Kambui School | Nairobi, Kenya Mission Photography
A Quiet Strength
Thanks to everyone who's shared such positive feedback with us after reading Day One at SUD Academy. Today, on Easter Sunday, we're excited to share Day Two where we spent our time at Kambui School for the Deaf. This was personally my favorite ministry we served at, and I hope you can see why.
So with that, let's jump on in.
Day Two: Kambui School for the Deaf
On our second day of serving with CMA, we hopped in our faithful bus and drove 1-2 hours out of town to another school, but this one was far different than yesterday at SUD. Rather than refugees, in this school, all of the students were hearing impaired to some degree. As we drove there, our leaders informed us that oftentimes parents don't have the care, desire, or funds to work with their hearing impaired son or daughter, so they get dropped off at a place like Kambui and left as an orphan no longer with their family. Thankfully, Kambui raises these kids from a very early age with both a place to live and an exceptional education every single day.
When we first arrived, after getting a quick tour around campus, we immediately visited with the principle to learn more about the school and everything they offer there. Very quickly we saw how excellent they are at their work as a faculty. Not only do they have national awards for their athletics, but also for their quality of education. Trophies lined her office as if a proud mom to all of their students.
We had a little break to catch some lunch teaching with CMA, and not soon after my dad came in smiling and said, 'Watch this...'
We were all a little confused and then we rounded the corner. Students upon students we're swarming us in excitement, touching our skin, waving in all directions, shoving their faces in front of the camera. It was as if we were celebrities to them, trying to do anything and everything to get close. At the same time, we were being directed by our leader to follow him, barely being able to move forward with all the kids trying to hold us. It didn't take long to find a little buddy, holding my hand, guiding me through.
In that quick moment walking through all the kids, I noticed they kept touching each cheek as they saw me... so when I finally got up to our leader past the rush of students, I asked him what that sign meant in sign language. He somewhat chuckled and said, "They've given you your sign name! It must be because of your dimples." I kinda laughed at myself, too, because all along I had thought maybe they were saying something about my camera...
Anyone want to guess what Caleb's sign name is?
Do the motion with your hands of suave hair, and you've nailed it. These kids are hilarious!
From there, we headed to a few different spots. We saw their carpentry shop a bit down the hill, their computer lab, and finally to a water tank that was donated by CMA six years ago. I love how CMA provides on a variety of needs, from the physical need of water, to the relational and educational needs of coming and teaching the kids with their dedicated staff.
Once we got the lay of the land, and the kids were instructed to go back to class (as we were very much so a big distraction that day, heads poking out of windows trying to see us...), we went around to a few of the classes to see how the students, both young and old, learn using sign language as their communication system.
Similar to SUD, both the ladies taught their 'Smart Girl' talk and the boys did theirs to teach general skills and manners. The first time all of the hands went up and flickered back and forth to show applause, was quite magical to experience. Sign language is a beautiful language and one I want to learn more of someday.
When we were in the little kids' classroom, they were teaching how to count to ten and their animals. Because of their hearing challenges, their sight and visual is 100% required for them to know what's being taught, so when the kids would get distracted, they'd have to physically touch their face so they'd know to look at the teacher rather than us or their friends.
And when they'd learn their animals, one by one, they'd still audibly make the sounds they imagine, sometimes strikingly loud because they're unaware of their own volume. It was both fascinating and hilarious at the same time. Kids will be kids, and that's a-okay.
After those classes, it was time for my mom's art class! We had more students than desks so they got a crew together to haul some desks and chairs up so everyone could participate. Because of the language barrier, they also had 2-3 teachers join so that they could communicate to the students throughout the drawing process. It was fun to see everyone so focused and involved together.
Time For Soccer
And of course, since the school is nationally ranked and prepping for tournament, we all quickly went off to the soccer field. The students grabbed their jerseys and sprinted off after a quick group photos.
After some stretching, the younger kids separated from the older ones to work with the teachers and grow their skills as they'd take turn getting the soccer ball kicked to them. They were very patient with each other as they took turns, but of course, once they started to scrimmage some laughs we're in order as they got competitive.
In addition to soccer, the teachers would teach them how to get set for track. Both the girls and boys would line up at their spots along the outside of the field as if ready for a race. I admired how the girls, especially, did everything in their dresses. No shoes or gear necessary for these kids, just a passion for running.
And then there was the older teams getting ready for competition... they were set on my brother, Jaden, playing with them, so lucky him, he got to run around trying to keep up haha!
Time flew by as we watched an entertaining soccer game, and then we were all signaled to head back to the school. The road we walked back was gorgeous, covered in greens left and right. I could have spent the entire afternoon just in that road, taking it all in as we're all used to it being winter at home.
Our final moments before leaving were filled talking to the oldest women's soccer team as one of the girls could understand my words a bit. She was able to communicate the girl's questions so it was fun using the little I knew and what she could speak, to communicate. The girls were filled with energy and endless questions of all sorts. They asked that we would pray for them and their team as we go back home, and hoped we would visit again.
As I mentioned right away, this day keeps standing out to me as my favorite because even though these students were abandoned, most likely because of their hearing, I never once felt like I wasn't at a normal school, with normal students. Between the teachers and students, they all felt like one big family, always supporting one another and cheering each other on. It was an amazing environment to be in, everyone smiling, and just excited to be there with one another.
As a visual communicator here at home with both design and photography, learning some basic sign language phrases to introduce ourselves and seeing the students use it throughout the day really sparked my interest in wanting to learn more. Sign language is one of the only global languages anyone and everyone with that skill can use around the world, and the motions are truly fascinating and beautiful all-in-one. I hope to start learning in my spare moments, so if you know of some good resources, please send them my way!
Before You Go...
Caleb put together a video of our time at Kambui that shares how Christian Mission Aid helps the school in their mission to serve these students in need. Seeing the language and these students in action is totally worth a watch!
If you'd like to help Kambui school and the programs CMA teaches to these students to help them live a full life (like you can read here), simply go here and choose 'Children & Youth Ministry.' The school staff and the students could not be more grateful for your donation, even if its just a few dollars. I can see their hands raising in the air, flickering now in applause. Thank you!