Monday, 30 March 2009

It rained

Hi Everyone,
get comfy, grab a cuppa, its a long one................. as you can appreciate with my sister over here we have been busy cramming and catching up on news. It has been so so hot here and so dusty, Nathalie had a lot of trouble with allergies due to the dust she was plagued with sinus problems and nose bleeds. Needless to say the rains are well and truly over due.

We managed a quick visit to Mama Sweeties to take pics of the new building ready for taking in orphans in Kampi ya Moto, after the 'skirmishes' so many children's suffered loss of their parents and there is no facilities in the rural area that she lives in, so in true Mama Sweetie style she is providing her own orphanage with the help from group in the UK sponsoring the building. I thought that Nakuru was the dust bowl until I went to see Kampi ya Moto, there is no fruit or veg in the usually well stocked village stalls, most of which were closed. There has been no mains water on her plot for a month. Mama Sweetie drives her pickup to the local bore hole and collects water for her and her neighbours and that's it. I thought I had water issues.

Nathalie and I didn't do much not only because we just wanted to enjoy each others company but also because anything here at the moment is an effort the dust gets into your pores the heat wears you down. We did have a couple of visits to SCANN to see the boys which was nice and Nathalie presented James Mwangi with a new set of clothes which he refused to take off.

Before Nathalie left we headed to Naivasha for a couple of days, I booked by phone a banda (wooden chalet) to stay in for two nights at Fishermans Camp by the lake, a bit of luxury and chilling. When we arrived the guy said no one had written the booking in the book and all the bandas were gone. I was not happy and neither was Nathalie, as a gesture he offered us 'The Cottage' at the same price, turned out to be a bonus, we had our own building with garden and bathroom WITH BATH!!!!!! Guess what the first thing we did........ you guessed....... washed off all the Nakuru dust and soaked in the bath. We then wandered off to the open clubhouse where we ordered dinner and played scrabble by the large open fire, it was bliss other than the fact that Nathalie beat me hands down every game.

We slept well that night, possible the alcohol helped. The next day we went for breakfast and ordered a packed lunch for our trip to Hells Gate, by the time we were ready to collect the packed lunch we decided it would be easier to eat it than take it in our bags on the bikes, by this time it was early afternoon before we set off. Yes I said bikes, (I negotiated a better rate as we were only getting half day use of bikes instead of full day). We cycled to the gorge, which in itself was not a problem other than the dusty road proved to make the going very hard work. We were rewarded after all the panting and puffing with close ups of giraffes, zebras, warthogs, gazelles and Buffalo's (the Buffalo's we could have done without but they were lying in the shade of the trees chilling).

We had been told not to leave it too late getting back to the bike man as the animals start moving around when the air cools in the late afternoon and the Buffalo's would be a problem to us on bikes!!!!! WARNING NOTED! The gorge at the end of the bike ride was a great success with Nathalie, she loved it as I thought she would. By the time we got back to the ranger station the afternoon sun was definitely on its way down and the heat of the day was gone, the warning tones were now repeating in our minds and we mentioned to the rangers how long it had taken us to ride to their station and we had to do the return trip. They were not comfortable with the idea of us cycling back and negotiated a ride with a party of Government Officials who were on a day visit from Nairobi.

We lugged the bikes on to the roof of the bus and off we went to collect the party of people. We were then hijacked (pleasantly so) as they then decided to go to the highest point of Hells Gate for a view point called Lake View, well we didn't refuse as I had never been there and it would be impossible to get to on bikes anyway. It was a lovely view across the hills and over the lakes with the evening sky, as another bonus we were given picnic boxes for our tea, they had too many, so picnic it was.

We were dropped off at the bike place, who was eagerly awaiting our return worried we had met the Buffalo's. The guy then arranged for us to get a lift back to Fisherman's Camp to save us walking. What a lovely day and what lovely people. We didn't have dinner that night but another bath was had to ease our tired and dusty bodies. We went to the clubhouse and had a pleasant evening playing cards, this time I think it was even winnings. We had asked the guards to wake us up for the hippos but as we heard nothing guessed that it was a quiet night at Fisherman's Camp and they didn't appear. Oh well, I think Nathalie had a good time any way!

We left there and headed to Nairobi and the airport for Nathalie's flight which was early hours of Saturday morning so a night in a hotel was a must. I headed back to Nakuru and had a nap, it was such a hot hot day and still no rain. On Sunday I awoke with determination to get my washing done and decided to wash all the curtains to get rid of the dust. Catherine had washed the floors and cleaned while I was washing and we sat with relief of a job well done, low and behold the heavens opened and we had the first good rains.

The soil smelt rich and damp and I busied myself with putting out containers to collect the water for further use for the plants. I can't tell you how it felt watching the heavy drops hitting the dust then soaking the parched and dead earth. I ran around with a huge smile on my face, bearing in mind by now I was totally soaked, so much for just having a hot shower! Catherine and I spent the rest of the afternoon pleased with the work we had done and watching DVDs that Kimberley had sent over for me, I forgot how great Jumping Jack Flash was............

I am now sitting in Nairobi as my Missionary visa paperwork went missing at immigration and I am back here waiting to re apply, slight problem that my tourist visa that I renewed will expire before it comes through, may have to do a quick border hop in the next month to rectify it.

Never a dull moment here.
Love to you all, hope you are all well, life continues........

Friday, 20 March 2009

The Bird has Landed

Hi Everyone,
well as you can imagine from the heading my sister has arrived safely and this time stress free as she got her visa before she left, last time they gave her a bit of a hard time and she was the last person through the gate and very stressed!

You thought I was going the say something about my chickens didn't you......... well on that subject, the hen that I threatened to go in the pot has since laid 7 eggs all waiting for her to sit on, in her own good time I think. The other chicks are developing nice feathers and making a lot of noise. The cock is crowing at all hours, think I will buy him a clock so he can check the time!

I had the vet out last week in preparation for my sister coming and other visitors arriving and had the dogs given their vaccinations including the rabies one. The vet checked Fatso and confirmed that she was aborting the puppies which were no long viable due to the contraceptive injection that I had given her at the end of November. He said he felt that she also had a uterine infection which needed to respond to treatment or she would need to be spayed to clear the problem. Nice!

To welcome Nathalie at SCANN there was a big celebration today, (actually a big sponsor from Canada arrived and you would have thought the Queen was coming!). Everything was cleaned and polished including the boys, performances were put in place and a long day was had by all. The dining hall where the event was held was so so so hot we were all pleased when the event came to an end although it was good to see the performance. Nathalie and I were at SCANN yesterday to help with the preparations for today and she met up with James Mwangi the boy she and her family sponsor. James was so happy that Nathalie had come to see him, also that she had given him some new clothes, he refused to take them off and walked round in them all afternoon, he must have been dying in the T-shirt and thick sweatshirt but would he take it off........ no way, knowing little ones he probably slept in them to make sure they didn't walk off.

The rains still haven't arrived but I think with Nathalie's visit it would be a pity to spend all the visit in wellies and waterproofs. It is so hot and dry it is taking a while for Nathalie to get accustomed to the heat having come from chilly UK as many of you know. Tomorrow we are heading for a day of relaxation beside the pool at Hotel Merica, books in hand and promise of a nice lunch and swim if we want one....... BET IT WILL RAIN!!!!! You know me that wont stop me, bikini clad under an umbrella if I have to.

Anyway this is just a quickie to let you know that we are fine and busy bees! Kimberley arrived safely in USA visiting her dad.
Love and hugs to you all.
Susannah xxxxxxx

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

I Need some va va voooooom

Hi Everyone,
sorry it has been a while. Whilst I have got over the worst of the typhoid I am still a little lacking on the old energy front. So what’s new?????

My hen that has the chicks is doing a grand job in raising two strong chicks, they wait for me in the morning to come with their ‘chicken mash’ and whatever goodies I have found them. The cock and other hen are making such a noise because they can see but are separate from the others. I think they are aware that their food is not quite the same, mind you the hen with the chicks does such a song and dance when she eats that most of the food falls through the floor of the ‘penthouse’ to their run underneath. The second hen has been refusing to lay any eggs and I have for a week now told her that she will be heading to the cooking pot when Nathalie arrives as a celebration, I even told Henry that he would have to do the killing and plucking while I am out of the house, so it looks like a chicken from Sainsburys or Tescos! I can’t be doing with all that business!!! Yesterday I opened the door to the chicken house only to find she had laid an egg, in her case I suppose it is the ‘Golden Egg’ as it has saved her from the cooking pot, it was still warm too!

I have been busy at Scann trying to complete the contents of the lockers so that we can see what the clothing-short fall is, this is not a pleasant job, but what it has taught me is that some of the smaller boys are far tidier than the older ones. I have been trying to teach the older boys how to fold their clothes so that they are not all screwed up when they remove them from their lockers to wear. Some of them are also a little lacking in the knowledge of what washing soap is for! Hopefully when it is completed we are able to ask for what clothes we need as opposed to receiving so many that we already have and don’t need.

I am still working hard to help the doctor to administer to our sick and learning as I go. Today one of the workmen who works with the Gilani family came to do some work at the project with an infected wound on his ankle. He came to me for medical attention and I confirmed his medication with the doctor by phone to double check that what I had in mind was right, painkiller to help with swelling and pain, antibiotic to help reduce the infection causing the swelling, cleaning with betadine and a gauze dressing to allow it to breath but keep clean. I also unofficially treat the staff and workers at SCANN as I am of the opinion they get paid a basic wage, if they can't work because they are sick then we are having to manage without another pair of hands, it is better to treat early and them to work than to do without completely and possibly for a longer period of time.

I am also busy shaving the boy’s hair, what a mop they have since I last cut it. I must admit other than the fight with the clippers to get through the mops, I am really enjoying the time on a one to one with the boys again, gives them a chance to ‘chat’ – provides me with good counseling time. Unfortunately, who ever had been using my clippers in my absence has not been as good with the hand and clippers cleanliness as many of the boys are showing signs that the ringworm is back and spreading. Will have to sort out another mass treatment if the ringworm gets any worse.

We are still awaiting the rains. The weather has changed today it is usually very hot during the day with strong winds, this just ends up whipping up the dust that is lying everywhere and we quite often see mini whirl-winds winding their way along the roads, quite a spectacle and something to avoid being hit with, the dust gets everywhere! Today the air is calm and heavy and the sky is a bright white colour, hopefully it is the promise of ‘the rains’. Henry has planted at the house some seed crops and is eagerly awaiting the seedlings to appear ready to plant when the first drops of rain arrive, could be a long wait.

It turns out that Fatso is I think losing her ‘puppies’ probably a result of having been in the early stages of pregnancy at the time I injected her with contraceptive. I must admit, whilst not trying to be mean, it is with a sigh of relief that this is happening, I couldn’t bear the thought of having to look after more puppies after Kims 9!

I am looking into the possibility of selling off half the plot which is at the moment used for planting within my property. The land is not as productive as it could be due to the lack of water and it is time consuming to tend, instead the money can go towards helping me remain in Kenya for a while longer as I am finding cash flow a bit of a problem, it will however, mean that at the end of the day when I decide to sell up the value will have diminished but I will have been able to stay longer and accomplish more.

I have printed off more business cards for the B&B and am busy distributing them to my friends in the tourist business to help promote me, but as yet nothing. Well that is not totally true, I was asked to take in two volunteers who would be attending another church project for a month, their destined family were unable to take them. When I enquired as to how much remuneration would be received and calculated it out it wouldn’t even pay for their food for the month, let alone, showers water, electricity, washing, cleaning etc etc etc etc. So I pointed out that I was not a charity and could not afford to be out of pocket whilst taking in volunteers, it was to HELP with costs not incur them! I was excited at the prospect up until that point!

Anyone who could help by putting up a poster in their company or place of social or recreational activity please let me know and I can email you a copy to promote the B&B and Kenyan tourism, which is still a bit lacking at the moment.

Nathalie, my sister will be pleased to know I have managed to buy a bed cover which should keep her warm at night. I am also fighting a non ending battle with trying to keep the house clean, with the dust and the wind it is an impossible task but it keeps me busy. I keep saying I want to wash the curtains and Catherine tells me to wait for the rains as the dust will settle then, could be a long wait.

Ok time to go now as the boys are now arriving for computer lessons and I am making use of my lunch hour to type this at the project.

Love to everyone. Mwah xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


Sunday, 1 March 2009

Things just aren't going my way...

Hi Everyone,
Many many thanks for all the Get Well Soon emails, I am sure they have helped me to a 'speedy recovery'. It has been nearly two weeks of sleep, get up and eat, sleep, play with the dogs, sleep, read, sleep. You know the drill. On the days when I have felt up to going into town for shopping/ bank / internet I have ended up straight to bed when I get in and the next day pooped. One of you dear friends has advised me to be more careful where I put my hands.........thanks for that. I think my problem arises from the love of fresh fruit.... there is so much of it here I usually partake as a snack, no always with the luxury of being able to wash it. POINT TAKEN!!!!!!!!

Catherine has been looking after me very well, on days that were particularly bad waking me up to make sure I was still breathing..... she said you can only have sooooooooo much sleep. She has been plying me with uji........ um not my fav but easily digested and full of goodness (apparently). Yesterday I sent a text message to my doctor (the one who gave me his number as he wanted a date). I told him that I didn't think at this stage I should be spending so much time sleeping with exhaustion, he told me to stop the pills and arrange a date with him....... ummm ...... I take it to mean book an appointment on Monday for a checkup! Well that's what I am doing anyway!

Catherine has gone off to Nairobi to visit her family so I am 'home alone'. Well today anyway, Henry left early to spend the day at church, he usually gets back at about 7pm having left at 7am. I don't really understand how you can find enough to talk to God about - it is such a long long day. I got up with a bit more energy than usual and started cleaning. Took down all the curtains and washed them, (after a good soaking), swept the house and then mopped the floors, everything is now squeaky clean. I had to laugh when dusting the dining table and chairs, as I bumped into George who made them for me recently and told him that the chairs were still wobbly and needed his attention. He told me that he would come round some time and attend to my 'dancing chairs' as they certainly do dance but I have just accepted that that is how they will be. I just love the way people have such great terms for things, a squeaky door is a 'singing door'. This was obviously after sorting out the dogs, feeding the cat and attending to the chickens......... sounds very 'green wellie'! Actually do it in my flip flops, shorts and a t-shirt!

Henry has divided the chicken house/ penthouse into two with a compartment for the hen and her two chicks, they made far too much mess loose in the garage! The chicks are doing well and looking strong. I have had training on how and what to feed them and am told when the chicks develop 'feathers' instead of fluff they can go in with the others. They need the mothers warmth at night at the moment.

I arranged if I felt well to treat myself to a trip into town. Only a couple of hours, I agreed to meet one of the boys who had left SCANN and was now struggling as a teacher on his first months working without money until he gets paid. I bought him some groceries to keep him going as as far as SCANN is concerned he is now on his own a bit harsh, they gave him a bed, mattress, blanket, pillow, rent for the month, but not enough for food for the first month! I don't help all the older boys in this way but this guy has worked so hard to get his first teaching job, everyday he went to the college to sit and be told come back tomorrow. I think they had to give him a job because he was so damned persistent. He has come back to collect teaching material from the SCANN books and is now teaching, physics, maths and biology. He is a good guy, unlike some of the others who constantly want handouts of money to help them. He genuinely needed food stuffs. So that was my Godly thing for today, I keep being asked why I don't go to church............ I genuinely think that there are so many hypocrites here who spend the whole day at church, go home beat the wife and kids, have other women, drink etc etc. I am not saying I am better than them but I just do what I do knowing it is good.

I treated myself before I left the house with a hot shower, it was bliss after all that dust and housework. I dressed in a skirt and top and looked mighty fine, even if I have to say so myself. I chained the dogs, gave them water and locked the house and then left the property locking the gate from the outside with the padlock on the inside of the large gates, (accessed through a square large enough to get my hands through). Now the worst thing you can do is drop your keys as there is no way to get them without opening the gate..... Henry manages to drop them often and I give him a hard time about it, but luckily it is always when I am in the house when I can get them for him. TODAY I dropped the keys and no one is in. I have phoned Henry to let him know of this event and hoping he may come home early from church to let me in, but God comes first out here. So I find myself sitting in the internet, having read and filed all my emails, listening to the downpour that is taking place outside, knowing that I am locked out of the house and have no way of getting in until Henry finishes talking to God. I have no where to shelter outside the gates if I decided to go home and wait, so I think I will have to break my 'being good' rule and go have a few beers as I have now finished taking my pills. Well, what harm can it do????????

I am planning on going to SCANN tomorrow to see what has been going on in my absence, probably running along smoothly. The boys have been passing on their concerns for my health via Catherine and I love them for it. They probably think I am not coming back! We are preparing for visitors from Canada who help finance the schooling of the boys so everyone is working hard to ensure the place is spick and span. I have been looking into trying to find a more medical volunteer position that I can help with, not full time as I would struggle to leave the boys. There are so many outreach health worker schemes going on I am hoping to see if I can join one to increase my knowledge out here, everything helps. Although a paid job would help even more considering there have been no takers for my lovely B&B and my funds are beginnings to run a little on the low side!

Anyone fancy sponsoring me to be here working as a volunteer, I would love to hear from you, anyone who knows me knows how I hate 'the money thing'! Ok I have managed to send some text messages to my friends and someone is coming to join me for a beer to 'keep me company' !!!!! Oh well, better than drinking alone. Can I remind Nathalie as the rains are coming please come with suitable shoes that wont mind getting wet, also a water proof and an umbrella, unless you are planning on being like me, no jacket, no umbrella and a T-shirt that will go see through in the rain! Damn!!
Love to you all,

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger (apparently!)
Oh, and for those of you that dont know IKEA Southampton is now OPEN!!!!!! Go visit it and say hi to anyone who knows me. xx