I'm trying to find the right adjective to describe my experience working alongside the LitWorld team, Pam, Annie, Jen, and Lauren G., these past 5 days in Kibera.
Amazing: It is amazing that children can live in conditions so utterly deplorable yet appear so happy, so open and affectionate, so caring of one another. When you walk through the maze of alleys and paths in Kibera, every child you see shouts "How are you?," beaming his or her huge beautiful smile.
Awesome: The magnitude of deprivation in Kibera is awesome. One million people living in an area the size of Central Park, without any infrastructure...no running water or electricity, open sewers running right outside the entrances to the metal shacks most people live in here.
The Red Rose School that LitWorld has helped to nurture for the past 4 years is a sanctuary for the children lucky enough to attend. Signs of LitWorld's presence are everywhere... in the beautiful picture books on the shelves, in the songs the children sing and the ways the teachers praise the children with "shooting stars" and "flower bouquets," in the alphabet chart on the wall in one classroom that says M is for Massai and P is for Pam with Pam's picture next to it. But it is most evident in the LitWorld's Girls Club and in the girls themselves who show such strength, maturity, self-confidence, and enourmous appreciation for the opportunity to spend time with other girls laughing, discovering, dreaming, in the safe, loving, intellectually nourishing environment that the girls club provides. Together, with the guidance of their LitWold facilitator Brenda, these girls have grown so much and are already thinking and planning of strategies to ensure that their dreams have a chance of coming true.
- Lauren B.