Friday 20th January 2012

After taking George on my back for my 45 minute walk again this morning my body ached like crazy and my throat so sore during the night. Lay down and that was where I spent virtually the next 2 days with a bout of the flue and a dripping nose. Talk about sweat it out! I felt bad I couldn’t help around the compound but just didn’t have the energy to do anything other than get up to go to the toilet and sleep. By Sunday I felt a lot better, but spent the afternoon lying down again. Can’t believe – I don’t get the flue all winter at home and in the scorching heat here – I get it. Lauren left Saturday so was sad to see her go and another volunteer arrived from Manchester called Wade. A guy which the kids are really pleased about and I suspect Aunty Rachel will be too when she gets back to work on Monday as he is about her age.

Outside the orphanage sign

Took them 3 hours to get back from the airport at Mombasa due to the line up at the Likoni ferry. Didn’t go to church Sunday with the kids, as honestly didn’t have the energy to walk there, so mainly played with the kids doing early learning activities and maths games with the older ones, while the even older ones were back in school. I missed their play they performed on Friday in English as was sleeping in bed. I did face painting with the kids and did the girls’ toenails which they love. Talk about them loving the facepainting! Wow! It was such a hit with them.

Last night the kitchen boys and Wade from Manchester were listening to the game on the radio and you could hear them hollowing as Manchester won. It is nice for them to have a guy here. Today we took him to the local school and around the village, and like me initially was astounded at what ‘school’ is like here and local shopping in a village. Asbestos laying in classrooms, kids sitting all over it, and the wind blowing it through the classroom day in and day out. I actually hadn’t realised it, but when I was here last time, I had taught in the same classrooms, and didn’t know it was asbestos roofing, a lot of it broken stacked up the back of the room. Kerry has seen a company here about removing it. We stayed and fed the kids their porridge (probably the only meal for days for some of the kids), and we’ll go help again and help cook it in a day or so. The lunch kitchen at the school has closed down due to no funds to cook the kid’s beans and rice for lunch. So the older kids get no food for the day. It is only the younger ones up to about 7 who get porridge. The water tank – well Uncle Patrick went and drained it before the last wet season after I left to prepare it for filling up.

A typical day on our way to school

It has no netting or anything to stop junk getting into it, and when he drained it, there was a dead dog in there, amongst so much other debris such as sanitary pads etc., etc., etc., – and all the kids drink from it!!!!!!!!! including the teachers. The school has 4 drop toilets for over 1200+ children. And think about what we complain about at home! We stopped and had ‘takeaway’ potato scallops freshly cooked. They were delicious for 1 cent Australian for 10 – about the size each of a 50 cent piece. They actually were delicious. Potatoes quartered and battered and deep fried. Didn’t really want to think about how they were cooked or prepared or how old the oil was. Mamma Rose from up the hill is insisting I go and have chai with her tomorrow at her house, and she said she is waiting for me before 10am, so had best be there, but this is Kenya time, and 10am may mean anything for her. I got really sunburnt this morning on our walk to and from the village as forgot to put sunscreen on. The heat has really knocked Wade around as when he left UK in the minus figures. I have my nanna nap every afternoon for an hour or so – the heat is just so draining without a fan or air conditioning even though it is the same heat as home. Imagine consistently 34 – 36 +degrees day in and day out with the nights not that much cooler. Mind you it is much cooler here than in Mombasa.

Sores on this poor child’s head

Tuesday 24th January 2012.

Today Kerry had to go to town to update her website so goes to an internet café as network is so unreliable here. Uploading anything is so difficult as coverage drops out mid way through. Have tried uploading photos to facebook and it drops out constantly, really frustrates me, so give up.
Wade and I decided to have a foot trip around Ukunda. We dodged roofing iron being thrown off ‘shops’ and timber with nails getting thrown hell, west and crooked as we walked along the shambles of shops. Not what I’d call retail therapy – however have seen similar in Egypt, without the hassles here like Egypt. Bought some DVD movies and paid $1 for them and all work so am happy. Could have got them for less but the shop owner insisted I pay more for them because they were in a case. After I paid he took them out of the case and gave the movies to me in a packet!! This process of buying them had taken nearly 20 minutes just to give me the change and I was over it sitting in the heat. Very much like Rwandan villages we had visited in 2010 near Ruengeri. Can virtually buy anything if you look hard enough, but the smells are very off putting. Fish for sale in the heat and chickens cut up – reminded me of Luxor and Cairo streets.


We walked for a fair bit then decided to get some lunch so headed down to where I knew there was a restaurant where I’d eaten at before. We decided to go to the one across the road and had a lovely meal and then lemon sorbet and 2 tuskas – all for around $10 Australian. Was an Italian restaurant and gelato there as well. Walked along the beach and went into a resort and looked around – would have been too pricey I imagine for me to stay there by the looks of it. Got hassled heaps by beach boys and then the carving men, (all who were named Patrick – a very common name here obviously). Sat and had another tuska – you work up a thirst – and did the grocery shopping for Kerry until she met us back at the meeting place. We never got home till 7:30pm that night, tired, dusty, but not hungry.

Wednesday 25th January 2012

Today our usual routine, but after lunch came students from the local village school to do a debate with Footprint’s older school children who are educated here. It was lovely seeing them interact together and by goodness me even after 3 weeks being taught here, the difference in confidence and English was nothing short of amazing!! I was so proud of their public speaking and manners compared to the poor darlings from the school. I have asked Kerry if Footprint’s children can perform a play for them in their classroom next visit which will be next week or the week after, so it will be Wombat Stew. Also asked if we can do a sports afternoon here of fun games with the children from the school, so we are organising about 30 to come here and we’ll do team competitions. Lesley will be here to help me and the staff will also help with the rotational activities I’ve thought of having, so it should be a fun afternoon. After we finished the debate and poetry recitals, I took the kids for some drama warm up games. They absolutely LOVED them, and the teachers came and asked how to play them, so they could have the kids play them at school. Can you imagine – not even having the kids play any fun games!!

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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

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