Hi Guys, having so much trouble updating the 'friends list' for my emails it is driving me crazy! I hope you all get this, if not how will I know who isnt getting it??Ok here is todays email... you ready...
Well, after sitting in the internet yesterday and reading my welcomed emails, I began to write an email to you all, unfortunately the ‘stema’ (electricity) went off leaving me with a blank screen. I waited for the stema to come back on and then hotmail was playing up. So this morning at 7, after letting the dogs out for a run in the ‘compound’ and cooking uji (a kind of porridge, nothing like we know it) I find myself sat at the laptop composing an email to you in order to send later when in town.
As I don’t have my previous email to you I cant remember where we left off although I do remember I had a serious water problem…… or lack of. I called ‘my contact’ at the maji office and he told me he would come and look……… what struck me as amusing was that he was true to his word and the next afternoon he came and sorted the problem. They had been doing a lot of work on the pipes at the water station and it had resulted in a great deal of ‘dirt’ coming through and blocking the filter in the meter. This unblocked we now have water and pressure every other day. Today I hope to check that the large storage tank fills, this will prevent us being without water.
I have spent the week preparing card cut out decorations for the boys to paint and put up for Christmas, we leave it to the last minute as they disappear in a few days as momentos, so the later the better, same goes for the Christmas tree.
On Friday, 5th December it was John Ndolos Graduation from University. I was given one of the two tickets he had to attend and after being given directions on how to get there by matatu I was set. I got up at 6 as usual sorted the dogs, ‘bathed’, and put on a dress…… I know I don’t wear one very often, but needs must. I went with a bottle of drink, a book, some biscuits and some boiled sweets. I got into town by local matatu then went to the ‘stage’ to get the one for Egerton University. It was before 8am and already the Graduation atmosphere was alive, people selling cards and memorabilia in the street and around the matatu. It was obvious that everyone on the matatu was heading for graduation with their gowns and mortars in their bags and clean pressed suits on. The driver went like a ‘bat out of hell’ and we were all grateful to arrive in one piece after a couple of near misses on route. People on the matatu had complained that the price had been hiked for the day from 50ks to 80ks I wasn’t complaining as I was told it would probably be 100ks.
I started talking to a lad (George) on the seat beside me who had completed a Business Management course, he was very pleased but was telling me that the problem with university wasn’t doing the courses it was getting employment afterwards, I told him not to be disheartened and to take anything until he found what he was looking for, it would keep his mind busy and some money in his pocket. When I got of the matatu it struck me just how many people there were attending. The place heaved with graduates in gowns, families and friends, security was tight as they were expecting dignitaries. I walked with George as I was unable to get through on my phone to let John know I had arrived. We wound our way to the Graduation Square where I had a ticket for a seat, unfortunately, the placed was so packed that there were no seats left and standing space was like being in a tin of sardines.
I positioned myself under a tree and spent the next 3 hours scouring the crowds for John, the network still was not working and proceeded to not work for the whole day. I was beginning to feel like a freak with people stopping to stare at me and standing watching me when I caught sight of John making his was over to me, I cant say I wasn’t happy to see him, by the look on his face he was worried he wouldn’t find me too
John led the way to where he was sitting with this fellow grad students, now this was by no means and easy task, because he was in his gowns he was given lea way to accessing the square the fact that I was in tow was a problem because everyone let him squeeze through then they closed the space and I had to be pulled through as I was attached by the hand. He eventually left me at the edge of the graduates seating area under another tree. There was so much moving around and shuffling that I was soon not under the tree but in full sunshine, I had a brollie for a parasol but there were so many people it was impossible to put it up. I managed to stand for a while under the shade of a very tall Masai man in full dress who was standing beside me, that was until the sun moved round.
John had disappeared into a sea of black gowns and mortars, I stood observing the proceeding and marvelled at the number of graduates, I would estimate no less than 1000. It was a great event and when the role call was done and the celebrating began it was like festival time, the orchestra struck up and played Kenyan music and everyone sang and danced.
John found me again and we pushed our way to where he had arranged to meet his family, (his mother and 8 of his 10 siblings), in true Kenyan style theyweren’t there. He left me sitting on the grass under a tree while he went in search of them.
I was happy to sit quietly and relax reading my book, this was not to be, people came up to me asking to have their photo taken with me and their families….. I have never been celebrity status,as you will understand, and this was very weird, people then came joined me because they said I should not sit alone on this fine day……. Etc etc etc.
I was pleased to see John reappear after one and a half hours with his mother, his family still at large. John introduced his mother and whilst he went in further search of his siblings, his mother and I tried limited conversation with a lot of laughing and struggling with the language barrier.
When eventually the group was reunited it was now 4.30 we did introductions and photos and I said I would have to leave to get back to town. We all walked together towards the gates and I was ushered with the group to a white pick-up truck that was parked along with hundreds of other vehicles at the side of the road which was now a car park. Vehicles stopped, bumper to bumper in the traffic jam. A crate of soda was brought from the vehicle together with sweet buns, I can't say that I wasn’t happy at the sight, we all piled into the vehicle and I sat in the back with John and his younger brothers and sisters, I think in the end there were 9 of us in the back, we chatted and amused the kids and awaited opportunity to pull out of the parking space.
The journey back was interesting especially as John said his mother wouldn’t hear of me not going to the house for dinner. So I had been hijacked for a second time, the first was by Nick to visit his family and now John and his family. The journey to Lanet was interesting as there was so much traffic on the roads that we crawled along, I was obviously a sight-and-a-half squatting in the back of a packed pick-up, people stopped, pointed and called and waved at me. I was glad to get to the home as by now I needed the facilities and my legs and bottom were aching.
We had a lovely chicken stew and I wandered how Susanne lived with her remaining 6 children in the two roomed home.
I got home that evening exhausted but pleased that I had decided to attend, I decided to make a small photo album to celebrate the day and give it to John’s mother. The question now is what is John going to do with his Degree in Biomedical Science and Technology. He has looked into doing his Masters at Reading University but, that in itself poses problems with sponsorship to get him allowed to attend the University let alone many other issues.
Who knows what Kenya has to offer all these Graduates, lets hope it is a future.
Ok enough for now. I am fine and soon to head off to SCANN as the doctor is coming today to give the boys a talk before he holds his clinic, I know its Sunday but it is the only day during December that he is able to attend due to commitments. I have managed to light my first jiko (Stove) and cooked dinner last night, even managed to buy a packet of Crème Caramel in the supermarket so we had desert too…I am spoilt!!
It is going to be another hot day.
Love to you all,
(Kimberley hope you found the other legs to the Xmas tree and had fun with Mackenzie.
Paul-Simon and Missy hope you had a good night out and you celebrated your 6 years well.)
Take care of yourselves. I have now left Scann and am at the internet - Catherine has confirmed that my storage tank has just began filling so may manage a shower tonight, if the showers are working, it has been a while. I have my friend Mwangi the electrician on standby for a visit on Tuesday to check them over.