Monday, 26 February 2007


Hi Everyone,

well being the bad mother I am, I am in Kenya for Kimberleys 21st Birthday so I want everyone to mentally wish her a fab one.


21 TODAY!!!!!!

I will email you all tomorrow as I will type the message tonight. I have big meeting today that has been postponed so many times now. I am soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo
looking forward to it!

I have been rather unwell last week on my trip the Mount Kenya Hostel but that's another story.....

Take care will chat to you all tomorrow.


Saturday, 17 February 2007

Post Valentine's News from Kenya

Hi there,

Ok I didn't get to sit down the other night and prepare my email to you so it is off the cuff and probably a bit disjointed.

Valentines was fun, I wandered round town in my 2 hour break and there were so many people wearing red and carrying flowers I felt a bit left out. I shouldn't have though, everyone was in jovial spirits offering to be my valentine, how nice is that. You will be pleased to know I attended a Board meeting that evening and then went back to my room and did loads of sewing! How romantic.

I am having a few personality issues with one person at SCANN who last time I was here was fine, this time I think she finds me a threat as I am working closely with 'Management' and she has spent the last 6 years getting by doing very little and getting paid for it. She is making life a bit hard and I am later to visit Yasmin to report on the problems. I could manage the situation until she started using the boys as pawns in her game which is now making them suffer. Something I think you will agree I WON'T put up with.

This has been a great month for SCANN - we had some visitors from America who are based with a Foundation called CEDAR which actively helps projects to educate children. They have visited us before last year and spent 6 months going round Africa looking for projects to help. out of the 50 they looked at they chose 3, SCANN being one of them. They have signed an undertaking to cover ALL educational costs, including books, uniforms, school fees (including college and University) for ALL 130 boys. They are looking at minimum comitment of 5 years. As you can imagine this is a huge undertaking and has enabled us to breath a huge sigh of relief. The boys at SCANN are hard working as far as education is concerned and the worry was how to fund the boys as they grow through school, college and (as one boy has shown it is possible) UNIVERSITY.

I have been amazed to hear how boys set watches and alarms to wake them at 3am so they can study BEFORE going to school. They put our kids to shame. I have often been asked to help with studies for the older boys, the major problem is it is usually MATHS - you all know me - this is my WORST subject and looking at the level they are working on - there is NO WAY I can even think about helping - I have no idea what it is all about! I am actively listening to the younger boys reading and helping where needed with English and creative work. That's about my limit..... I feel so useless on that front. If any of you strong in MATHS want to visit please let me know.

I am hopeful that whatever problems that I have been facing will be sorted and I will be able to continue my work - I often think about the small boy with his face to the kitchen window telling me that I am here at SCANN to make it a better place. I am not sure if it was a statement or a request! When I am feeling low it is what I think about most.

February is a busy month birthday wise and I hope all those with birthdays have had and will have a great time, know I am thinking of you.

My sister Nathalie is crossing off the days now until she comes to see me. I wish her well.

The boys at SCANN are having a great time in their PE lessons using the kiddies bikes, it was such a small thing for me to arrange for the bikes to be serviced and it is giving so much pleasure I constantly ask myself why no one sorted it out before now.

I am hoping to go to Mount Kenya for some mental relaxation for a few days next week with Ailsa, I do need it or I will go crazy, after my whacky conversations with Kimberley I think she will strongly agree!!!

I managed to MAJOR flood my rooms this week, it took me well over an hour to slop all the water out, the water actually came over the top of my shoes. I must find a way of remembering to turn off the tap after trying it - when the water is off. I must admit I was very stressed, over tired, angry and very rushed off my feet, I cried in frustration. I spent the next day wringing out two huge grain bags of donated clothes that had been sitting in my store and hanging them out to dry!! I am hoping that they are now all dry as left them out overnight as went for an evening off to Ailsas, we didn't go out just chilled watching dvd's.

If anyone ever asks me if I had a good 'holiday' in Kenya I thing I will have to ignore the comment as I don't think I would be able to answer them, this is the hardest I have worked in my life. Coming home will feel like a holiday.

Note for Martyn at First Drinks, have found the only chinese restaurant here, apparently it is very good, so will save that for a special occasion, ummmmmmmmm crispy aromatic duck!!!!!!

As you may know we are all becoming vegetarians here, after my last trip I must admit it is something that I am doing anyway, we are having problems with meat being associated with Rift Valley Fever, something like our mad cow disease I think. There goes my only pleasure - peppered steak is now off the menu at Hotel Merica!

Oh just remembered, NATHALIE, don't forget your bikini and suntan lotion, we W
ill get to hotel Merica for sunbathing at the pool, I am taking the week off....!!!!!

There are two fund raising events being planned for SCANN one is the week Nathalie is over here in Nakuru - not sure if I will get to that one, the other is in Nairobi in April a huge affair should be good. I thought whilst lying awake in my bed last night that I may get the small boys to do the HUNGRY CATERPILLAR - Kimberley did it at school and it was good. Just got to get to grips with sorting the props!!

Love to you all, take care, most of all embrace life and have fun.


Wednesday, 14 February 2007

Valentine's Day


Wishing you all a very happy valentines day. It is crazy here, lots of people are wearing red to celebrate valentines or carrying flowers. I seem to be attracting attention as everyone I pass offers to be my valentine. I keep trying to explain that I am quite happy NOT having one!!

Will write email tonight to update you all.

Love to everyone.


Thursday, 8 February 2007

8th February 2007


Hi there, well having missed my Swahili lesson last week as I was with the acrobats at Egerton University Founders day, I had some catching up to do. I copied all the vocabulary down and managed even to write 5 sentences as required for homework. What I didn’t manage to do was to learn the vocabulary…… oh do I wish I had, the teacher kept talking to us individually using the words and we had to translate or do what he asked us to do. I was to put it mildly ‘shown up’ for not learning my words! I will endeavour to spend time this week doing two weeks worth of learning.

Yesterday I made a decision to pay for the small bikes to be serviced, those of you who received my emails from my last trip will know that SCANN had a large donation of bikes and whilst I was here last time I made sure the big bikes were serviced, labelled and given out to the older boys. At the same time I was aware that there were 10 small bikes for the little boys to use, sitting still in plastic wrapping as no one would take responsibility for their supervised use.

Today you will be pleased to hear the ‘fundi’ (repair/service man) is here sorting out the baby bikes so that pre-unit (the 4 year olds) and standard 1 (5-6 year olds) can use the bikes supervised during their PE lessons. I will take photos as I am sure it will be an amusing sight!

I am to hold my first staff meeting today, should be fun, not sure if any of the staff will take the opportunity to discuss any issues out in the open but they will be given the chance to anyway. Wish me luck.

Things here are starting to come together, I have organised some log books for work that needs to be carried out at SCANN, i.e. If anyone finds something not working or needs repairing, or even something that we need to purchase, we log it in the book. This is so that when the ‘fundi’ comes he can do all the work at one visit instead of coming for a missing light, then having to come back for something else. It is obviously working as on Monday and Tuesday we had the carpenter, the electrician and the plumber all here carrying out work that has been needed at SCANN since I was here last, people have been making do, some of the things are safety issues that we are now addressing that have been overlooked.

I am finally feeling that my role here is achieving something. Lets hope it lasts.

OK it is now tomorrow (9th February) as typed this yesterday, we gave out the baby bikes today for the three little ones to use, they were so happy. Afterwards we cleaned the bikes, oiled and polished too, they were proud as punch. The older boys who can use the other 7 bikes were pleased too although it was a lesson in cycling as none of them could, the little ones had stabilizers so were quite happy the older ones didn't. It was really good to watch the other boys helping each other to learn to ride, a real bonding moment.

My meeting went Ok I think, although it will require a lot of follow up work on my behalf. Last night we had a very long power cut. I was sitting as the only adult with all the boys in the dining hall when the lights went out, luckily I had taken my torch lamp with me........ unfortunately, one of the house masters swipped it to go and look for some alternative lighting. Needless to say sitting in the pitch dark with 100 boys all of whom were intent on scaring me to bits, tickling my legs and neck to make me think it was insects!!! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. I eventually remembered my mobile, which I kept jabbing to get the screen light on, unfortunately the battery only lasted 15 mins before that too died. I managed to rally all the boys back to their dorms and found my only candle which I gave to the housemother who stays with the small boys. We all had an early night....... boy did I need it.

Today a lot of the boys had the day off school, this would have been OK if we had staff at SCANN to cover it. Today is Raphael's day off, Kombo the head teacher had to leave to discuss scholarship issues at a school, one teacher was called away. I was left with one volunteer and one teacher for 90 kids split into three classes, interesting, especially as I was down to do sewing repairs all day. (Not a lot was done) it was hard enough to get the boys settled doing anything, I think they hoped it would be party time (NOT!)

OK I've got to go as writing this I remembered the candles which I have to buy.

Love to you all.


Saturday, 3 February 2007


Hey I got my first official time out yesterday finishing at 1300 Friday and then I return today at 1300. Had a relaxing afternoon beside the pool at Hotel Merica (you can sunbath here on their sunbeds by the pool for free, if you swim you get their towel and you pay 200ks, I usually only sunbath!) I had about one hour of sunshine and then the clouds came and the heavens opened. I was so determined to have a good afternoon off that I stayed with music on ipod, bikini on, drink in hand and sat under a sun umbrella writing my cards. Everyone else had deserted the poolside but I was happy in my own little world. The pool guy and the waiters kept running out to check that the crazy woman was OK, I even got a FREE ice cream sundae as they said I looked as though I was enjoying myself. I explained it was my first afternoon off and a 'little' rain wasn't going to spoil it.

I then went for dinner with Ailsa (co ordinator from i-to-i who I became friends with on my last trip and two other volunteers) we then dressed up and went out on the town. We had managed a night out last Saturday but as my afternoon off was Friday we went out Friday night instead. How different it was from last week (last week was grab a white woman night at Sumit, it was crazy, Ailsa and I spent the whole evening avoiding people who kept following us around, I think they all want white wives out here!!) Last night the music was more traditional and we managed a lot of dancing unhindered - fabulous! This morning after staying with the girls I got my first lay-in until 9.30 ah it was great, Ailsa and I then headed for a couple of hours back to the pool, that was a bad move as I am now in no mood to go back to work!

I thought I would cram in a quick email as tomorrow in my break I am heading to Veronica's restaurant, (she was the lady I stayed with last year) to do some more cooking and food preparation, well she lets me stay at her house and feeds me so I thought I could do my bit and learn to cook at the restaurant at the same time, it also gives my brain time out from SCANN! Two hours isn't really enough to do anything in especially as the boda bodas are scarce whenever I want one in a hurry to get into town. No I have not yet used my bike...... I will soon though, cant keep spending money on Taxis and bodas.

Oh forget to share a moment with you, on Thursday evening whilst sat with the boys having their dinner the heavens opened, no one had suitable jackets etc but that wasn't a problem, no one, especially the boys are worried about a little rain. James Mwangi my 4 year old friend was the only one ready for the weather. He had been wearing a little pair of paddington bear wellies, (the short ones but in blue) all day. The image is his skinny little legs being flapped about when he walked around in them as he had no socks. When it started pouring with rain he wanted to leave the hall, I stared and had to laugh, he whipped off his wellies tucked them under his jacket and ran to the dorm in his bare feet so that his wellies wouldn't get wet. I couldn't stop laughing, he was the only one with suitable shoes for the weather and he was afraid to spoil them.

OK its time to go, I hear you are having a warmer time of it at the moment, not as warm as here though.

Lots of love,