Eliciting Smiles: a Good Week All Round

When it comes to eliciting smiles, last week must have been one of the best in recent months. Not only did Margaret, our newest arrival, start smiling (and has continued doing so), but Elinipa also returned from hospital after 9 days there. She is now able to take part in games, enjoy her food and interact with the other kids, which she hadn’t been doing for some time.

Eliciting Smiles from Richard and Glory

Eliciting smiles from Richard

Eliciting smiles from Richard

Later in the week one of our very serious little crawlers, Richard, was also caught smiling. He has big, round eyes and it’s hard to get him to smile, so it was lovely to see. Then Glory’s mood changed, and she’s been much more cheerful than I’ve ever seen her. Eliciting smiles from her is challenging. She doesn’t usually play with the other kids, or even with the adults. But maybe she will cheer up even more once she learns to walk, which should be soon.

All 25 of the kids at Watoto Kicheko are at home. Even Careen and Rose, who have spent more of their lives in hospital than out, are doing well. Rose has been putting on weight, albeit slowly, which is wonderful to hear. She is spending more time awake and watching the comings and goings in the sitting room of the director, whose house she is staying in at the moment. The next task will be eliciting smiles from them, although they are still very small!

Eliciting Smiles all Week

Eliciting smiles from Margaret

Eliciting smiles from Margaret

So it’s worth celebrating these happy circumstances. There are three volunteers from the UK and they are teaching the kids songs, playing games with them, doing drawing and craft work and generally keeping them busy. The kids are happy, of course, but the most gratifying thing is seeing kids who normally find things difficult gradually adjusting to their surroundings.

Watoto Kicheko is a very happy place, as it should be. But sometimes kids may come here with illnesses, especially malnutrition, so it can take them a bit of time, and often a bit of medical care, too. Others may have been neglected, often because those caring for them have to work for a living and can not spend enough time with their children.

Finally, there are only 9 days left in our campaign to raise $2,000 to pay Rose and Careen’s hospital bills. This is just a fraction of the overall cost, and we have still only raised 40%, $600. So if you, or anyone you know, can donate something, please do sThe care and treatment have already been given and the girls are well, but we can not provide the neediest kids with lifesaving care without the kindness and generosity of our donors and sponsors.

By Simon Collery

Simon Collery has been an online content writer and blogger since the late 1990s, developing content for an information industry website, and later, writing about development, HIV, human rights and other subjects, mainly in East Africa. He is a co-founder of the Don't Get Stuck Collective, a group of people who write and agitate for greater recognition of non-sexually transmitted HIV and other bloodborne disease, especially through unsafe healthcare, cosmetic and traditional practices, mainly in Africa and Asia. He also blogs about media depictions of African people, unethical practices by publicly funded western institutions in African countries, mass male circumcision programs carried out in African countries using mainly US funding, and other subjects. He has a particular interest in Kenya and Tanzania.