During Sister Mary’s remarks, she acknowledged that Monday’s service also commemorated 10 years since the loss of Father D’Agostino, who’s vision for the Village came to fruition just 8 days after his passing, marked by the arrival of the first family groups in the Village. Of the first family groups who moved into House 2 and House 3 of Cluster 1 on November 28th, 2006, 5 children still live here in the Village. These 5 children were recognized and brought to the front of the social hall during the service, where they were joined by the staff members who have been working for Nyumbani Village since even before the first families moved here. These staff members are Raphael Maingi, Nancy Mutua, Magdalene Mwongela, Boniface Kimeu, and Duncan Nyamau. After all these individuals were assembled, they were joined by representatives from Nyumbani Home and Lea Toto for a cake cutting ceremony! The cake was then cut, and pieces of cake and bottles of soda were distributed to all the children, grandparents, and visitors in the social hall.
On November 28th, 2006, the first two families moved into Nyumbani Village. On Monday November 28th, Nyumbani celebrated the 10th anniversary of the official opening of the Village!
The celebrations began with a special Mass, held in the social hall, for the entire Village as well as staff members from Nyumbani Home and Lea Toto. Also joining the celebrations was Sister Mary, Protus from Nyumbani Children’s Home, Paula the Vice-Chair of Nyumbani’s Kenya board, and Paula’s mother. The mass was lead by Father Michael, who sadly will be leaving the Village after several years of working here. It was an honor to have this special 10th anniversary service be Father Michael’s final one in the Village.
Following the mass, there was a program of performances by several groups of students, as well as by students from Nyumbani Children’s Home. James and Winnie, from Nyumbani Home, each read a poem that they had written that reflected their experience and their gratitude for Nyumbani. They were followed by dances and recitations by students from Lawson High School, and then performances by a group of students from Hotcourses.
After the performances, there were several speakers including Raphael Nganga, the Kitui Area Chief, Paula the Vice-Chair of the Kenyan Board, and Sister Mary. Each speaker had wonderful things to say about the ways in which Nyumbani has provided not only a home for the children and grandparents who live here, but the ways that Nyumbani Village has become a fixture in the communities that surround it. In only 10 years, the Village has come to represent an oasis of resources that serve the whole community.
Finally, there was a big feast of beef, chicken, chapati, and other delicious food for all of the staff and administrators, as well as for the children. The eating and socializing lasted for the rest of the day, concluding a wonderful day of celebration!