Nairobi is a sprawling capital where the super poor-live butted up against the super-rich. We first came last March . It felt very different to Kisumu. Some people were more wary of us; others talked about the struggle to find casual work every day, and so were unable to commit to come to our sessions. However we met and worked with a couple of responsive groups of women and babies. Beating children was a hot topic; notably I remember one woman saying that her child would not go to sleep if she did not beat him! But a lovely head teacher, Ruth, reinforced our comments that this was not loving behaviour. We also met and taught a number of professionals, community workers, social workers, head teachers and teachers, who appreciated the training and were planning to use it in their work.
Returning in October, 2018, we have been greeted warmly, and heard tales of real change. One group of women now remind each other not to beat their babies. Expectant mothers, and husbands have experienced a much closer bond with their babies through talking to the unborn babies. Teachers are reported to be more sensitive to the children in their classes. One headmaster, George, has been so convinced of the value of baby bonding, that he has been visiting his local neighbourhood teaching women. He has gained permission from two local chiefs [appointed by the authorities] to teach baby bonding. They are supportive, and one chief said that the number of domestic incidences has declined since George has been teaching. Now he has created a group of about 15 women to support him. They use drama to convey the teaching to others. So far, they have visited the Children’s Office, a hospital, a school, a church, a mosque. He is a force to be reckoned with! At Evertone School, Tushinde Children’s Trust and at Mahali Pa Watoto, we taught large groups of parents who were concerned not only their children [of varying ages] but also their communities. It’s great to work with institutions concerned about the whole family into which our ethos sits very comfortably.