Sunday, November 15, 2009

Tunza Party and the End of an Era

Today, we had a party at Tunza Children's Center in Kibera. The party was for several occasions. First, none of the kids at Tunza ever get a birthday party (and some don't even know their birthday), so we decided to celebrate for everyone all on one day. Secondly, the Class 8 (end of primary school) and Form 4 (end of secondary school) kids just finished their very important exams and we wanted to celebrate their achievements. Finally, starting next week and finishing by the end of this month, all of the kids will be moving out of Kibera to the new home in Ngong.

By December, Tunza Children's Center in Kibera will not be home to any more children and will be closed. It will re-open as a school in January 2010 but Tunza, the children's home in Kibera, will no longer exist. I (Jen) have volunteered at Tunza since 2006 - this is my fourth summer - and it is surreal to think that the home will be gone. Tunza has always played a central role in my trips to Kenya and has been the place where I feel most at home in Kibera. I know it has also played this role for a lot of volunteers.

The move to Ngong is definitely better for the children in terms of hygiene and sanitation and space. The conditions in Kibera were terrible and those in Ngong are much improved. Because the great majority of our work is carried out in Kibera and because the home in Ngong takes a while to get to, our role in supporting Tunza will decrease dramatically once they move from Kibera. We will continue to sponsor the six children from Tunza that we do now and will visit the center from time to time to check up on the kids but it will be next to impossible for us to play a major role in supporting the center. We will also continue to send our counselors to Ngong every week.

It will be a big transition but we have some really great projects in Kibera that we are excited to devote more money and efforts to. We look forward both to seeing a better life for the kids in Ngong and improving some of these projects that we haven't been able to put a lot of effort into, due to the time-consuming nature of assisting a children's home.

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