This is a letter from my Winnie. On the top it says, “Please Rocky, before reading this letter, read this letter when you are not with anybody. Now read it.

Dear Rocky,

How are you? I hope you are fine.

I wanted to tell you thank you for the work you have done for us. I am so grateful and I am so happy in my heart. Because in school, I was borrowing a pen and yesterday you gave us some pens and I am so happy. Even for the books, the toothpaste, toothbrush and even clothes.

Rocky and Winnie

May God bless you for the work that you and Juli have done for us. May God bless you so, so much even when you are going to go to your country. May God bless you, but I am going to feel very bad. I will feel so lonely with no Rocky. I will always cry because of you. I love you so much, with all my heart. Even now, I love you as God loves me – with his whole heart.

Please, when you are going to your country, before going, you will give me your email and your number phone. And when you are going to your home you say hi for your children and your husband and your many relatives.

From Winnie to Rocky, my Mother in God. Have a nice day at St. Monica’s. Good bye.

Lots of love to Rocky.

And that is from my Winnie.

Day 4 And Very Early Day 5

October 4, 2007

The mornings start very early here at St. Monica’s.

Doors are being pounded on at 5am and showers are taken. There is no hot water here. So even on a cold morning, like this morning, the 5 year olds start their morning with a cold shower. Yesterday, I took one too. And let me tell you, I miss sitting in my hot shower.

The girls then get dressed in their school uniforms. The word “tattered” doesn’t begin to describe the condition of the clothes. Socks with large holes at the heels. Dresses with rips down the sides and every single sweater that is worn here has large holes. The shoes they wear are so run down, that if I had them they would not be good enough to donate to the salvation army. They would be headed straight to the trash can.

Amazing Self-Respect

Rock with child.The most beautiful thing is that they take such good care of them all. They take special care in getting dressed to look the very best that they can. They take great pride and they have amazing self respect. One of our friends, Terri, our cousin John, and a women I had never met before who lives in Hawaii, had made large donations right before we left. The donations totaled $1500. That money will buy them all new uniforms, including shoes, socks, dresses and sweaters. We’ll be measuring them after we eat breakfast.

The breakfasts.

Well, yesterday was a handful of white rice and chai tea. This morning it is shortbread cookies, chai tea and bananas that Juli and I bought yesterday at the Nakumatt, which is like a Kenyan Walmart, only smaller.

I took a break from writing for a few moments just now to measure the girls for their new uniforms. Now I have a few minutes to rest before breakfast and the morning chores. After breakfast yesterday we were put to work. Dishes for about 25 people were washed. Floors swept and scrubbed. Even the outside cement surrounding the house. The dirt was swept and all the plants were watered by hand.

After the cleaning was done, we had to clean the rice for the night’s meal. We sifted through platters of rice picking out small sticks and bugs. This was tedious work and I didn’t like this one. I don’t like sitting still for too long, unless I’m at the computer and my mind is going 100 miles an hour… or just out cold asleep.

We took a break and had chai tea and shortbread cookies. Yes, the very same ones the girls had for breakfast. Then we started to clean and sift through corn, picking out the pieces for dinner. After all the work, we told the house moms that we were not going to clean tomorrow until Juli and I got new cleaning supplies. They all laughed.

My back is sore from bending down so much yesterday.

I can’t imagine how they feel. They scrub the cement outside every morning on their knees and dry it down with towels afterwards. These women work hard every single day to keep this house running smoothly and organized. I have learned a few things from them already.

MatatuSo we headed to the Nakumatt to purchase scrubbers, soap, brooms, a very large pot to cook over a fire – no stove here – and school supplies for the girls. Then jumped into a Matatu (that’s an entirely different post describing public transportation here. Photo by Boyznberry) with goods in hand and headed home. They were all so pleased to get their new equipment. I was too. Maybe today the work won’t be so tough.

We passed out clothes and underwear to the girls after they got home from school. They were all so happy to receive them all. Then games were played outside and then suddenly the electricity went out for the entire evening. We went to the dining area and prayer and songs were sung for at least an hour before dinner.

We ate seperately from the girls tonight because the Father of the orphanage had arrived and joined us for a bite to eat. We told him about our plans and he was excited about the uniforms. We then passed out tooth paste, tooth brushes, pens and school notebook paper to them after dinner. We prayed and sang for another hour before they went around the room formally introducing themselves to us and thanking us for the gifts.

Juli with two of the girls.We were then asked to speak. I was so happy Juli went first. She was so eloquent with her words, telling the girls how amazing and special they all are.

When it was my turn, I broke down in tears and I was overwhelmed. I couldn’t do it. So they broke out in song and danced around the table until I was able to speak.

I told them that I was so happy to be there and that they had made me feel so welcome. And that even though I had known them for only two days, I had fallen in love with them already. I told them that in America I had two daughters and now I feel like I have them as daughters here in Africa and I knew that I would be back next year to visit them.

I hope they understood.

The evening came to an end and we turned off our flashlight and fell asleep quickly. Day 4 is over. And it is now very early morning on Day 5. I will be back to tell how the rest of this day has gone.

Much love to all of you. Peace my friends.

[transcribed from a voice mail message]