Friday, 30 May 2008

4 and counting

Afternoon All, (or is it morning still)......

Sorry, I've done it again, I couldn't send small emails if I tried.

OK, I have lost tract of where I left you. All I know is that I am down to 4 puppies, two dogs and two cats if that is any indication of time lapse.

I was given the lovely task of typing one of the older boys college project for presentation and assessment. Not a small job, so many accounting charts, maps and others, his project was on John’s Beef Farming outlining the building of a business. I was given it with 3 days to type it. Manic especially when you work into that the problems with power supply! I have been getting up when I feed the puppies and typing like a mad person. Dominic thinks I am crazy. Typing at home evening and morning and at Scann during the day I have managed to get it all typed, even found the required picture of a cow to fill the front page. Three copies later and stapled and bound it was presented, only to be refused as it was insufficient pages, I was told there was a maximum not a minimum. I had spaced well but lacked further information to bulk it out. I will leave that task to the writer.

During this time I forgot to tell you, I had been experiencing problems with the water pump which pumps the water during the day into a large storage tank for use when there is no water between 5pm and 8am. A fundi had been but needed to return. This in itself seemed like no issue, the tank was empty and I had been out and bought a small 50 litre tank which sits outside the back door which we fill with a hose during the day. Good job too……….

For 4 days we had NO water, apparently the water people had not paid their electricity bill for quite a considerable time and the electricity people had cut them off, this mean no pumps to pump ANY water to Nakuru. What a mad sight, so many people streaming to the natural boreholes for water, luckily with only Dominic and I at home the biggest problem is washing the garage after the puppies in the morning.

We managed to stretch the 50 litres and collect what small rain water for dogs etc. Clothes washing was a no no, so when we did get water it was a mega wash day. No shower water meant back to a cup and a bucket again – something I am not unfamiliar with. On the day the water dribbled back I decided that exhausted from all the computer work and puppies etc I would play hookie and treat myself to a hair cut. It was fabulous, great head massage, and relaxing in a comfy chair, not only did they have water they had HOT water, sheer luxury. Heaven. My hair didn’t know what had happened, it was so soft and silky I couldn’t do a thing with it. Mind you everyone wanted to touch it.

We are still having problems with the water pressure it is so low, can just manage to use the hose to fill the small tank, can't water the shamba as it takes hours with the dribble that is omitted from the tap. The small tank has been a God send (although the first one I sent Nick to buy wouldn’t fill, found it had a split in the bottom……….. sent him back for another one, he is a blessing.)

Mama Sweetie is busy sorting her house, she now has a table and a set of shelves from Baba Sweeties Aunt. I had driven to her house alone ready to work at her house in scruffy dirty clothes only to find her in a nice dress and her children in their Sunday Best ready to go to Kabarak University for a Charter Day presentation with Kabaki attending. In usual Kenyan style she said that I was to go too (it would have been nice to have been told, I could have worn a dress too!!) I looked down at myself and said if anyone asked I am her driver – we laughed.

The day was pleasant, lots of people dressed to the nines and me the token ‘white’ dressed in shabby work clothes, nice! Kabarak is a beautiful University and the two older girls attend the adjoining Primary School and were there to entertain the crowd with dancing. We eventually left and went back to Mama Sweeties where the heavens opened, I have not seen so much rain before, especially not at Kampi-ya-Moto. The Sweeties usually have water on a Wednesday, that is the only day a week that it arrives, that week they had had none and it was now Friday.

When the rains came we ran outside with every utensil that would carry water. I rolled up my trousers and ran back and forth filling the 120ltr tank she stores in the house, unfortunately I got very very very wet but the job in hand was greatly needed. I left before it got dark although dusk was setting in. Unfortunately, the drivers window doesn’t close and when I got into the van found that I was to sit in a very wet puddle all the way home, it just finished the day off, I was so wet anyway, I did have a wrap on the dry side of the van which I wrapped my shoulders in as by now I was getting chilly.

My departure was loud and eventful as always, people from the village waving me off. I went with high spirits but very wet. As I drove away from the village I remember a nagging feeling that I really should have got credit for my phone but didn’t want to turn round and go back.

The road from Kamp-ya-Moto is a long straight one that is sparsely inhabited. It was along this road that the van decided to die. I had just enough umph to roll to the side of the road, at which point clouds of steam rose from the closed bonnet. I knew exactly what was the problem - dry radiator, the one thing I had forgotten to check regularly!!! I put on the hazard lights hoping they worked then ran round breaking branches from the trees on the verge to use as a distress signal in the road, they use it like a warning triangle, couldn’t remember how far back it needed to go so put three piles, one for luck sticking out of the roadside back corner of the van too, just in case. Obviously worked as no one hit the vehicle, but no one stopped either.

I sat inside the van thinking why had I swept all the water out of the back of the van before I left it would have come in handy. I left the radiator to cool down and poured carefully the only water that I had which was a 1.5 litre bottle which I carried in case of emergency, it wasn’t enough just ended up as steam. This was why I needed to get the phone credit, I was now stranded, no sign on life other than cars zooming past me, unable to get anyone to help. Two whites passed me in their lovely new 4x4 vehicles but they obviously were concerned that I was a mugger or crazy person as they ignored my waving arms!!

Eventually a man on a bike passed me asking if I was OK, good question to which the answer was I was but I needed water. I explained that unfortunately I had no cash on me to offer him thanks, he told me not to worry and disappeared with my empty bottle. Another man on a bike stopped and offered assistance, I told him someone was already going for water and thanked him. He told me he would wait with me as it was now getting dark, I was not so sure of his intentions but he was OK just stood and chatted until the other man returned and they both waited until the van was running, I thanked them both, wished them a good life and left. In hindsight I realised why no one stopped for me, in the headlights I had seen myself, I looked as though I had wet my trousers, would you stop for some crazy person waving their arms around looking like they were incontinent…. Recipe for disaster, I probably wouldn’t stop either.

I overheated again just outside town, too far to the petrol station to walk and it was now pitch dark, I still had no credit. I opened the bonnet, waited then opened the radiator, steaming beautifully. After a long long wait a security guard from the building site I had stopped in front of came along to help. He spoke no English but with my limited language I managed to get him to find me some water, three bottles later the tank stopped steaming. I managed a smile, thanked him and left.

I got about ½ a mile to the petrol station where it spewed steam again. By now I was getting tired of this, I called over the attendant who waited for it to cool and then filled the radiator. He seemed quite happy to be helping the damsel in distress, giving me soothing words of comfort, or so he thought, actually asking me for a date was not what I was in the mood for!! I got him also to buy me some credit and called Peter who was en route to my house to be on call in case I didn’t make it, he also filled my water bottle and I bought myself some C H O C O L A T E by now even that wasn’t enough to make me happy.

I spluttered my way up the hill to the house, had phoned Dominic to make sure he was ready with the gate open as it was now so dark and loitering around outside the gate was not good.
Dominic took one look at me when I got out of the van and shook his head saying ‘rough day’ it sounded so funny coming from him that all I could do was repeat the words and laugh, it was a mild statement for my adventure. Lesson learnt, don’t rely on the van, always carry credit, always carry spare water (lots of it), ideally don’t travel alone with unreliable vehicle. I went straight to bed with a hot water bottle and a splitting headache.

I have had two more trips to Mama Sweeties one was to shift more things as Baba Sweeties Aunt was renting a house that was sold so they had to move. Mama Sweetie still had a large collection of the ‘heavy things’ at the house that had to go. I am so glad that I had decided to do a road trip and take Dominic and Peter with me, after my last trip I was taking no chances. (Peter an ex older boy from Scann had been suspended from his job as a mechanic due to a misunderstanding and was at a loose end). Mama Sweetie had told me that there was a few things needed to go to the house, that was it. I was so glad that Peter and Dominic came as one of the items was a machine designed by Baba Sweetie to chop and mix feed for the cattle that they had, it took 6 of us to lift it on to the van, we had also grabbed some neighbours as it was impossible for us to move. I wanted to know how she though I would have moved it alone!!!!

Everything got shifted and we returned home shattered but in the knowledge that there was nothing else lying around that would need shifting in the near future. The van, of course was no trouble!!!!!!

Yesterday Dominic left for home, he had received news that his father, who had been unwell for sometime had passed away. Both he and his brother left at 6am after having prepared them food for the trip and a thermos of chocolate, prepared the puppy for its journey and generally sorted them out, like having extended family. I hugged them as they left and wished them a safe journey, it was about 9 hours on a bus. I decided to get to work, fed and cleaned up after the puppies, cleaned the house, washed the van ready to go to the supermarket for sack of dog food and start buying things for Dominic while I am away. Van duly washed, me too, dogs secured and ready to leave……… the van decided not to start, nothing, just a clunk. I said a few choice words and phoned Nick to come and shop with me.

I received a call from Mama Sweetie asking when I was going to see her and I explained about the van and told her I could not spend any more money repairing it, I was broke!! She decided she and the children would visit me on Saturday, will look at photos and she wants to read my version of the Sweetie Story that she had seen last time she was here playing with my laptop. I will probably treat the children to a movie too, must get in some crisps and juice for them, they don’t get many treats.

30th May, 2008. Today, I got up late, I ignored the puppies whining and rested I got another half an hour, 6.30am! I had cooked their food last night and all I needed to do was feed them. I then fed Kim and Fatso (they aren’t happy as I have cut them down to one meal a day – as I cant afford to keep them on two). Fed the cats who also weren’t pleased as am getting them used to sleeping on their hammock outside and closing the window they usually use to come in the house, as have decided to lock up house when I leave so Dominic doesn’t have to clean it daily. (He will stay in the guard house with all the provisions he needs and a jiko stove to cook on, oh and the TV! There is an outside tap for water, he has an outside toilet, and area where he can wash). We have to retrain the animals before I leave to stop them using the house, should be fun.

I have washed bedding as looks like it will be a nice day, this was in water that I collected in a basin yesterday as its still too early for my water supply to be here. I have swept and cleaned the house, done various sewing items for the Scann boys, had breakfast, played with the puppies and it is only 9.30am. Will have a wash when the water decides to be more than a fine line trickling from the tap. Could be a while!! I am heading into town later to send this email, return a DVD that wont play, pick up two pairs of Scann trousers from the fundi (I refuse to do the zips, I still hate them!), pop my head into Scann (I know its my day off but will pick up some more sewing to keep me busy!!!!!)

I love being home alone, I think Dominic will be gone for about 10 days, it will be interesting, he kept saying he was sorry and that there was too much work to leave me with. I said NO PROBLEM!!! Hakuna Shida

Dominic phoned me yesterday when he arrived ……. He said ‘journey, not rough day’ and the puppy was ‘happy too’. It was nice of him to call me. I had bought him a phone so that I could contact him if I was late or in difficulty, it is a great challenge as we usually communicate with a lot of gestures and showing examples, if I get stuck I grab someone to translate, mind you we are both getting better at understanding.

OK I think you are now emailed out………….I will leave you in the knowledge that the day is sunny and beautiful, I need a shower, haven’t had one in about a week as no water pressure……. Bucket wash doesn’t do it for me, besides its cold water! Got to get water pump sorted when I return, no use doing it before I leave as will probably need attention before I get back and be more of a liability for Dominic. I thought I had a water problem until I found out the situation with Mama Sweetie, now I am just resigned to I have ‘a little water’ problem!!!

Love to you all, counting the days now, trying to cram my work at Scann, they are not happy that I am leaving but pleased that I am coming back. They know I will as am leaving the animals and the house as guarantee.

Hope you are all in fine health and are happy, I am.

See some of you soon.

Just realised what are you all going to do for 3 months without emails when I am home………. Shock horror, you will have to find something else to keep you busy.

Susannah & Co.
Flight details for any kind soul who may like to pick me up......!!!!!!!!!!Wednesday, 25th June 2008, London Heathrow, Flight VS0672, Terminal 3 (I got it wrong last time!!) Anticipated arrival time 14.50....... !!!!! Oh it seems so close seeing it is type.

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