Wednesday, 25 May 2011

My Body is Not My Temple

Hoping my email finds you all well,

has it been a week already?  Well Sunday and yesterday were both water days and guess what, we didn’t get any.  Today is salsa day which would entail having a shower but not sure I have enough water for one!!!  You guessed it may have to take another walk to Hotel Merica for a sneaky one!

Since I last wrote to you I have been busy, but not quite sure doing what.  We lost the only key we had to the post box in town (most of you will know we don’t get post to the house you have to rent a post box and collect from there). I had to arrange for a new lock and keys which will take about 2 weeks, until then I have to wait in line and ask the nice lady to check the mail box for me, usually only dust in there, unless anyone wants to write to me:-

Susannah Chandler, PO Box 17224, Nakuru 20100, Kenya

I only get a water and electric bill and dust that’s it!

Anyway have popped to SCANN a couple of times, now there are few boys there during the week having remedial classes until they are able to manage school admittance I think there is now about 8 boys, all the rest are out to school.  On Saturday I walked in early as the air was fresh and walk was good, I wanted to check if the doctor was attending.  It wasn’t until I got there that I found that there were no new cases of chicken pox and everyone else was healthy.  I spent time talking to the older boys who were on work attachment locally and therefore were around at the weekends, they seem to be settling into their relevant ‘jobs’ well and enjoying the experience.  

I spent some time with the sewing lady who is stitching the costumes that I cut out during the week, I want to see what one is like complete before cutting out more in case they need alterations.  She did this between being asked to mend uniforms by the boys which was more important, split trousers for school was not a good thing!I noticed while there that there was a bees nest hanging from the computer room outer wall and made a mental note to report it to Management.  The bees were very active and with so many boys around it probably needed to be removed.

From SCANN I walked into town to hopefully collect my laptop which had developed a major problem during the week, hence no emails.  I couldn’t even switch it on it just made a loud noise and blank screen.  My computer ‘fundi’ Dennis had it for a few days and now its good as new, it felt awful without it as I use it so much not just for emails but for typing reports and information seeking.
Unfortunately, my laptop was not ready, which in hind sight was a good thing as on the way home the heavens opened and I got soaked through to the skin. My light coloured ¾ length trousers became see through which upset me as I was wearing really bright pants underneath and they showed through, at least it was letting people know wearing some.

I jumped into the shower and sat outside in the ‘after downpour’ sunshine to dry my hair.  I was off to spend the night with my friend Cheryl and her family.  Cheryl came over to pick me up as it was over the other side of town to my house.  We arrived and I was greeted by her 6 dogs, the number had gone up since I last saw her!  The place was even lovelier than I had remembered, the single storey home is nestled in the most gorgeous grounds, surrounded by indigenous trees and flowering plants, you wouldn’t know it was there.  On the back of the house is a very large veranda covered in such an assortment of hanging and climbing plants, lots of pots and cactus adorn the place made even better with large wooden sofas and chairs covered in huge cushions, a great place to relax and enjoy the surroundings.

We spent the evening sat catching up on stories from the last year, it was a time just relaxing and enjoying their company. Cheryl’s daughter Emma was staying there having returned from studies in the UK, undecided on what her next move would be, we chatted about the UK and its problems and also Kenya the same. Anthony (Cheryl’s husband) does like a drink in the evening but finds it better when he has someone to drink with as Cheryl doesn’t drink and his daughter slept early.  I joined him in a couple of whiskies and then he said he would mix a drink (can’t remember the name) whisky and ice cream in a blender. Yummy!!

I awoke at 7 remarkably clear headed, dressed quickly, after being given a cuppa in bed (luxury).  Cheryl likes to have me as an overnight guest as I like to walk so we get up early on the Sunday and walk the dogs at the Menengai Crater, today we were joined by Emma which was a lovely surprise.  We piled into the estate car with all the dogs crammed in the back. The walk was amazing as usual, we walked up to the lip of the crater instead of heading to the floor.  The dogs ran around enjoying the freedom and a couple of times were chased by the resident baboons (not something to mess with).  As we walked we collected various grasses, Cheryl makes cards using the materials found at the crater to sell to raise awareness of the nature of the crater and help fund a local Menengai educational centre.  There is a geothermal plant nestled in the crater producing power locally.

By the end of the walk we were all ready for a hearty breakfast, and the truth be known I had forgotten to take a bottle of water with me and my head was throbbing from dehydration from all the walking, we were out for about 2 hours and it was not all easy going!

We settled on the veranda for a breakfast of toast from home made bread, bacon, eggs and tea, just what we needed.  I packed all my wet walking gear (from the early morning dew not the rain for a change), I drank loads of water to try and get rid of the thumping head ache but ended up with pills, I sat on the veranda watching Anthony remove a rockery for the cactus at the side of the veranda as he said it had become too choked and needed extending and thining.

I asked for some cuttings as I have always admired their display of cactus.  I then ended up helping out, you know how aggressive cactus can be. I came away with 2 carrier bags with cuttings in and was thrilled, together with dried grasses and things I had collected from the crater.

Cheryl enjoys her coffee and decided we would head to Guava for Sunday coffee, unfortunately the electric was off so the coffee machine was out of action and the coffee was not great. Cheryl wanted to check out a new camp called Punda Milias (means something to do with Zebra) so I went along for company.  This was off the main road but was 5km along rutted dirt tracks with no signage, it had to be new.  We eventually arrived at a large gate which was opened by a friendly grinning man who confirmed we were in the right place.  The grounds looked lovely with acacia trees and many floral bushes and plants.  The place was built with the idea of having overland vehicles with many occupants, the grounds were laid out for camping and they had also built some bandas (these were raised wooden sleeping cabins) actually they were just bedrooms, toilet and washing facilities were nearby but separate.  In our opinion he had built these too close together, and we told him so, when sleeping in these you do not want to hear your neighbours, the idea is the think you are sleeping out in the wilderness.  

The shower block was interesting he had built them without a roof so you showered under the sky or if you were crazy enough to shower at night, under the stars, (ideal food for the local mosquitoes).  Everything he had built was with a great eye for detail and consideration for the environment it was nestled in. The bar/restaurant was lovely with big windows over looking the grounds.
I loved the place but would not be able to visit without a car, he has paid for the overhead electric lines to be put in and the new road is due to be built to his place, a good job as when it rains it would be impassable.

Cheryl and I noticed the black clouds overhead and made a hasty retreat but not before a well needed Tusker Malt and Ginger Ale.  We did a quick shop on the highway and then I was dropped at home. A great time spent with friends.

Monday I walked to SCANN discussed working on doing some painting in the class rooms after the walls were painted, to add interest, numbers, alphabet etc, not that I am an artist, but I know that Cheryl’s daughter is and she is planning on being around until August so maybe able to rope her in to help!!!!  
The ‘home boys’ were busy playing with a ball made from plastic bags so I took out of my bag an inflatable rugby ball one of many kindly given by Jayne from Virgin.  I had given most of them to Mama Sweetie for the children but kept a few of SCANN.  The boys soon saw what I was up to blowing away to inflate the ball, they quickly gathered round me trying the acquire the ball, I gave it a lob and they charged after it.  That kept them amused for sometime.  I checked on the stores cupboards to see what materials we had for arranging an art class with the small boys and to see what paints we had for doing the walls.  All noted, I talked to Mama Zubeda for a while about things at SCANN and then planned to be there Wednesday afternoon to do the art class (mayhem more like) but fun anyway.

Yesterday was Tuesday and I decided to stay home to help Henry. Kim had been continuously getting out through gaps in the hedge caused by my neighbour removing the wood on the other side of my hedge (used for firewood). This wood is not mine but was put up by the council as the area on the other side of the hedge is an access route.  People here take over this land as has my neighbour and it has been planted, but at night they come and remove the wood and use if for their wood bringing water heater!! Henry has been filling as many holes as possible with materials we have round the place but it has now got silly.  I went into town and bought two rolls of wire chain fencing and in order to put this up we had to cut back some of the very spiky hedge before attaching the fence.  In addition to this we decided to dig a big sump hole at the back of the house as it collects a lot of water that sits when it rains.  I started digging at the lowest point in the area with a jembe (hoe) and then a spade, I now have a round hole about 5ft wide by at present 4ft deep, it still needs to go deeper but my arms and hands are shattered!!  We plan on filling this with stones to help the drainage and then cover with soil, obviously the soil will keep sinking with the rain but eventually it will settle and the water should collect here instead of sitting on the ground, well that is the theory anyway.   Needless to say by the end of yesterday I was totally exhausted, with blistered hands and burnt neck, to top it all not enough water for a shower, so washed with a bucket instead, didn’t quite do the job but so tired couldn’t be bothered to worry.  I cooked us a hearty meal of minced beef with rice and veg to make up for all the energy we had used up.  We now have a half dug hole, a lovely new wire mesh fence and a lot of mess to clear up!!

Today is Wednesday, my back, arms and hands are aching like mad, my neck is smarting nicely, I desperately need a shower (will send Henry up the ladder to check the water level in the tank may just have enough for one!) Maji (water) man didn’t reply to my message asking him where the water was and when we would get some…………… my man has been moved to another office and I am not sure this new one is very accessible.  Anyway thought you guys needed an update, lounging on my bed having already leapt out of bed at 7, fed the animals and myself wandered round checking plants and weeding, that is it for today as off to SCANN.  

Love to you all, hope your lives are a little less exhausting and full of happiness.

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