I spent the morning at the Lamu Special School – it has 107 students, mostly mentally challenged children but there are also some physically challenged children. Mr. Bute, the head teacher, explains that families have a very difficult time supporting the mentally challenged children. Poor families only pick their children who have a high chance of succeeding and send them to school. What do you do when you have little money and many children? Who do you choose to send to school? This school is making an impact. Field assessments are done and children are encouraged to come. There is little support from the families and even getting them to come and visit their children is difficult – many families really don’t want the community to know that they have a developmentally challenged child.
I have been coming here for more than 10 years and see the great progress this school is making.
This year, we are going to undertake some major renovations to the kitchen, put in the right types of furniture for the dining room, replace the stoves, and do repairs to the boys and girls hostel.
Rusted stoves and pipes:
The dorms are always kept nice and clean:
Here are two students that will speak to your hearts.
Muna reminds us not to ignore the mentally challenged. She is 20 years old, developmentally challenged, and blind. She asks that we don’t ignore her and her classmates.
Hulwe Salay cannot speak but has some hearing. His father was killed by bandits and his mother died last year. He is a bright student. Thanks to many Canadians and the Gord And Kathy Bontje families for caring about the students and supporting the Lamu school. Hulwe loves dancing and is soon joined by his classmates.
My airport shuttle is about to depart and is waiting in front of my room. I will fly back to Nairobi and begin a 10-day road trip before the group arrives from Canada.