Day 3: Steps outside the comfort zone

This morning, the five boys and Jeanne, we got up at 6am to go to practice with Uweza Senior team (semi-professional team in division 2 with players from 18 to 25 years old). Chilly morning but we had a great time. Jeanne came back very happy even though she had to play a game which, except Paul and I, nobody understood the rules as senior team players were speaking in kiswahili.

Everyone met at the Red Rose school and dispatched in the classrooms. Dimitri and Jeanne were teaching how to count in French and learning the response in kiswahili. Alice attended a class where children were learning how to read the clock. She received as a gift a little notebook with very sweet messages from the children of the class. Malo and Gabriel played some math games with the 8th graders. Paul got plunged in kiswahili litterature. The 3-4 years old sang to Marie about hygiene. The song talk about how important is brushing teeth, be clean and comb their hair in the morning before going to school. When they sing this at home, the parents feel compulse to buy tooth paste and brush to them.

On my side, I was put on the spot by the 7th grader teachers to talk about the different branches of government and called Gabriel, the expert in politics, to come to the rescue. The teacher while explaining the Judiciary system and the necessity to bring evidence in a trial, also talked to the children about the case of the Kenyan elections and how Raila Odinga had to bring evidence to prove that the presidential elections were falsified.

At lunchtime, all of them helped to serve the plates to the children and played with them in the courtyard.

We went to Java House for lunch were surprisingly we could order quesadillas, fagitas and lemonade. “Los Angeles food”.

After lunch, we met the Young mothers at Uweza community center. Most of them lives alone with their babies or young children and have no support beside Uweza. Here, they find a safe place where they meet other young mothers but also make soap or hygien products to sell on the market. They can also receive advice and loans to create small business.

We left the center to walk through the streets of Kibera to go to Uweza Art Center where we met the different artists. The center welcome whoever would like to develop their artistic talent. Uweza provides the material and also help them to sell their art. With the money they earn from their paintings, they are able to pay the university fees.

They then asked us to sit and draw a story. Everyone, even the ones who declared “i am so bad at drawing”, had to go through the challenge to draw something in 20mn. Lots of laugh…Artists were very happy to share their experience with other teenagers.

We returned to the hotel and invited the senior team to join us for a pizza-movie night. We watched the movie “the Queen of Katwa”, the story of a girl who lives in a slum in Uganda and becomes an internationalchess champion after lots of challenges. With resilience and thanks to her talent, she succeeds to install her family outside the slum in a regular house and to attend University. This true story shows all of us how talent can open the door to a bright future to escape a life of poverty. This is exactly Uweza’s objective in Kibera: develop talents in soccer, in art, dance or else to help the children to shine one day.

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