Monday, 22 August 2011

Slowly on the Mend

Hi thought i should do a health updates. 

The tests have shown the malaria has gone and no typhoid but was still feeling unwell. After a consult with SCANN dr on saturday he thinks the stomach issue stems from the fish that i had a few weeks ago that bounced, he said that it would have been food poisoning and that was enough to disrupt my stomach and digestion, so am on tablets to help that. The tiredness etc is post malaria along with the stomach issues so am on high dose of multi vits and minerals to build me up. 

So luckily nothing serious.

Just a quick one today as struggling with keys on the mobile.

Love to everyone and hoping you are all well. On my way to the Knitters today.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

More Blood Tests

Well, I hope you are all well!!!

I find myself back at the internet waiting for blood results as managed to get in before they closed for lunch at 1.00pm but have to wait till 2.30pm for the results, mind you that is a lot quicker than in the UK where I sat in the hospital Acute ward waiting for confirmation for two days going home in between to sleep, I thought they were joking especially when I told them I walk into a lab, they take blood and in half an hour usually they give you the results, sometimes bureaucracy goes crazy, they even phoned the London Hospital for Tropical diseases and I didn't have Malaria at the time.

Anyway to kill time I will let you know what I have been up to as I know you are all waiting with baited breath.  Had a quiet weekend thinking I was getting better as you know so on Monday I was picked up at supposedly 8.30am but was Kenyan time and 9.45 to go to Kenana Knitters where I visited with Julian.  I am volunteering there with the hope that they will possibly be able to get around my visa issues and employ me, it is an amazing place, supporting so many people and youth in the community through health and education issues.

So on Monday my first day to visit for volunteering I was asked to weigh all the skems (think that is right - the lengths of wool that is spun from the fleece before it is made into balls) that the ladies had spun over the weekend. There was so much it took me all morning, especially as it meant lifting huge bundles that the ladies had done, quality control it and then decide on the rate to give them for the spinning (that was difficult as I had to decide only after a quick feel and instructions. This process meant that the ladies would then have their money calculated and then paid.... apparently my next

We broke for lunch and I must say that Paddy provides us with a lovely fair with desert too, all with napkins and silver napkin rings in her home on the estate.  After lunch the ladies had come with so much wool that I ended up tied up with that for some time. Paddy ended up paying the ladies which I am pleased about as that took some doing as the ladies were from all different tribes and many of them old so English is not an option and not sure my pigeon language would manage, maybe next time under supervision I will give it a try.

I was then shown the next part after the ladies are paid...... they go to a different section of the building to buy their raw wool /fleece for them to spin.  They fill bags which is then to be weighed, the cost calculated and then they pay with some of the money that they were just paid.  They then disappear into their corners for the social aspect of the day when they compare stories and support each other - many of them are also knitters so they then sit and knit for the rest of the day.

I then was shown the computer system that is used to transfer all the data of the daily sales of fleece and the purchase of the skems to enter all the information, took me a while, then it was home time.

On Tuesday Emma and I headed to SCANN to do some more painting as she is heading to the UK mid September to stay for a few years so she had to finish the pictures at least before she goes.  We went into town afterward for lunch as I couldn't face cooking. I then headed home.

Wednesday - back to the knitters, I am getting there by car as it is so far away from me, I get a lift so I waited at my tree for collection and this time only half an hour late and very chatty we headed off.  I was thrown straight into packing soft knitted toys for a company in USA - there were hundreds of these critters that needed packing.  I took great care making sure all the labels were attached, the quality was good and the toys were standard size and shape, bearing in mind they are all hand knitted this was fun, knitters will know!  I ensured that when packing them into the sacks for shipment they were all snug and comfortable with penguins wings and scarfs lowered to a comfortable location, the moose's antlers were not bent and they were all happy before they left.  This took me nearly all day there were so many and this was only part of the order as it is a very large on going one.  

The next job I was introduced to was looking at the figures for all the children and adults that they support financially through education and health, this had been left for a while and needed a good look at as it was showing that since Feb things were not good, what the problem was was that the person had not been putting in the paid in funds.....  This is a major job and will be one I started and will take me forever to get through to sort it......... hey here is the challenge.

They wanted me back today as I am getting on well with everyone and don't wait to be told what to do, but I am still not feeling great and Henry left for a day in Naivasha at 5.30 this morning to promote his VCD he wont be back till late and I didn't want to leave Kim for that long, besides woke up this morning needing to go back to bed after breakfast which didn't sit well in the stomach.

I did go to salsa last night and had rounded up 5 other girls, they had a fab time and things are moving on - the girls are actually asking to have men at the lessons so they can try partner dancing, unfortunately there is only us and the male teacher who would be danced off his feet with all of us, they are so demanding.  I went home early after putting my head in the door at Guava as one of the guys is leaving Kenya today.

My Virgin friend Marouella sadly lost her father and is not sure she will be coming to Nairobi at the weekend and I was planning on going to the immigration on Monday to check on things with my still illusive visa.  I will see how things go and how I am feeling as to whether I get to Nairobi, it always takes it out of me even when I am feeling good!

As far as SCANN is concerned I am still actively continuing my visits and supporting them, only this week I was contacted by someone in Nairobi who is visiting and coaching juggling from Holland, he asked me to arrange for him to visit and coach the boys this Sunday so hopefully that will go ahead and they will have a great time.

I still need to get to Mama Sweeties as the toilet block is now finished and I need to take photos and sort out chicks and feed for the chicken house.  Mama Sweetie is arranging her own community fund raising weekend on 27th August to help her with a large water tank and construction of a kitchen.  Expect I will be going although I tried to get out of it as I think personally if the community think she is so well supported by whites then they wont help!  Anyone interested in boosting this fund raising don't forget the Visoi web page for any donations 

Ok well I think that this is probably all I can manage today as not sure it runs too well together.  Whilst sitting here I have been chatted up by a guy from Nairobi sitting next to me on Facebook, he obviously is totally blind to the fact that my hair is a haystack, I am wearing 2 day old jeans, need a shower, no makeup, puffy eyes and and sweating rather badly..........  other than that I am old enough to be his MUM.........ah bless made me smile. Good thing was he smelt good........!

Anyway, time to walk down the street and get my results.

Bye for now.
Sickly Susannah

Sunday, 14 August 2011

It's confirmed Malaria not migrane or too much sugar!

Hi All,
well after struggling since last weekend with thinking I was dehydrated, too much sugar or just run down. Emma insisted I went for a blood test and it showed that I had Malaria again.  I have to admit that after attending SCANN painting on Wednesday morning and then having a meal at Guava for lunch and some pain killers I was feeling better and decided to head to the Guava 'Woodstock' Party that night.  Well, I had spent the whole of the previous day making flowers for my skirt as I was home feeling unwell.  Mad I know but sometimes you just have to do it.

The theme was 'woodstock' so I dug out my red wellies again and stuck big yellow flowers on them, good job as as soon as I left the door way of the house to get the taxi, the heavens opened, they must have known, bu the time I got out the gate to the taxi I was thankful for the wellies as it was flooding down the drive way.

The rain stopped no one, it was a made night, the salsa before hand had been canceled as the teacher was unwell and gave no notice, so after a few phone calls we all went straight to Guava.  What a mad night, I think the atmosphere kept me on a high, everyone had made such an effort, those of you with Face book can check out the photos.(Doris, maybe you shouldn't be shown!)

Well to say the least that night was amazing but unfortunately I felt the effects of the efforts the next day, I spent the next two days in bed having expended all my energies at the party and feeling the malaria badly.  Henry made sure there was food in the house and tended the animals, but he also was busy as his church was having a convergence of churches and he wanted to get lots of his VCD made to sell at the event.  He spent alot of time in town arranging this.  By the way anyone who wants any copies let me know, I can arrange it.  I slept alot and eventually on Friday evening got out of bed and sat knitting, I know not my thing but something to keep me focused.  I am knitting a shrug, I found a pattern and thought it would be a good small coverup when going out as at the last party at Guava my lovely black drapped cardigan went 'missing'.  All I have now is zippies.  Anyway I am starting with the only colour that I have - cream to see how it goes then will look at buying some nice wool at the Kenana Knitters when I go on Monday.

Yesterday I got up early did some washing and took a very well earned shower, found that I was still wearing the felt tip 'tattoos' that I had done on Wednesday, washed all the bedding too as it needed it. I then headed to SCANN to do the clinic, we had a couple of skin infections and bronchitis, not surprising with this cold wet weather.  After that headed to town with Emma who had come over to do some more painting, (she had come down with a cold and was feeling a bit worse for it) Nice pair we made. Anyway sorted out some more cards from Chas, got Julians bead band done at last, went to the Post office to see if anyone loves me - they don't and grabbed my piki piki Francis to take me home via Tuskys at Highway as I needed some food as the house was lacking.  Got home and slept.  Well after washing all the floors and rearranging the furniture.

Today got up feeling good, decided to dress girlie and make an effort - I think more psychologically than anything. I decided to put on a floaty skirt and walk towards town, being a Sunday the matatus were all full. so I just kept walking.  I got to the Highway and continued walking towards town feeling good.  I was joined by a boy of about 13 who asked me where I was going, I told him, he asked if I was walking, I said yes. Um....... He got out a piece of paper and asked me if I would support him for a fund raising, I said no as I had given to so many that I had no money.  He asked if I was walking all the way to town, I said sure.  He asked me if he could pay for my matatu fare as it was a long way and I would get tired.  I was so take aback that I blessed him and said I needed the exercise but thank you. He wandered off to try and get money from some other people waiting for the matatu.  I smiled as I walked on for about another 10 mins as it made me realise that it was a lovely day and humanity was not totally doomed.  After a while I discovered that he was right it was too far and my energy just was not going to manage.  As I came off the Highway at Section 58 my regular boda boda (bike taxi) came along and offered me a life, I told him I only had change of 15bob and he took me anyway (should be 20bob).  I wrapped up my skirt and sat side saddle in the lady like mode and we headed into town, I was still smiling as now 2 people had proven that humanity is not doomed. I don't need much to make me happy.

By the time I was dropped off and walked to the cyber cafe, I realised that in fact I am not on top form, I was sweating badly and in need of sitting down, so here I am pounding away on the keys writing to you and uploading the energetic photos on to Facebook (taking an age I must say) I will then head to Guava for a well earned lunch and wait for Cheryl to turn up for a coffee and cake later.  I may even write some of my cards, who knows.

Love to you all,
Susannah determined to be on the mend.

Monday, 1 August 2011


Yes its me again, hi there and welcome to the continuing journal of craziness.....

Sorry Tracie I was lazy and copied most of what I sent to you but there maybe more you will miss if you don't read all hehe!!!
well it has been a bit crazy here with two visitors and a surprise trip to Mombasa (which was amazing).  Since my visitors (Ailsa and Julian must point out that they were not together in case there is any confusion there) have left I have been busy pricing up materials and costings for the two jobs, the toilet block and the chicken house. 

Decided that as I had to spend time at the cyber cafe sending update emails to Ailsa in (Scotland) and Tracie (Salsa) for the building projects of toilets and chicken house at Mama Sweeties decided I would grace you all with my email too.

I have spent my time minus visitors (Ailsa and Julian) catching up on work that I needed to do..... pricing materials and costings for the above projects.   Took some doing, Ailsa and I had decided that we would use Henry to build the chicken house and Daniel a builder and neighbour to Mama Sweeties to do the toilet block. 

Toilet and washing Block

The toilet block is a bigger project and we have got a local builder who is a neighbour to Mama Sweetie and knows us all well to manage the building etc.  It has gone up very quickly and I have attached photos for you to share. At this point in the photos, the bulding of the 2 girls and 2 boys long drop toilets is done with roofing.  (A long drop toilet is built over a pit, dug 11ft length x 2ft wide x 20ft deep is as there is no mains water being used for the toilets, hence no flushing. A concrete slab stone is constructed over the pit with a hole in each cubical for toilet usage. The waste is absorbed into the ground at the bottom of the pit slowly over time, helped by the addition of the water from the washing).  The next stage is the two outer additions which are the areas for body washing for the children, this will not be showers, as there is a terrible lack of water with no mains to the property.  There will be guttering from the roof to harvest any rain water that may come her way, this together with any delivered water will be stored and used with basins in the washing rooms for washing down the children.  No baths here!!

Chicken House

The chicken house has been constructed by the amazing team of yours truly and Henry (my guard/odd job man).  As you know Henry has been with me for some time now looking after the house, the pets and the grounds. Although I no longer can afford to pay him, I feed him and he still lives in the guard house in exchange for working for free. We decided as he and his family have kept chickens in his rural home for years now he would be able to construct the chicken house for us.

We have used as much of the wood from the cow shed and on the property as was available to keep costs down so we can actually manage to buy some chicks too.  Mama Sweetie does already have some older hens and a couple of cockerels which roam the property but they lose many of the eggs as they lay them anywhere and are hard to find. Many are also lost to local dogs on the scavange. At least now they will all be contained in one place and order resumed.  

The chicken house design was to take in the end of the 'cow shed' (most things are in disrepair) but we decided that we should have to use the timber from the side of the cow shed to help construction.  The chicken house will consist of three levels, the bottom level is for new chicks and will not be accessible by the older hens and the chicks will also not be able to mix outside with the older hens either until they are of suitable size.

The next level which is accessible from the outside chicken run, when the access door is opened will be for sleeping at night.  The top level will be accessible to the outer chicken run by the door on the level below and this level will be for hens sitting on eggs.

We have already had a great deal of interest shown in this construction by the hens who have already started fighting over where they are taking up occupancy.  I think it will cause problems amongst the ranks of the chicken community at Mama Sweeties.   We hope to finish this week and will send more photos

In between this I have been visiting SCANN to rest my poor arms, I wish....actually I have been doing more of the painting on the classroom walls, I have now completed the alphabet but didn't have my camera to hand - will have to take photo next time, I am impressed anyway.  I also managed to do the clinic a week ago and a good job too as two of the boys had had to see the doctor during the week with very bad bronchitis which needed injections of antibiotics to clear the infection. I am pleased to say that after more meds they are well on their way to recovery. On the Sunday, I spent most of the day working round the garden, the maize is so tall I struggle to get through it. (See picture attached) I made a path using huge stones and digging a route to the seed bed, I was tired of walking like a mountain goat on the stones and ripping apart my toes.  I decided that as there were potatoes planted in with the maize I would try and find some for lunch, this was not an easy matter.  The actual plants had died away leaving little or no trace of where the potatoes were.  I prodded and scratched away with my fingers and actually found a wash basin full, that was only a tiny part of the area planted. Wooo hooo, had an amazing vegetable stew for dinner. Henry was away at a church meeting in Nyaharuru (probably spelt wrong) that night it rained so heavily that he was unable to make it back.  I find it amazing that the north of Kenya is desperately suffering with drought when we have so much rain here in Nakuru, even Mama Sweetie is in the dry belt, we have too much, not that I am complaining. Am also sending a pic I took last week to prove we have rain and floods!

I have also been going to Wednesday night salsa and last week even got talked into attending a Hat and Boot party afterwards at Guava.  I went a little tongue in cheek as decided to promote the safe sex theme and convert a sun hat into a 'safety hat', attached to it were many packets of condoms like an aussie hat and it read safety hat at the back and front. I also wore red wellies kindly left to me by Ailsa, so safety hat and safety boots went down a storm.  Needless to say that the condoms were all removed from my hat by the end of the evening when I left at 2.30am.

I had forgotten that I had arranged to head to Mama Sweeties with Henry at 7am!!! That was very hot long, long, long, long day!  On Saturday, 30th headed back to Mama Sweeties to do more work, Henry is a slave driver, no time for snoozing on the job. It was such a cold day that I even kept on my zippy, it helped us to get lots done though. 

I missed the after Safari Rally party that was held also as Ben's birthday party, it was invite only and I seemed to have missed the invite giving.......... issues with that one so less said the better, my friends didn't miss me until the Sunday when I asked how the party was!!!!! Nice to be loved!

Anyway Sunday Henry decided not to go to church (unheard of) instead he did his washing and cleaning, even caught him washing my flip flops that I had used for wandering round the garden when it rains! I decided that as he had worked so hard we would have lunch out at Garden Villa, we arrived at about 2.30pm and I think the food arrived about 5pm...... not bad service just Kenyan Time I guess.  By this time Henry had had to leave so I ate my portion of roast potatoes, shredded cabbage, and Tilapia fish. I had invited along my friend Tim for a beer as he was off sorts and had expected to have eaten by the time he arrived. I let him nibble on my roast potatoes and have the bits of fish I couldn't bear to pick (he had already eaten so was not bothered - I was not being mean).  The heavens opened and we had to wait until the rains cleared then headed home at about 7pm by Taxi.  Tim was dropped off after me on the taxis way back to town.

I had only just managed to get into the house when my stomach started churning and I spent the rest of the night vomiting.  I am not sure if this was from something I picked up from the playing with the children at Mama Sweeties or what but it wasn't nice having my lunch twice.

I got up this morning at 7.30 dehydrated, managed breakfast of loyal weetabix, avoided the coffee.  I did my washing then went back to bed till lunch time. Decided I needed to chat to you guys and update on the building projects for Ailsa and Tracie, so here I am, I have managed to pay my post box fee for the year, picked up a post card of London from my Niece. Moaned loudly at Chas the card guy who let us down, but then gave me the balance of cards I ordered from him back in April when I arrived and offered as consolation another 5 cards as freebies.  I also went to the butcher and bought some nice lean minced beef, chicken breast and stewing steak.  My fridge was bare only had some tomatoes and milk, not enough for a meal really, not that I am hungry at the moment.

Anyway this is probably a bit bitty, but wanted to try and back track, hope you are all well and life is treating you as you deserve to be treated.

My love to my family, you know who you are, you can't deny it, sorry. Hope Julian is settling back into the UK swing of things with many stories for you salsa people.

My house is so quiet and big with no visitors, good thing really, as I am too tired to look after them.

Bye for now,