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.