Saturday, August 30, 2008

Kenyan Night

Pin It Two weekends ago, I was up at my uncle and aunt’s house. While I was there on a photoshoot, they invited me to attend a “Kenyan Children’s Night.” This was a group of kids from Kenya who’d come to the United States and were performing at various events - several of whom are orphans.

(To hear a song the students performed and see photos taken by the Salt Lake Tribune, click HERE).

I had the opportunity to spend many hours with these children (mostly the boys as they wanted to hang at my uncle’s house because of my two older cousins whom they all thought were ‘beautiful.’).

I really enjoyed my time listening to these kids talk with their thick, rich accents and their friendly nature. One boy, Washington, would walk up to someone, put his arm around them, and steer them wherever he wanted. I watched him do this with my 17 year-old cousin who did not want to be at the event in the first place. Washington simply put his arm around my cousin, and led him off to a group which was playing a drum. Then, a few minutes later, he was getting my cousin to show him how to ride his skateboard. My cousin had no reservations about taking part in these activities and was soon having a great time, all from the gentle lead of a 13 year-old boy.

Washington also did this with me. When the singing was done and the kids had changed back into their regular clothes, he walked up to me, gently slid his arm around my shoulder and began to lead me away from the group. I had no idea what this boy was doing, but to be honest—I felt powerless. When we were a good distance from everyone else he said only two words with his rich, soothing voice.

“LaFona…Chalupa.” (by the way, those aren't their real names).

These were my two cousins. Still I had no idea what he wanted, so I asked him.

In response he pointed to the camera which hung around my neck. Again he repeated his request, “LaFona…Chalupa.”

“You want a picture of them?”

Washington smiled as broadly as Christmas morning. He then pointed at himself.

“You want a picture of them with you?”

He nodded and gave my shoulder a gentle squeeze, steering me back to the group.

“Just you and my cousins, or do you want someone else in the photo with you? Maybe one of your friends?” I indicated the other boys nearby.

Washington patted his chest with the palm of his hand. “Just me.” He said.

This kid was sure persuasive. If he’d have led me to a store and pointed out an mp3 player, I probably would have bought it for him.

We had a great night with these kids back at my uncle’s house. I’ll tell you all about the chicken incident later though…that is a story in itself.


Anonymous said...

This first photo shows me not only rich and vibrant color, but vibrant spirit as well.
I love the chicken story. Can't wait to re-hear it when you post it. You're lucky to have been able to participate.

Danielle said...

That is so awesome! I'd love to go see them sometime! If you see them soon tell them I say hi.

Emily said...

I heard about the Kenyan kids coming, I wanted to go but I had to work. That's great your cousins are getting that exposure. Wonderful pictures! They're such cute kids!

Kris said...

OH my what beautiful kids! Wish I could see them sometime. I'm one of the unknown aunts.

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