Today we had 24 children (yesterday there were 17). Word spreads quickly in Kibera.
Yesterday I told the children that I would take them back to the Norfolk Towers to swim this afternoon. Brandon is a remarkable 10-year
old natural born leader (all of the children are remarkable). He agreed to create a list of ten who would be in the “swimming group”. I
was shown the list, and sure enough there were ten children named. It’s painful to exclude some of them, but I didn’t see an option and
the extras will be in next week’s group.
After we cleaned up the paints and walked to my car I counted 15 children waiting for me, smiling. Somehow (miraculously, not to mention illegally), they all crammed into my car. FIFTEEN CHILDREN!, Solo and myself…17 people in a small car singing reggae tunes. It was a great afternoon and one of the boys actually swam for the first time.
Solo 7 is overseeing the Kibera Children’s Mural Project also known as Kids4Peace. Every Saturday and Sunday we meet at the Maasai Mbili studio and cram about ten children into my car, plus Solo and myself. By the time we arrive at the site, about a 5-minute drive, we have collected another seven or eight children who meet up with us. The few minutes spent in the car are marvelous. My Bob Marley CD is at top volume and all the children sing along, “A comin in, a comin in, a comin, a comin in from the rain!!” Solo 7 said to me later, “You can’t get bored in this car.”
Solo is kind, patient and very soft with the children, who wrote on the mural today, “We love Solo.” Last Sunday, after painting for several hours, Solo and I took eight of the children to my apartment to swim in the pool. It was a very spontaneous idea and I said to them, “Do you want to go swimming?” “YES!!!” “Do you have shorts or underwear on?” “YES!!!” “Do you know how to swim?” “YES!!!”
We arrived at the Norfolk Towers and walked directly to the pool where the children took off all of their clothes. Only one of them had underwear on, and no one knew how to swim. I soon learned that none of them had been in a pool before. It was a fantastic time and we will go back tomorrow after painting.