After our marvellous trip to Lake Nakuru National Park, Mum and I travelled down to the small settlement of Kiembeni, north of Mombasa, where she is now living. I met (and stayed with) the lovely family she lodges with, and also visited the Wema Centre where she has been volunteering since last October. Mum is clearly loved and appreciated by everyone in the community there, and I think has found a place where she can be truly happy.
Wema was set up as a refuge for street girls from Mombasa, but now also caters for orphans and other vulnerable children, some from the most awful backgrounds with parents who are alcoholics and/or prostitutes, living many to a room in homes without proper roofs and beds let alone plumbing or electricity.
Mum absolutely loves her work there (helping to teach classes in the morning and to prepare dinner in the afternoons) and was keen to show me around. I don't really have any experience of children - and in fact tend to avoid them whenever possible - but I have to say it was easy, and rewarding, to interact with the children at Wema. They were clinging on to me, holding my hands, stroking my hair, and begging to be picked up and hugged. So desperate for the love most children take for granted. It was impossible to resist them and very moving.
Although many were still dressed in rags, it is clear that the Centre is doing a great job - giving those children stability, education and love, as well as hopefully a future. I know some of Mum's friends read this blog, so I will use this as an opportunity to tell you that Wema can always do with more money. Mum will never ask you as that is not in her nature, but I know she would gladly pass on donations (cash rather than clothes, etc, as the latter attract import duty). Hope you don't mind me posting this, Mum.