Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A walk down the aisle…

6th April 2008 would continue to be remembered with fond memories for a long time to come as the entire SOS Children’s Village Eldoret was invited to the wedding of one of their daughters in Nairobi. It was a happy moment for the entire family of Mama Ngundi in Eldoret from where the girl had grown up. She had phoned out of the blue and told us that she had met a guy at the university. She had known him for a while and, he had asked her to marry him. She described him as being, short, brown, and handsome. Also he was a kind and gentle man.

Naturally, the mother, the youth leaders and “Baba” Mungai (Village Director) asked the usual questions. Her answer being, “Do not worry”. “I know what I am doing and I love him”. We gave her our blessing and began the wedding preparations.Eventually, the big day came. It was forecast to rain all day. We hoped and prayed to God that it wouldn’t rain on the wedding day for our daughter. We embarked on a long and bumpy journey from Eldoret to Nairobi for the wedding the following day. The church where the ceremony was to be held was decorated in maroon and white with fairy lights everywhere. Everyone looked so nice, you would have thought that we were attending a fashion show. All the women were dressed beautifully, many wore makeup and high heels, and their very colourful dresses and veils were lovely.

A cavalcade of vehicles lined up for the procession that snaked its way from the Nairobi village to the church. First down the aisle were the flower girls, followed by the bridesmaids and escorts to the sound of a piano playing. There must have been thirty people in the procession. Then the pianist started playing the bridal march and our daughter came down the aisle. She looked so radiant in a fitted dress scattered with hand sewn crystals, that twinkled when the light caught them. She was walked down the aisle by “Baba” Mungai to the hands of the priest who officiated.

After their arrival at the reception to a standing ovation, we were served dinner followed by speeches from both sides of the family. The 3 tier cake was cut and photos taken again. Everyone milled around drinking and talking and generally having a good time. The wedding was an incredibly a colorful affair. The cameramen and the photographers all frequently focused on the same thing, so it was a bit like being at the Oscars.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Rhythm dominates as music fest concludes

The two month district and provincial music festival concluded with the rhythms of the students from Herman Gmeiner Secondary School Eldoret creating the mood at Kericho Teacher College, the venue of the competition. This year the music club was eclectic in the choice of items for presentation during the festivals. This was boosted by great participation of the new students that were admitted in first term. The numbers were large enough to enable us participate in a variety of items from set verses to instrumentals. Emma Makoha, the music club patron at the Hermann Gmeiner School in Eldoret gives an eye witness account.

At the district level, the club presented 9 items. These included four instrumentals, four set verses and one traditional dance from the Luhya community. The set verses were presented by Patricia Ngina, Christine Mwende, Brenda Akinyi and Faith Wariara, all from SOS Children’s Village. Six students qualified for the regional competition. Notably, the dance and all the instrumentals were placed first. Faith Wariara’s was placed at position two.

In the regional level we met schools from Uasin Gishu Marakwet and Keiyo district. Competition was stiff. The dance took position 2 out of the six dances presented. The stringed, wind and percussion instrumental, African and Western instrumental ensemble, percussion band, all took position one. Solomon Chege of Eldoret children's village played the marimba and came second. Faith Wariara, also from Eldoret village was placed at the third position. The provincials were scheduled to be held in Kericho from 1st July 2007 to 5th July 2007.

The team left for Kericho on 2nd July 2008 in the wee hours of the morning. We arrived at 10.00 am and we only had twenty minutes to present on stage the string, wing, and percussion instrumental ensemble. We were placed at position 5 out of the 12 schools that presented.
The second day, the team presented a percussion band (own choice) and was placed third of 12 teams. There was a difference of half a mark between the second team and our team. The team did not lose hope.

On the third day we had two items to present – African and Western instruments ensemble and barred or spoken instrument solo of own choice. Both of them were placed fourth out of twelve.
Our major item was performed on the final day. The Luhya traditional dance troupe was composed of children from the three Kenyan children's villages of Nairobi, Eldoret and Mombasa. Competition was very stiff compared to other classes because the class included dances from the Luo community. Schools from Nakuru, Trans-Nzoia and Nandi South were presenting dances under this class. Out of the fifteen dances that were presented, we were positioned fourth. The students showed a lot of gusto. It was a great achievement considering that this was the first time we were presenting such items during Music Festivals.

The club would like to thank the school administration and the entire SOS community Eldoret for the support it received from them. It was crystal clear that we have talent that we need to nurture. The team would also want to appreciate the extra energy and team work displayed by all those students who participated during this year’s Music festivals. This activity was an eye opener. It dawned on us that preparations should commence early and that to gain an edge, the club should envisage broadening its instrument capacity.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


SATURDAY 5 July 2008 was a special day in the village, continuing the tradition of celebrating the SOS Day. It's the one day of the year on which the entire SOS community has the opportunity to come together as one to commemorate the day and to honour the late Hermann Gmeiner. His outstanding achievement was to make the children’s universal right to a family his claim. He dedicated his entire life to creating a family-like-environment for abandoned children, which later evolved into SOS Children’s Villages. While the content of this day has changed over the years, some things remain constant: notably the spirit, time to reflect and sense of community generated on this day for participants.

Children from 9 children’s homes were invited for the occasion. During last year’s celebration, SOS Children’s Village Eldoret visited various children’s homes in a programme dubbed “Reaching out to the Community” and spent time with the children. These homes benefited from donations of foodstuff and clothes. This time round, we were playing host to these homes. It was a simple yet meaningful ceremony. The guests were allocated to each family house and had an opportunity to meet and mingle with the SOS children from each of the family houses throughout the day. Their faces radiated happiness as they strolled in the village, eliciting excitement from their hosts who welcomed them with a rose flower as they arrived.

Children from the invited homes mesmerized invitees and guests during the function, performing beautifully choreographed dances, songs and choral verses heavily laden with scriptural messages. It was the performance of a fashion show that displayed the power, talent, vigour and strength of the children, leaving the entire audience spellbound.

The theme for this year’s celebration “Children’s Responsibilities” was aptly captured by every speaker. The Village Director, Mr. Peter Mungai Muiruri enlightened the guests on the progress of SOS Children's Villages and highlighted the upcoming programmes and developments. Stressing the theme, he challenged the children to take advantage of the opportunities around them to learn and uphold good values that will make them worthy members of the society. He lauded the representatives from the various homes for complementing each other in the work of childcare.

Friday, July 11, 2008

When I grow up I want to be a musician

When I grow up, I want to be a musician.

When I was in school, I was deeply obsessed with music so I decided to join the church choir. Now I am playing the piano in the church and I am very happy. I would not mind playing any instrument and I will be content as long as I get to be a musician. However, I love playing the piano.

I have wanted to be a musician since I was in kindergarten when I first learned how to play the piano. I like to play the piano because it always cools me down when I am angry. Besides playing music, I also like to listen to classical music. I would like to be an accomplished pianist playing classical music in concerts. I hope many people will attend my concerts. I will give part of the money from the concerts to charity.

If I want to become a musician I will have to practise very hard and pass all the eight grades of the music examination. I hope I will become a famous musician because my 'father' has promised to support me in my talent and this makes me very happy.

Narrated by an SOS youth
Peris Cheruiyot – Youth leader

Monday, July 7, 2008

A new village fence to protect the children

Since the inception of the family strengthening programme (FSP) in the village there has been a bee-hive of activities in and out of the village. Children were amazed at the rate at which lorries carried construction materials in and outside the gate with so many workers criss-crossing the compound. As a matter of fact they exclaimed at the rate at which the tarmac was being erased by the trucks carrying cement.

The FSP is expected to attract a substantial number of clients ranging from children to old people on the compound once the construction comes to an end, but not all may be in need. Thus the electric fence will come in handy to control the entry and exit of people to the facility through one focal point.

In addition there has been a challenge from marauding dogs that spill litter all over the village in search of left over food from the family houses. The electric fence would curb the mess once and for all and keep the dogs out.

The current electrification project has been done with much skill and professionalism compared to the previous fence that could not do much to protect the residents from predators. The system is centrally controlled; the Village Director is in a position to monitor the happenings with the security systems and therefore make instant and necessary decisions at the appropriate time.

In summary the electrification of the fence around the SOS Children’s Village was a land mark project in the district bearing in mind that it was one of the areas worst hit by the post election violence. So many children were exposed to the hazards in the community brought about by the sense of homelessness. Its all thumbs up to the National Director for assisting this project to take effect. It gives a sense of both physical and psychological security to the residents making the Children’s Village a real home for children to stay, play and grow towards independence.