After years, I met my Beatrice

Around seven years ago I distantly adopted Beatrice Atieno. I didn't have a specific idea, I wanted to help somebody on the way to education and since younger children had a better chance to get an adoptive parent, I decided to adopt rather an older child, a girl, who would receive lesser support from her family to attend school. Beatrice was an orphan and she lived at her aunt's who was a family friend and took care about a few of her children, grandchildren and orphans.

Originally, I hoped that due the adoption I would show the importance of education to my teenage children, especially to my son. But when I received Beatrice's first school report, the notes were rather worse than better and my children looked compared to them as little scientists.

Beatrice and I started writing letters to each other, and I have received her school and medical reports. She improved at school, she finished the elementary school, entered a secondary school and now she attends the second class of the secondary school, which she changed last year. The new school is better - according to Bety and the organization - and more demanding; therefore she has been repeating the second year.

I wanted to see her for ages, but a journey to Kenya was rather a dream and vision than reality. My naive ideas about flying to Kenya on my own to help there as a doctor with preventive medical checks were only difficultly to get realized and especially time and money consuming. Additionally, I had only few days of vacation and I always needed to do something around my own children, I guess everybody knows it. Finally, I had a couple of days left last year and my friend who is a great traveller suggested an organized safari tour which would include passage of Nairobi where I would be able to meet Beatrice.

We ordered the tour and set off for Africa. We arrived in Mombasa with a Czech group and we went to safari in two cars. We saw plenty of animals, African nature is beautiful and I can only recommend such a trip to everybody who is willing to go. The last day we arrived in Nairobi and had lunch in restaurant Carnivores, it was the d-Day for me - I was going to meet Beatrice.

According to the agreement with Mrs. Feminová, Beatrice came to Nairobi by bus the previous day, since the school is 400 km away from Nairobi. She slept over in Nairobi and together with Ken - a local coordinator whom I already met at a meeting of adoptive parents in Prague - waited for me in front of the restaurant.

As usually, our group stuck in the traffic jam, it wasn't possible to send a SMS or receive one. Finally, the easiest way was to call to the Czech republic and report our delay. Then I saw Ken and a tiny girl next to him.

We agreed that Beatrice and Ken would sit at our table and have lunch with us. It was just a few days after my birthday, so it was a kind of birthday party for me and Beatrice was an extra present. After a short time we were talking about her school friends, and her hobbies. Beatrice had won a competition in traditional dances and Ken promised to send me the scanned diploma, so I, as a proud mother, could hang it on the wall in my office.

We laughed a lot together. Beatrice asked me many questions: Why my children didn't come with me? They were both studying, it was a middle term for my daughter and my son was working in a lab. Why has my son long hair like a girl? Most of men in Kenya had very short hair, only 1-2 cm long; therefore my son's shoulder-long blond hair wasn't usual. Beatrice was laughing at my sending her T-shirts and various tokens, and we agreed that next time, I would send her a good chemistry book and English monolingual dictionary.

She was not very interested in Biology and she had to dissect a frog. We were talking about autopsy being a part of the first year study at medical school. Beatrice taught me a couple of words in Swahili, so I knew how she would wish me a good journey (I had a lot of business trips.), good night, how o wish good luck and we would write more again.

I would like to visit Kenya again and meet Beatrice but who knows when that happens. Meanwhile I would like to thank to Centre Narovinu, to Mrs. Feminová and Ken for all their help and understanding. I wish to all other adoptive parents to get as much pleasure from their children as I did from Beatrice.

Iva Tomanová