Saturday, 21 November 2009

Paka's surprise n Joseph's story...

Hi Everyone,

Ok now I think this maybe a record but I managed to wash my hair with 1 litre of rain water, that is wash and condition, it doesn't particularly feel great but better than it was. The water was so black afterwards as my long hair hangs on to the dirt here and after so long without washing it was awful. I didn't waste the hair washinh water though, used it to flush the toilet, double wammie!

I haven’t had a lot to report recently, the water is still playing a disappearing act, according to the fundis working in the ‘road’ the pipes are being replaced over a very large area and until they are all done they won’t reconnect the water. Lucky us! I decided that even though my suppy of rain water was dwindling I really had to wash some clothes. I sparingly ensured these were things that I could not do without and left items like jeans and combats to be grubby, fact of life here.

So yesterday, I sat on the back step with my basin of rainwater, enjoying the peaceful afternoon and strange as it may seem the washing! I was disturbed by such a sudden commotion of something being knocked over and then bird’s shrill squarking together with the chickens and cockerel joining in. It transpired that paka (the cat) had caught a bird and was running into the house with it in its mouth. I hurriedly followed to shut all the doors preventing paka from taking the bird further into the house. I managed to confine them in the kitchen and then ushered paka outside again, bird still fluttering its wings in an attempt to get away, but paka was having nothing of it. I decided to let nature take its course as the bird was already badly damaged.

I went back to my washing leaving paka with earned prize sitting behind me on the opposite step. There developed a gathering of many types of birds who frequent my garden, they all perched around making a loud racket. The bird paka caught was a common starling which over here is quite brightly coloured petrol blue and green as opposed to our drab coloured ones in the UK. I was very surprised that the commotion went on for sometime and then all of a sudden the birds started dive-bombing paka who darted in my direction for cover, I was then also getting dive-bombed. I leapt away from my basin of washing and took cover and funnily enough, Kim the dog followed quickly behind me. I have never seen such a spectacle; it reminded me of the Alfred Hitchcock’s movie ‘The Birds’, luckily however without the blood and gore, I didn’t loose any hair or eyeballs! The dive-bombing finally subsided and I resumed my washing and paka enjoyed the feast, however the birds still perched overhead making a great racket. Wouldn’t want to cross them again, next time I may not come off so lightly, I must admit I was so pleased that paka didn’t catch one of the tiny turquoise birds with red circles round their eyes, they are so lovely. After doing my washing I made use of the rinse water and washed the floors of the house, they needed it, the dust has started collecting again.

I have actually had a busy few days, trying to get young Joseph who I have met in town many times in the last year, into SCANN for the long Christmas holidays.

Joseph’s story isn’t unique here in Africa. Joseph’s mother Esther left Joseph and his sister Helen (then aged 8years and 1 years respectively) with their grandmother. After a year Esther still had not returned to claim her children. Aged and without means to continue supporting her grandchildren, their grandmother was finding things very difficult.

One day their grandmother told the children they were going on a trip to visit an ‘aunty’, in fact the grandmother brought the children to Nakuru from Olkalao and told them to wait for her in town, she failed to return.

Some well wishers from the nearby market took Joseph and Helen to the Children’s Officer. Helen was taken to a children’s home some distance away where she has been cared for since, she is now 6 years old.

Joseph was taken in by the headmaster of St Davis school in Bahati, where he is still housed and educated during the school terms, however during the holiday periods he has no family to go to so he stays in Nakuru town. He had been befriended by an older boy Vincent, who had been an orphan and was working as a night guard offering Joseph shelter in the doorway where he was working and watched over him at night. During the day Joseph relied on the kindness of well-wishers to provide him with food. Vincent has since changed jobs and now works during the day as a fruit vendor in town and whilst he now has a one room ‘house’ he can barely afford to feed himself, let alone take charge of Joseph.

Over the last year Joseph and I have had many conversations and spent free time together, after finding out his situation I discussed the possibility of help with SCANN and we have finally worked to keep him during the long Christmas holiday providing him with accommodation until he is due to go back on the 7th January. Joseph is a very intelligent boy who loves reading novels and works hard to keep his position as second in a class of 80 children.

I am hoping that as of Wednesday when Henry (my guard) is back I will be back to my regular attendance at SCANN, until then I am attending the clinic again today, but in the afternoon (as the doctor is busy being locum at another clinic in the morning) at least I got a lay-in!

Love and best wishes to you all,
Stinky Susannah, Nakuru, Kenya

Friday, 13 November 2009

Dust baths but they had water - 13th November 2009

Jambo Friends,
I think I must be jinxed as apparently Kenya has had substantial rain water in the last week and as soon as I arrive it dries up. I think it transferred back to the UK as I understand that there is plenty there....... SORRY!

It is now Friday and the week has gone so quickly, most of it has been spent with me cleaning and sorting the house and unpacking my things and organising. Henry has now gone home and I am busy attending the compound (garden) chickens, cat and dogs. I think that the dogs prefer the way Henry cooks their Ugali and meat as they don't seem to partial to mine, I wouldn't mind but it takes such a work up to light the jiko, boil the water, add the meat waste to make a soup, then to cook the ugali. How unappreciative they are!

On Tuesday we were scheduled to get our mains water but none arrived, I wasn't too worried as Henry had told me he had used the pump and filled the large storage tank on Sunday. After all the washing of the house, sheet covers, me showering, Moses and Francis also adding to the consumption I began to worry when no water arrived on Thursday either. I duly called 'my man at the water office' and asked if the designated days had changed. He ignored me and welcomed me back in the traditional Kenyan way of being sociable before business! I was told that the days hadn't changed but they had worked on one of the mains pipes so water would come at midday. He invited himself round for 'chai' but I told him that as I had just returned and had been waiting for water I had not been shopping so there was nothing in the house. He said he would then come for a glass of water, I said that this was why I was calling as there WAS NO WATER! He laughed and agreed it was a lost cause and maybe next time.... or maybe not!

At midday on the dot the water arrived but my pump would not pump...... Henry had the water storage drums still in his house and now locked so I had nothing to collect water in. I called my friendly electrician, Joe who works part time in the market with his mother. He came straight over..... 2 hours later..... by Kenyan time that is very quick. He re-primed the pump and helped me put up some lamp shades that I had come with, he is very tall and I have no steps so can't reach.

Francis and Moses are out of the house all day visiting friends and working with the boys at SCANN, they love passing on new skills to the boys, it's great to watch. They are good house guests, making sure they clean after themselves and help with cooking and washing up.

I am still struggling with the neighbour hood noises, I think that Colin the cockerel will have to go, join that with the fact that Fatso (dog) is on heat (obviously the jab I gave her didn't work) she is howling a good un! Joe since he first saw her constantly asks to have Fatso........... she may find a nice new home soon too. Kim has always been sedate and very good company and she listens and obeys, something that Fatso still has not got into her head.

I visited the boys at SCANN yesterday on the way to town, just a short visit, until Henry returns that will be all I can manage, as don't like leaving the house for long periods unmanned. The boys were so pleased to see me, I got lots of hugs and greetings, one boy Gideon saw me arrive and was waiting by the gates. He said you will make me cry, I asked him if it was because he had missed me so much, he said it was because Kimberley (my daughter) was not with me. Kimberley was hoping to come with me but due to medical problems will wait until January when she is feeling stronger. I told him that she was sad that she couldn't be here but would see him in January. I think he is crossing off the days.

Not a lot has changed, Kombo who was overall in charge and education head is now solely Officer in Charge we have a new member of staff who has moved to take over the education side of things. Catherine is unwell but still working with Typhoid and Anastasia is working strong still managing the doctors clinic in my absence. I hope to go tomorrow for clinic to say hi and see how things are doing. That reminds me one of the twins is feeling unwell so I suggested that he comes in tomorrow to see the doctor.

I bumped into Joseph in town, he found me where I usually stop for a waterhole at Guava cafe, Joseph is now 13 and his school is closed for the Christmas break. I had hoped that something had been sorted with him going to SCANN for the holidays but he said he had heard nothing. I will chase this as he is now staying with the security man again, luckily the security man has now got a room and he stays with him there, not really a suitable situation but will try to resolve soon. Joseph tells me that he has managed to remain 2nd in his class and his marks have improved although he didn't quite make 1st place. He was delighted with the story book that Kimberley chose for him and will let us know whether he liked it or not so we can get more.

Oh last night whilst cooking the dogs ugali outside it was growing dark and eventually I could hardly see, I went to put on the outside lights only to find that there was a power cut. I managed with the help of a candle and my phone to continue cooking the ugali and slop it into the dogs dishes to cool.

I then went inside and located and lit my candles, good job I came with some from UK, they last so much longer and smell lovely too! I had no idea what time the boys were coming back or how long the electricity would be off. I decided to continue cooking my dinner and a bit extra for the boys (just in case), not a small feat as it was rather dark. I had brought the animals in the house for company and so that they wouldn't bark and scare me with the slightest sound. They lay on the floor obviously knowing my plight, Paka was the only problem continually tripping me over by twisting round my ankles in the dark.

I managed to successfully cook and eat my dinner and then the boys called to say they were 5 mins away. I told them to call me when they were stood at my gate as there was no way I was standing outside in the total dark waiting for them to arrive. They duly did so and I went with the light from my phone and let them in, not realising that Fatso had slipped out at the same time. It wasn't until we were all in the house that I realised she was missing, I knew it was the only explanation, so I crept to the gate and called, no noise. Suddenly she flew through a bit of hedge and got stuck by the collar, she scared the living daylights out of me. I retrieved her, it was obviously too dark out there for her too.

We were without electricity for about 2 hours, but just when we were ready to sit and rest the lights came on and we managed to watch a DVD, a nice end to a stressful evening!

Ok will move on now as it is time to get home and check on the place, start cooking dinner and chill, did I say how hot it was!!!!!!

Love to you all, still trying to arrange to see Yasmin, hopefully this weekend, will keep you posted.

I send you all rays of sunshine.


Tuesday, 10 November 2009

KENYA 4 - The Big Bird with bags has landed

just to let you all know that I have arrived safe and sound in Nakuru. The booking in at the airport went smoothly although I was wandering if there would be problems with the agreed extra bag that Virgin allowed me, but the guy at check-in didn't bat an eyelid. I thought there were problems at the gate as the seats were empty but we were told that there were only 120 people on board and we did as the pilot said and made use of the extra seats....... I grabbed the 4 seats in the centre of the plane, lifted the arms and managed to sleep stretched out all the way to Nairobi, well after we were fed and watered, so no movies for me!

Jenga (Nairobi trusted taxi friend) was waiting for me with a huge smile on his face (Nick was unable to pick me up as his mother had passed away and he was back in his rural home for the funeral). The ride back to Nakuru was hot, and as we arrived in Nakuru even hotter, if they have had rain in my absence you wouldn't have known!

Both Henry (my askari / guard) and the animals greeted me like a lost relative, the dogs moaned and howled at my return and haven't left my side since, the cat (minus whiskers, Henry decided as he had trimmed his whiskers he would do the cats...... I explained that they needed theirs!) keep tripping me up as he won't get out from between my feet.

The house once opened was a sight, there was so much dust everywhere, that once Jenga had hugged and left me for his return to Nairobi. Henry and I dumped the bags in my room and set to work with the hose and broom to wash away the layer of dust and dirt it on the floor, sweeping would have been so so messy. After Henry and I had done all the washing we changed, Henry, his brother and I headed to Bota Sola for a plate of chicken and chips and a soda, before we went on a basic food shop for me. I had nothing in the house as you can imagine, so had to get the necessaries, milk, coffee, bread, biddys (flora), loo roll! I slept like a log last night, I think before I hit the pillow, didn't even get to unpack, slept with everything lying on the bed.

Thinking we we had done a good job with the washing yesterday, this morning when everywhere was dry I realised that in fact we had done a poor job it had just left muddy streaks everywhere, so wash no. 2 was done today, together with curtains and nets.

About an hour after Jenga had left yesterday I realised that I was one small bag missing, and called Jenga, it was still in his car hidden by the black interior being a black bag and he was already half way back to Nairobi....... he agreed to take the bag to Mololine Shuttle for them to send with their driver after he packed it up, I was so worried as it had my passport in it etc. This afternoon I duly went and collected it Phew was I relieved although my name now is Susan Pamela!!

This morning I woke at various times with the new noises of the night, one of them being my cockerel Colin, need to buy him a watch or a gag. I eventually got up at 7 am walked round with the dogs then sat on the front step watching the slight breeze blowing in the trees thinking how warm it was and how hot it was going to get.....sipping my cup of coffee.

Greeting me has been something that has been going on since last night, I am not sure how people know I am back but my Kenyan phone hasn't stopped and this morning is no exception.

I had a call from the acrobats who are back from Tanzania, they wanted to come and say hi......... um actually they want to stay with me for a week until they head back to Tanzania. I have laid down rules, this time they help with food and jobs round the house, I can't afford to have open house, even for them.

I am looking forward to them providing me with material that I can copy and send home to hopefully promote them in the UK through my friend Simon, who is now joining us on this email list, together with the IKEA 'girls' who are visiting me in February and a nice lady called Mary who used to live in Kenya and now resides in Southampton. Greetings to you all.

Ok I have ventured into town to pick up some fruit and veg for provisions. Have told Moses and Francis (the acrobats) that they are cooking the Ugali tonight as I am out of practice!

Love to you all, finding the heat a little exhausting will take me a while to settle again. SCANN unfortunately will have to wait until the dust settles and only able to do short trips as Henry is off home for two weeks (a little longer than I would have hoped but after being stuck at mine for three months think he deserves it!)