Thursday, 26 June 2008

Back in the Uk - hangover too!

Hi Everyone,

just to let you all know I arrived yesterday safe and sound. My only problem was the rather large hangover that I was dragging round with me. This was due to accepting the traditional Nairobi trip 'tusker beer' from my friend Jenga in Nairobi. It never is 'a' beer, I fell into bed at around 1 am on Wednesday morning, (fully clothed as it was cold), forgot to set my phone to alarm and was woken at 5.45 am by Jenga telling me his taxi friend was waiting for me outside the hotel. Good job he phoned or I would still be there now. Needless to say I travelled in Tuesday nights clothes and threw the things strategically placed round my room for early shower etc into the huge bag that I had with me.

I must have looked like the wreck of the Hesperous at the airport (not sure of spelling but I am sure my father will put me right)! I stumbled on auto pilot through passport control, etc and only had a bit of difficulty and the double x-ray machines, as usual had to remove belt, this with laptop etc occupying arms, clutching removed jacket and bag juggling act ensued, resulting in problems walking with baggy jeans quickly descending down my hips, from one machine to another a matter of about 15 strides, not sure what they think will change between the two machines as you can't go anywhere en route. It only resulted in me almost embarrassing myself by losing my jeans, the last step to the x-ray machine was one of the John Cleese funny walk strides in order to stop the jeans descending lower than appropriate in public. I think they do this on purpose to have a laugh, the customs people know people wear baggy fashions now, especially those returning from some time in Kenya - everyone loses weight. Next time must remember to wear scarf belt or shorts under my jeans!

I am busy sorting out work clothes in the vain hope that the agencies manage to find me work for Monday as need to make a million before I return to Kenya - (kidding but it would be nice!)

If anyone knows of any temp positions going for a month in Southampton area please let me know. Anything within reason considered!! OK I am sure in the fullness of time I will get to speak to you all, no mobile yet but will let you know as soon as sorted.
Love to you all,

Thursday, 19 June 2008

No water - No electric but still loving it!

Hi Everyone,
hope you are all well and happy.

I prepared this email at home and can't remember what's in it, have been back and forth from town and every time they are without electricity, there is a major replacement of electrical power lines, (not sure what the problem is with the water supply though probably no electricity to pump the water...... whatever) . Read on .... and hopefully enjoy. For all of you that have kindly offered to help with collecting me, Nathalie my sister has managed to re arrange her family to collect me. THANK YOU XXXXXX.

Looking at my watch trying to see the date reminds me I really must arrange an appointment with the optician and the dentist. I am really struggling to thread needles a problem when I am doing all the sewing for the boys, usually when I am at Scann doing hand sewing I ask one of the boys sitting with me, usually Mwangi, he threads it in a second and beams in satisfaction that he could and I couldn’t, sign of age unfortunately!!

I have seen how the dentists work out here there is little preventative and repair work done. You have a problem you remove the tooth, that easy. They aren’t too great with the pain killers or anesthetics either having been with one of the older boys during an extraction I vowed to never need attention out here.

The medical clinic at Scann is doing well, I am so glad I pushed for it and regular medical attendances. The Doctor is still coming once a week and seeing ‘patients’, many have problems with skin complaints at the moment, lots of skin rashes that we cant fathom. I have trained Anastasia to stand in whilst I am away, she seems to have grasped the system, my only worry is the stock checking, as the Scann Board will be watching us closely with all the drugs we have on site. I am doing a handover stock count this week to cover myself and hope Anastasia is good with hers. Trust is something that is not highly given over here, the medical clinic has come about because I am trusted, something that Anastasia will be working hard to earn.

I am sewing for Kenya at the moment, I think word has got around that I am leaving soon. I have a problem, I know that boys aren’t just giving me repairs, they want alterations done too, designer fashion. I try where I can but have my limitations. It is great to see their faces when I manage to produce what they have dreamed of having.

The boys are wandering what will happen when I return to the UK as I am their only Kinyozi, (barber). Three months down the line and I think they will all need major sheering. What annoys me is that the boys get beaten at school if they don’t keep their hair cut, it makes no difference if they come from a place like Scann or a nice family. Problem is that with 138 boys it is hard to keep on top of the shaving especially as some of the boys are rarely seen by me as they return at 6pm in the evening and leave before 6am. I refuse to leave my clippers for general use as they have managed to get through 4 pairs, I can’t afford to keep replacing them.

On Wednesday this week I went to the water office to tell them that it has been a month since I was told on a Friday that I would have a new meter fitted on the Monday….. needless to say they didn’t come. I went to tell them that it was in their interest to come and replace the meter as it had now stopped recording altogether. I was told that an engineer would be with me the next day, I informed them as it was my day off I would be home all day. I spent all day sewing and didn’t leave the house, I waited and waited an additional problem was NO WATER. At 5pm I called the manager and asked where his men were, he said they were delayed and would call the next day, I asked what happened with the water, he said there was a problem!!

Now it would appear that in Kenya if you are white you are supposed to have numerous people working for you. You are not personally supposed to go and pay your bills, get your shopping, fetch your mail or wait at home for water engineers. I explained to the manager that I would not be home on Friday as I was not prepared to waste another day off. He said it would not be a problem so long as my Staff were home. I pointed out that I was the staff. He promised to call me when he was sending the engineer, maybe it will be another month. Oh,, and today (Friday), still no water. I have washing sitting in basins waiting to be rinsed as I had started washing them (in rain water saved in basins) yesterday in the anticipation that the mains would come on later, funny it didn’t. As it didn’t rain last night not enough rain water left to rinse them and am holding on to my reserve in the 50 ltr tank in case water isn’t forth coming soon.

I am now down to three puppies, two dogs and two cats. The acquired male puppy went to Mwangi the electrician who reserved him. I decided that I would try and get homes for the puppies and settle Kim before I left Kenya. Today I discovered she is on heat again, so no roaming for her!!!!!!!!! Life is getting easier without all the puppies, can't believe how much cleaning up the garage is taking at least now with only three of them it is manageable.

I am starting to get provisions in for Dominic, that is in the hope that he is coming back from Maralell, if he doesn’t there will be problems. One thing at a time, I will cross that hurdle as and when it arises, no use worrying needlessly.

I am concerned about the prospect of getting home and no work, that would be a disaster, but as I am not bothered what I do I think it won't be a problem. Nathalie has managed to re arrange herself and is now collecting me from the airport. I am looking forward to seeing everyone but know I will miss the boys so much.

I am constantly talking to them about my return to the UK and that I will return to them I think I may do a calendar chart so they can see (a bit like an advent calendar but different) only problem is that I don’t have a return date yet, depends on price of flights.

OK will leave you in the knowledge that looks like we will be having lots of rain today so may be able to get the washing rinsed. The maize is no longer looking like ‘onions’ it is looking healthier and may just manage to provide a crop of corn for when I return from UK.

Love to everyone, take care of yourselves until I get home.


Friday, 13 June 2008

You know who your neighbours are when

Hi Everyone,

this is a type on the hoof email so good luck, sorry for typos and things (they will be revealed later in email (needless to say I have become a light weight!) ..... Today has been an interesting day. It has shown me another face of Kenya. As all you who read my emails know I have been desperately without water for a week now, 4 days in Kenya is acceptable..... a week ummmmmmm. After repeated moans from me and visits to his office 'the water man' has visited me now three times with his men. I get the distinctive feeling that he wishes to visit me without his men, maybe I would get water quicker! I was cautious when he asked me casually if I lived in this big house alone....... I replied what business was it of his or the water people.

Today after numerous text messages a maintenance man I knew came to the house and found the problem........ How do I put this..... outside my property is an area called 'roadside' it is land that is adjoining the property which is acquired with the property but must not be walled or used for building but can be used and maintained as your own, providing access is readily available for the water people. Today the maintenance man found that I did in fact have no water in the pipe....... I already knew this. He investigated outside further, more diligent than the other guys. He started digging and found my water pipe. It surprised me by being plastic. It had been cut and the supply end had been folded back on itself, tied and weighed down by a very large rock then covered with soil.

I was needless to say horrified, apparently it is something that occurs more often when there is low water supply and the neighbours hope to increase their supply by reducing yours. I wanted him to go to my new neighbour who was constructing their property and raise hell. The maintenance man said he had no proof as to who had done it, I tried to point out that my other neighbours had admitted to having no water for months as they had not paid their bills so it was not them. He was not prepared to get involved and I left the scene having paid out for a piece of pipe to join the gap.

I left home when the job had been finished and went to town - it was my day off, I went to my friend the computer man to copy some learning discs for the boys to use on the computer at Scann. I went to the opticians for glasses for one of the boys, I paid in advance my water bill - begrudgingly. Asked about the disputed rates bill, gave in my electricity reading, went to the post box (nothing there) visited my friend at her stall, to all those that know 'Ruth the bead lady' says hi and when are you all coming to visit.

I had packed some shower items this morning with the resolve that after I had completed my list of things to do I would head to Hotel Mercia for a swim (to get a towel) and a well awaited shower. By the time I got to the pool it had cooled and no one was about other than a business meeting by the pool. I um'ed and ah'ed but after a glass of red wine decided what the heck it couldn't be that cold. I was so wrong, whilst I was in the pool Ruth appeared and said she thought that my lack of showering had turned the pool brown - cheek. She left quickly as the only way for me to keep warm was to swim. I had to make the most of the 200KS price of a swim. It was well worth it, another glass of wine later and I was off to the shower. I was good and remembered to be patient and run the water for some time before being rewarded with HOT water, full force. I shaved legs, arm pits, scrubbed, washed hair. I am now a new woman. I dried and went back out in my bikini to dry in the now available sunshine. Not only the warmth of the sun kicking in but also the wine, I feel great, my hair has dried with lovely blonde highlights, all soft and curly after a recent cut, instead of greasy and lank as it was when I arrived.

Dominic called to say that the water is now connected and pressure is better than it has been for weeks, maybe manage a shower at home now. Mind you the 200ks was well worth it I have had a lovely day. I passed a woman who owns a boutique in town, she told me I looked lovely..... I feel lovely. Pity it will be wasted on the dogs and Dominic. OK off home now to do the mega pile of washing, tomorrow I won't be in good shape, my back will be breaking from bending over the basin washing, but I will be happy in the knowledge that I had a good day today and am achieving the list of things that need to be done before I leave.

Happy birthday to birthday people, hugs when I get home.
Nats and David Happy Anniversary sorry not there to 'sit'.
Dad Happy Fathers Day etc etc etc.
See you all soon ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!
Love you all.