she sees people who don’t have them. Only at such times do you tide over the insignificant and immaterial things and appreciate the bigger picture.