Monday, 9 May 2011

Wet and cold... yes I am talking about Kenya

Welcome to wet and cold Nakuru.

(I have had some delays in writing this email to you as for the past two nights we have had no electricity and my laptop battery was dead, so third try lucky...)

7th May, I decided before the afternoon rains came to wander to SCANN today, hoping to find everyone at home, just as I got to the entrance I called Anastasia one of my teacher friends to tell her I am knocking and to let me in……….. she told me that there was no one at SCANN they were all out at a celebration being held at Showground.  Well that will teach me, walked all the way there as well.  I had a brief chat with a lady who is helping as administrator at SCANN she was busy doing paperwork while everyone was out. We chatted about how I can help show her what needs to be done……. Um will wait a few weeks after being at SCANN until I know what is lacking!

On leaving I bumped into two older boys waiting to go back to University after the Easter break, we walked together into town and they chatted about their courses, attachments as teachers and general life issues.  It was a lovely exchange of experiences and lives.  I have been asked as one of my ‘jobs’ to familiarise myself with the University Policy that SCANN Directors have put together, so that I can advise the university boys accordingly, um think it will take some doing as they are already questioning how come it was done without any consultation, think I may have a tough time but will give it a go.

When in town I went to the phone friend who I sent a message to yesterday as my mobile was running out of credit and with the heavy rain was in no mood to travel to town to top up, over here you can be sent credit via your phone from someone else, so I had to go to his shop to pay up.  I find this a great life saver some times especially when I am stuck somewhere and need credit.

From there I went to Top Market and sat talking to some other friends who own a stall, I picked up some vegetables for dinner and also sent him to get me some omena which is a small dried fish (like whitebait) which I buy in a kilo bag and use to feed the cat (Paka).  It smells really bad so I always take a spare plastic bag to put it in and tie it tight or I smell out the matatu.

Whilst at the market the heavens opened, the heavy rain that fell was crazy, Kamau told me to sit on his chair and he ran to get a heavy polythene sheet to cover me with, actually it was so big that two other vendors sat under it with me. We sat watching the pounding rain for about 15 minutes before it let up then started again. I sat patiently watching the people sheltering in the market resigned to wait until the rains finished.  I will never get over the sight of women walking in the rain wearing what we use in the shower to protect our hair from getting wet, they wear these in the rain as rain caps, they also wear plastic bags knotted at the edges like hankies, there is no way that a Kenyan lady will allow her weave or wig to get wet so these sights whilst being surreal are around whenever it rains.  I keep avoiding the men who are selling the shower caps as they seem to think that I really NEED one, I should really get Kimberley to send me a totally funky one for me to wear……. I am sure they would all love one the same.

I left the market with many moans from my friends who were enjoying sharing stories with me, I passed by a butcher on the way to the matatu and stopped to buy 3 kilos of bones and waste for Kim. These also get double bagged and even then the smell in the matatu was not good, mix omena and butchers waste, not nice……. People probably thought I needed a shower.  

The rains were so heavy that the roads were running like rivers with people desperately trying to avoid the waters, I was so wet with sandals on that I just waded through without a care, someone shouted, ‘hey lady do you not see the water’ I replied, ‘yes, it’s everywhere we are blessed’  it kept him quiet.  Over here if you are out you are going to get wet, it is that kind of rain, no avoiding it, none of this drizzle or shower, torrential rain I just love it the energy is amazing.

Anyway after a smelly ride home in a matatu in which we all had our own seat, including the conductor which is totally unheard of, Henry met me at the gate and offered to cook Kim’s meat, hey I didn’t want to argue it would have been rude…..hehe.  I decided that it would be good to cook early as no doubt we will have a power cut as soon as the light declines, this is what has happened for the past 4 or 5 evenings.

Oh another story I almost forgot……… Henry went home for a couple of days to visit his parents so while he was away I had the place to myself, you know the thing, dancing round not worrying whether or not Henry was outside watching.  Well as previously mentioned I have been caught out with the electric power failing at dusk resulting in trying to cook by candle and torch light.  Yesterday I cooked early but still got caught having to cook with the torch balanced between my teeth so see what I was doing.  I managed but decided the washing up could wait.  I sat in the lounge with a candle burning on the mantle piece reading a new book via torch light, blanket spread over me to keep warm.  My peace was disturbed by Paka shooting in the opened window, well I couldn’t see that it was Paka but assumed it was, I thought the destination was the kitchen for the milk I had put in Paka’s dish.  No this was not the case, Paka was under the table in the dining area doing something, I got up and shone the torch and found that Paka had come in the window with a huge rat that was at that moment having its head crunched off.  It was disgusting, the sound of all that crunching was making me feel sick.

I blew out the candle and went to my room closing the door behind me to stop Paka coming in with its prize.  I think Paka was making a point ,I had tried earlier to give Paka a worming tablet and Paka was NOT happy, I failed and crunched up the tablet and mixed it with Pakas milk, which was not being consumed, presumably Paka could smell the tablet, to not drink the milk is unheard of.

I decided there was no way in the dark that I was going to attempt to clear up the mess of carnage left by the cat. I sat in bed reading my book by torch light, under the mosi net felt a bit like a child reading under the covers after being told to sleep.

Some few hours later the lights came back up and at that moment Henry appeared from his travels. He had come with gifts from his parents, three chickens.......ummmmmmm.   I told him about Paka and he insisted on coming in a clearing up the mess, why do cats chomp off the head and leave the rest behind, it was disgusting and still warm.  

Ok, I wanted to get this info down before the power went again as I feel it has been a while since I wrote to you.  I am off to SCANN again tomorrow when hopefully I will meet up with all the boys.  Should be good if the response from the two older boys is anything to go by, I know I missed them terribly but they also missed me and keep telling me I make a difference to their lives….. it makes all the hard work and sacrifices worth while.

Ok must go and cook my dinner now that Kim’s dinner is boiled, thanks to Henry, which also means that tonight I don’t have to light the jiko, I offered Henry a hot chocolate drink as I had boiled the kettle for a coffee, so he lit the jiko while I made him a drink, fair swap I think, my jiko lighting skills are thankfully returning after a number of duff tries.

Love to you all,


Please note, I pound these emails out so any bad grammar, incorrect spelling etc I apologise for, that also goes for going off on tangents etc………

PS. The painstaking job of removing with a toothbrush the scale bugs on my rambling rose has paid off, it is looking so much healthier, hopefully it may reward me with some flowers at some stage.  My back as a result of doing this is the sunshine is peeling nicely!

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