Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Finally Got to Internet

Hi Everyone,

yes it's me and I have made it to town to the internet at least.

 Well, I have no idea where I left you all other than this has been a very hard month (at least) of health issues.  I would like to say they are all out of the way but after food poisoning, post food poisoning stomach issues, then malaria with headaches for days, those done I then trapped a nerve in my back which after a week in a lot of pain woke last Wednesday and it had vanished all I was left with was a stinking cold and cough.  Coughing fit on Sunday put my back out again I was not happy, so have antibiotics to clear the coughing and chest issues and hopefully at some stage the pain killers will numb the back pain till it vanishes again.

All in all feeling very low and hot a happy chappy.  The weather is still raining and cold which isn't helping the back pain in the slightest. I managed to get to the Kenana Knitters on Thursday and Friday last week to help out with big orders of toys before the back went on Sunday.  Monday I went in but was troubled with the back so sat doing paperwork for them, got a good roast chicken lunch, it was worth the effort! 

Kim is unwell, she started to be very quiet and appeared to be sleeping a lot what actually was going on is conjunctivitis making her close her eyes.  I was a bit concerned as the manky dog from next door has been breaking into our grounds as Kim is on heat, he didn't look healthy and we have been fighting to keep him out, well Henry found out he had died, we just hope Kim hasn't been too close to him and caught something bad.  The vet came today and got me out of bed, (I can't get Kim to him as no transport) so he called early before he went to clinic, whilst he was there I got him to give her her annual rabies and other jabs, together with ointment to clear her eye problem.  It was an expensive morning.  I asked if he had a jab in his bag that would help my back, he laughed.

I have been occupying my time with crocheting with remnant strips of fabric making rag rugs, well I am impressed with them.  Henry claimed the first one and now I am on a large one that is now having to be done at the dining room table as it is too heavy for my lap. Better sitting position for the back too.  This morning as it was so wet Henry and I sat taking and he was asking about how to crochet, He is now on his first attempt, I think he may have a few tries as this one will end up as a hat as the edges are getting tighter!!  Oh well something to keep him busy at night.  I called in at the fabric place where I got the last bag of remnants from and they have more interesting fabrics for me to pick up, will try and get Emma to drop them off for me when I meet her later.  

Emma and I had planned on doing more painting at SCANN today as she leaves on the 16th for the UK and will hopefully have finished the arty bits before she goes.  I have arranged to meet her here in town and will go to SCANN with her, to catch up and see the boys, but I wont manage any painting as it is all at shoulder level and will cause me standing problems. 

I have acquired a lodger who is paying a small amount for room only, she is an American who says she is a pastor attached to the Provincial Hospital here in Nakuru.  She was staying with a Kenyan family but found it far too noisey so she contacted me for a room.  She is an interesting character and I think the 2 months will be long ones. She moved in on Saturday with her tiny kitten which fits into the palm of your hand, she keeps it in her room with a litter tray as Kim and Paka would not think twice that it would be a tasty morsel or play thing.  On Sunday she woke late complaining she was unwell, deciding to call my piki piki friend to take her to the hospital for malaria tests, when he arrived she was about to get on when she started vomiting badly, well what to do she obviously needed to get seen to but I was worried that the piki was going to end up with a back covered in vomit before he went far.  After a violent vomiting fit we decided that there could not be any more for a while so off they set with very strict instructions from Jennifer that if she clapped her hands to his waist he was to stop quickly.

Well by all accounts they made it to the hospital, an injection and medication later, having a bacterial stomach issue she returned, I handed her a basin for vomit and boiled water, she didn't surface until after I returned form the knitters last night. Although she did get up to complaint to Henry to stop his singing whilst cutting the hedge round the property as she wanted quiet!  Now Jennifer is not a small lady and we have found that she cant open the door as you have to insert your arm to reach the padlock on the inside of the door, her arm does not fit in the hole far enough to reach the padlock let alone undo it, so either Henry or I have to be home when she arrives, interesting and more interesting!! She asked me to put the padlock on the outside of the door at which I pointed out the whole reason for it to be on the inside is to stop someone being able to crow bar the padlock!  We will see. My fridge is crammed full of her food and so is the cupboard full of cans and packets for food, so much for all the healthy fruit and veg in the market!! Another problem is the cooking on the jiko and not a microwave, well if she can afford one she can buy one!

Oh I took the same piki piki into town today, a very slow route trying to avoid all the pot holes, he told me that Jennifer had been very sick all the way to the hospital, I apologied for his long long journey, but he was happy that he had done a good service to someone who was unwell.

Last Wednesday when i woke up with no back pain I went with George (not Clooney - a teacher from SCANN) to Mama Sweeties for a quick catch up visit, George came too as I had a big bag of clothes to deliver and wasn't able to carry it.  The toilet block is now finished and her chickens, the puppy and the goose are all happy with the chicken house, the new chicks will be arranged on my next visit to the sweeties.  Photo of completed toilet is attached (for Ailsa), as you will all see the children are very very happy with the new addition to their home. Along with those are photos that I promised before and forgot to send of the painting work at SCANN, more will follow as we have done so much more now. 

Anyway that is my news for now, hopefully the sun will shine soon and the bugs will disappear, the back will mend and I will sleep at night, everything is a huge effort at the moment but I am sure it will improve again. I am looking forward to visiting the boys at SCANN even if it is to do nothing but chat to them.

Hoping your news is better than mine, will keep you posted on the recovery of both myself and Kim.   Love to you all, wishing my son and his family a quick settle into their new long awaited house, lets hope it will soon feel like home.  I am missing my grand daughters 2nd birthday this week, but wish her a great birthday.

Love, hugs and healthy wishes for you all,


Monday, 22 August 2011

Slowly on the Mend

Hi thought i should do a health updates. 

The tests have shown the malaria has gone and no typhoid but was still feeling unwell. After a consult with SCANN dr on saturday he thinks the stomach issue stems from the fish that i had a few weeks ago that bounced, he said that it would have been food poisoning and that was enough to disrupt my stomach and digestion, so am on tablets to help that. The tiredness etc is post malaria along with the stomach issues so am on high dose of multi vits and minerals to build me up. 

So luckily nothing serious.

Just a quick one today as struggling with keys on the mobile.

Love to everyone and hoping you are all well. On my way to the Knitters today.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

More Blood Tests

Well, I hope you are all well!!!

I find myself back at the internet waiting for blood results as managed to get in before they closed for lunch at 1.00pm but have to wait till 2.30pm for the results, mind you that is a lot quicker than in the UK where I sat in the hospital Acute ward waiting for confirmation for two days going home in between to sleep, I thought they were joking especially when I told them I walk into a lab, they take blood and in half an hour usually they give you the results, sometimes bureaucracy goes crazy, they even phoned the London Hospital for Tropical diseases and I didn't have Malaria at the time.

Anyway to kill time I will let you know what I have been up to as I know you are all waiting with baited breath.  Had a quiet weekend thinking I was getting better as you know so on Monday I was picked up at supposedly 8.30am but was Kenyan time and 9.45 to go to Kenana Knitters where I visited with Julian.  I am volunteering there with the hope that they will possibly be able to get around my visa issues and employ me, it is an amazing place, supporting so many people and youth in the community through health and education issues.

So on Monday my first day to visit for volunteering I was asked to weigh all the skems (think that is right - the lengths of wool that is spun from the fleece before it is made into balls) that the ladies had spun over the weekend. There was so much it took me all morning, especially as it meant lifting huge bundles that the ladies had done, quality control it and then decide on the rate to give them for the spinning (that was difficult as I had to decide only after a quick feel and instructions. This process meant that the ladies would then have their money calculated and then paid.... apparently my next job.....um...

We broke for lunch and I must say that Paddy provides us with a lovely fair with desert too, all with napkins and silver napkin rings in her home on the estate.  After lunch the ladies had come with so much wool that I ended up tied up with that for some time. Paddy ended up paying the ladies which I am pleased about as that took some doing as the ladies were from all different tribes and many of them old so English is not an option and not sure my pigeon language would manage, maybe next time under supervision I will give it a try.

I was then shown the next part after the ladies are paid...... they go to a different section of the building to buy their raw wool /fleece for them to spin.  They fill bags which is then to be weighed, the cost calculated and then they pay with some of the money that they were just paid.  They then disappear into their corners for the social aspect of the day when they compare stories and support each other - many of them are also knitters so they then sit and knit for the rest of the day.

I then was shown the computer system that is used to transfer all the data of the daily sales of fleece and the purchase of the skems to enter all the information, took me a while, then it was home time.

On Tuesday Emma and I headed to SCANN to do some more painting as she is heading to the UK mid September to stay for a few years so she had to finish the pictures at least before she goes.  We went into town afterward for lunch as I couldn't face cooking. I then headed home.

Wednesday - back to the knitters, I am getting there by car as it is so far away from me, I get a lift so I waited at my tree for collection and this time only half an hour late and very chatty we headed off.  I was thrown straight into packing soft knitted toys for a company in USA - there were hundreds of these critters that needed packing.  I took great care making sure all the labels were attached, the quality was good and the toys were standard size and shape, bearing in mind they are all hand knitted this was fun, knitters will know!  I ensured that when packing them into the sacks for shipment they were all snug and comfortable with penguins wings and scarfs lowered to a comfortable location, the moose's antlers were not bent and they were all happy before they left.  This took me nearly all day there were so many and this was only part of the order as it is a very large on going one.  

The next job I was introduced to was looking at the figures for all the children and adults that they support financially through education and health, this had been left for a while and needed a good look at as it was showing that since Feb things were not good, what the problem was was that the person had not been putting in the paid in funds.....  This is a major job and will be one I started and will take me forever to get through to sort it......... hey here is the challenge.

They wanted me back today as I am getting on well with everyone and don't wait to be told what to do, but I am still not feeling great and Henry left for a day in Naivasha at 5.30 this morning to promote his VCD he wont be back till late and I didn't want to leave Kim for that long, besides woke up this morning needing to go back to bed after breakfast which didn't sit well in the stomach.

I did go to salsa last night and had rounded up 5 other girls, they had a fab time and things are moving on - the girls are actually asking to have men at the lessons so they can try partner dancing, unfortunately there is only us and the male teacher who would be danced off his feet with all of us, they are so demanding.  I went home early after putting my head in the door at Guava as one of the guys is leaving Kenya today.

My Virgin friend Marouella sadly lost her father and is not sure she will be coming to Nairobi at the weekend and I was planning on going to the immigration on Monday to check on things with my still illusive visa.  I will see how things go and how I am feeling as to whether I get to Nairobi, it always takes it out of me even when I am feeling good!

As far as SCANN is concerned I am still actively continuing my visits and supporting them, only this week I was contacted by someone in Nairobi who is visiting and coaching juggling from Holland, he asked me to arrange for him to visit and coach the boys this Sunday so hopefully that will go ahead and they will have a great time.

I still need to get to Mama Sweeties as the toilet block is now finished and I need to take photos and sort out chicks and feed for the chicken house.  Mama Sweetie is arranging her own community fund raising weekend on 27th August to help her with a large water tank and construction of a kitchen.  Expect I will be going although I tried to get out of it as I think personally if the community think she is so well supported by whites then they wont help!  Anyone interested in boosting this fund raising don't forget the Visoi web page for any donations  www.visoi.com 

Ok well I think that this is probably all I can manage today as not sure it runs too well together.  Whilst sitting here I have been chatted up by a guy from Nairobi sitting next to me on Facebook, he obviously is totally blind to the fact that my hair is a haystack, I am wearing 2 day old jeans, need a shower, no makeup, puffy eyes and and sweating rather badly..........  other than that I am old enough to be his MUM.........ah bless made me smile. Good thing was he smelt good........!

Anyway, time to walk down the street and get my results.

Bye for now.
Sickly Susannah

Sunday, 14 August 2011

It's confirmed Malaria not migrane or too much sugar!

Hi All,
well after struggling since last weekend with thinking I was dehydrated, too much sugar or just run down. Emma insisted I went for a blood test and it showed that I had Malaria again.  I have to admit that after attending SCANN painting on Wednesday morning and then having a meal at Guava for lunch and some pain killers I was feeling better and decided to head to the Guava 'Woodstock' Party that night.  Well, I had spent the whole of the previous day making flowers for my skirt as I was home feeling unwell.  Mad I know but sometimes you just have to do it.

The theme was 'woodstock' so I dug out my red wellies again and stuck big yellow flowers on them, good job as as soon as I left the door way of the house to get the taxi, the heavens opened, they must have known, bu the time I got out the gate to the taxi I was thankful for the wellies as it was flooding down the drive way.

The rain stopped no one, it was a made night, the salsa before hand had been canceled as the teacher was unwell and gave no notice, so after a few phone calls we all went straight to Guava.  What a mad night, I think the atmosphere kept me on a high, everyone had made such an effort, those of you with Face book can check out the photos.(Doris, maybe you shouldn't be shown!)

Well to say the least that night was amazing but unfortunately I felt the effects of the efforts the next day, I spent the next two days in bed having expended all my energies at the party and feeling the malaria badly.  Henry made sure there was food in the house and tended the animals, but he also was busy as his church was having a convergence of churches and he wanted to get lots of his VCD made to sell at the event.  He spent alot of time in town arranging this.  By the way anyone who wants any copies let me know, I can arrange it.  I slept alot and eventually on Friday evening got out of bed and sat knitting, I know not my thing but something to keep me focused.  I am knitting a shrug, I found a pattern and thought it would be a good small coverup when going out as at the last party at Guava my lovely black drapped cardigan went 'missing'.  All I have now is zippies.  Anyway I am starting with the only colour that I have - cream to see how it goes then will look at buying some nice wool at the Kenana Knitters when I go on Monday.

Yesterday I got up early did some washing and took a very well earned shower, found that I was still wearing the felt tip 'tattoos' that I had done on Wednesday, washed all the bedding too as it needed it. I then headed to SCANN to do the clinic, we had a couple of skin infections and bronchitis, not surprising with this cold wet weather.  After that headed to town with Emma who had come over to do some more painting, (she had come down with a cold and was feeling a bit worse for it) Nice pair we made. Anyway sorted out some more cards from Chas, got Julians bead band done at last, went to the Post office to see if anyone loves me - they don't and grabbed my piki piki Francis to take me home via Tuskys at Highway as I needed some food as the house was lacking.  Got home and slept.  Well after washing all the floors and rearranging the furniture.

Today got up feeling good, decided to dress girlie and make an effort - I think more psychologically than anything. I decided to put on a floaty skirt and walk towards town, being a Sunday the matatus were all full. so I just kept walking.  I got to the Highway and continued walking towards town feeling good.  I was joined by a boy of about 13 who asked me where I was going, I told him, he asked if I was walking, I said yes. Um....... He got out a piece of paper and asked me if I would support him for a fund raising, I said no as I had given to so many that I had no money.  He asked if I was walking all the way to town, I said sure.  He asked me if he could pay for my matatu fare as it was a long way and I would get tired.  I was so take aback that I blessed him and said I needed the exercise but thank you. He wandered off to try and get money from some other people waiting for the matatu.  I smiled as I walked on for about another 10 mins as it made me realise that it was a lovely day and humanity was not totally doomed.  After a while I discovered that he was right it was too far and my energy just was not going to manage.  As I came off the Highway at Section 58 my regular boda boda (bike taxi) came along and offered me a life, I told him I only had change of 15bob and he took me anyway (should be 20bob).  I wrapped up my skirt and sat side saddle in the lady like mode and we headed into town, I was still smiling as now 2 people had proven that humanity is not doomed. I don't need much to make me happy.

By the time I was dropped off and walked to the cyber cafe, I realised that in fact I am not on top form, I was sweating badly and in need of sitting down, so here I am pounding away on the keys writing to you and uploading the energetic photos on to Facebook (taking an age I must say) I will then head to Guava for a well earned lunch and wait for Cheryl to turn up for a coffee and cake later.  I may even write some of my cards, who knows.

Love to you all,
Susannah determined to be on the mend.

Monday, 1 August 2011


Yes its me again, hi there and welcome to the continuing journal of craziness.....

Sorry Tracie I was lazy and copied most of what I sent to you but there maybe more you will miss if you don't read all hehe!!!
well it has been a bit crazy here with two visitors and a surprise trip to Mombasa (which was amazing).  Since my visitors (Ailsa and Julian must point out that they were not together in case there is any confusion there) have left I have been busy pricing up materials and costings for the two jobs, the toilet block and the chicken house. 

Decided that as I had to spend time at the cyber cafe sending update emails to Ailsa in (Scotland) and Tracie (Salsa) for the building projects of toilets and chicken house at Mama Sweeties decided I would grace you all with my email too.

I have spent my time minus visitors (Ailsa and Julian) catching up on work that I needed to do..... pricing materials and costings for the above projects.   Took some doing, Ailsa and I had decided that we would use Henry to build the chicken house and Daniel a builder and neighbour to Mama Sweeties to do the toilet block. 

Toilet and washing Block

The toilet block is a bigger project and we have got a local builder who is a neighbour to Mama Sweetie and knows us all well to manage the building etc.  It has gone up very quickly and I have attached photos for you to share. At this point in the photos, the bulding of the 2 girls and 2 boys long drop toilets is done with roofing.  (A long drop toilet is built over a pit, dug 11ft length x 2ft wide x 20ft deep is as there is no mains water being used for the toilets, hence no flushing. A concrete slab stone is constructed over the pit with a hole in each cubical for toilet usage. The waste is absorbed into the ground at the bottom of the pit slowly over time, helped by the addition of the water from the washing).  The next stage is the two outer additions which are the areas for body washing for the children, this will not be showers, as there is a terrible lack of water with no mains to the property.  There will be guttering from the roof to harvest any rain water that may come her way, this together with any delivered water will be stored and used with basins in the washing rooms for washing down the children.  No baths here!!

Chicken House

The chicken house has been constructed by the amazing team of yours truly and Henry (my guard/odd job man).  As you know Henry has been with me for some time now looking after the house, the pets and the grounds. Although I no longer can afford to pay him, I feed him and he still lives in the guard house in exchange for working for free. We decided as he and his family have kept chickens in his rural home for years now he would be able to construct the chicken house for us.

We have used as much of the wood from the cow shed and on the property as was available to keep costs down so we can actually manage to buy some chicks too.  Mama Sweetie does already have some older hens and a couple of cockerels which roam the property but they lose many of the eggs as they lay them anywhere and are hard to find. Many are also lost to local dogs on the scavange. At least now they will all be contained in one place and order resumed.  

The chicken house design was to take in the end of the 'cow shed' (most things are in disrepair) but we decided that we should have to use the timber from the side of the cow shed to help construction.  The chicken house will consist of three levels, the bottom level is for new chicks and will not be accessible by the older hens and the chicks will also not be able to mix outside with the older hens either until they are of suitable size.

The next level which is accessible from the outside chicken run, when the access door is opened will be for sleeping at night.  The top level will be accessible to the outer chicken run by the door on the level below and this level will be for hens sitting on eggs.

We have already had a great deal of interest shown in this construction by the hens who have already started fighting over where they are taking up occupancy.  I think it will cause problems amongst the ranks of the chicken community at Mama Sweeties.   We hope to finish this week and will send more photos

In between this I have been visiting SCANN to rest my poor arms, I wish....actually I have been doing more of the painting on the classroom walls, I have now completed the alphabet but didn't have my camera to hand - will have to take photo next time, I am impressed anyway.  I also managed to do the clinic a week ago and a good job too as two of the boys had had to see the doctor during the week with very bad bronchitis which needed injections of antibiotics to clear the infection. I am pleased to say that after more meds they are well on their way to recovery. On the Sunday, I spent most of the day working round the garden, the maize is so tall I struggle to get through it. (See picture attached) I made a path using huge stones and digging a route to the seed bed, I was tired of walking like a mountain goat on the stones and ripping apart my toes.  I decided that as there were potatoes planted in with the maize I would try and find some for lunch, this was not an easy matter.  The actual plants had died away leaving little or no trace of where the potatoes were.  I prodded and scratched away with my fingers and actually found a wash basin full, that was only a tiny part of the area planted. Wooo hooo, had an amazing vegetable stew for dinner. Henry was away at a church meeting in Nyaharuru (probably spelt wrong) that night it rained so heavily that he was unable to make it back.  I find it amazing that the north of Kenya is desperately suffering with drought when we have so much rain here in Nakuru, even Mama Sweetie is in the dry belt, we have too much, not that I am complaining. Am also sending a pic I took last week to prove we have rain and floods!

I have also been going to Wednesday night salsa and last week even got talked into attending a Hat and Boot party afterwards at Guava.  I went a little tongue in cheek as decided to promote the safe sex theme and convert a sun hat into a 'safety hat', attached to it were many packets of condoms like an aussie hat and it read safety hat at the back and front. I also wore red wellies kindly left to me by Ailsa, so safety hat and safety boots went down a storm.  Needless to say that the condoms were all removed from my hat by the end of the evening when I left at 2.30am.

I had forgotten that I had arranged to head to Mama Sweeties with Henry at 7am!!! That was very hot long, long, long, long day!  On Saturday, 30th headed back to Mama Sweeties to do more work, Henry is a slave driver, no time for snoozing on the job. It was such a cold day that I even kept on my zippy, it helped us to get lots done though. 

I missed the after Safari Rally party that was held also as Ben's birthday party, it was invite only and I seemed to have missed the invite giving.......... issues with that one so less said the better, my friends didn't miss me until the Sunday when I asked how the party was!!!!! Nice to be loved!

Anyway Sunday Henry decided not to go to church (unheard of) instead he did his washing and cleaning, even caught him washing my flip flops that I had used for wandering round the garden when it rains! I decided that as he had worked so hard we would have lunch out at Garden Villa, we arrived at about 2.30pm and I think the food arrived about 5pm...... not bad service just Kenyan Time I guess.  By this time Henry had had to leave so I ate my portion of roast potatoes, shredded cabbage, and Tilapia fish. I had invited along my friend Tim for a beer as he was off sorts and had expected to have eaten by the time he arrived. I let him nibble on my roast potatoes and have the bits of fish I couldn't bear to pick (he had already eaten so was not bothered - I was not being mean).  The heavens opened and we had to wait until the rains cleared then headed home at about 7pm by Taxi.  Tim was dropped off after me on the taxis way back to town.

I had only just managed to get into the house when my stomach started churning and I spent the rest of the night vomiting.  I am not sure if this was from something I picked up from the playing with the children at Mama Sweeties or what but it wasn't nice having my lunch twice.

I got up this morning at 7.30 dehydrated, managed breakfast of loyal weetabix, avoided the coffee.  I did my washing then went back to bed till lunch time. Decided I needed to chat to you guys and update on the building projects for Ailsa and Tracie, so here I am, I have managed to pay my post box fee for the year, picked up a post card of London from my Niece. Moaned loudly at Chas the card guy who let us down, but then gave me the balance of cards I ordered from him back in April when I arrived and offered as consolation another 5 cards as freebies.  I also went to the butcher and bought some nice lean minced beef, chicken breast and stewing steak.  My fridge was bare only had some tomatoes and milk, not enough for a meal really, not that I am hungry at the moment.

Anyway this is probably a bit bitty, but wanted to try and back track, hope you are all well and life is treating you as you deserve to be treated.

My love to my family, you know who you are, you can't deny it, sorry. Hope Julian is settling back into the UK swing of things with many stories for you salsa people.

My house is so quiet and big with no visitors, good thing really, as I am too tired to look after them.

Bye for now,

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

So Much to Tell! Mombassa Story

Hi All,

well as many of you will now know I am laptop less and back to the cyber for email writing although my friend Julian left me with his touch phone so I can read incoming ones!!!

My last email was out we visited Kenana Knitters on Monday the 11th July! Which was also the day that on the return to Nakuru Julian and I went to the station to buy his ticket from Nairobi to Mombasa by train for the 15th, after we went through the whole process of her phoning through the booking to Nairobi and she filled out the receipt, Julian suggested that I went too as his guard to make sure he wasn't pestered and he would cover the costs.   Sounded like a good plan to me and it was decided, the lady phoned Nairobi again and booked me on she then re wrote the receipt. Nice lady, she even gave me a nice new pen to keep as mine had leaked inside my bag!

The following day I had arranged for Julian and Henry to go with Nick to Lake Nakuru, I headed off to Scann to cut out more of the show costumes for the sewing lady as I would not be around on Saturday to assist her with cutting out. That evening I had heard that there were to be visitors to Scann so I headed home, tried to prepare dinner, power was out and it was pouring with rain, so a quick omelet and Julian and I were in a taxi headed in the dark to Scann which also had a power cut but they had eventually managed to get the generator to start supplying the hall with power.  The boys performed beautifully with songs, dancing, acrobatics and karate show.  We managed to get a lift home and had a nice early night.

13th July ...... got Julian a number for a dentist as his temporary filling for his root canal had fallen out. I headed to Scann for more alphabet painting with Emma and Julian was picked up by Nick for his appointment and would join us afterward. Emma and I had a good time painting it was starting to look great now the colours were being added.  Julian appeared no worse for his appointment and we gave him the job of decorating his own short wall with shapes, triangle, square, circle etc he did them beautifully and I got him to add his name and date at the end for prosperity! From there we headed into town, then home for a quickie dinner as it was salsa night and also a PJ party at Guava afterwards.  Well salsa was good fun and Emma joined us too we laughed so much it was great, we then left and stopped off to change en route to Guava, we looked a sight, I was in bootie stripped slippers - from Anna, black cycle shorts and black vest top not sure what else as cant remember...... oh Virgin eye mask covers for my hair band, and a teddy bear.  Emma had on a pair of black leggings and top which I added to with my brother-in-laws Wallace and Gromit PJ boxers, together with a Virgin Toothbrush in her hair.  Julian had on a T shirt and lightweight trousers with my lovely sisters silky blue wrap dressing gown, he looked lovely!  We had such a fun night so many people came in fancy dress it was a laugh, many bad bad photos that I can't share with you! I think we got home about 2.30am a late one for us. 

14th was a bit sluggish did some washing and sorting before our trip. Had coffee and lunch in town at Guava Lounge it poured with rain on the way home got totally soaked.  Cooked dinner and sorted clothes out.

Packed things in the morning as couldnt find a back pack big enough so ended up packing a wheelie bag.  Got a taxi into town as Julian had all his bags as would be leaving from Nairobi to UK on the way back from Mombasa.  We took the Mololine shuttle to Nairobi and our plan was to arrive in Nairobi find Jenga and go to an afternoon show at Bomas of Kenya a cultural show of music and dancing.  We arrived late and managed to grab a pizza for lunch before being picked up by Paul one of Jengas drivers who took us to Karen where the Bomas were.  I had no idea how fab the show was to be, we entered and sat in a huge circular theatre, no idea the capacity but it became full to bursting.  The show began and I was so pleased that after this long I had actually managed to go and see it. A must for any music / dance enthusiasts it was amazing.  We left there and headed for a coffee before being taken to the train station.  The traffic was at stand still and we were worried we would miss the 7pm deadline for the train so in a frantic effort the taxi driver found a parking place and walked us to the station, I have heard of schools doing walking bus but walking taxi is something else.  

We had to fight our way through to the station past a huge bus/ coach station, it was bustling to put it mildly, we arrived and were pleased to see the train was still sat waiting for us.  Actually we should not have worried, we walked the 15 carriages before we found ours and then sat waiting for quite some time before we set off.  The First Class sleeping compartment that we had, may have been first class at some stage but not then.  It comprised of two bunks, I had the upper one as more agile (we seemed not to have been given a ladder!) There was a small sink, what was labeled a wardrobe for jackets, a fan.  It had definitely seen better days.  We were just settling down to a good old chat when we were disturbed by the 'bedding boy' who dropped off bags with bedding and said he would be back to make up the beds.  Sure enough he was, as there was no room inside we waited outside the compartment while he deftly made up the beds, sheets and blankets with pillow.  Sometime later we were called to dinner by the dining car with someone going down the carriages clanking a spoon and metal sugar bowl lid together summoning us for dinner delights.  

The dining car was made up with crockery and silverware, tables were a bit cramped for 4 people to a table but we managed. Many eager diners sat waiting to see what delights we would receive.  We had mushroom soup and bread for starter followed by rice and veg casserole, or chicken and roast potatoes.  Considering it was mass produced it was not bad, this was followed by a cuppa, bottles of soda and alcohol were available during dinner at a supplementary cost.

We retired to our compartment so that the next sitting could partake of dinner. The toilet facilities were as expected a hole in the floor to be used when not in a station, not in the sleeping compartment I would like to point out! I cleaned my teeth with the bottled water I had carried with me in anticipation of being required then clambered on to my bunk to settle down for sleep, or so I thought......... the train was so old and clankey that I tossed and rolled all night listening to all the noises. This together with Julian's snoring made for a sleepless night add to that the need to get up and use the toilet but not wanting to disturb Julian beneath was a problem added to by the lack of ladder.  Luckily at some point Julian himself got up for a wee and I leapt at the chance while he was awake.  

We were told we would arrive in Mombasa at between 7 & 8am being a 12 hour duration if no problems. We arrived at 11.30 am after being awoken at 6am for breakfast!!! Not funny!  I had the number of a Taxi in Mombasa thanks to my friend Tim.  He collected us and took us to the hotel via a supermarket for water, alcohol and provisions!  We had a nap as soon as we arrived as I was so tired I couldnt think straight. We then headed to the beach for a walk before finding somewhere to eat, I knew just the place. Unfortunately the tide was very high which meant we were splashing round up to our knees on our walk making it a little difficult to make good headway.  We walked back and had dinner at El Covo which was lovely the same place Kimberley and I had eaten, same seats too when she had visited, then back to the hotel for more sleep catch up!

17th Sunday, up for breakfast - the weather was rather overcast a contrast to our arrival yesterday it was so hot. We sat at the pool whilst trying to work out what was wrong with my laptop / hampered by the fact that the internet wi fi at the hotel was not working.  A rather large group of young conservationist volunteers appeared at the pool which was time for us to head off for a walk along the beach, the sun was beating down and the tide was back where I was used to it being, definitely OUT!  We stopped on the way back for pizza at a restaurant looking over the beach together with a few drinks, it was lovely. Early night as the sun was tiring us out that and the walking.

Mon 18th July, had breakfast then walked on the beach, talked a boat owner into taking us to the reef in his dhow for snorkelling, it was a bargain especially as I managed to use my Alien card which was out of date to get me a good deal on the pass for the reef, also lied a bit and said my husband had forgotten his card, but I had beaten him that morning to make him remember next time. The guy laughed and accepted my story so we made a good saving.  The tide was way out so we had a bit of a walk to reach the Dhow, I am sure it had seen better days but it performed beautifully, against the motor driven glass bottomed boat which was the alternative, needless to say we had the best option, it was amazing and so well handled by the two guys with us. They took us out and one of them escorted us snorkeling as I explained I could not see without my glasses, it was actually quite clear, I managed to see many of the fish. Especially those that were in front of my face when I was giving them bread from my fingers, I actually had to swim backwards so they wouldn't bump into me. The colours were amazing, wrasse, parrot and star fish, a sea snake and so much more.  I was so pleased that we made the effort to haggle and went for the sail.  On the way back to shore we discussed lunch and decided to head to the public end of the beach which was miles away, I knew that there was a fish market and they would cook your fish there and then on the beach. Considering I dont like fish it was a fabulous experience, we had white snapper and it was delicious, we were sat surrounded by many cats enjoying our meal, that Julian photographed being prepared and cooked. The guy who cooked it came and sat with us chatting and obviously happy that we were pleased with his culinary expertise.

We walked slowly back along the beach, had a drink on the way and then headed for a nap planning on going out later, satisfied and pleased with the days events and the lovely people we had met. I crashed and slept all night, leaving Julian chatting on hot mail to Kimberley, I think the snoring and bar next door had been hampering a good nights sleep for me.

Tuesday 19th, we woke early and headed straight to the beach for a long walk before breakfast as today we headed back to Nairobi. We actually walked and watched the sun rise, it was beautiful and there were no looky looky people on the beach at that time, no stall holders pestering us for buying their wares, and guys trying to sell us boat trips or safaris, it was peaceful! We walked past the fish market where we had eaten the day before to the complete end of the beach, we passed a hotel which promoted no smoking or alcohol..... give that one a wide berth on the alcohol front!  On the way back we stopped for a coffee where we had had pizza, people were just appearing and setting up their stalls on the beach. I chatted to a lady called Lucy who had a story to tell.  We headed back for breakfast checked out, put our bags into the store cupboard and sat by the pool.  We headed back to the beach so Julian could interview Lucy on video for his Kenyan experience stories.  She was only too happy to be interviewed and as the beach was so windy and becoming busy she took us to a small shed that was used as a church and was where she attended service.  From there Julian and I headed for some lunch back at El Covo I had pasta in ham and cream sauce and Julian had ... cant remember but it was delicious a contrast from the fresh fish from the day before but none the less yummy.  We went back and killed time by the pool, I had a swim then the taxi came and picked us up for the return journey, not something I was looking forward to.  It was basically a repeat of the way down still no sleep! 

Jenga tried to pick us from the station in Nairobi but the traffic was still bad cluttered with buses and coaches, so I told him we would start walking towards where I thought he would be.  We met at a roundabout where he parked and loaded us on board.  I told him to drop us at Java Coffee house as I had a huge need for coffee. The coffee was needed and hit the spot. Now the plan had been for me to get the shuttle back to Nakuru and for Jenga to take Julian around to the Giraffe sanctuary (it was too late for the elephant orphanage unfortunately as the train was late arriving!)  I ended up agreeing to go the the Giraffe sanctuary as had not been before.  It was some way out of town but the ride was smooth and full of traffic, time to chill.  We enjoyed seeing the giraffes up close and feeding them, then returned to Nairobi, Jenga coursing his way through the nightmare traffic to drop me off at the shuttle, I actually leapt out along the way as the traffic was at stand still grabbed my wheelie suitcase, hugged Julian, told Jenga to look after Julian and headed off to the shuttle, I tried to nod on the way back to Nakuru but just couldn't manage, unfortunately I was in the last seat available and was in the blazing sunshine all the way back to Nakuru, sweltering hot, a good job I still had plenty of water with me.

Got home, said hi to Henry and the animals, dropped my bag, grabbed a sandwich and a coffee, a shower and changed and headed to salsa with the girls, having promised that I would be back early enough to go with them. Fun was had by all but not quite as much as last week with the PJ party afterwards!

Hoping you are all well. My trip to Mombasa was lovely but now back to lots of work with Mama Sweetie and washing bedding from my visitors and clothes from my trip.  Found lots of sand in my shoes............ reminds me of a song!

Love and kisses to you all.  Nearly caught up but not quite, my fingers are aching and time to go as I can smell it is raining again outside.


More Catch-Up

Sorry laptop is still not working so using Julians whilst in Mombassa to type this....
6th July arranged to meet our old friend Veronica who runs Garden Villa a restaurant and bar (Ailsa and I both stayed with her when we first went out to Kenya in 2006) We decided to go to have nyama Choma (roast meat) This process usually from ordering to eating takes a couple of hours as it is not a quick process - which goes with many things here in Kenya.  We caught up with Veronica between her doing disappearing acts, but as always it was lovely to see what little of her we could manage.  We had a nice meal and then headed back home to get ready for a crazy night at salsa.  Julian actually managed to show then how to do a bit of rueda dancing, we laughed so much we didnt know what to do with ourselves, it was such a fun night, the two teachers were eager to spend more time with Julian so that he could share his salsa knowledge but we were off the following day to meet friends in Naro Moro near Mount Kenya.
7th July Ailsa wanted to make the trip to Naro Moro and I decided it was a good opportunity for Julian to see other areas of Kenya.  We had an event ful trip, Ailsa and I sat on the back seat of the matatu (it had a low roof) and we got Julian to sit in the next row which had more head room.  Needless to say they crammed our bags in, including one with donations of cold weather clothes for our friends (Jayne - it included your white fur fleece!)  We had banked on the fact that it would be alot cooler near Mount Kenya but nothing prepared us for how cold the nights would be, it was so so so cold I ended up wearing the fur fleece as I was freezing. Ailsa wore a big warm parker that she was taking up for one of the men at the re forestation projects!  Julian just managed with what he had he didnt quite feel the cold like we did.  We visited the re forestation project which had grown since we last visited a number of years ago.  Everyone was so happy to see us it made us feel bad for it having been so long since our last visit. We slept early after a rushed hi to our friends
The 8th July we rather cold headed to the project to help with some of the work of potting up plastic bags with soil for seedling planting, we chatted about the project and its work and Julian actually took a video of Robert talking about the project to add to their web site, we were taken for a walk to one of the slopes that had been stripped of trees to see where in 2007 Ailsa had planted seedlings with a group of volunteers, the seedlings were now about 3 ft tall, considering that they had been very short of rain they had survived well and were looking strong.  The work wasnt just to add trees, it was to help restore the whole balance of water harnessing that had been destroyed by stripping of the forests.  The trees help stop the rains from evapourating and create a natural water harnessing system which helps keep the water in the soil, this feeds down to the streams and rivers helping the lowland areas.  No trees means lack of water.
That evening a group of about 20 business people from Nairobi in their expensive and big 4x4 vehicles, we were told they were doing a team building exercise and climbing to the first rangers station at Mt Kenya. Team building they definately did making so much noise playing 'team' games that we got little sleep, they then got up at 5am to prepare for their day's walk, making so much noise clicking on and off the car alarms, slamming car doors and talking loudly, it was so nice of them to appreciate that we were also staying there and we had had no sleep due to them the night before. 
9th July We were cold and so tired - not a good combination. Julian thought we were kidding about the fact that we could normally see Mt Kenya as it was so foggy and cloudy that you could see NO mountain at all.  We went and spent the day with our friends Scholar and John and their two children, we had a lovely time, played some salsa music and did a bit of dancing - Scholar loves to dance and was glad for the opportunity as Julian as her instructor.  We had lunch with them and Julian made another video of John talking about his life as a smallholding farmer.   It was an amazing time and we were upset to leave them.  Ailsa was heading to Nairobi to get her flight the next day, Julian and I were returning to Nakuru.  It was an emotional day with lots of hugs as we left Ailsa in Nyahururu, little did Julian and I know just how long it would take us to get home, it was so dark and I found it impossible to see where we were to get land marks, luckily we eventually got back exhausted, we ate at Bota Sola as it was too late to start cooking when I got home, chicken and chipati was all they could rustle up as the kitchen had already closed, (it is good to know the manager he fed us).  We got home and flopped into bed exhausted only to be awoken by the cockerel! 
I had also previously made arrangements to join my friend Cheryl on a walk round Menengai Crater to show Julian what an amazing place it was. Cheryl came and collected us at 8.30am - we sat and had a cup of tea at Cheryls whilst talking to her family and waiting for other friends to join us.  We clambered into the friends old green landrover together with provisions for breakfast in the crater. Cheryl and her daughter followed in the estate car with the 7 dogs in the back.  We had a lovely walk and then met up with Paddy who was driving the landrover who had taken it down into the crater with the provisions for us to make a picnic breakfast, all very 'famous five' on a trip, it was almost surreal.  We had drop pancakes, cookies, flap jacks tea and coffee, by the time we left we were stuffed.  We all headed back to Cheryl's, Paddy and her friends left. Julian and I joined Cheryl's family for a proper cooked breakfast which then turned into a long story telling session and then extended into an impromptu lunch which was whatever we found it the fridge.  We laughed and chatted loads and rather alot of alcoholic fruit punch was consumed - excepting Cheryl as she doesnt drink!  By the time Cheryl was ready to drive us home we were a little giggly and even more so when we disclosed that we needed to go via the supermarket for provisions, Cheryl did a quick list of her own and we set off.  I dont think the supermarket was quite ready for us decending on them, but we managed to pick bits up that were useful when we got home.  In return for the lift and great friendship I let Cheryl take cuttings of two of my bouganvilliers which she has been admiring for some time.  
10th July we had arranged to visit Paddy at her farm where she runs a womans project called the Kenana Knitters. As it is some distance from me, Julian and I arranged to meet one of the workers in town to get a lift.  Now the story here is that Paddy and her husband own 800 acres of land on which they breed horses, have a dairy and wheat farm, an overland vehicle camp site, and various properties that they rent out to families, also they run the project which started out as being an acquired project left to them which involved women preparing fleeces to be spun into wool, which was sold.  Well the project grew and the wool is now bought from sheep farmers in various regions, the wool is then sent out to be spun and washed, it is returned to the project ready to be dyed and knitted into garments and toys.  These items are shipped out to outlets round the world, many places giving specific orders for items that they want individualised. The project has grown from strength to strength.  The ladies who work for the project are supported by earning for the piece work they produce either at the project or in their own homes.  In return Paddy also provides health care for the women, HIV advisors come and take to the women together with providing anti viral meds and a clinic on the premises for family planning and other health issues.  A savings plan is in place to help the woman keep their money as their own instead of going into the hands of their husbands who often abuse them and spend the money on booze or drugs. The woman are also encouraged to do basic literacy classes on the premises enabling them to be able to write their names and basic reading, as many of them have had no schooling.  There is now even a computer class available to those that are able to progress further.  The project has 240 woman workers who are helped by the business many of whom are HIV positive and now able to receive medication without the need for treking to the nearest VCT clinic to get them, which in some cases can be a trek of many hours to get to it.  The smaller children of the workers also come and are helped by the clinic and are found sitting on the grass under the shade of the trees playing with the creche toys whilst their mothers are busy knitting and finding the comfort of like minded women to spend time with who know their situations are similar.  To many woman this has become their life line to a 'normal' life, they have gained freedom from husbands who abuse and beat them to be able to rent somewhere for them to live with their children in a safe environment. They have found a community of people who understand their plight.  A number of them have progressed so well that they have found employment outside with the help of additional support from the project.  I am possibly going to look at spending a few days a week helping at his project if I can sort out the transport issues.
Ok well that is enough catch up for now will send more maybe tomorrow.... so much to tell and so much is happening I just cant keep up.
Love to you all,