Saturday, 3 June 2006

Part 2 from yesterday...

Hi there,

Well as I am here means my leg didn't fall off, it is still a bit swollen from the bites but I am sure now that i will survive. I didn't mention sleeping under a mosi net is a weird experience a bit like being in a net womb, whatever you didn't take inside with you you have to fiddle about trying to reach when the net is up, its a nightmare, must admit always wake up knowing where I am which was something I was worried about, waking and finding myself tangled in the net!

Ok so where did I leave you, ah the famous bike thing....... well, it would appear that when you buy a bike in Kenya you don't get it roadworthy, that is an extra that you have to ask for (as I have found out to my peril), they supply the bike from the manufacturers without any checks, so nothing tightened or oiled. That explains why mine started falling apart on the second day of use. I spoke to the cook at the project and he said I was mad to have ridden it without a service, I proceeded to tell him that no one had said it needed one it was a new bike after all. He took me to see his friend who is a bike mechanic who laughed himself silly along with the other 6 people who were waiting around, apparently I am a very funny mazungu (white person). Who would try to ride a bike without tightening the bits first. We negotiated heavily with the price and I think I got a good deal as I made them laugh and they appeared to like me. Mark cycled back to SCANN and I got one of the guys from the repair place who was a boda man to give me a ride. I have never heard a man with such a laugh, he laughed all the way back to the apartment, i am not sure how he managed to cycle with me on the back and laugh so much. It was a bit embarrassing as his laugh was like someone in a looney bin!! He said I had made him laugh so much it was good for the soul.

Last night we went out as my roomies left today, we had a few beers and when we arrived at the club i had my camera with me, I was told that they didn't like cameras, so I said that was ok, he asked me not to take pictures of anyone other than my group - I confirmed that if I took any photos it would be of the 'mazungu' only, he seemed to appreciate this as I got a funny hip hand shake!!

Today I got up early and went to collect my bike with Mark from Scann, he cycled and I grabbed a passing boda man, he seemed pleased for the early customer. We arrived at the cycle place with a great welcome from the man himself, he told me that I now had a 'fine bike' and he would guarantee the work for 24 hours, (generous!!) I said if anything went wrong now I knew where to find him.............. My bike is now a great bike, it feels so much better, I think Megan will be back next week with hers for a service.

When we left the cycle place Mark said it would be an honour if i would go back to where he lived and meet his family, he said that the area he lived in was very poor and the people had not seen a mazungu before. The trip was a test for my bike alright, what a distance we covered on roads that were just dirt tracks. The area that he lived in he called the Shambas, there was no water or power to the dwellings, I cant call them houses as they are barely dwellings. They live in basic mud and wood huts that are divided inside to form rooms with hanging newspapers stuck together to form a screen.

I felt very humble that he invited me to visit his neighbourhood, the children whilst they greeted me from afar were not keen to come up close. They were so poor that they had only one item of clothing each so either a top or bottom and in the small community of dwellings that Mark lived in there must have been about 8 families, all the children gathered at the commotion of our arrival. I ended up approaching the children who ranged from about 1 to 7 years old, the older girls (7 yrs) were looking after the younger ones.

I was left playing with the children, they had got me a stool to sit on, they all eventually came up shook my hand and introduced themselves, not that I can remember their names there were about 20 of them in total. I played 'round and round the garden' with them, and tickled them they found this very very funny and kept coming back for more. Mark (25years) introduced me to his younger brother who is working very hard at school and is top in his class, Mark supports his family as he is lucky enough to work at Scann. Marks brother made us some hot tea and provided some mendazi, (a type of donut), we all talked for a while about life, Kenya etc, I felt so moved that someone who has so little goes out of his way to make sure that he provides something for his 'guest'.

I said I would visit the children again, I would take Mark shopping and buy some flour, fruit and basics for his community, it was the least I could do, I don't believe giving money is the way to go. The children were so made up with just having me there playing, one little guy cried when I left, he had been especially clingy, not leaving my side. The ride back to my apartment with Mark made me reflect how lucky we all are to live the lives we do, although these people seem to be happy and they have nothing.

I moved all my belongings today into the apartment two floors up from mine. As my roomies have left I am now going to be sharing with Megan and Lorna, (my room with Jo and Mad was enormous compared to the one I have now to share. We have three junior beds in a room that is smaller than Kimberley's box room (those that don't know...... its tiny and wouldn't take a double bed if you tried) I have one shelf at the bottom of a two shelf cupboard, so most of my things have gone under the bed in bags. So much for travelling light. The apartment I was in was on the first floor this is now on the third floor. When water is short, the first floor apt gets water but the pressure isn't sufficient to reach the third floor so we have to carry it up in bowls, nice for the toilet!!!!!!! There is a big agricultural event in a months time and they use the water to provide for the event ground, this reduces the pressure so for the next month we have limited use, something to look forward to, wish i could have stayed in the other apt!!

All of you take care, I am regarded as a heathen as i don't go to Church, I keep being told that i should consider going back to the flock as its not too late....... um not sure about that!!

Big kiss all round, sorry it was another long one, that is why i broke it in to two parts!!
Love you all

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