Watoto Tumaini: The Kids of Tumaini [Round 1]

I thought I would take a moment (or several as the case may be) to introduce you to the kids that have captured my heart, and the family I can’t imagine leaving.


First off is Joy.

Joy is incredibly sweet and most often also very shy, but every so often she ventures out of her shell to gift you with her wonderful smile. I think one of my favorite moments with Joy was last summer as our trip was coming to a close and Joy ventured up to ask me if I would read to her.  Then she pulled out a torn and tattered Bible, opened to the Psalms, and sat quietly in my lap as we read.

Tony and Mose

Next are Tony and Moses.

Tony has a goofy smile that is nothing short of contagious, and a wonderful heart that loves to care for his younger siblings.  But getting him to talk is often a challenge, even for his siblings because he is sooo shy!

Moses is quite the chubbster, and always full of smiles – a combination you can’t help but love.


Peter and Ryann


Peter Kahiga

Peter is best known for his “pee-pants” and his friendship with Ryann. They’re quite the pair as you can see.  The poor kid can’t go through a day without peeing his pants, but he really is a sweetheart, and is always ready to lend a helping hand.










The first word that pops into my mind when I think of Stacie is “precious.”  She is incredibly smart, and even at age 5 has an incredible take-charge attitude.  But she certainly has the joy of a child and will bring me handfuls of sequins or leaves, to be tossed up and danced in with a sparkle in her eye that lights up the room.



Mary Wanjiko

Mary Wanjiko

What a little bundle of fun!  I can hardly keep up with this girl as she zooms all over the place, loving to be chased and tickled. And oh my goodness everything goes in the mouth! Whether it’s leaves, the chair, food, or your hand – if it’s in her hand, rest assured it will find its way to her mouth.



Isaac Kimani


Kimani has cerebral palsy, which makes life more difficult, but to see him make progress and overcome is a joy beyond words. A year ago when we were here, although well loved, Kimani was limited in his abilities. But he attends a special school for children with disabilities and now is constantly on the go! He has a wheel chair here, but loves to crawl around and climb up on the couch to look out the windows or play with the light switches.  He’s learned to control his movements and is much more gentle now, and I can only imagine with excitement the progress he will continue to see as his brothers and sisters all lend a hand to see him to learn and grow more and more.



Michael Leposo

Michael Leposo

Ok just look at that face… is there any way not to fall in love when he looks up at you with those big brown eyes and chubby cheeks?  (The answer is no, just in case you were wondering.) Last year Michael was quiet and reserved, wouldn’t come near a mzungu (white person) and good luck getting him to smile! But we’ve broken him out of his shell, and now he not only smiles and laughs, but will seek you out and try to make YOU laugh!  His favorite trick for the week is to call out “I-een!” and then give the cheesiest smile you can imagine until I begin to laugh.


Elizabeth Womboi

Elizabeth Womboi

This picture captures Womboi perfectly: the complete goof-ball always making silly faces and noises.  Lately she will run up to me, jump in my lap and give me a kiss on the cheek, and then offer up her cheek for me to return the favor. Then when I kiss her cheek back she says “asante sana Eileen” (thank you very much) and kisses me again to repeat the cycle.


Uncle Charles

Uncle Charles

This one is a trouble-maker to the core, with a face that he knows will get him out of any trouble he can think to get himself in!  His favorite game with me is to call my name and when I look over raise his eyebrows and wink at me, but sometimes his wink is more of a blink, which just makes me laugh all the more.  This is the adorable Uncle I remember from last year, but the rebellious Charles is one who decided one day while we were taking a lunch break from painting the school that he would help us with our work. He took the paint brush to a just-finished room and decided to do a little designing of his own. Not only that but when we found him he had paint in his mouth!  Needless to say, our just-finished room was not longer finished.


Jacob Kamau

Jacob Kamau

Teacher Winnie will tell you that Jacob is the future pastor of the Tumaini kids.  He is well behaved, helps the other kids do the same, is probably the most polite child I have ever met, and still has a flare of fun to him. What more could you want in a child?  Today as we finished up painting he wanted to help (of course) and when told that he couldn’t because we didn’t want him to get in trouble, his reply was, “oh thank you!” and he scurried out the door and back to class.






What a bundle of energy!! I’m not kidding this kid runs around all day (usually with drool falling or spit flying out of his mouth) with an unbelievable stamina unmatched by any child before.  My favorite part of the day (ok one of many) is when we arrive and you see Amos’ face just light up and he runs full-speed into your arms. But it doesn’t end there, as you lift him into the air he keeps his legs straight out, with leaves you holding the smallest and most excited Superman in the world.



Nema is the once shy but now bold little girl with a contagious smile on one hand and a pout face that melts your heart on the other.  In this picture she had just caught a deflated basketball rolling towards her and was about to roll it right back with every ounce of excited strength she had.

Ok there are a few more kids I want to introduce you to, but it will have to wait for another day!



~ by eileendekker on July 29, 2011.

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