Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Let me tell you a story...

Good morning,

Today I decided to add some amusing life stories that may bring a smile to your face on this midweek day, so are you sitting comfortably? Then I will begin.....

What came first the chicken or the egg…..

As those of you who read my emails regularly will know, I found when I returned to Kenya that there was a cockerel living at the house that belonged to my guard Gibson. Mama Sweetie added to this when she bought ‘on my behalf, of course’ two hens to make good use of the cockerel, some 600ks later. Then when Gibson (the guard) went home for a funeral he came back with another hen (the same colour and type as my hens). We initially had a couple of eggs then it dried up, by all accounts I think because they were being eaten by Gibson and his family.

When Gibson and Co left they took with them their cockerel and ‘their’ hen, not that we could tell them apart. From that day we have had not one egg. Now my knowledge of chickens and eggs could be written on a head of a pin, but, I reasoned that it was not because we had had a cockerel that the hens were laying. I ‘spoke’ to the old man who tends the shamba at Scann and who keeps chickens and he said without the presence of the cock the hens won't lay, I wasn't so sure about this, but bowed to his extensive knowledge and made a mental note. Weeks went by and still no eggs, although we had encouraged the hens by up- ing their food and mixing the variety.

On Monday, Catherine, Anastasia and I went to the open fruit and veg market on the way home for some provisions, on the way into the market are the pens for the hens and cockerels being sold. I wandered over to see what they had, as you can imagine having not a clue...... after a lot of discussion we said we would return on our way out and buy a cockerel. The produce at the market was great and we ended up all three of us with bags in tow.

When it was time to leave we passed the man selling the cockerels and negotiated a price, although when we saw the scrawny bird he was talking about we went to walk away. We now got into heavy negotiations for a more favourable bird, we agreed on a price and he tied it by the ankles and whilst doing this I told him that if the cockerel didn’t perform as required I would bring it back to him, he smiled and put it in a large carrier bag for ease of carrying as it would sedate the cockerel.

Anastasia said she would help by carrying the cockerel but I decided I needed to do this to get over my nerves of handling live stock. We managed to get the matatu and get home in one piece, cockerel still alive. Catherine disappeared as soon as we were in the gate to get some kale leaves to give the hens for dinner and to settle the cockerel. I was left to manhandle the bird out of the bag and into the chicken house. Didn’t seem like a big deal. I opened the door to the chicken house…….. low and behold there in front of me was sitting a lovely fresh EGG. I couldn’t stop laughing. The first egg we have had in weeks and it is on a day that I buy a cockerel to keep the hens happy so they will lay, law of sod.

I moved the egg to one side, lay the bag with the cockerel in it inside the chicken house, while laying on its back untied the string from round the legs and before I could release the cockerel, it was off and running with the plastic bag still over its head. I relieved it of the bag, collected the egg. I then went for water and joined Catherine back at the hen house as she was putting the food down for them. We both erupted into fits of laughter…….. we had nothing to worry about concerning the performance of the cockerel, as soon as we put the food down and the first hen dipped its head for food he was straight into action, no introductions or settling in period for him.

That was Monday evening he has been at it with gusto ever since, even Henry the guard has commented on how busy the cockerel is, I actually think maybe he has been given Viagra!! Not only will we be having eggs but at this rate we will be having broody hens too, more to the menagerie.

Vertically Challenged – who me?

I have, some time ago explained about the lack of post men in Kenya therefore there being no home postal delivery service. What happens is people rent post boxes at the Post Office in town. When you apply they provide you with the number of a post box and a couple of keys for access. My post box is situated outside the back of the post office, access is from the street, as opposed to the ones that are in blocks within the building, this in itself is not a problem and access was fine, even though my post box was at eye level……. That is until I returned to Kenya in November and found that they had been doing work on the block where my post box was.

The whole block of about 50 boxes had been raised about a foot from their original position. The first time I went to the post box I thought there may have been secret cameras around and someone was filming for a joke. The whole area where the post boxes were was cordoned off but still accessible for those that needed to get to their boxes. There was still a pile of rubble from the workmen and whilst I was pondering on the dilemma of how I was to check my post box, I found a large block of concrete which I used to stand on to reach my box in order to open it. Once opened I then had the problem of trying to reach into the box to check whether or not there was any mail, at this angle my arm would not reach all the way in, I could only access from the hand to the elbow in length.

I regularly check the post box for mail as you can never tell when electric or water bills are due. At this time Grace joined me and I used to open the post box door and she used to stand on the pile of rubble away from the post box and be able to look in from the distance and see that there was no mail. When Grace left I was accompanied by Thomas who was very tall and could stand on tip toe and check it for me. Now they have both gone I struggle to check the post box. One hot afternoon I decided to go into the Post Office and talk to the woman about the possibility of changing my allocated box.

This in itself was an amusing exchange……… she pointed out to me that the work on the post boxes had been done in August and why had I only just decided that there was a problem. I explained that I had only just returned to Kenya in November after a period in the UK. She said she could go now and open the box for me, I said I was not talking about access today, I was looking at the problem long term and was not prepared to go through my balancing act every time I came to check my mail. I did point out that my post box was not the top row and I could not imagine how other people managed to get access to their boxes, mine was at least 6 down from the top row. She said this was not my concern, I agreed and said it was just an considerate observation on my part. I got back to asking if I could change box numbers but she kept avoiding this and looked at me challengingly. I suggested the recommendation that there are steps constructed at the base of the post boxes to allow access, again nothing. I then asked her for the name of the person for me to write to at the Post Office, she said that was a good idea and handed me a piece of scrap paper and a pen, I thought this was for me to write down the name, but she said go over there (pointing to an area of counter where people gather to stamp their letters) and write the letter now.

Who was I to refuse such a friendly request. I was told to address the letter to the Manager, The Post Office, Nakuru! I duly wrote the letter explaining my dilemma and requesting a response to my changing Boxes. I handed the letter to the lady with little hope that I would receive a response, there was something in the look on her face that told me my letter would be filed as soon as I turned my back in the round thing under her desk. I thanked her for her time and consideration and left the post office.

To date I have received no communication, however, I am pleased that I add amusement to the people who pass by the Post Boxes. I am the vertically challenged lady who has to collect the large piece of concrete (it keeps moving about, obviously used by other Post Box users), place it so I can stand on it, balance on it to open the door to the post box, then rise on tip toe (whilst still trying to balance on the block), I reach up with my arm and insert it to the elbow (it is as far as I can reach up) into the post box, and scramble around by feel to try and ascertain if there is anything in the box, bearing in mind that I can only reach half way in. All the time I am muttering the merits of the Post Office, I then remove my arm (with or without mail) steady myself and lock the door to the box. I then dust myself off and leave the construction area, still muttering. I have thought about learning how to use stilts, or walking around with a set of steps but these ideas are just the crazy rambling thoughts of a vertically challenged woman in the ever challenging place, called Kenya!

Please don’t under value the Postman and the postal service. (I too in the past, have moaned about the service), when doing so, bear a thought for the small group of people of Nakuru, Kenya, who perform feats of balancing and juggling when they collect their mail, never a dull moment!!!

This is the end of today story time, get back to work or whatever you were doing.
Love to you all,

No comments:

Post a Comment