Children from Kenyan orphanage perform in Collingwood 0
Six voices filled First Presbyterian Church on Thursday evening with songs of hope, faith, and happiness – something the children in this choir didn't always have.
The choir is from the Mully Children's Family, an orphanage founded by Dr. Charles Mulli, who began welcoming destitute children into his Kenya home 23 years ago and now has more than 2,200 Kenyan children currently living in one of his orphanages.
Dr. Mulli's biological daughter, Mueni, says it was hard sharing her cloths, toys, and parents with her new family members.
“It's a little disturbing to think there are so many other children who are out there and they're all coming and calling 'dad' and 'mom' 'dad' and mom',” said Mueni Matua. “We're not related. And these children are kids that you've seen in the streets before. Children that you wouldn't have associated with.”
Mueni is currently driving across Canada with six children from MCF to support Arvid Loewen, a 55-year-old grandfather who is cycling from Vancouver to Halifax in hopes of breaking his own Guinness World Record. Loewen will then cycle on to St. John's, NL.
Loewen is doing the trip in an effort to raise money and awareness of the Mully Children's Family Charitable Donation.
The children are stopping at towns along the way to sing, perform acrobatics, and give their story of how they came to be part of the Mully Family.
“I was living with my mother and she was not able to provide me with everything that I needed as a child,” said Rama Randu. “All of my brothers were living on the street, not because life on the street was better, but because at least you could find food in the garbage bins, which was at least better than being at home where we were going for three days without getting anything to eat.
“It was very hard to live with my mother, and it reached a point I accepted to be used as a child labour so I could get something to eat.”
Rama's story is similar to many other children in Kenya.
Others, like Charity, were born into the Mully Children's Family because they have 'child mothers', mothers who were under 18 when they gave birth.
Mueni says she hopes people across Canada who meet the children and hear their stories gain a different perspective on Kenya.
“Children should never — or anyone for that matter — should never go through some of the things they have gone through,” she said. “But seeing them in person and seeing what they have come from, or where they have come from, to where they are going to and to see the change in them, that I believe is a very big impact on someone's lives.”
Loewen hopes to arrive in Halifax on Saturday before continuing on to St. John's to complete his more than 7,000-kilometre bike ride.