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!)

Monday, 5 March 2007

Officially a Kenyan

Ok, sorry for the email silence but have been very sickly. Turns out that having gone for blood test last week I have malaria - so I am now a true Kenyan. At least I know what is wrong with me. Having taken some tablets which made me feel like the 'walking dead', mind you after how I was feeling it didn't really matter. Four days on and I am feeling so much better, my joints are no longer aching, no more vomiting and I am starting to eat again. The boys got really worried and said they were praying for me to get better, it made me cry!

I am making sure I am well for my sisters visit as we are planning a real 'girlie trip' with my friend Ailsa from Scotland - we are hiring a jeep and taking off for five days, should be fun. Ailsa came to visit me while I was sick and I know she has been under the weather for a few weeks. I told her to get a blood test too as it could also be malaria, she left me and went to be tested, turns out she has Typhoid! She has been here a year and no problems, I was here for four months last year no one had any problems. This year we are dropping like flies - crazy.

I was advised to continue taking the Larium as I really don't want the cerebral malaria which is the killer - I agreed!!

Even whilst lying sick on Friday I rushed into action as one of our boys was involved in a bike accident and had a bad fracture of his elbow, blood was everywhere. As we have no vehicle and ambulances are none existent I called my friend Nick who acted as ambulance and we shot the boy to the nearest hospital. He was seen two hours later and admitted. He is in surgery today to have the arm set, out here they don't do things quickly, it would be unheard of to wait so long in Uk, especially as they sent him back to the dorm on Saturday afternoon to wait for his operation. I was in charge of looking after him, nightmare that was. He was worried that they would make him loose all his blood in the operation so I sat him down and we had a long talk about how I thought the operation would be carried out and what he would expect.

Yesterday, Fabian (a volunteer from Germany) and I had a dance party in the dining hall for all the boys, needless to say I was totally exhausted by the time I fell into bed last night, I had forgotten to sew one of the older boys trousers with a patch on his bottom as he had gone through his trousers, so I sat in my kitchen before I went to bed and completed that little task - it was done badly as most of the time I struggled to keep my eyes open, he was very grateful that I did them though, so I was pleased.

I have changed bedrooms as the one I had was a shoe box, we did this on Thursday when I was feeling particularly bad and had visited the doctors in the morning and was awaiting my blood test results. The room I have now used to be used as a storage room, it was packed from floor to ceiling with blankets, pillows, towels, curtains, etc etc, but the room was big enough to take two beds for when Nathalie visits next week. The alternative of two in a diddy single bed was not appealing!!

I am still settling in but the room is so much better, much quieter and more storage. Still must sort out a bed for Nats though!

OK we are busy practicing for our boys Fund raising event on the 17th March, and evening of entertainment.... I look forward to it.

I haven't been out partying recently or even to Hotel Merica - am very behind and need some chilling time, so look forward to my sisters visit.

Ok will leave you all now. Take care, speak to you again soon.


ps. Apologies so much to write as I haven't been on line its probably all over the place!

Saturday, 3 March 2007

A birthday hi to you all!

Hi to Everyone,
and many many many thanks for all your Happy Birthday wishes. I booked an early morning trip to Lake Nakuru for Paul-Simon and I it was great. Nick the taxi friend took us round before the hoards of tourists showed up. It was lovely, herds of Zebra, rhino, water buffalo and the enormous flocks of pink flamingo. What a great way to spend my birthday, wish you could all have joined me.

I have ordered a HUGE cake to take to Scann to share with the boys this afternoon, it is adequate for 150 people, in chocolate and cream, hope I get it there in one piece. Nick loves me today, as he is booked pretty much all day with the park, picking up the cake and taking to Scann then ferrying myself and friends to Travellers for booze and dancing later, he will then knock off and join in!

Just to let you all know I have sacked the fundis as they were doing such a bad job, I told them it would be better for me to do it myself. Paul-Simon and I have tackled the lounge it is F A B, bright orange with a canary yellow chimney breast and fireplace, it looks really good as it is such a huge room. We had lots of fun painting it standing on the rickety stage and ladder made from my chicken house..........!

I will have to find an electrician to put right the work the last one did and get the plumber back to rectify his leaking loo. Other than that all is fine. My crops are starting to come through, I have bought a hose and sprinkler, although until the shamba tap is connected the hose is too short!!!! Bucket watering is a bit hard on 1/4 acre! I am planning on doing everything pole pole (slowly slowly) as is the Kenyan style. Love to you all, hugs to my relatives, and anyone else who wants one.

Keith, so pleased to get your email was wandering if you were still connected! The internet has been so bad recently that every time I get to the internet cafe it dies, maybe something to do with me????? I look forward to some of you coming to visit when the house is done, obviously at the moment it is a building site, Paul-Simon will vouch for that. Missing you all today (and everyday but today more than ever!)

Susannah xxxxxxx