Written By: Dorette Ligons-Ham
DOH, Kenya officially began when the children of Mathare arrived at camp after almost of eight-hour ride from Nairobi. Everyone is so excited as they check out the space made available at School for dormitories, classrooms, dining facilities and all other activities that will be going on. The children register and select two choices of art forms for the week. Camp staff will make every effort to let each child attend their desired choice but will make sure that every class has a good representation of students. This year the classes include, Dance, Drama, Music, Painting (Mural Arts), Photography and Poetry, There are over 60 children and 22 volunteer artists who will take an active role helping the children do their very best in all areas of camp. Kevin and Brenda, a couple from Nairobi and founders of Goldmine Foundations, are managing camp logistics and leading sports activities and orientation. Cemalie Jaime, a veteran Artist on Call from New York City, is serving this year as Artistic Director and giving some assistance in Poetry and Drama classes. She led an intense but motivating training on Saturday for participating artist and volunteers. Several teachers are returning to Art Camp for the third time and some have come to participate for the very first time. Roshelle Lennon, another Artist on Call from Philadelphia, PA but first time in Kenya, will be the dance teacher. Saiid and Godfrey, both Kenyan Artists on Call since 2008, will teach Drama and Poetry respectively. Simultaneously, there are quite a few children who have been a part of art camp since November 2008 and have been anxiously waiting Buildabridge’s return engagement again this year.
After the children registered, Kevin held orientation for all participants. Students and volunteers joined in for some fun and games and are given directions and rules for the week. David Nganga, a founding member of the Inspiration Center, now living and working in Mombasa for two years, gave a pep talk to all the children. He is so excited to see all his friends and people who started the vision. The children are served some good food fixed by Grace and her more than capable helpers and then enjoyed a night at the movies or TV as they prepared for bed. It is a truly a miracle to take the children from Nairobi to Mombasa as some of them have never left Mathare Valley and this collaboration of Buildabride with the Inspiration Center has made a dream come true for so many. It is hard to hold back tears of joy but all the volunteers understand and feel the elation that is all over the faces of the children.
Two Artists on Call have planned an action-packed week with something special every day after class. The children will enjoy some fun at the beach, go on a tour of Fort Jesus, a famous museum in Mombasa, and on a ferry ride. These two dedicated people are Kaylie, a BB Intern in Kenya and the Art teacher this week and Moses, one of the leaders and founding members of the Inspiration Center, also the lead teacher of Photography. Many other volunteers have made themselves available to make camp a success by donating their time and energy. We are all expecting an inspiring learning experience and look forward for classes to begin.