Saturday, 29 December 2007

Interesting Christmas

Good day to All,

I hope you are all well and not suffering from post Christmas over indulgence!!!! That relates to some of you more than others..... you know who you are.

Christmas morning found me chilling at home had a 6am cup of chai with my new guard, Dominic before he left for home. Played football with the dog, got to get her tired quickly otherwise she digs for England. Fed the pets and myself then set to work painting determined now to get the house finished as the fundis are gone and are not around to mess up what I do. The lounge and dining room are finished, the order for a table and 6 chairs has been placed with George my carpenter (that I know through work he has done at Scann) and also my kitchen (should take 2 weeks).

My canvas picture is hanging, my sister Nathalie, fell in love with it when she was here at the beginning of the year took it home and found it was too big for her room so she kindly sent it back to me as a house warming gift. It looks fantastic the colours blend so well, it was made for my wall. The last bedroom has now accepted paint on its walls after spending so much time trying to ensure the paint sticks, applied special treatment (bit like glue) it is now done and the skirting being painted as I speak. Two beds were delivered but the room was not finished so sitting in the lounge.

Went to Scann ready to help with lunch unfortunately left in a tizz and forgot my keys this had major reflection on the day activities as was unable to get the speakers for the dance party. On arriving at Scann remembered that 30 of the boys were out of action having been circumcised on the 23rd as part of their tribal customs. In my opinion was far too close to Christmas, they had to spend all their time in quarantine in the dormitory. Women were not allowed anywhere near..... I complained that I had showered and was squeaky clean but was told that was not adequate to allow me in to wish them a Merry Christmas so I sent them a note instead. With this in mind and the problem of no speakers I decided to postpone the dance party for when the boys were allowed out of the dorm and were in more of a position to party.

We still had a good day the visitors came and helped with lunch, meat stew and rice in huge vats, with soda and cake. Not quite the Christmas lunch I was expecting but quantity prevented roasted turkeys. We then settled down with the remaining boys and watched a few movies, Open Season which they loved and Muppet Christmas Carol........ it was time for me to leave as the dog had been left for some time without company, was expecting her to have dug for England. The boys were happy to see me and are looking forward to the party in the New Year glad to be able to share it with their friends in the dorm.

I got home, played with the dog and applied another coat of paint, had chicken and pasta for dinner with Dominic, I showered and went to bed. Luckily there wasn't too much hype here........ actually there was none..... I think it would have been harder to be away for the first Christmas alone if it had been like home.

Have been asked to log off as the internet is closing, ok love to all, many thanks for the emails, sorry didn't get a chance to get to internet before now.......... was too busy painting.

Love to everyone and hope you are all getting over your colds and sniffs. Will write again soon. Susannah

Monday, 24 December 2007

Merry Christmas


Have been trying to get to internet but it doesn't like Hotmail at all, always unwilling to play with me.

Christmas here will be strange, am alone tonight, other than the guard (if he shows up) and except for my furry family. Will be with you all in thought. Am at Scann tomorrow helping them celebrate the day, we will have lunch supplied by a kind donor who is joining us for lunch then a dance party with me as MC!!

Christmas tree is up kindly supplied by my brother, not quite our standard back home but the boys love it. I spent all day Saturday putting up decorations in the dining hall for the boys, they enjoyed themselves and the effect is good. The party they had on Saturday with the trustees of Scann went well didn't get home till midnight thoroughly exhausted.

I think by the time tomorrow is done I will need a day in bed. Talking of beds am having two made ready to be delivered on 26th (no one takes much time off here as time is money!) The beds are ready for my list of visitors who may wish to come over........ hint hint!!

Love to you all hope you have a peaceful and joyous Christmas.


Will email properly after Christmas.. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Saturday, 8 December 2007

Back in Kenya

Jambo from hot and sunny Kenya,

well my time in the UK was short and frantic, for those of you I missed .......sorry will be back flight booked for 25th June! xxx

The flight back was bumpy and cold and got given an aisle seat when I booked a window, so no where to lay my head luckily the rather large gent sitting next to me didn't object when asleep I used his shoulder as a pillow but then I had given him my blanket as I had taken my big wrap with me to keep me warm. Virgin now do a per piece baggage allowance which meant that I could take two bags for the hold EACH weighing up to 23 kilos!! Yippee!! Kimberley will vouch for the fact that I was expecting the lady to say sorry you were given wrong info and need to lose a bag!! It was Ok at the airport the problem was the thought of getting on the Nakuru Shuttle with two big and heavy bags...... I cheated and talked Jenga my Nairobi taxi friend to bring me to Nakuru.

There was only one problem he kept me out drinking until 3.30am on the Monday night dancing the night away and then asked me to drive to Nakuru, it worked out well as we didn't get stopped at any police checks on the way!

The animals missed me so much the dog, Kim went crazy totally loop the loop! The cats missed me so much they ignored me for the first 3 days.......... putting in objections obviously to my trip! My shamba was not watered and since I left the weather has changed and it has been so hot during the day..... needless to say I now have a scorched shamba..... I think I have managed to save the tomatoes as they were planted in the seed bed under the shade of a large tree......... I am bucket watering them every morning now to help them recover from droop. The maize is growing strong but then it would anyway.

Back to Scann was a revelation...... the wall that has been started around the perimeter is nearly finished I hardly recognised the place. Boys cried when they saw me as I think they thought I had gone for good........ I felt awful.... big hugs all round. They still cant believe I have agreed to be here for Christmas, I am in charge of the full day Christmas day, should be interesting as not sure what their usual plan is........ they will have to expect something different.

I am busy shopping for things to make decorations with and also a Christmas tree as theirs has been in use since they started and is now without many branches and needles, it is pitiful, I want this to be a good Christmas. Anyone want to help fund a tree????? Donations via Kimberley greatly received, I did think of bringing one on the plane but then decided I couldn't carry another thing.

In addition to all this I am in charge of sorting parcels for bootie bags provided by Yasmin but also to allocate and parcel up clothes that they have in the store for the boys for Christmas it may take me a while.

On the home front need to finish my painting, trying to make curtains, arrange for the carpenter to come and make me a kitchen ( ready for all of you to visit) do more planting to replace the destroyed crop of beans, peas and carrots.

Love and hugs to you all,

Saturday, 10 November 2007

It's official...

******************NEWS FLASH************************

Beware crazy woman returns to UK eta Friday 16th November at 4pm!!!! Will be around for about 2 weeks. Will try to see as many as I can......... Short and sweet (sounds like me!!!)


Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Coming together slowly

*******************NEWS FLASH***********************

I moved into MY bedroom last night and had a great nights sleep. The en suite sink still leaks and floor puddles but if I wait for this to be rectified I will be old!!! (er)

Ummmmmmmmmmmmmmm..... my house is starting to come together. Judith is a great help and good company. She turns her hand to anything, she is painting, scrubbing, cooking, cleaning, actually she never sits still, but then neither do I. We will have lessons later on how to use my new cooker I have a two electric, two gas ring, cooker with electric oven, it covers running out of gas in the bottle, or an electric power cut (last night had 4!!!) I have given the use of my outer (roadside) shamba to a project to cultivate and use to produce crops to sell. The land I have is just too big for me to manage and it is better cultivated than being a weed bed!

The Masai guard has gone. I woke one night at 1.30 am to find him out of the grounds and the gate wide open. I ventured out with flash light and dog in tow only to find no trace of him. I locked the gate and checked the compound and chicken house, I then sat in a chair facing the gate and waited an hour. He suddenly appeared from another direction - when questioned he said he was here......!!!!!!!! Needless to say he WASN'T. I explained that for me to venture outside on a full moon looking for my guard was NOT satisfactory, and if he was here he would have seen me. I am waiting to receive another guard, hopefully a better one.

News on the house........ if you are bored with it skip this bit and go to *****..........I decided to get myself another tiler as the one I had was so so so so slow. I think he was waiting for the cement to dry after each tile was set! My tiler came in and in two days he had removed the old tiles in the old shower room and fitted new ones........SO BADLY it almost made me cry.........I am learning that what you have maybe bad, but what you get to replace it may be even worse! I am going to have to 'tail between my legs' go and humbly ask my slow slow slow tiler to come back and redo the job. They put up cracked, chipped and even broken tiles, I have so many!! Instead of grouting they used the black cement between the tiles, and the chipped ones they filled the chip with cement.

Yesterday the foreman didn't show as he is 'unwell'.....!! His second in command, (Timo) couldn't continue the work as it needed Haron to be there to help. I asked if Timo had been redirected to another job, he said he hadn't and had nothing to do. I offered him a small wage to carry out various jobs for me like, helping move the bed, put in the loo roll holder, fix the latrine door, he gladly agreed. He is back today doing more of the same, I have asked him if he will come back when the gate, water tower and roof are completed and help with painting the outside of the house, (he gets a pittance for the work he is doing, if I go direct it works better for us both!)

*****The animals are fine, cats against dog..... she is about three times bigger than the cats but they keep her under control, its funny to watch. Invalid cat will never walk properly again, but is very quick on her feet, apparently she works better running than walking, she tried jumping the other day...... that doesn't work either! My crops are finally coming through, maybe it is due to me spending hours weeding the seed bed, I can now see the seedlings! I have fenced off the area with chicken wire as the dog, being so helpful wanted to aid me with the weeding, not quite how I would do it, manic digging!!!!!!!!

My rickety fence seems to be deterring her from running into the area although a slight wind will see it flattened! I did plan on going to Scann on Saturday to paint some more Xmas wrapping paper with the boys, however, there was such a long long long long Q of them waiting outside the door for me to cut hair I didn't get a chance. They are all happy, the exam boys are busy studying (or cramming!).

I look forward to the time when I can relax and maybe arrange to go out at the weekend as I have some energy. I sit outside on the veranda's steps in the early hours of the morning and think whether or not I have done the right thing with the house......... my answer is always YES, I feel so relaxed and at home here it is hard to describe..................................and then the fundis show up!!!!!!!!

Love to you all, hope everyone is well, Happy Birthday to the birthday people, Katie and Daniel.
Hope to see some of you soon.

Susannah xx

Nathalie... Please measure the size of Alfie's neck for a new collar. (just the neck around will make allowances for extra length for fastening!)

Jean please do the same for Max.

Monday, 29 October 2007

Its only me from over the sea...

Hi All,
talk about Cowboy Builders I think I have ALL of them here in Kenya!!!! I know I have been leaving you without your news bulletin from Kenya, sorry! I am sure some of you will be pleased with the break.

My flu has been a really draining experience and having been for blood tests for Malaria and Typhoid (just in case) I am assured that it is just a bad case of flu, I have been also visited by an unwanted visitor a lovely cluster of cold sores, nice and crusty now and very attractive. I think I need a break back to the UK to recuperate, November sounds good although the weather will be colder!

What has been happening here, well I am getting used to having no water from 4pm till 8 am it makes life interesting and no matter how many times I do it I still try to use the tap and flush the toilet, it is amazing how we become programmed to do things in a certain way, use loo – flush, wash up – tap. As for shower, don’t even go there, can have one in the morning just before the fundis arrive, although will have peace soon to shower when I want as have finally told the fundis to finish the gates and leave.

I have a carpenter I know who will help me do the kitchen, I know an electrician who has come and put right the wiring from the last one, all I really am desperate for is a tiling man as I think the tiller who was here had the record for spending 2.5 days tiling 27 tiles around the kitchen sink! I actually bought him a spirit level as the one he had you couldn’t see the bubble and in my opinion without was useless, at least now he tiles straight! We had three tries with the bathroom along with the plumber trying to set the toilets without leaks. The painters were still getting paint everywhere so they have gone now – I prefer my own work. Dad always told me when painting all the work is in the preparation, not sure they know the word, bearing in mind they fill holes and paint over the rough filler without sanding! They don’t remove anything from their path, bedding gets paint on, beds, clothes and don’t get me started on the floor!! As a result I am now painting the house, may take a while but at least I am happy with my work.

Ok Scann is good, ticking along well. The acrobats who went to China are now split, three back at school and the older three, couldn’t settle so are now in Nairobi under the watchful wing of Serakasi who is getting them performing to the public and monitoring their training. I will be visiting them some time to see them perform which should be good.

Construction has started at Scann with the building of the perimeter wall. What a change that will make, so many trees have had to be felled in the process, it looks so bare now and the neighbours for the time being have clear view of everything that goes on. The older boys are happy as they are getting a chance to get involved with helping shovel and dig.

Many of the older boys are taking Exams at the moment and last weekend Scann had a prayer celebration event for them. I was invited and found the experience interesting. All the boys who were preparing for exams were seated on a ‘high’ table along with a number of spiritual guests, from Churches and schools they attend. We had people who performing gospel songs which we enjoyed, the others who were there took the opportunity not to talk to the boys but to out do each other on how long they could stand and preach for. The supposed one hour event took three hours, and most of it was in Swahili! I enjoyed the fact that the other boys at Scann performed speeches or songs to unite in wishing the boys well.

I probably went against all their teaching of success and being the best by promoting the fact that each step in life we have done is a form of success. At the end of the day you get what you put into it, if you are happy with your efforts then the grades are immaterial.

I am still busy doing head shaving although the demand for me when I do visit Scann is overwhelming and I am supplying 20 bob to older boys to get theirs done at the barber! I cant wait till the house is done so I can get back to some order.

I have been approached by someone at another organisation to help set up an information resources centre for HIV issues, crimes against women, and women empowerment. Sounds good although as per most things here it is voluntary basis so no income but great job satisfaction though! I will have to raid my suppliers of resources at home so those that in the know be ready for my requests for leaflets, magazines, dvds etc on the above subjects! Anyone who wants to come over and hold talks also very welcome although it will be at your own expense, I know somewhere friendly that you can stay though!!

I personally need anyone who can tile, wood workers, builders and handy man, I have finally told the workers to leave, they are all COWBOYS, had a big big row on Saturday and told them to come and complete the main gate only, which is being re set on pillar supports, no way I can finish that one!! Nothing is finished, everything is so badly done – I know standards are different and have made huge huge huge allowances for this, even so…..! Paul-Simon I need you back you work better than all 8 of them! 5 weeks and not one room is finished! Mad thing is I have to pay someone else to put it all right, or come home for a two week crash course in carpentry, tiling and building!

Anyway, enough moaning, I am off to look at flights, need to come to UK for mental space and sort out my stuff at Nathalie's before she sells it all!! The sun is shining and the house is peaceful.

I forgot to tell you, I decorated the guard house (he no longer uses it) and now have a girl called Judith who is staying with me and in exchange for somewhere to live and food she is helping around the house. She is 23 and came from Nairobi hoping to find work here but didn’t and her brother had no room at home to house her, so see if this works out OK! She seems nice enough – but as we all know appearances aren't always what they seem!

The menagerie here is getting settled, one cat, one invalid cat, and a crazy dog. Kim the dog is proving to be a great guard dog, now sleeping outside the door in the porch. At least she stays awake and is alert, cant say the same for the guard, think he has sleeping sickness!!!! Kidding.

I have decided am going to make the most of soaking up the suns rays and those happy feelings, am off to town to send this email system allowing that is.

Love to you all, hugs all round. Kimberley and Roger good luck with your moves, settle in quickly and peacefully!


Sunday, 23 September 2007

How different can things be

Hi Everyone,

well, the weather is definitely getting hotter and the rain has diminished, a good thing too if you could have seen the lake left in my compound last time it rained.

I am now living in one room in my 3 bed home, I have a huge compliment of builders, tillers, painters, woodworkers, electricians etc. last count there were 8 men working away to help get some sort of restorative programme for my house showing signs of at least having my sons room ready.

I have learnt a valuable lesson........ in Kenya the tools are supplied by the homeowner, the workers come with nothing. I found this out when I complained that every tool I had was being used by the men................ I was told this was the way, so they have to make do with my basic selection and they do.

I went shopping for a ladder in order to put light bulbs in my house, they do not exist. I watched with interest when some 'poles' were ordered and delivered (these are straight trunks of skinny trees) they were hacked and made into two ladders, one a tripod the other a rickety straight ladder. I personally got a friend to let me sit on his shoulders in desperation to get the bulbs in couldn't wait for the ladders.

There is no power tool in sight, other than my own private collection!! It is a health and safety nightmare but they don't seem to be bothered, walking on the roof to check it out, no ropes, hard hats nothing. The electrician told me it was good I asked him to make the plugs all double sockets as it revealed that none of the plugs were earthed!

I argued with the tiller who is doing my en suite, one wall was great three tile vertical drops on the next wall fine, other side of the toilet a total catastrophe. I had praised him on his work the day before and took it all back with a 'wow what are you doing?' 'Have you been on the beer??? ' The other side of the toilet was more than an inch out slanting in towards the loo. This meant that when the tiles were to come together - basically they wouldn't. He said it was fine and the house was not straight. Now, I know a bit about tiling and got out the only spirit level used in the whole job and put it on his base board. I informed him that there was no bubble and showed him the difference - he still insisted it was OK.

I sent a text to the foreman and told him to get himself over fast as I told tiller not to put anymore tiles on wall. Foreman walked into the room and said wow ........ glad he agreed, I would have removed the tiles and not paid the man....... after heated conversation the tiles were removed and replaced, although he has miss coloured tiles in the box and those are now suddenly all being used instead of the nice white ones. Rebellion.

Its not all bad, the plumber put in one toilet beautifully, the other he was told by me to remove and try again at least to get the cistern and bowl aligned........ I have also acquired a tap in the wall of my en suite that is about knee level, I questioned this and when the plumber came back to his job after 'illness' was told it was for me to do my clothes washing - I told them I had an outside tap for that and I wouldn't want to drag the washing all through the house to hang it outside, hand washing was hard enough without making in worse. I was then told that maybe I would like to wash clothes at night....... um....................... deep breath............, I told him I would use it to wash my feet when they were dirty!!! Its a foot tap! The sarcasm was lost in translation!!!! Well, I will keep the tap............... its a something.....?????

With all this happening I am still visiting Scann, the boys get all happy and mad when they see me and they are looking forward to me taking Paul-Simon to see them on Wednesday. I took Kim and Fat Cat to the vet the other day, this mean that I had to call Nick to pick me up from home with the dog, we went to Scann, where Kim played with the boys for a short while, while I rounded up Fat Cat who has been unwell. Kim lay sleeping on the floor of the cab while the cat on the other hand stayed in the box just until I had the door closed, I rallied the help of Joel who gave me the dog to come to the vet. Between us we managed to restrain the cat, watch the dog, jump out of the car at the vets, while Nick ran another errand for me, stood in the vet with the cat spitting and hissing at the Kim, she wasn't happy!

After Kim had her vaccinations and the cat had her anti rabbies jab and worming pill we ventured back into Nicks cab with hissing Fat Cat. Such a traumatic event...... for me, no animal carriers in site anywhere in Nakuru, I know I have looked, actually you cant even buy a dog collar or lead, they aren't into that here they do have chains though. Maybe I should open a shop!! We went straight back to my house to drop off the animals and I settled Fat Cat with Puka (little cat) they looked happy. When I got home Fat Cat had left home, no sight or sound of her since....... oh well, wasted journey, energy and money at the vet!! The boys were happy to have seen Kim though, I promised another visit, just wandering when .........and how!
I managed a Christmas wrapping paper printing event on Wednesday afternoon, wasn't toooooooooooooo BAD! Paul-Simon doesn't know but we are doing one this Wednesday with his help!!! he he he he he he he.

Today I went to Scann to do hair shaving before I came into town to the internet and last minute shopping for PS. At last the internet is working and I am able to sit and type this for you. I had promised one boy that I would pop in to Scann and trim his mop, I got 10 boys waiting in a q for me..... needless to say I couldn't leave them, so I shaved like a whirling dervish (Spelling probably not right) They wanted me to style so I told them to go to the hairdressers for that, I just SHAVE!

Ok guys I am probably boring you to tears, and I actually think I have already told you some of this info, or dreamt that I have, if repetition has occurred then put it down to age!!
Love to you all,

Happy Birthday to all those who are due birthdays

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Back from Beyond

Hi Everyone,

bet you all thought it was safe to read your emails and there was nothing from me clogging up the in-box…… well you were wrong!! I was just taking a break whilst sorting out the final stages of the house move, nothing like in the UK, its crazy. You physically have to go round all the offices, water, electric, council offices, solicitors, agents, in order to finalise the deal. I am pleased to say that on Tuesday, just before the heavens opened and my drive became a swamp, I moved into my house.

I have come to a huge conclusion…… the tenants who lived here NEVER cleaned, the place was disgusting, the walls which I had only seen in passing when visiting the house in semi darkness were filthy. I had to clean all the light switches before I turned on the lights as they were black with dirt. I think after they knew I was buying they didn’t care. I have found a couple of wet patches on the concrete floor which means that the builders will need to check the roof also now, another thing to add to their list.

Talking of builders……….yesterday 6 arrived on site, that is BEFORE any materials had been bought, which in itself is a long and interesting process. I went into town with the builder and the electrician, sounds simple, we went to the electrical shop and bought up new security lights, long life low energy bulbs, all the electrical things that are required for inside, only one single plug socket in each room so changing all to doubles, many light fitting broken so replacing, two showers. We bought and left all the items there waiting to be collected later. We then walked to the hardware store, not as we know it! The list of items needed was endless….. I cant begin to tell you……. My one problem is going to be selecting paint for the rooms, I cant bring home a colour chart and they don’t do match pots. I have to stand in the hardware store and decide on what I want, what a nightmare. I am used to spending weeks with sample colours deciding what I want, could be a problem.

What little furniture I have is all in my room so that the workmen can do their work…. Seemed like a good idea other than they are doing my en suite and started work BEFORE I got back from town. Apparently making sure everything is kept clean and tiding up before they leave is not on the agenda, I spent an hour last night sweeping and mopping up mud and cement left from the day’s activities, glad I have concrete floors and no carpet!

The shopping trip to get the majority of items didn’t quite work as planned…. We bought two toilets but forgot the cisterns, so no toilets last night had to use the pit latrine for the guard….. great that we had an alternative but door doesn’t close and no light….. sounds like what I am used to! I bought a basic square table to use in the kitchen as I was tired of cooking on the gas burner on the floor, does nothing for the back.

All in all I LOVE THE HOUSE, just cant wait till its finished and can enjoy it a little more. At the moment the garden is a builders yard, the garage a storage facility, reminds me a bit of Under the Tuscan Sun, those that have seen it will understand. At the end of yesterday I must admit I wanted to cry, but didn’t, I remembered the film instead and knew it would all come right. I am still visiting SCANN, unfortunately short but sweet trips. I squeeze in hair cuts, sewing and medical treatments while I am there and spend time chilling with the boys.

I have collected Kim (the puppy) and taken her home, the first day was spent mopping the floor and cleaning up after her, unfortunately living outside means she is not house trained……… nice. She is a good guard dog announcing everyone who arrives at the gate, we don’t have door bells here! I have also discovered that she thinks she is a cat, she proudly provided me with a mouse that she had caught yesterday, I will bring the cats home soon, but as they bully Kim thought I would let her settle in first to get a senior position in the home. I find Kim great company and she loves to play, I have promised the boys that I will take her back occasionally at the weekends to visit.

Today I am off to Scann, a lady who I think I have mentioned before, Cheryl Robinson (I stayed at here house near the Menengai Crater) and I are going to SCANN today to work with the boys to make Christmas wrapping paper. They decorate the paper with potato printing, stencils and finger painting and apparently it sells very well. I am preparing myself for a mad, exhausting and messy afternoon. It will be good to see Cheryl again it has been some time since I met up with her.

My Masai guard who lives in the ‘helps’ quarters is doing Ok, he is guard / shamba man, I keep him busy. Today he went out to buy some sharp arrows and a new bow, it is apparently an essential part of his kit and he will use it, scary………I am glad he is protecting me, between him and the dog I will be fine, actually it is a nice area although with all the rain I need to buy wellies as the roads are swamps. I will leave you all now as I need to get ready for my trip to SCANN! Love you all, take care.


Sunday, 19 August 2007

Jambo from sunny Nakuru

Hi All,

well what can I say the weather here is improving!!!! I am actually putting on suntan lotion when I go out, although didn't manage to save my nose getting burnt, keeps peeling, nice and crunchy!

I have had a lot of trouble with the internet recently and have not managed to send any emails, today I think everyone is at church attending 'Service' so the internet is good! Thanks to all those that are sending me emails, but can I remind you that large attachments will take me 'a month of Sundays' to open so am having to delete.

I am enjoying the flat I am renting although I have to say it is SO cold, the floors are concrete and don't I know it!! I have taken to wearing my extra extra thick woollen walking socks, which are useless as I didn't bring my walking boots, so am making good use of them! I haven't had the courage to use the swimming pool that is next door yet as it is never hot enough when I am at home, just when I am running round town laden with bags, sweating buckets!

I am looking forward to Paul-Simon's visit at the end of September, so if anyone wants to send me some 'nice' feel free although with baggage allowance being so bad - be careful! I am in the throws of looking at buying a house, couldn't not at the prices over here, there will be plenty of rooms for visitors if it goes through. I have taken measures to ensure that I checked, ownership, registry of title, and have a good solicitor who is helping me look at all the pitfalls. I know its crazy but it is what I feel is right.......... I will be coming home so don't worry about not seeing me again....... you should be so lucky! I hope this news doesn't come as too much of a surprise to any of you, sorry any of you that will find this hard to digest! Get those passports applied for.

Since I moved out of Scann I have had a better quality of life mentally if nothing else, I now am visiting as a volunteer and finding it much more pleasant, I know the boys miss me not being on site but I am a happier person for it.

Where do I go from here, no idea will wait and see, right now I am happy and life is good. Hope to pop to UK before Christmas.

Love to you all will keep you posted on developments, will leave you to take in the news.

Crazy Lady in Kenya,


Friday, 10 August 2007

Happy Again

Hi All,
hope you are finally getting a summer, the weather here has changed and the days are nice and warm. I am so pleased, especially as my rented flat is next door to a place with a pool (small but a pool no less).

Life in the flat is great, just what i needed. I am feeling refreshed and at peace. I visit Scann as and when I feel up to it and enjoy myself with the boys, especially as they are on break now. Today I spent all day clipping hair - have decided NO ONE is getting their hands on my new clippers!!

The space from Scann has made me rekindle my love for the place, don't ask me what it is, it is just something special. So much so that I have been house hunting.......... over here a large 3 bed with servants quarters, 1/4 acre is going to set me back the price of a new saloon car back home. I am seriously considering it.... I could commute every 3 / 6 months (or when the weather is bad). Living here is so cheap! I have people looking into the implications of such a move at this end, will keep you posted.

I am going to see a lady tomorrow (Cheryl) who lives and helps runs her dads business in Rongai, she helped at Scann as a volunteer about 5 years ago and has kept in touch with them, she is a white Kenyan whose family is involved with transporting shipments of tea worldwide, she was interested in the fact that I worked for P&O as she was forced into the job as her father became ill, she was a lady of leisure before then and doesn't 'get' the job. I thought a job a couple of days a week would be good!!!! We will see.........

Anyway, hope you are all well. The cats are doing fine, I am ensuring that the boys take care of them and have small monies for food (I cant have them at the flat!) The dog and its puppies unfortunately died, the puppies delivered but didn't survive and the dog followed a few days later, I think maybe it had eaten poison..... sad it looked after me well in return for milk and a bit of belly rubbing and affection (for the dog not me you understand!!)

Ok well I am off home as just remembered my washing is on the roof terrace and it is getting a bit overcast, at 5pm I think it is allowed!!

Love to you all.........

OH DEAR it is pouring with rain, maybe the nice guard will have collected my washing, (I don't think so as there was no undies up there!)

Bye for now


Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Still looking

Hi Everyone,

still breathing although spending a lot of time holding my breath wandering what life holds in store for me next, exciting really.

I am still looking for somewhere although think I will have to settle for the two bed place, that is 3 months old, very nice and right beside a Pastoral Centre which has its own pool (open to locals)!! The rent is expensive 56 gbp a month though, out here it is expensive!!!!!! It is ground floor flat in a building of 10, it is well secured with a high wall, and metal locked gate with GUARD! It is an ideal place so that I can have people to visit without problems, it also has a European inside toilet!! Yippee. Think I just talked myself into it!!!!!!!

On that subject just looked out of interest at a house, 3 beds, garage, servants quarters, 1/4 acre garden/shamba, for the price of 17,500 gbp..... worth thinking about for old age!!!! (oops that is nearly here already) Its lovely although the shamba needs some care, hey Nats when you coming over?????

Other than that have a funny story to tell you, the other day was walking from where I live now with a friend, hoping to get a Matatu, unfortunately there was a live concert in town and all the matatus going past were full to the roof. My friend said there was a tuktuk coming and he would get it to pick us up, I informed him that there were already passengers in it. To my astonishment the vehicle pulled up a short way ahead and a hand came out the window and waved us to it.

On approaching I laughed, inside were two enormous women dressed beautifully ready for a night on the town. They insisted we got in, I wasn't sure where we were going to fit, they laughed, they shifted over which provided enough space for one buttock so I let my friend sit and I sat on his lap. The whole trip they laughed and laughed, they were so pleased to be sharing the tuktuk with me, they didnt stop chatting. They made some comment about why I was sitting on my friends lap, I said the other option would have been one of theirs and I didn't think they would have liked it, or the driver but he needed to be able to use the pedals and so that was out. They cried.......... they reminded me of the Kenyan version of 'The Two Fat Ladies'. I later bumped into them in town, larger than life and now obviously my best friends......

Anyway, this was supposed to be a short email, as got to go decide on the flat.

Thanks for your emails.

Will be in touch soon, take care all of you. Love and hugs all round.


Monday, 30 July 2007



well I have done it, at last I have seen the light and decided that my quality of life would be so much better living off site from Scann.

Mentally I need to space from the politics and staff wrangling! I am in a temporary 'house'....... um that is a very loose word for it, it is one room, no loo, no water but it has electricity and it is somewhere to dump my things until I find somewhere else. I looked at a place yesterday that someone was just moving out of, it has large bedroom, lounge, kitchen, toilet and bathroom, minus bath (just sink for washing) and it costs 30 GBP a month going back today to speak to the manager. It is in a secure walled and gated compound where there are about 12 units all are clean and well looked after and the bonus is the matatu stops right outside the gate.

It will be nice to have some freedom and resort to having some quality time, I want to go back to Swahili lessons and do more bead work with Ruth, also to have some sort of life would be good. I am still going to Scann but not sure how long that will last as Management have decided that as I am not dealing with staff issues I am not doing what they want so they may not want me there at all. At the moment I am coming and going as normal, the boys still like me being around and am busy producing beaded cards to sell in shops. Mentally I am more at peace although living conditions where I am is to say the least basic but the rewards of peace of mind are now outweighing the drawbacks, besides living so basically really does make you realise how lucky we are.

Sorry it was only a short one today just to keep you updated, will let you know if I get any more news. Love to you all, Susannah xxxxxxxxx

Thursday, 19 July 2007

I made it to the internet and it was working

Hi Everyone,

I am so sorry it has been so long......... unfortunately the chest infection went on far too long and knocked me for six...... luckily I am now almost completely recovered, other than being so tired all the time and occasional coughing fit to clear the tubes!!

The shamba now is a real shambles, as haven't done anything to it since I was unwell, all the beans have been harvested and the squash is still growing, although so are the rampant weeds! I cant remember the last email that I sent, I have been so frustrated that any time I managed to get to the internet it was either down or so slow I couldn't send an email.

Today I walked into town (30 mins) as I walked to get a boda boda with the only 20 bob in my hand I was chatted to by a lovely boy of about 7 called Paul, he had just finished school for the afternoon and asked if he could walk up the road with me. As he was only 7 I thought it would be OK....... he chatted very politely and told me what he had been doing at school today, what I was doing in Kenya and where I came from, he wants to be a doctor when he grows up, and if his character is anything to go by he will be a good doctor. I gave him my 20 bob to get some treats and wished him well, so I ended up having to walk, but I enjoyed the exercise anyway.

The weekend was a busy one as the acrobats attended the Nakuru Show an annual event that I went with them to last year. I was pleased to see that on this occasion I was not the only white person there..... there were two guys on a stand promoting solar heating for water, nice men in kilts.... one Scot and the other South African, they decided they wanted to do something to attract attention....... hence the kilts. My boys wanted to know why the men were in skirts, took alot of explaining!!! The day was great the sun shone and I burnt my nose, still crunchy now! Ok well, I will love you all and leave you now as must get back to the ranch, I know I will have a Q of boys tonight waiting for a hair cut as I turned them away at 9pm last night, couldn't see anything...... would have been a bad cut! Take care all of you and be happy. My next email may a very interesting one!!!!! Susannah xx

Friday, 29 June 2007

Had some rays today

Hi there,
I was so happy today whilst out walking to the hospital the sun was shining, it was warm and I was happy........

Well, what a week, started with Yasmin and her family (Chairman and Trustee of the board) all returning from Canada, it was nice to have them back to take up some of the 'slack' or should I say 'slacking' from the staff!!

I have managed to be at PGH (Provincial General Hospital) everyday this week other than Wednesday. Boys have been coming down with most things mainly chest problems with the bad weather, so I find myself walking (40mins) uphill to the hospital sitting in painfully slow Q's bearing in mind these are not really Q's they are merely there to confuse the untrained. I now pride myself as being a trained Kenyan Q person. I check who is in front of me, what they are wearing, where they are off to and also keep a weary eye on all the other Q jumpers! it is very exciting, the goal is to see who can outsmart who and get to the doctor first.

We now have one boy with TB - Dickson who started his treatment about 2 months ago but I have to take him for regular checkups. One boy with Pneumonia he is 10 and was given to me to take to the hospital 'as I was going'. The boy I took for three days this week, mornings and afternoons, has been cleared for TB but has a bad chest infection. I managed to take myself to the 'Family Care Centre' for my ailments, they wanted chest X-ray and sputum tests.

This morning I woke at 6.30, spat in pot, checked that Samuel had done the same at 4.30 and 6am (he needed 2 samples today) then we left by foot to take firstly my sample to Family Care Clinic who said come back in an hour and then drop his off at PGH, where we were told his wouldn't be ready until 2pm!

On the way back to SCANN I waited for a chest X-ray at an X-ray specialist, (we were early and sat whilst they washed the floor). I was worried when I looked at the equipment looked like something out of an old Frankenstein movie. Took X-ray and results to Family Care, picked up results of sputum test and sat waiting for the doctor. Whilst waiting Samuel who was sat outside on the steps had a major nose bleed so I had to leave my place in the 'Q'. Luckily when I returned no one wanted to question that I was next in....... my x-ray was clear and the sputum showed that I was indeed having problems that needed antibiotics (I knew this as my chest has been really hurting and the coughing getting bad). Went to pharmacy for three lots of meds and walked back to SCANN, Samuel and I looked sad as we were both carrying our 'DO NOT BEND' enormous envelopes with our X-rays!!! A bit like wearing matching tank tops!!! Ahhhh.

Had just enough time at SCANN to pack an overnight bag, grab some lunch so I could take my pills and harvested some of my crop of beans before heading back to PGH for Samuels results, OR SO WE THOUGHT! Being well practiced in the process, I sent Samuel (17 years) to the lab for his results whilst I went and sat in the Q for the doctor. An hour and a half later after falling asleep and being nudged by the now very familiar doctor, I sat alone waiting as ...... THERE WAS NO Q!. I left my bags with the doctor and went in search of Samuel, who was just approaching along the corridor............... the doctor saw us and laughed when I told him that I was growing so old at PGH........... I think I should pitch a tent in the corridor. Luckily Samuel has not got TB which was suspected, we went from there to pick up his two weeks worth of meds.

Now the reason why I didn't go to PGH on Wednesday was because it was the day I spent sitting in immigration in Nairobi, waiting..................................and waiting................... and going from one floor to another as requested as I was a difficult case!! I have now after a crazy wait, got my passport stamped with my work permit for a year - valid until June 2008!!!!!! Wishful thinking on their part I think!

Immigration process in itself is fun, you arrive, look dazed, go to window 1 who sends you armed with forms to window 5, who takes your forms and sends you to window 4, who stamps a form and sends you back to window 5. From there you are to go to window 2 (this was not occupied, but as told to go to it, I duly waiting for person to return, they didn't, eventually I asked window 3 if I could see him, apparently it was no problem, I had waited 15 mins and he hadn't said please come here I will deal with you!!!

From there you sit and wait for your name to be called, you go to the window 3 where you sign your name and wait, you are then herded to a room ....... you wait. A man who was NOT HAPPY, shouted your name at you, unfortunately for me, he called my middle name 'Pamela' and I didn't realise, so he got even more unhappy. When I realised what he had done I got up and tried to explain it was my middle name and I was not used to hearing it, he got huffier. He then grabbed my fingers, not too gently and finger printed me, I actually think he was trying to break off my fingers. It turns out it was his lunch time and he didn't have any money, in view of his attitude I didn't offer to help!! I then went to another window who asked for my work permit, I didn't have it, I looked everywhere for it, in all the pockets of my bag, in the big envelope I had with documents in it, so she sent me away. I went back and said I didn't think I had a work permit with me. It turns out she wanted my immigration application form, simple mistake -= work permit, immigration application form same thing obviously!! I left exhausted but now confident that I am here legally!!!! Yippee.

Apologies for spelling etc, don't have time to re read today as time has flown by.......... there is more to tell but ................... some things just don't go down on paper well.

I love you all, take care, hopefully my husky, sexy voice will depart soon as it scares the kids!

Happy birthday to all the birthday'ers.... hope the weather there improves and the parties are great.

Hugs all round,



Monday, 11 June 2007

Warning if you are eating don't read this...

Hi Everyone,

I hope my emails finds you all well. I had a good weekend although only having one day off makes it kind of short. Spent it with some friends just outside Nakuru. They live in an area which is very basic, they live in two rooms one is the bedroom the other is the living and cooking area. Had a good time, played cards and ludo lost at both! Took my turn at cooking so did a pasta in a tomato, onion and herb sauce with some kuku (chicken) which I bought as already cooked (no oven makes roasting a bit difficult).

I went loaded with fruit bought from a stall that I passed on the way, the boda boda man wasn't pleased with the extra weight, so gave him a nice big banana and tip to cover the extra weight. Unfortunately, the fruit man, who has served me before, managed to sell me most of what he has on offer, this time was half watermelon, avocados, bananas, and something like a passion fruit but very very bitter!!! Last time he sold me a paw paw, decided I really don't like this as it tastes like 'vomit'. He couldn't understand why I didn't like it!

When I said the place was basic what I meant was no running water or toilets! I was allowed time in the morning to take a private shower, it consisted of, stripping down and stepping, with a lot of muttering, into a very large green bowl of cold water and using a jug for rinsing this happened in the bedroom (whilst they prepared breakfast). The 'toilets' (pit latrines) were a block of 4 used by about 20 families, to describe these ........... not sure I will do them complete justice........., imagine an old fashioned garden privy, no light, no seat just a hole in the concrete, now picture this...............its pitch dark, now remember its used by 20 families! Yep you got it, cant work out if it was better at night or during the day when the chinks of light stream in through the badly put together wooden door, held closed by a bent nail. I will not even go into what it smelt like, all I could think of was this is what they have to use everyday of their lives, they know nothing else, I cleared my mind and went with the 'flow'. I dread to think how women manage under the circumstances, there was a very heavily pregnant woman waiting in the q- don't envy her at all, too much of a worry that the baby may deliver early and disappear down the hole!! It would give me nightmares.

I did cause a stir, not sure they were ready to see a mwzungu in their midst let alone using the latrines at all hours, oh that was the other thing, drinking beer was really not a good idea....... took 2 trips with escort to the latrines during the night, oops!!!! Will know for next time a glass of sherry will be my limit!! Yeah right!

The hospitality of the people here is overwhelming, they refused for me to sleep on their sofa I got the bed they got the sofa. They share what little they have and do without and treat you like royalty. Maybe some Europeans need to take a leaf out of their book. I had a great time, we had a good laugh, cried at a movie (Out of Africa) actually I cried at the movie they thought I was mad!, had good food, and a bit of a Swahili lesson too. I will definitely go back and visit what I got out of the experience far outweighed the worst latrines!!

Looks like it is about to rain again will get wet and cold, this will add to me feeling more miserable than I am at the moment ..... the women will understand the problem.......!! All I want is a soak in a hot bath with a lovely big glass of red wine, and loads of chocolate, and a warm comfy bed hot water bottle and a big hug!

OK now that is enough of that, am off to buy some chocolate, cant do anything about the bath and will stay clear of the wine. Oh just remembered the other night was so so so cold that couldn't sleep, I improvised a hot water bottle as forgot mine!! I had an empty pure water bottle, I boiled the kettle and poured 2/3rd hot and topped with tepid. slipped it into a thick sock and took it off to bed to keep me warm, must admit not as comfy lying with it as with a rubber hot water bottle, but boy did it work!!! It is amazing how we can adapt to what we have available when we open our minds to anything goes!

Hope you weren't too upset with today's down to basics email!
Take care
Love to you all,


Got to go am late!

Tuesday, 5 June 2007


Ok, firstly I have to apologise that apparently you have received many many many repeat emails from me I think system was stuck in a loop!!

Secondly, having lost my mobile I have managed to retrieved my spare phone without too much beating up of said person. I am now contactable again on the same number, Safaricom barred the other sim. Unfortunately, the person has not come forward for the reward, which means I have no numbers. Can you all text me just to let me know who it is so I can store your number (those that have already don't worry!) Did I get wet yesterday, I had no umbrella or jacket and was loaded down with shopping and a little miffed with the phone situation. What resulted from that was I ended up buying an umbrella from a street vendor, then being assured that I would arrive safely by a boda boda guy who decided he wanted to live dangerously. He took not only me but my huge bag of shopping and he insisted I kept the umbrella up to stop me getting wet, I did point out that that was a bit too late!!!

I harvest enough crop of my beans to supply the cook to go towards the boys lunch tomorrow, my squash (pumpkin) are growing but will take a while before they are ready. Carrots- um not sure will get anything from them as the seeds were sown in clumps (thanks to the skilled hands of the gardener!) tomatoes are doing well, just waiting for them to turn red! yum!

Last night I sat the dining hall as the relief guy didn't show up so there was only two of us available, bearing in mind I had been soaked with the rain, was more than a little miffed by phone, bitten to pieces by mossis and hungry and wanting a cuppa tea. I realised I had left my book I was reading in the house, so I legged it over there and got soaked as I had not taken my brollie and it had decided to tip down with rain AGAIN! I was so wet I didn't worry about taking my umbrella back to the dining hall with me. I sat ready to enjoy my book, only to be distracted by some of the boys making a racket, (bearing in mind they were supposed to study in silence this meant that four of them ended up on their knees in punishment as Raphael had heard them from the hallway!) Why they had piped up was the cat that has attached itself to me had strutted in with a huge rat in its mouth, it had dropped it at my feet and proceeded to munch on it in front of me, periodically looking at me to check that I was watching. It was disgusting and the cat decided to leave the prize rat as a present for me, what a present! I quickly dismissed the boys punishment by inviting Raphael to see what the boys were making a noise about, he too squealed as it was not a pretty sight!

Today John Ndolo the university student has headed to Nairobi as we have at last found him somewhere to do his 3 months attachment. What a nightmare it has been, as Yasmin is not around the guy she has left in charge has refused to sub money to cover expenses for the trip without approval. John was supposed to start working today but because of the problems we had an emergency meeting today and I have covered his costs. There is a Treasurers meeting tonight and I usually attend - I will miss this one as I will not be able to keep my mouth shut and will make things worse. The two from Scann that will be attending are not happy either and I think they wish they didn't have to go either!! Ok, its time for me to leave you, sorry todays email is a bit bitty but oh well!!!!

I must add I became a little worried today as one of the guys who has a secondhand clothes stall here (Nats got her purchases from him) called me over today and said he had a pair of trousers for me, he said they were my size and he had been keeping them for me, I said they wouldn't fit, they did and I liked them, it worries me when a man pays more attention to my size than I do, and he knew what I liked - wonder if hes married!!!! Kidding, not my type, not that I know what that is!! Ok going now.


Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Jambo again

Hi Everyone,
well, I have decided to change the internet place I use, whilst the guys look after me well, I cant get anything done as the system is so bad. I am in one behind the shop called Ukwala (those that have been here know!) I walked in to find the room full of Europeans (posh posh ones) judging by their voices! I have never felt so lonely, how strange is that, a room full of my people and I know no one and listening to them not sure I want to. Whilst here I have discovered that people who travel aren't all worldly wise and considerate to their surroundings.

I was asked by a Kenyan recently, how come children crowd round me just to talk to me, how come animals like me, how come everyone wants to say hi and greet me, I HAVE NO IDEA maybe it is because I am NICE! They have even told me that they have been observing other 'visitors' and they don't get the attention I get, maybe its my aura???? Not odour hopefully.
Today I got a reply email from my friend Ailsa who is back in Scotland getting to grips with things like, work, shopping, familiar surrounding................ nothing she has said has attracted me to get on a plane home!!!!! I will just not yet.

I hope everyone is well and the weather is getting nicer......... it is so changeable here, cant decide what it's doing, this morning I was freezing covered with goosebumps, they don't know what they are over here - goosebumps that is, they come and look at my arms when I am cold as they think it is funny that all the hairs, that I have and they don't on their arms, are standing at attention!! Such a simple but taken for granted thing that our body does to counteract the cold. Takes some explaining.

Mind you recently one of the boys had a bad gravel graze on his face having fallen over, when the blood and gore started to heal it was replaced with white skin, he was very upset that he was turning 'white' he even took to colouring it with a felt tip.......... luckily for him after a few weeks it coloured over and he is proud to be completely black now.

It has also been remarked why are the whites of my eyes white, theirs are quite speckled brown with white. In Nakuru also many people have brown stained teeth due to too much natural fluoride in the water, not sure what can be done about that, any budding dentists out there????? Will it correct itself if they move elsewhere or is that it now? These are questions that I deal with most of the time, thrown at me like I am an encyclopedia.

I keep being asked to shave my hair so they can see what I will look like as a white Kenyan, I opt for no one that one! Talking of hair, I managed to get a quick trim at a friends hairdressers. Not the usual type, she had only ever done afro hair......... she washed it carefully, wow what a great massage, she then took ages combing it straight then took out a blunt pair of scissors and bit by bit picked up bunches of hair and cut, oh well, it took of the split ends, not sure anyone at home will touch it now.........!! No matter how much I condition my hair it is like a dry bush...... even tried a hot wax treatment I found in the bottom of my wash bag.......... still looks like a dry bush!

I have been looking to find a cheap car to get around in.......... um that is a hard thing to do, those that I can afford will not last 2 mins, not on these roads, I have been shown so many minis which are all the rage here for the English.... however, my worry is that with these pot holes one day I will be driving round and disappear forever into a hole and not come out again! I have also been watching how they repair vehicles at the workshops, the only tool you need apparently is a HAMMER and I have one of them, they use it for everything, just BASH it and it will work!!! Sounds like my kind of repairs!

Forgot to mention today is a BIG day in my shamba - I picked my first crop of new beans........... not sure I will get any as all the staff are now aware due to someone (the old gardener) telling them so I have been having to divi them out. When I told the gardener I wanted a shamba he laughed, he laughed when I was preparing the ground, he laughed when I planted seeds, when I weed, when I water, today however, I laughed when I walked up to him with a big bowl of beans................ maybe he will get a few but not today..... let him wait!

What else do I have to say........I am back teaching, or did I tell you that already!! English to the boys who went to China only 6 of them but from various levels of education, (that makes it difficult). Making them come to class is more difficult, these boys think they have been abroad now and don't need schooling....... their first exercise says they certainly do!!!!!!! It took me hours just to mark one boys work and they have a lesson everyday at 8.30...... spent all night marking!
Ok just realised how much have written. POLE SANA - sorry!!
Will be in touch again soon. xxxxx

Wednesday, 23 May 2007


Hi Everyone,
sorry for the lack of emails but everytime I come to the cyber cafe the system is either down or so slow it doesn't pay me to try and send anything as it will fail.

I hope life is treating you well and you are all happy. Things here have settled down and I am able to get on with life as I should. I have been asked for more information regarding the boys that went to China, sorry I forget what I have told you and what I haven't.

Last year a group of 6 of our acrobats were selected to go to China for a year 'all expenses paid' for circus training. They have just come back to Kenya and we are dealing with many many issues that have arisen as a result of them being let out into the wild world of China!

The boys whilst they worked long hours training they were given a lot of freedom that they do not experience here in Kenya, they had 'girlfriends' were given lots of gifts and allowed to spend allowances they were given on whatever they wanted. It was like paradise to them. They performed in fabulous theatres to Presidents and the like. Their world was tipped upside down, the down side is the returning to normality. Unfortunately, they arrived the day before the main management group from Scann left for Canada.

I have spent many hours listening and talking to the boys, they have all refused to go back to their schools as they have now surpassed their classmates, as schooling was high on their agenda whilst they were training. We have allowed them a few weeks to settle back to the routine of SCANN. As as result of their refusal to go back to their schools we have developed a learning programme that will keep their minds busy. I am doing alternative English (based more on daily requirements, reading, writing, form filling, public speaking etc) as opposed to text book learning. They are also to have maths lessons (not taught by me.......!!!)

The boys have come back with so much as far as personal items is concerned we have no where to store all their possessions as their lockers are too small. They have also come back with big big ideas that I am not sure can be fulfilled. They have cds with their performances which are fabulous, I will copy and bring back with me when I come. Hopefully more travelling will come their way as they were very highly regarded at the Circus School, who in fact wanted them to stay longer but problems with unrest in the country caused them to return.

I have, other than this, been busy with Dickson the boy (20 year old) who has TB. I get up every morning to ensure he takes his tablets on time and then have been counselling him as they required him to take an HIV test which he refused as he was too frightened. It has taken two weeks for me to listen to his worries and talk to him and reassure him that it is a good thing to know your status regardless of if you have TB or not. Yesterday, Dickson, his friend Peter (23) and I all went for HIV screening. It was an emotional event that no one else knew about, at their request, so in my break yesterday we went to the local VCT clinic which does testing. We sat through 45 mins of counselling, condom demonstration etc etc. We are all pleased with our results and the boys are now promoting that their friends also get tested, something that is frowned upon here, people would rather not know. I am teaching the fact that to know is to move forward responsibly with their lives, many of the boys have little family history, or family left to ask, so it is not a given that they are clear as they are not sexually active!

Well, this is a heavy email for today. To lighten the mood, my shamba is expanding, the Squash is taking over my patch, I have small fruits growing. My beans are all flowering, the potatoes too, I have tiny tomatoes on my cherry tomato plants and have since sown carrots. Everyone laughs at me in the size 8 wellies whilst I am tending my plants.

They all know that I am the crazy shosho!

Anyway, thanks for your emails.
Love to you all,


That's all for now folks!

Saturday, 12 May 2007

Oh what a week

Hi All,

where to begin. Hope you are all well is always a good start, and happy would be good!

About a month ago I took one of the older boys to the doctors with a chest infection, he was given the usual round of antibiotics and that was it. His chest insisted on not getting better. On Monday I wandered back to the doctors who requested a chest x-ray. In this country this is not an easy thing...... You go to the hospital and 'q' this is a very lose affair and you have to watch out as everyone 'jumps'! After the x-ray was done we asked for the radiographer to 'read' the x-ray, he wasn't in till Wednesday!

We walked into town to get it read privately at an X-ray clinic. Another 'Q' with a 2 hour wait. Results were not good, shadows on the lungs. Back to the doctor with the results which were in short hand and difficult for me to understand. The doctor said he needed to go to the TB clinic at the hospital. As it was late in the day this would have to wait until the next day.

Bright and early we set off, book, bottle of water, x-ray in hand. When we arrived walking to where we had been told Block A, we heard the voice of a preacher giving a sermon. Unfortunately for us he was preaching in the waiting area we were to sit in. Apparently when the preacher is preaching nothing else happens, everything stops. We waited for 20 minutes, it was so long, he had already been there for 20 mins apparently! When he had finished we were asked to sit and wait to see the Daktari. We did, however, being 'hospital doctor waiting room virgins' we were not aware of the antics performed by other patients when the doctors door is opened, apparently pushing, shoving, tripping are all part of the system for getting to see him. There is no system at all. Eventually I got my head round the system and glared down the woman who tried to push in front of us.

The doctor then looked at the x-ray, gave us a sputum container and asked us to take a sample to the lab NOW! The lab would then give us two more containers one for 5 am the next day and one for 6 am, then back to the lab, with the x-ray and sit and wait for the results.

Unhappy we duly complied with this request, the next day we also did as requested. We were told that the results were not going to be ready until 3pm, it was then 9am! I took Dickson into town we had chai and a cake and went back to the centre. In the afternoon the doctor confirmed he had TB. Dickson took this as a death sentence, it took a lot of talking to him to make him understand that because he was not very sickly the treatment would be fast acting on his complaint, although it is an 8 month treatment of 4 tablets at a time. They also request an HIV test to confirm there are not additional problems. He refused, but has since agreed to go back and have it done after a long long long long talk to put his mind at rest!

The doctor told me to take the boys who sleep in the beds beside Dickson for screening and also any boys that have any chest problems. I duly did this the next day, he suggested early. We were there by 9am, I had 4 older boys in tow. We were greeted by the preacher again..... at least it was a short sermon this time, but the Q was bigger. I was now versed in the antics of 'q-ing' no one was going to 'jump in'. Except for the soldiers who kept appearing with guns and prisoners in tow..... I decided I wouldn't argue with them it would not be appropriate!

We eventually went in, all he did was talk to the boys telling them if they feel ill go and see him! So much for screening, what a waste of time, as if I have nothing else to do. I gave him the glare from hell, when he said he wasn't going to test them.

We all went into town and had chai and cake then back to SCANN........

I now go into the dorm and wake Dickson everyday at 7.15 so that he takes his 4 pills at 7.30 as the doctor said without fail at the same time of day between 7.30 and 8.30! Dickson being a usual 22 year old sleeps late! I will invest in an alarm clock for him!

Ok that is all for now think that is enough reading for you.......... maybe more another day.

Love to all

Monday, 7 May 2007

Jambo from cold wet Kenya

Hi Everyone,

yes that's right cold and wet, my veggies are doing very well with all this rain! At this rate will have to go and buy some warm pj's!

I cant remember where I left off last time other than it wasn't good! Things have settled a bit now although I trust no one! Problems never get dealt with here they just let time heal them and they just disappear (NOT!!).

Yasmin and her management team leave tomorrow so I am ready for the games that will ensue. Our 6 boys are back in the country from China and I am looking forward to seeing how a year intensive acrobatic coaching will have changed them, they should be in Nakuru this afternoon.

I cant remember if I mentioned that Scann were pledged a free day trip for everyone, we had it last week on Tuesday (it was labour day which was an official holiday here) At 5.30am ten shuttle buses appeared at Scann and were loaded with boys to go to Nairobi to visit the animal orphanage at the Safari Park. It was a long trip but so much more comfortable than the last trip on the back seat of the school bus!

The boys had a great time, after the safari park we went to a shopping mall and wandered round then had lunch, not a small feat when there are 130 boys and staff to cater for! We all had a great time, I think the highlight of the boys day was finding that there was a lift in the Mall! They crammed as many of them as it would take and spent ages just going up and down. Nakuru only has one lift (as far as I am aware) and none of the boys have ever been in one!

On Thursday the gardener at Scann who speaks NO English came and tried to have an animated conversation with me. It didn't work too well, I later found out that someone had been harvesting all the crop from outside my house and it wasn't him!! I told everyone that it wasn't me either, just how much kale do they think I can eat! I let the gardener know with actions that I would keep an eye open for the culprit!

At 4am Friday morning I was rudely awoken by what I thought was a riot!! There was shouting, and many many people running around my house. I pulled on some clothes and went outside, apparently they had seen the kale thief and were in hot pursuit. Can you imaging 130 boys and the night staff running round trying to catch a thief in the dark, it was madness. There was no more sleep to be had that night, it was like the world cup all over again, so much noise.

In the morning I went to sign on duty only to find the thief had been locked in the office, he was a very old man and had taken a beating from everyone.... apparently that is how they deal with thieves here, apparently he was lucky to be still alive. I am so glad about that! I was a little distressed to see such behaviour that I spent all morning in my house doing last minute sewing for the boys as they are back to school this week. The thief was taken into custody but not after all the day staff who arrived on duty gave him a good thumping....... whilst many things here are developing punishment is still very brutal!. Many get hanged by mobs when caught!

About two hours into the morning a fight erupted between the gardener and the karate coach, apparently the gardener said the karate coach was also stealing veg, however the coach said he had been told he can have it in return for his services. A good punching match began but was soon dispersed. Apparently there were so many bad spirits at Scann that day! I was glad it was the start of my day off and I was headed to Nairobi (Again).

My trip to Nairobi was good, I had to get my taxi friend Jenga to book me a room at the usual place (Parkside) as I couldn't find the phone number. When I arrived in Nairobi I offered to take him for a beer to say thank you. At 8.30 we headed out for a drink............. then another and another, I did point out that I did say one drink! He took me to many local bars that had live music so I could experience the differences! It was great, as usual I was the only non Kenyan! Everyone wanted to dance with me, men and women. Eventually got back at 2.30 am after being told to drive the taxi as he couldn't! He was very impressed with my driving and said that it was OK for me to buy a car if I wanted to as he wouldn't be worried that I would struggle with the driving in Kenya!

I did actually look at some cars as I was told Nairobi was the cheapest place to buy a car. James the acrobatic coach from Nairobi met me on Saturday having set up some car viewings, not quite what I had in mind, one was a custom job on a mini clubman! it had a garden spade attached to the boot door instead of a handle! It was blue and white with a union Jack on the aerial! Can just see me bombing around in it! Crazy woman in the mini!! Anyway am biding my time as I first need to get a Kenyan driving license.

Whilst with James he showed me around the project he is attached to the Nairobi Slums, it was really well organised, they only have 60 boys there, and do the same as Scann, educate, house, feed, cloth. They do however encourage their creative skills, doing drama, dance, acrobatics, art, crafts and many more. They have created various workshops and train the boys in them, wood crafts, mechanics, welding, furniture making, it is really good, I suggested this for Scann last year but it wasn't acted on. They get the skilled people from the community to help by offering them the use of the equipment and workshops in return for teaching skills, all produce is sold in the community and various craft outlets.

I am keeping my options open as far as what happens when I decide to leave Scann!!!!! I will think further on this subject!

Anyway, I hope you are all well, I had a bad throat infection this week but a short course of antibiotics has wiped it out. The cold weather is dampening my spirits. I forgot to mention my trip back to Nakuru started with me sitting in the Mololine shuttle office having booked my seat at 10am yesterday (Sunday) I then sat for 4 hours waiting for an available shuttle to come ......... I forgot as the schools are back this week it is a very busy time for the shuttles! Boy was I tired, 4 hours wait and 3 hours of bumpy roads back to Nakuru, only to find when I got here the heavens had opened and I got totally soaked! I arrived back at Scann with an aching rear, headache, looking like a drowned rat, all I wanted was a hot chocolate and a hot bath, neither of which was forth coming! Mind you, I got the hot chocolate before I fell into bed at 1030pm! I woke up this morning still exhausted.

I decided to come to the internet early as it always rains in the afternoon and I get cold and wet and miserable, so here I am bright and early. Also as the China boys are due back this afternoon I think a great deal of mirth and merriment will be forthcoming and don't want to miss the boys excitement.

Love to you all, take care, be well.


Hugs to everyone.

People here scare me they all keep asking if I want another baby..... have no idea what they are on! DRUGS maybe! I keep saying I have a child that has a child and I have another who could have but doesn't want...... NO I DON'T WANT ANOTHER BABY!!!!!!! I think its a compliment as they see how I am with the kids here, they think my talents are wasted and I should have a football team!

Ok going now! xxxxxx will try and be more regular on the emails as sorry for the long one.


Friday, 27 April 2007

One Day at a Time

Hi Everyone,

thought I would drop you a line so that Nick would not be too bored on his Saturday morning whilst eating his toast and drinking his cup of tea!!! He likes a good giggle.

Just to let you know that things are getting better, well bearable, although everyone is getting ready for the 'grown-ups' to leave us in a week for 6 weeks, you know what they say...... while the cats away the mice will play. The people who oversee Scann are leaving us for a trip I cant wait to see what GAMES will be played in their absence. I am R E A D Y !!

Today I thought I had finished adapting the powerpoint presentation that I have been working on for Scann since last September!!!!! Unfortunately, there are a few amendments since the last viewing........ any idea how bored I am of this presentation but I know it is good for SCANN so it makes it worth doing.

I needed a voice recording from John Ndolo our University student, of a speech he had done. I havent seen him in a while so I talked teacher Kombo into recording it for me, it wasnt quite the same. A miracle happened last night at about 930pm John appeared at Scann (he lives at the University campus) I explained what I wanted and he and I sat outside my kitchen door in the dark, using an extension lead connected to where my fridge should be plugged in. We drank hot chocolate whilst he attempted to record quotes from his speech. The reason for this late night exercise was my meeting today with Yasmin to see the finished article, and he was leaving very early to go to university.

We sat under the security light, laptop in hand, providing a banquet for the huge swarm of mosquitos that we have at the moment at Scann. The reason for sitting outside prevents me from any further false allegations being made against me!! By that time of night the office and other buildings were locked up and the boys were chilling in their dorms so no where to do this.

Everytime John managed to get his speech done correctly the local dogs would start barking loudly spoiling it or the cock from next would start crowing.... (its clock must be wrong) it took him aprox 15 attempts............. it was so tiresome and uncomfortable and today I am sporting major bites from the mosquitos (not John), that was whilst using mosi repellent!! Mind you we did have a good laugh, it was like something from a comedy programme.

This afternoon was my 'off' afternoon so I spent 3 hours of it in the meeting with Yasmin ........ not sure how that worked out!

Tonight I am off out with James (Jemo) the Acrobatic coach who is visiting us from Serakasi Nairobi, we are planning on going to Sumit although no one else is here to go out with so may end up at our friend Veronicas, Garden Villa, it now has a great dance floor and music and is closer to Scann. If that doesnt work then there is always Travellers which is next door and always busy, but dont tell Veronica!

Tomorrow, Tom C (who has been using my laptop to produce his own music), has been invited to perform at a cultural event at one of the local hotels it will be music and local dancing. I am hoping to make it there as it should be a good show, I need to start using my freetime as freetime before I burn myself out. I will let you know how it goes.

Question: Whilst I accept that my arms, feet, neck, face and even ears get bitten to pieces, please can someone explain how I ended up with 6 bites on my rear??????? I complained to the old Housemother about it this morning and she asked me if I slept in the nude!! (How rude) I informed her that it was so cold I wore pyjamas and also had the cover of my mosquito net every night............ So answers on a post card please to........

I need to get off to the shops as I ran out of matches this morning so couldnt even have my morning cup of kenyan tea, always a good start to the day.

Kimberley, have a good time out with the family tonight, give them all my love and let them know their messages or support help me greatly!

Dad, forgot to mention thanks for your email of concern when I was 'so lost'! a term that is used so often here, it means they havent heard or seen you for a while and its said in such a deep and sincere way it makes you feel like you were really 'lost'.

Ok cuppa is calling and another aerobics session this afternoon, to get rid of all my pent up frustrations with the Kenyan way.

Love, hugs, and all that stuff,


Sunday, 22 April 2007

I have not been kidnapped

Well, so much to say and too many emotions to put it into words.

Other than to say that I am well, I am having big problems with 'staff' which has taken a lot of my time and nearly all of my energy, patience, etc........ as a result I am looking to branch out. I am keeping my ears to the ground to find something else where people actually want me there to help.

There has been an effort to discredit me by someone who should know better. There is no truth in the accusations and evidence has been planted to help with the story. I am now forced to prove my innocence which leaves me with a very heavy heart.

I must admit the problems have shown me that there are good people here, ones who when the chips are down will come forward, even if I did tell them to do it on their own behalf and not mine!

I will not go into details other than to say, it makes me sad.

I managed to get through both the fund raising events which have proved to be very well received. Hopefully it will generate good funds and awareness for SCANN. The Boys are fabulous, and have realised there are major problems going on, which in itself it difficult. I have taken a long hard think about leaving and in my heart know its for the best. If I stay things will get worse and affect the running of the place which will then affect the boys.

I have been to visit a lady that Ailsa my friend, is working with. Diana, affectionately known as 'Mama Sweetie' is a nurse who is single handedly trying to help the people of her village, Kampi ya Moto (I think that's it!) Most of the children in the village are being brought up by their grandparents who are not capable of looking after them or providing for them due to being too old, infirmed or just too poor. The children are orphans due to AIDS, it is a very rural area and has been forgotten.
Ailsa and Mama Sweetie have put forward a proposal to build an orphanage for the children, both with and without HIV to be able to relieve some of the problems in the village. I have told them both I would be willing to help but not able to be a financial aid for them (I am a poor shosho!)

I am still looking into it, will keep you posted, I am not ready to come home yet, too much to do and see here. May be living the basic life though..... if I thought Nakuru was was basic, Kampi ya Moto is Stonehenge! At least I can remember how to milk a cow for breakfast cereal, can't do without the Weetabix.

Anyway, really just wanted you all to know I am still here.

Love you all,
take care.

Think happy thoughts for me PLEASE!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, 24 March 2007

24th March 2007

Dear All,
I heard from Kimberley that my last email was blank, I then tried to get to the internet for a week only to find one problem after another. We have had a lot of difficulties with power cuts and the system being so slow.

I am still alive, but still having staff issues...... don't you just love them. wont bore you with the details, other than to say, over here, you work with people NEVER consider them as friends!! Is that bad of me to say? I am learning the hard way!!

The blank email I typed you was 'war and peace' relating to Nathalie's visit, we had a great time, the 'safari' (trip) was amazing, we managed to cram so much into such a short time. Nathalie went home feeling like she had been here a month. The jeep we hired only just managed to hold out for the duration and died on Ailsa when she left us at Fisherman's camp. Nathalie and I were very pleased to be awarded the sight of Hippos at Fisherman's Camp, they came out of water at nightto graze and Nathalie had talked to the security guard who woke us at about 2am to let us know the hippos were out. (David in case you are wandering - he was doing his rounds and came and knocked on our door!!!)

I feel a little lonesome now Nats has gone but am keeping very very busy. The boys don't let me relax. I have joined their acrobat/aerobics class every afternoon, they are amazed at how I manage to keep up and keep smiling, (what they don't know is that I am totally pooped and spend the night rubbing my aching muscles). They keep saying they want me to take part in their acrobatic show, NO WAY!!

Nathalia's marbles that she brought over with her are going down a storm, boys love them, although I am being constantly asked for more, um think they are getting greedy.

On the 21st April we are off to our fund raising in Nairobi which I am looking forward to. We are squeezing too many kids on a bus - heading for Nairobi at 1300 hrs on a bad road (Nats will agree re the road) the show starts at 8pm before which we have to do a practice run, as it's a new venue! The show will end about 1am and then we ......... wait for it ........ drive all the way back at night, I am so looking forward to that trip! I will have the duty of looking after the little ones, Mwangi included, hope they wont all be throwing up en route (I will be prepared just in case) Mary Poppins here I come.

I am now the owner of a lovely shamba (veggie patch to you). I have worked on the plot, cleared it, turned it over, cleared stones, and raked, it is lovely. I have planted, squash, melon, beans and in seed trays I have grown some cherry tomato plants (Thanks Nats!) The rainy season is on our doorstep so planting was quick (no idea how things grow out here without seasons, maybe I will have constant supply of cherry tomatoes, cant wait!)

Ok this was an abridged version of the last email I sent. Hope you are all very well. I am out to Alisa's 'leaving surprise get together' that SHE told me about, although wont be out long, got aerobics before I go shuffling to the do!

Love to you all, Nats I think you will be reading this tonight have fun.

Ok you guys who is coming over next, the spare bed is ready and sheets washed!!

Snogs all round.

Love to everyone, even those I have forgotten to mention, I think of you all everyday it is so warm here, its lovely... he he. My tan is fading as haven't got time to visit the pool. Not happy about that.

Ok going going going GONE!



Friday, 16 March 2007

Sniffing Madly

Ok, so I know it has been a while but have been a busy bee.

I am typing this at home to save time tomorrow at the internet.

Paul-Simon's trip was great I can only hope HE enjoyed it! At the end of his first week I decided that I had had enough of the ‘fundis’ and their terrible work that I got rid of them and told them unless they corrected all their bad work they needn’t come back, I wanted a week of freedom from their loitering round the house making a mess. It was great, peace and quiet.

I have no idea where my last email left off other than I think I wrote it on my birthday. Had a great time, had ordered a cake 18” square from Sweet Mart my local ‘treat’ place that does cakes and deserts. We collected the cake in Nicks taxi, we couldn’t put it in the boot as in the morning we had been round Lake Nakuru and it had filled with red dust from the road. We tried to get it in the back of the car but couldn’t, in the end three of us levered it in whilst Paul-Simon guided in from the inside of the back seat. He ended up lying under the cake and holding it firm all the way to Scann.

The boys were all assembled and waiting eagerly to sing happy birthday to me and couldn’t wait to get their hands on the cake. Cutting it was a very messy and technical event trying to make sure that everyone got a slice, small as it maybe.

After Scann we left for a night of drinking and dancing at Travellers with two of the female teachers from Scann and Ruth and Ester friends from town. We danced and made merry and had a great time, I think we got in at about 2.30am considering I thought it would only be a few drinks we did well. Ruth appeared with another birthday cake which was soon eaten.

Paul-Simon and I decided to paint the lounge and even if I have to say so myself did a fantastic job, the huge fireplace is Tibet Yellow and the room is Tango orange (you have to see it to appreciate it). As we had no decorating clothes PS borrowed an old pair of my shorts and T-shirt – he looked really cute, (he will hate me for saying so but I have the pictures to blackmail him with).

There has been little rain so the shamba is struggling, especially as I have a lovely pipe and shamba tap connected out in the shamba but no water source connected to it, have to use a bucket. (Just as I am typing this the heavens have opened the first time in many days, God must be reading this as it is being typed). Don’t you just love the smell of rain after a dry spell?

Paul-Simon and I left for Naivasha on Saturday and being lazy we got Nick to give us a lift, unfortunately I left it too late to book at my usual Fishermans Camp and ended up at the one next door which was ‘different’. Unknown to us there was a charity fishing competition on the Sunday and everyone assembled in the bar on Saturday evening for pre-event drinks and merriment. It was crazy, all talking about, did you guess………… fish. They had a raffle which was for fishing boats which was amusing as the people who owned the boats had to give a little description of the boat and its past uses, made me laugh. One man was called Ashish he said it was Hashish without the ‘H’ he was funny, everyone wanted to be on his boat as it has Hashish on it!!

That night we didn’t hear any hippos and the next morning we set off to Hells Gate to hire bikes after a cooked breakfast and packing a small bag of supplies. Paul-Simon wasn’t sure about this trip as he kept asking how far it was. We got our bikes and set off, it seemed further than I remembered and other than zebra, baboons and gazelle there wasn’t a lot of wildlife that I could see, birds, but have no idea which ones, they had wings and feathers… (sorry John!) We eventually arrived at the gorge and had our lunch, were given a guide to escort us through the gorge, (he couldn’t speak a lot of English and wasn’t talkative so I tried to give Paul-Simon the low down myself). It was a lovely but exhausting day. When we finished in the gorge we then started the long and painful cycle ride back, Paul-Simon wasn’t too happy by this stage.

We got a matatu on the main road and got off at Fisherman's Camp where we chilled and had a good steak dinner. We didn’t realise how the time had gone and it was now pitch dark and we had to make our way back to our camp down the road. We walked up the hill and managed to grab a matatu heading in our direction, unfortunately, he ignored what I said and went speeding past our campsite, when he eventually stopped was probably the same distance as it would have taken us to walk from Fisherman's camp.

We would have slept well that night had it not been for Paul-Simon having an allergic reaction to the blanket that he used that night. He woke up at about 3.30am in a very congested state and very uncomfortable, after a while I decided to clear his nose we should go for a walk to see the hippos as I could hear some of them calling. We didn’t see any and think they must have been at Fisherman's camp instead. We got back to bed and he fitfully slept till morning when we left for Nairobi.

We had two days in Nairobi doing all the shopping things and looking for fabric for curtains, I think at this point Paul-Simon OD’d on curtains. I found some interesting designs and carried samples back with me.

Jenga (my Nairobi friendly cabbie) took us to the airport for the drop off - always a difficult time – but I was glad we had had two good weeks together, something that we hadn’t had since Paul-Simon left home. Afterwards Jenga wanted to take me for a Tuska beer (to make me happy). We went to the same place he took me to last time where they had local music and dancing and we stayed until 430am……… I was to put it mildly – happy and exhausted having danced the night away. It was good though almost a ritual departure event.

I have been to Scann twice since I am back from Nairobi and spent most of my time there shaving hair, I can see that I will be doing more this week too.

Anyway it is now getting darker and I need to think about cooking some food…….

Oh forgot to mention what happened when the foreman of the work at my house came round this week to ‘talk’. I was ready with a list of things that I have asked him and his men to put right on their time and money before I think about them starting any further work.

On Friday he appeared with another worker and together they started filling and sanding walls that had already been painted badly without any preparation and scraping paint off the floor, it took them hours. While they were doing this I sanded down the walls of the dining room and painted them using the roller and not one drop of paint appeared on the floor. I asked them if they wanted me to show their painters how to paint with a roller, as their guy had refused to use the roller as ‘it made too much mess’. He then continued to paint with a brush leaving paint all over the floor which has been a job and a half for them to clean off……. I am not sure they were happy with my suggestion but I think my point reached its goal.

Ok am now going, really.

Lots of love to you all,

Susannah (sniffling with a heavy cold!)