Friday, October 2, 2009

Family is everything

The First International Conference in Family Based care came, and it’s now gone. Or is it?

Well, the dates of the conference itself are past; and today a larger number of the remaining delegates were busy checking out and looking up their departure times so as not to miss their flights and travels back to their respective homes.

For me, the day was very long and full. It started at the SOS Regional Training Centre where I stayed last night. After the resolutions were ratified by the delegates in the afternoon, I decided to accompany my colleagues and have the last supper (in the context of us being delegates) with them. I woke up and went straight to the office. I had not been near a computer for 5 straight days, and so my mailbox was bursting at the seams! I decided to respond to the urgent mails, and guess what, all the mails ended up being urgent, especially considering that next week I am the lead trainer in the Keeping Children Safe (KCS) Coalitions’ toolkit for Child Protection.

Talking of the KCS toolkit, it drew the attention of many delegates at the conference. Everyone who came across it at the SOS Children’s Villages booth was practically drawn to it. We directed them to the website where it can be downloaded in English & French.

I got a distressing call in the middle of my morning activities. My house help wanted to leave. Now you would have to live in Africa to appreciate this situation fully, but I will try to contextualize it in the best possible way I know how. Being a mother of three, I am only able to carry out my full time job (and occasional social evenings) thanks to the often irreplaceable yet sometimes overlooked invaluable help of a girl who stays with me and does the work of keeping the hearth (like the divine goddess Hera) This frees me to pursue my interests with little or no worries that my household is running well. Of course I would have to work very closely with her for a period spanning a couple of months to show by example how I like my affairs carried out, such that by the time she’s ready, then I know that indeed the affairs of my house are running just as I would have ran them myself.

It is therefore intensely distressing when one morning such a girl wakes up and declares that she wants to leave; immediately. They say every cloud has silver lining, and this cloud’s one was that my sister was in the vicinity. She took the girls and stayed with them as I made my way through engagements that I had made, and Nairobi traffic, and obligations I had committed to… Its only then that I realized the weight of commitments. I finally did get home, and I met the kids on their way to the house with my sister. Dinner was chips and tomato sauce and the kids loved it.

Bedtime 8 o’clock was observed; now I’m sitting here listening to the silence of the night, the smell of freshly steamed rice wafting to my nostrils. (in response to my distress call, my cousin had made a sumptuous dinner in anticipation of the arrival of the kids). I wonder what tomorrow holds. Family is indeed everything. What would I have done without mine?!

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