Thursday 26th January 2012
Australia Day and if only 1% of all money spent on alcohol in Bundaberg alone today were donated to Umoja Orphanage Kenya project I would have my orphanage built I believe. Wade and I went up to the local village school to make the porridge today for the younger kids. 165 we fed today. It was so stinking hot, however most rewarding to see the little faces so happy to get food. Wade donated the porridge for the next month to the school, as they had none left, and Kerry had been donating it. There was no way, no how I could possibly have even put a cup to my mouth let alone drank out of it. Anna the cook made do with the little water she had – all I could think of was that water coming from that tank where Uncle Patrick had cleaned it out and found the dead dog and other ‘foreign objects’ in there. I had been washing my hands in a bucket of water and then some older children came and filled their cups and drank out of it.

Me and my little man who knew me from last year

I had been washing my hands in the wrong bucket!!! I felt awful. A little boy who I remembered so clearly from last year, came running up to me and hugged my legs. He was such a darling then and he wanted his photo with me. He has grown so much. I was so happy to see him and him me. He was calling me ‘Gruffalo’ which was the story book I’d read to his class last year in June. He melted my heart as the book had obviously stayed with him in his mind. He did enjoy it so much last year, even though the teacher interpreted it as he couldn’t speak English.
We called into see Mamma Margaret at her house on the way home. She gave us 2 bunches of bananas. Invited us for tea – but we never got any…….. Long story, but we enjoyed our talk. Elephants had been into her garden the night before and pulled so many branches down off the trees looking for food. I was so exhausted when I got back to the compound – had lunch and lay down for a Nanna Nap which ended up being over 1 hour. I then took the older kids in class – I had made a reader’s theatre out of Wombat Stew the book, so we began practicing it, to show the kids at the village school. We practiced for nearly 2 hours. The kids love it.

Friday 27th January 2012
Was awakened in the night by what I thought was a spider on me.

So stinking hot – thought I’d melt

When I had come to into my room a spider that jumped kept jumping all over the floor. I killed it with the spray. Now I HATE HATE HATE spiders. (actually I am scared of them and actually have a phobia about them). Anyway as I tried to flick what I thought what was a spider. I felt more and more on me, and bites all over. I thought I was dreaming until I could feel things crawling all over me and in my hair. I reached for my torch and let out an almighty scream! I was covered in black large ants, my bed, my mosquito net and they were all marching up the wall and in my bed trying to attack me. There were literally thousands and thousands of ants on the floor as well. I screamed and jumped and kicked and scratched while trying to spray them, and then more jumping spiders came out of nowhere. It was like hell on earth for me at that point. Expletives came out of my mouth like you wouldn’t believe.
Needless to say I didn’t go back into my bed when they’d all been killed. I sat on the other bed and tried to read until dawn. The cook said it happens often. “Safari ants” go on the march, and they surround their ‘victim’ and then attack. Not a few, but they all come in an army. I must have dropped some food or something onto my pyjamas and they smelt it and come for it, as I am careful not to eat in the room, as I know when you drop a crumb of anything, the room gets full of ants.

Waiting for customers at our clothing shop

It was horrible to say the least and I itched most of the day with dozens of bites all over me.
Job for today was to open the ‘Footprints Shop’ at Magimboni and sell clothes that the kids had grown out of for 20 shillings or 10 shillings, plus other donated clothes that were adult size (huge) and put in the money pot. After sweeping and trying to clean the little roadside shop, we set up for the day and stayed form 9:30 till 4:30. A very, very interesting day. We saw that women no matter where they are act the same when they see something they like and a friend tries to have a look at it and want it. Talk about laugh!! Just like the Boxing Day sales at home. Snatch, snatch, snatch, nearly thought I’d need to get a saucer of milk for them. Arguing and pulling the item back and fro, and they were friends!! – for 10 shillings (A 1cent ). Word soon got around that there were clothes for sale as people began coming out of the bush everywhere. Thank goodness for the old bush telegraph as it would have been a slow day otherwise. We bought some samosas (filling with mashy peas) from travelling food stall (ladies with them for sale on their heads in a bucket), and also some potato scallops, and some chipatis – all for the grand sum of 30 bob. (A 3 cents), as well my cup of tea from the ‘café’ next door to the little shop. We met many local villagers who stopped to chat, and people watched as they caught up with the local village gossip.

More in for skin touching

Some conversations more animated than others. I can only guess what they were saying. Then the local ‘gun’ palm wine tapper (collector} (Morriss), came by and introduced himself telling me the intricacies of palm wine collecting, and which collection would be best for me. He told me he had seen me several days walking along the track. I said I hadn’t seen him at all and he said he was up the palm trees collecting wine. Thank goodness I didn’t stop for a pee like I had wanted to one day thinking no one was around!! I held on till I got back to the compound. Heaven only knows how many other tappers were up trees when I’d scratched my bum or picked my nose ha!ha! (only kidding!!) The morning one it appeared as I wouldn’t get so inebriated so quickly, and most suitable for ladies of my size. This is the menazi the locals drink. He went on to say that the village ladies would need to lock up their men if I had the ‘evening one’ would send me on a rampage as it would make me ‘strong’ and after Kenyan men, and 1 wouldn’t be enough. Hmmmmm!! Have smelt it and it’s not for me – no matter what!! The school children from across the road came for a look several times and sat and played with my hands and touching my white skin. It took nearly 1 hour for 1 local lady to purchase something. She was soooooo hard to please and a big lady trying to fit herself into a smaller bras. She liked it and that was it – she was going to fit into it.

Effects of malnutrican and menazi

Reminded me of the 3 ugly sisters in Cinderella. Wade trying upselling her colourful skirts her size but that didn’t work, then she decided she wanted one of my rings right or wrong, and offered me her beaded one in exchange. I had to tell her papa had bought it for me and he would be upset and got Peter (Uncle Patricks son) to tell her in Swahili as she couldn’t speak English. But the absolute highlight of the day was meeting the village drunk. (or one of them as there is several. I have seen now what too much menazi does to you and not no way no how would I be touching it. He took a liking to me and Wade and wouldn’t leave. Peter tried to shoo him away with a broom, that didn’t work. I hid, and he found me, that didn’t work, then the man in the stall next to us, started yelling at him in Swahili and that didn’t work so Peter began pushing him away, and he birred up at him, wanting to fight. Then a guy came on a motorbike, who the guy recognised and he talked with him and coerced him to leave. The school kids sitting with us were scared of him.
As well the local ‘flasher’ came past with the ‘undercarriage’ covered today thank goodness! And the local ‘security.’ This poor darling is mentally challenged as well and goes around day in day out with his stick checking on things. Had some lovely conversations with the village ladies and was so saddened to see babies on backs that were 9 months old and looked like 2 – 3 month old babies from our country. So many children with ALL their teeth rotten. I don’t know what they could be eating to make them like that, but certainly would have never had a toothbrush or paste on them. Lollies aren’t easily available, and would be far too dear to purchase anyway for a family, so maybe it is the copious amounts of sugar they put in everything.

Beans cooking for the teachers lunches

My cup of tea was like drinking pure sugar, but when in Rome…..

We ended up taking $1500 Kenya Shillings which is about $15.00 Australian so a very good day. Walked home with Footprints younger school children who finished school, and got called into the “Pink Elephant” by Morris the palm wine tapper who was PARRALETIC. I wanted to show Wade where it was kept – so got the kids to stay outside and wait and took him into where it was stored. OMG – so many men so off their faces with bloodshot eyes. Took a whiff of Morris’s and nearly passed out with the disgusting smell. Wade then decided he was not going to even try it, as the staff guys were going to take him down after dinner and try it. As I said – interesting day in the village life of Shimba Hills. Oh I forgot to mention. I got asked for money no less than about 8 times. From secondary school children wanting me to pay their fees, and telling me their story (which upset me each time), but how can I help them all – and are they being truthful. Most of them probably are as I’ve seen them be sent home for not having fees paid. Several wanted money for food, (then saw one at the Pink Elephant drinking menazi), so pleased I never gave him any. I didn’t give anyone anything, and felt really bad, but not knowing who is truthful and not, is difficult. Wade had played football with the plastic bag ball one little kid came by with and then went and found a ‘shop’ that sold lollypops and bought him 2. He immediately came back and gave his friend the other one, and the look on their faces was priceless. That little boy will never forget the day and mzungu (white person) played football with him and bought him sweets. Most of the younger babies on their mammas backs were terrified of us 2 white people, screaming their heads off and literally shaking!! I didn’t think I was that scary ha! ha.

Was also a reflecting day for me as was already 1 month today since my dad passed.

Leave a Reply

Sign up for our mailing list

Member of Rotary

Umoja Orphanage Kenya is a Project of the Sunrise Rotary Club Bundaberg 
RAWCS Project Number 51/2011-12
Umoja's founder Cathy is a member of Fitzroy Rotary Club District 9570

Latest Posts