Whilst I have devoted a lot of time to Yasmine it would be extremely terrible of me not to share the loss of my Uncle Graham who passed away last week, (brother to my father). Whilst we saw little of each other in recent years, whenever he was around he used to make me smile. As a young girl, he often used to chase me to say hi by rubbing his bristly beard on my cheek, it drove me mad. As I grew older it became an act of endearment between the two of us, instead of a greeting I used to offer my cheek for a bristle kiss. Crazy the things that change over the years, childish dread that I would be ‘bristled’ by Uncle Graham and now it will be a fond memory of a lovely man. My love and condolences to my whole family at this sad time and my strength goes out to you all for the funeral on Monday, Farewell Uncle Graham you will be missed.
I remember telling you that I was arranging various things to help the boys come to terms with Yasmine’s death, well this is what I have been up to……
I have been busy running round Nakuru trying to gather materials to decorate one of the large notice boards in the dining hall at SCANN, it will be transformed into Yasmine’s Remembrance Board for the boys. It will be somewhere they can express their thoughts, put letters, pictures, prayers, poems words of songs that will help comfort them. The notice board that I am using is very old and pitted so I decided that I would need to find some sort of paper to cover it with. This in itself took a while. I managed to find lots of flowery metallic birthday wrapping paper but nothing that would be suitable. I eventually stumbled across some pale purple almost parma violets coloured paper with a very small almost embossed pattern on it, I carried off 8 sheets hoping it would be enough. I then (when nipping though one of my many short cuts along the back alleys of Nakuru) found a shop that sold artificial flower garlands and arrangements for wedding cars. I decided that there was one garland that contrasted well with the paper it had deeper purple and white flowers, knowing how much the boys love flowers I bought one.
I had already had enlarged and printed my favourite photo of Yasmine (actually my only photo of Yasmine because she hated to be in any) this was when the BBC were filming Taking the Flak and Yasmine was grabbed for a group photo with the boys dressed in their ‘boy soldier’ outfits, she looked so happy and proud of the boys! I had also been busy cutting out letters from gold metallic paper to make the words, WE REMEMBER MAMA YASMINE. I typed out a notice for the boys and had put one in the entrance to each of the dormitories, explaining what I had planned and asking them for any words, etc that they may want to put up.
I had received nothing from the boys and was actually told by one older boy who I asked if he had anything that no one had understood what I was planning…… I sent him off with a clearer mind and asked him to spread the information.
Yesterday I went to SCANN with all the items ready to prepare the notice board, teacher Catherine assisted during her free lesson time and we put together the basics for the remembrance board. The final effect was quite stunning and I really hoped the boys would be pleased, I mounted the items that I had already gathered, one being a letter written that morning by Sammy Mwangi one of the boys who had briefly returned from Tanzania to visit Yasmine’s grave, some were the pictures from the younger boys that I had been given to pass to Yasmine on the Friday that I visited her only to find that after my short visit I still had them in my hand when I left the room mind distracted by how frail Yasmine had looked. The picture I had enlarged was now mounted in the centre of the notice board, proud of place with some of the flowers from the garland draped over the top and down the sides of the photo like a shroud, it looked very effective.
I had printed some emails that I had received sending support and condolences from friends and relatives, typed up text messages of the same and put these on the board, to let the boys know their loss was shared and love was being sent their way from many directions.
By the time I left SCANN some of the boys who were on the premises had come to see what was going on and they loved the board, I just hope the others will think the same and provide me with additional messages etc to add to it, it is a way for them to say ‘Goodbye’ as they had no time to do so and to celebrate that they had known Yasmine as their Mama for many of them it had been from day one, 9 years ago. Other things that I have planned are still in early stages so I will inform you when they come about.
Today I didn’t get to SCANN, I was busy preparing the summary for the bike repairs that the ‘fundi’ had given me hand written. I am hoping to get the green light to get the repairs done before I return home, one less job out of the way and one more thing that the older boys could do with to make their long journey to school easier.
We had quite heavy rain today but having just wandered around outside a couple of hours later you would not have thought a drop had fallen if you didn’t walk on the grass, which would reveal the secret that the dry ground was hiding, that in fact rain had fallen, I even had to check the water butt which collects the roof rain water to double check……. before I walked on the grass that is!
The mosquitos have decided to start nibbling away at me so I am retiring early and hiding under my mosquito net for safety…..
2010, I feel will be a harsh year.