Angels – Nairobi, Kenya

I met lovely Nirali and Ritchie in Buccaneers when I spotted them fire twirling on the beach one night.It was after this brief meeting that they invited me to visit them in Nairobi when I arrived. As I gazed out of the window of the older model car taxing me to their home, I noticed that this city was very different from anywhere I have been so far. It was dark but things were noticeably poorer, dirtier and there was a more desperate feel in the air.

We chatted into the early hours of the morning snacking on Indian foods and sipping ciders before I turned in. The next day after a leisurely morning of meeting with the house staff and Nirali`s parents, we were invited to gracious John`s (their amazing cook Marys` son) home for lunch of BBQ meat and a visit with his family. John lives in a small room in the staffs quarters with his wife and small shy son who doesn`t see white people often which explained why he wouldn`t really come very close to Ritchie or I.

After walking around the huge grounds complete with lake, pool, bar and several species of exotic birds and flowers, we went for a drive to find some volunteer work for the three of us. Nil and Ritchie had expressed their desire to work with children and suddenly I remembered and relayed to them the story of the photo exhibit. We first visited a childrens home then were directed down the road to an orphanage for HIV positive children.

I felt tingly sensations running up and down my spine as the magnitude of the situation hit me all at once. See travelpod entry 25. By some strange twist of events, I was standing in the very orphanage that had brought me to Nairobi in the first place. I remembered choking back the tears as I stared at the young faces in the photo gallery museum that day. I hoped that one day I would be able to do something for these children but it seemed like one of those far off aspirations that seemed out of my reach.

Even when I was sitting in the travel agents office in Australia picking cities in Africa to visit, Nairobi was vaguely familiar but I didn`t think I would really find the childrens home. Surely Nairobi was a large place and I didn`t even really know anything about this orphanage as I had neglected to take any of the details those many months ago.

Well, one day had arrived without me even knowing it and here I was receiving hugs and kisses from the children in the photos. It was overwhelmingly intense for me as I had not expected this, certainly not on my second day in Nairobi. I sat in the playground sand surrounded by these little angels who were crawling all over me and carefully putting flowers in my hair. The sun shone down on the energetic boys playing soccer and the little girls in dresses swung higher and higher, their kid feet touching the heavens.

These kids were so free with their love showering it upon me in storms as they pet my hands and told me stories. The ones who were too young to talk just stared deep into my soul with their big round eyes full of spirit and delight. You would never know these kids were sick by the way they laughed and carried on. Bursting with character and personality, each and every one radiated life and love in every way.

We were given a brief overview of the home and how things worked when a curious fenced off garden caught my eye. I wandered in to take a closer look when it hit me that I was standing in a carefully manicured cemetery with about a dozen little plots adorned in flowers and gravestones. My eyes watered as I examined the dates realizing that most of these little ones didn`t make it past the age of 10. I was mourning the tragic 2 by 4 rectangular mounds of earth when my whole being froze in disbelief. Planted in the middle of the sacred graveyard at the head of one of the tiny tombs was a cross bearing the name Carmela.

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