When Daniel arrived back from the USA with his caregiver, Yvonne, and American host mom, Bridget, two New Life senior staff, including our National Director, Janet Mutinda, went to the airport to welcome them. All five arrived at New Life Kilimani very late at night, but the late hour did not stop Daniel from staring knowingly at the familiar swings and the large building complex. Those landmarks that he had left 4 months earlier indicated that he was home. In fact, he insisted on spending quite some time by the swings before heading to bed.
Daniel and his host mother, Bridget, were soon comfortably installed in the guest room for some well-earned rest! We had arranged to reintegrate Daniel into his toddler bedroom the next day.
It was such a thrill to reintroduce the excited Daniel to his peers, in particular his best buddies, Lloyd and Justin. As they were both seated on potties he crouched right down to their level and clapped his hands, smiling broadly, before giving each of them a hug and a kiss! Justin was overjoyed and spent the rest of the day chuckling to himself! The staff were clearly impacted by the huge change in Daniel’s ability to engage with others.
Yvonne and Bridget ran some sessions with all the staff, explaining that although Daniel is able to hear, his hearing is only 5 months old. Bridget spent a week with New Life staff generously pouring out her knowledge on paper so that we could understand all that had been done in the U.S. We used the time to train the nurses and specific caregivers on handling the precious Cochlear device, realising that its value was the same as the double cab vehicle in the parking lot!
Daniel was started into twice weekly sessions with a speech therapist and had an audiology consultation. In his daily individual sessions held with Miss Yvonne and designated careworkers, he was able to consistently make a Moo/ More sound, do an “aghhh” noise, and blow bubbles. He was also heard saying “bye”, “hi”, and “away”, and working on identifying daily sounds and realising their meaning.
When Bridget left we had an emotional party, where we recognised the commitment of both Miss Yvonne and Bridget and all that they have done for Daniel. The day Bridget left for the USA, a baby boy was admitted who we named after her husband. It was a serendipitous moment when we realised that this boy’s date of birth was the day before Daniel’s device was turned on. Now we have a daily reminder of how young Daniel’s ears really are!
In the nearly 4 months since his return, a lovely family with a longstanding relationship with New Life Home Trust has volunteered to be a foster family for Daniel. His new mum is a nursery school teacher with great experience with Cochlear implants.Daniel is in a family of three foster siblings, and his new brother and one of his sisters also have Cochlear Implants. They are all adjusting together and learning from each other.
Through the generous support of literally hundreds of people, from elementary school students and doctors in the US, to well-wishers around the world, we were able to raise all the funds necessary for Daniel’s Cochlear Implant! Thank you for helping give Daniel the gift of hearing and changing the life of this little boy from Nairobi.
Our beloved Baby Daniel together with his caregiver, Miss Yvonne, has returned to Kenya from the United States. After his surgery, Daniel spent 2 to 3 days per week at a hearing center in the States learning to listen and respond to audible stimuli. Thankfully, Daniel’s learning went smoothly and he progressed beyond what the audiologist and speech therapist had expected!
Bridgette, whose family hosted Daniel and Miss Yvonne and has been a huge help in the fundraising process, decided to make the return trip as an aid to Miss Yvonne. Bridgette, who has a niece with a Cochlear Implant, took time to sit with New Life staff and teach us how to take care of Daniel in this transition period. Words cannot express our gratitude toward Bridgette and her family – Daniel and the whole of New Life Home Trust will forever be grateful for their kindness.
Daniel has settled back into the New Life family and is still adjusting to the transition. He continues to visit an audiologist and speech therapist every week, and we’ve already seen great improvement in his speech and response patterns. He has settled in well and it is unbelievable just how well he gets along with the rest of the children. Things that used to frustrate him – like singing time or certain aspects of playtime – are now a delight for him to be a part of.
As Cochlear Implant surgery is not available in Kenya, we are still so delighted for the many people that have come together to help a young, orphaned boy from Kenya receive the gift of hearing. We can already see how it is changing his childhood and how it will shape his future. Thank you for being a part of that team of support.