The Collette Foundation’s Kenya site, Tenderfeet, continues to thrive allowing children an environment to learn, develop, focus and engage. Below is an account of intereaction that recently took place between Collette Foundation volunteer, Dan Hoskins, and the children of Tenderfeet.
I had driven all over Africa and found that none of the terrain was ideal and was often covered in potholes and rocks. Out of all the roads I had driven on, the road leading to Tenderfeet was the worst. Tenderfeet students take a bus over that road twice a day in order to get to school… and they look forward to the ride.
The door to Tenderfeet was an oasis of blue in a world of burnt umber. The courtyard was green and educational artwork covered the building. The alphabet with corresponding pictograms crisscrossed the walls which were covered with numerals, geometric shapes and math equations. For budding horticulturists, there was even a painting of a flower with all the parts labeled: “stem,” “root,” “petal,” and so on.
The Tenderfeet school provides education for 125 students from one of the poorest sections of Nairobi, Kibera, who have lost either one or both of their parents to AIDs. Without Tenderfeet, these children would not be able to receive an education, despite Tenderfeet only being able to offer education from pre-school to 8th grade. The most surprising part of the whole experience was how small the school was. Sizing up the entire compound, the school sat on barely an acre.
While I was there, I was filled with the sense that this place… Tenderfeet… is really making a difference for all of these kids. the Children performed songs and poems and I could see a level of confidence in them that they otherwise would not have.
As a gift for visiting the school, I brought the children soccer balls and the children were so excited about it.
The word kindergarten, in German, literally means “children’s garden.” I never understood how perfectly that word fit until I visited Tenderfeet.