In 2004, we began to consider the long distance adoption of a child in Africa. After searching for information on the Internet and meeting with Dana Feminova at the Center Narovinu in Prague, we adopted a girl from Kenya called Metrine Midesha, who was eight years old.15 years have passed, Metrine with our financial support completed primary and secondary school and furthermore she studied tourism management.
After fifteen years of financial support, it was logical that we wanted to see with our own eyes the results of our help. Kenya was exotic and totally unknown to us and we were afraid of the visit. Nevertheless, we decided to buy tickets during spring holiday. And so there was no way back.
Information from the guide seems quite scary for the inexperienced traveller – high crime rate and the danger of being robbed at every corner, mosquito transmitted diseases and so on. That was the reason we ask Dana Feminová to meet us and tell us from personal experience what Kenyan reality was and whether we can survive those 12 days. We learned that January and February are perfect months to travel to Kenya, the weather is stable and it is not raining. For the sake of safety, it is enough to stick to the rule to use only taxi and not to wander on the street after sunset. Against mosquitos you can quite well use garlic, vitamin B and spray purchased in the Czech Republic.
So the last day of January day we flew from Prague to Istanbul and then to Nairobi. We received the necessary Kenya visa after filling in the appropriate forms and paying EUR 40 at the Nairobi airport.
And then we headed to the hotel Shalom, which is near the Center Narovinu. The local taxi driver Peter, kind coordinator who really knows the streets of Nairobi, took care of us throughout our stay in Nairobi.
The very first evening we met with our Metrine at the hotel for dinner. It was a wonderful meeting. For the first time we saw a girl in real life, from whom we first received only pictures, then very simple messages and later longer letters with plans for business and for life of independent and successful women. Last year we started to use WhatsApp so we were more in the picture. Metrine surprised us with her straightforwardness and intelligence. She starts to do business with used clothing, so we brought her a lot of things for sale directly from Bohemia. Our goal was to get to know as much as possible the environment in which she grew up and at the same time take her somewhere where we could discuss her other plans and give her the opportunity to see and experience something completely different.
We visited the biggest Nairobi slum Kibera with another co-ordinator of the Center Narovinu – we did not really expect a tasty lunch for five people for approx. 230 CZE. Next we saw orphanage, where we bought pictures from children to support them. Everyone here was poor, but in a way happy, and what surprised us was that they were pretty dressed. People here live their simple lives, but everything works here.
We also visited school that Metrine attended. We were fascinated by the discipline and friendly behaviour of all children. In each class, they welcomed us with singing and questions about how is life in Bohemia. They liked the most the photos of snow-covered cars and houses we showed them on a mobile phone. We had a chocolate reward for everyone.
The next day we planned to visit Metrine´s home in the slum. Because we are rather vegetarians, we got rice with vegetables – we enjoyed it a lot. We met not only our adopted daughter, but also a granddaughter, Metrine´s mother and coordinator Beatrice. We also had a look at her very modest clothing store and listened to how she wanted to move her business a little further. It was here that we realized that even though it was a very simple slum booth, the purchasing power, albeit at a different level than we are used to, is simply here, and the whole business idea makes perfect sense.
We suggest to take Metrine with us to Diani Beach near Mombasa for a few days and also to safari to Tsavo National Park. That was a reward not only for Metrine, but also for us – we could not wait to leave the town. For the first time, Metrine saw the sea, and although she studied tourism with a focus on safari, she was actually the first time in the national park. She evaluated everything as a great asset. She saw the way animals are searched for so visitors can see them in their natural life, how the park's visitors behave and what they are interested in, how the hotel works in the park… it was not only a wonderful experience but also a great lesson. Then we taught her to swim. First with a diving mask, but in two days she was swimming alone.
On the way back to Nairobi (we tried newly built railway), we were discussing more business options, economic indicators, and modest ways of upgrading and refurbishing of the store. Last day in Nairobi, we only checked the view from the tower of the International Convention Center. It was obvious that Metrine knows all the places in the center of Nairobi, where she lived basically all her life. She escorted us all the way to the airport and we all knew that we didn't see each other for the last time. We would like to see her as a successful woman who can use what she has learned. And we want to continue to help her. If she, too, will be able to help other people in need, all our support will has the real meaning.
In conclusion, we can only say that we like Kenya so much that we are planning another visit in the future.
And our fears of traveling to the unknown we had at the beginning? We've only seen three mosquitos and well, we were robbed, but only for toast bread at breakfast at Diani Beach – monkeys really appreciated it.
Kenya, 30.1. – 11.2. 2019 Daniela and Vlastimil Moulisovi