Wednesday, June 20
Scheduled for today was tour of Yatta, which meant a very long day. We were on the road by 8 in the morning and in bed by 11 in the evenin
g, with much of the time spent walking. Yatta is the campus for girls rescued from working the streets. Many of the girls have children and are given a living space so they are able to continue to care for their children. These living spaces are shared amongst several girls with children, the number varying. Education is provided for all the girls as well as child care for the young ones. Approximately 5% of the population of the Yatta Campus is older boys. This affords the girls the opportunity to have positive interactions with brothers and other males who work with them in the education environment. The boys also provide security from various possible intrusions. Yatta is spread across 200 acres located about 2 hours away by car on underdeveloped roads. The first 100 acres purchased were in the previous owner’s opinion, unworkable & “unfarmable”. When he saw that the land he deemed useless was able to produce, he sold the other, better 100 acres to MCF as well.Our tour began when we debarked from the bus and were greeted by many of the girls. As I watched the girls, I couldn’t help but wonder if many of them would have rather been anywhere else instead of greeting a bunch of strangers. My understanding later in the day was that some of our group had visited the day before, so not all were complete strangers. We watched village men and beneficiaries working on fish ponds. Currently, there are five with more to come. The ponds are stocked with small fish, then harvested to be sold outside of MCF and some for consumption at MCF. Ultimately, when the farm is in full swing, fish will be raised from eggs. Apparently, chicken poo provides nitrogen rich yummies for fish. (Just one more reason I don’t eat fish, but would have then had it ended up on the menu. I was ever so grateful it didn’t.) The foundation of the chicken house was underway during our visit. Chickens can free range in the day, but at night there are wild dogs among other thing, that find chicken yummy.
We interrupted several classes and watched the girls sew, learn about hairdressing, chemistry, and literature. We interacted with many of the students, asking questions, answering questions, browsing classwork and listening to the teachers.As a seamstress, the girls learn first to sew by hand on the packaging from concrete. The material is like a plastic coated paper. They are graded so strictly, that I was sure I would not do well. As I inspected their classwork, I could find many of the flaws in the poorly graded projects. The ones that received higher bu
t not perfect marks, I was able to discern few errors. My guess was that it involved imprecise measurements. and pattern construction. The girls are taught to design and make their own pattern based on what the client desires. Once their hand sewing is up to par, they are able to move on to concrete bags with a treadle, as one cannot depend on reliable electricity if any at all. Once proficiency is demonstrated on the concrete bags, real fabric is used. The completed projects are kept by the girls as examples of their work for potential clients.The hairdressing classes involve detailed note-taking with practice on people later. Each girl in this program keeps an immaculate notebook of pictures and instructions for each procedure-from putting rollers in the hair, to braiding, cutting and dying.Yatta also has a computer lab, I believe there were 12-16 computers. The posters on the walls indicated that the students learn about the intricate workings on the processor, peripheral devices, and many things about which I wouldn’t have the first idea, even though I may be able to manage a large area network.We visited a chemistry class where we chatted with students. We spoke of trivial things and if conversation waned, I asked about future goals. One young man I spoke with wanted to use music to tell others about Jesus while his desk-mate desired to be a mechanical engineer. He wanted to build boats, cars, ships. They both in turn asked me about our elections and how it all worked. Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time for me to explain it all.As we toured, we saw many projects in various stages of completion. MCF builds when money is donated and only for what it is designated for, so if funding is not complete, the building is not completed. I cried out to God asking that he work in hearts so people understand how MCF works and to stop designating. I am not finding fault with the process, it’s what many churches do here, but it is extremely in efficient. I trust those in authority to know how best to use the money and to show at the end of the fiscal year how it was spent. It was heartbreaking to see so many partially completed projects both at N’Dalani and Yatta.
We had a very late lunch, around 2 in the afternoon, then hiked off to see more the livestock and proposed farm. Charles indicated where future greenhouses would be built. If you look off in the distance, nearly the horizon, you will see a white dot. It’s a truck on the road passing by MCF Yatta. Out near that truck is the location for future greenhouses. I would hope that as I type preparations are underway for the newest donated greenhouse. After our lengthy tour, the children were released from class so we were able to interact with them. The guys in our group went to the soccer field with the boys, while the ladies in our group worked on crafts with the girls in the meeting hall. A standing joke among us ladies for the rest of the week involved us parroting to each other, “15 beads, we have to share, it’s not fair to the girl at the end of the line if we run out.” While we laughed, it was quite sad while it was happening. Many of the girls pocketed extra beads, put them in their mouth, and even into their infant’s mouth. We had no idea that beads were going to be a hot commodity. To do over again, I think the beads and the handkerchief/bandanna should have been sorted in a bag together. Then if a girl had a bandanna, we would know she received beads. Many of the ladies from our team were able to hold the young ones while the mothers/girls worked. As we waited for dinner, I was able to journal much of the above information, so it was extremely fresh. I enjoyed listening to the insects serenading each other and us. While I was unable to identify the birds, their songs were quite lovely. After dinner, we joined the children for evening devotions. I am not sure what that word means to them, I do know that to me it is more of a cross between a talent show with music, skits with morals to the story and a short thought about God. Please don’t get me wrong-I enjoyed it. I wish I had remembered to bring my second memory card to Yatta. Part of the way in to the presentations, my 2.0GB card was filled. I took many photos and some movies. The still photos are all available if you follow the link to photos. To view the movies, you will need to come visit or ask me to bring them. They are rather large with poor video quality, but the audio is awesome. Back on topic-devotions. When we joined, several different choirs sang for us. We heard a monologue from two girls in which one talked about the inequity of refusing to help street children yet complaing that street children exist and are a nuisance. The other talked about the struggle to live on the street, obtain an education, work for money to use on food, clothing, school fees, and how to find a future. I got the distinct feeling that these skits and dramatizations were very therapeutic for them. I don’t know that their society has therapists, counselors, etc., but I do know that expressing frustrations is a good way to work out what to do and how to handle overwhelming situations. Before arriving at MCF, their basic needs-food, water, clothing, shelter, education were all held ransom. Some by circumstances, some by relatives, some by strangers. They had no future, no safety, no nurturing, no God. MCF has given them a future, an outlet, and education, love, God. One of the dramas I was not able to film had a song with some of the following lyrics-
“We need love, not abusing” “We need love and understanding”