Friday, 22 January 2010

Updated from the Heat

Well, just a quick catch-up.  I have been to see one of the Directors of SCANN who informed me that Yasmine Gilani has been awarded a Presidential Commendation for her charitable work within the community. Yasmine is still away in India receiving radio therapy but has been told the good news, so we are expecting lots of celebrations when she returns.

I have been asked to work on a show for some visitors coming towards the end of February, I am working on making more cloth poi in jazzy fabrics that Edwina and I found in Nairobi before she left for the UK.  I am also asked to make sure that there is a fire poi performance, so I have asked the boys to prepare for lots of practice!!  I am apparently ‘fire marshall’ a bit scary but am sure I will manage.  Kimberley will be here for the event so will rope her into helping me out (love you Kimberley, bring your poi!)  I am also asked to have some art sessions to prepare some pictures to send back with our visitors to the USA, they are from a foundation that helps SCANN in a big way.

My three one night stand visitors from the UK arrived today and have disappeared off to visit the Menengai Crater, apparently they are avid walkers, rather them than me it is burning hot today and so dry. They are travelling round Kenya and have arrived from a great time in Naivasha where they saw the hippos at Fisherman’s Camp!

I am missing clinic in the morning as I think it is rude to make my visitors leave before 7.30 when I would have to leave.  Anastasia is taking my place, she is my stand-in and very good at it. 

Many of you won’t be aware yet but I have decided that at the end of March I am heading back home. Family issues need to be settled and my last trip home furnished me with no work to help finance me here. My good friend Nick will be moving into the house in my absence which will be for a year to enable me more chance to get work.  I hope none of you have made plans to visit if you have you will need to postpone for a year or look at alternative accommodation.  It pains me to do this but realistically I can’t spend my time worrying that ends wont meet and what will happen when they don’t.

Please keep your ears to the ground and keep me posted on any work that you hear of.

My visitors wanted B&B but when they arrived they asked for B.B&E which means I am cooking for another 3, and veggie could be interesting, will take a while, Veg stew on the menu for tonight. About to start cooking!!!!  Wish me luck!

My love to you all.

Monday, 18 January 2010

Busier than Ever Now!

Hi Uk'ers!!!!,
hoping that the weather is warming slightly for you as today I went outside at 8am to sprinkle some water on my seedlings (I do this before the heat of the sun hits them) only to find that it was so so very hot that it was too late to water, the plants will have to fend for themselves and I will try to remember to water them tonight.   Yes I did say water, for the moment everything on the water front is under control!!!!  No rain in a number of days though.... hence the watering!
I also ended up walking almost all the way into town as there were matatus but it is Monday and they were all full.  Today was a day that for some unknown reason my feet as I walked kept flicking small stones into my sandles...... I have worn these sandles many many times and this has not been a problem so why today when I walked so far.  I must have looked weird shaking my feet madly every few steps, I can tell you it was getting a bit maddening!  I decided that today for a point of interest I would wear Kimberleys step monitor to count how many steps I walked, to the junction of 58 from home was 3280 and that was about 3/4 of the way to town.  Luckily I was picked up on the last leg by a matatu who usually takes me home, the ride was not comfortable but as it was short it was OK, I was stuck on the edge of the bench seat beside a rather 'plump' lady who refused to shift over a bit, so basically I was hanging with one buttock in mid-air!
The heat of today is really crazy, it hasnt been so hot in a while and it is a bit of a shock to the system...... I am elegantly sweating buckets..... nice.
The sewing lady passed her test last week and came on Saturday to SCANN, so between dealing with the 'clinic' which had record numbers to see and helping her with clothes etc it was a busy day.  I also managed to get a 'volunteers' notice display case requisitioned and installed in the dining hall so that we can put up post cards, photos and letters from volunteers..... I have made it clear that this is NOT a STAFF notice board!  This will prevent the current situation which is I put up nice things and photos and the boys like them so much they 'borrow' them......never to be seen again!
I have some crazy news....... since returning to Kenya and living alone my social life has been nil, so I mentioned this to my friends at Guava Cafe...... (you remember the place that does nice cakes).  They have been building a Guava Lounge Bar at the back of the cafe and it opened recently but they have been short of staff,  I am now working behind the bar, I don't get paid but I get drinks bought for me, tips, a taxi home and a social life that I don't have to pay for.  The down side is that so far I have worked two nights 6pm - 2am and the worst one was Saturday night which I can tell you was manic and crazy... no one expected it to be so busy that was 6pm until 5am!!!!!  Good job Sunday was a day at home, although unfortunately Paka and Kim decided that they wanted their breakfast at 7am, I managed to get them to be patient until 7.30am but had to get up after Paka started chewing my toes through the quilt, obviously very hungry as I wouldnt have gone anywhere near my feet that morning!  I have agreed to work when I am able, I did last night too which was much quieter and the other girls were exhausted and hyper..... we had a good night with people who are friends of the owner and very nice, many decided that after they saw us working so hard the night before we were to be plied with drinks to make up for it last night, needless to say none of us refused and as it was so quiet the owner was happy, we even provided a floor show, trying to come up with a 'staff dance routine' to entertain the customers at various times during the evening.  It was hilarious. 
Well, if I was worried that I was having too many evenings in watching movies in bed, things have definately changed!  My feet are aching, my back too, my head it bussing but I am feeling so much more focused on what I do during the day.
I am expecting my 3 visitors on Friday, (a one night booking) so I was busy after the animals got me up finishing washing the quilts and blankets, moving out of my room (the ensuite) and into one of the smaller ones, that meant I had a great opportunity to clean and sort out my things.  Other than washing the floors and shopping, I am ready.  Needless to say I wont be working Friday, but may have to help out Saturday night..... take me the week to prepare for that one!
Well, my love and best wishes to you all. Apologies if this is a bit disjointed but typed on the fly!

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Walkers and Waiters

Hi Everyone,
sorry it has been a while but many things in my head at the moment make writing a bit difficult.
On my daily trip into town or direct to SCANN my mind observes the practices of people.  Where I live there are few matatus into town but seem to be many coming the other way - from town empty.
Now daily I watch the people many of whom stand and wait in the hot sun in the hope that the matatu that comes their way will have a seat or at least somewhere to prop themselves on their trip to town.  This wait can be anything from half an hour to an hour depending on the space in the vehicles.
I have taken it upon myself never to just stand and wait, seems pointless, many of the matatus that come are already full. For the backlog of people waiting en route to be reduced for there to be room in the matatu takes quite some time.  I just start walking and usually end up walking all the way to my destination, the breeze as I walk cools me, the people I meet greet me, the clearing of the mind relaxes me and the beauty in front of me as I walk down the hill overlooking the lake lifts my spirit.
So the question for me is clear, why do people stand in the heat of the sun with no or little chance of getting a matatu without a long long wait, they just stand and wait and smoulder in the frustrations of the lack of matatus.
I also think that this must be how people are in life, those that stand around and wait for things to happen to them in the hope that something will and live with the disappointment when nothing happens and those that take the step and risk a journey of discovery.
Wow...... I told you my head was busy, maybe this is a bit heavy for today!
The boys at SCANN are now returning to school and the university boys will be leaving in the next few days.  Some of the processes I have put into place are still working which makes me pleased, others have been adapted to fit with the way people work here, but I am happy and I think at the end of the day people are realising that I am after all helping instead of getting in the way.
My roof still leaks but that is because the fundi who came to look at the tiles said it needed the pointing of the valleys redone, which means mixing cement and re applying.  Unfortunately with all the rain we have had we had to postpone as it would have washed the cement away before it had time to dry.  Basins still adourn my living room but at least the lakes are now gone.  Henry is busy planting while we have rain, and my maize that was already planted is very strange, it is growning corn ears but is only about a foot high, looks very stunted, lets hope the birds stay away!!  I asked Henry if he thought that by putting socks over the ears of corn it may deter the birds eating it....... it would allow the air to circulate and also stetch so that the ears can grow inside.   Well, he didnt laugh but stood and looked thoughtful, I think that nowadays he weighs what I say with how silly it is.  I personally think it is worth a try.... what do you think?  I maybe the only muzungu in Nakuru with maize that wears socks.
Kimberley is busy preparing herself for her visit which is only weeks away now, not sure who is more excited her or me.  Actually some of the boys remember that 'Shikera' came to visit in 2006 and are looking forward to her visit!
I understand that the weather there is treating you all to a very cold spell, if going to bed with a hot water bottle consititues a cold night then we are also having a cold spell in the evenings, but the days are usually stilll very hot.
My love to you all, and hoping that the sun shines on you soon and good health is holding your hand.  (strange things the Kenyans say!!)