Monday 11th March to Thursday 15th March 2012

Woke up at about 1:30 – 2:45 this morning with a feeling of utter dread in my stomach, was like I had a ton of rocks in there. Began to think what was the problem, didn’t have dinner, then began to think it might be that something was going to be wrong with the land deal, or the NGO paperwork, and now Lesley was gone, it may cause delays as I needed her signature. Pondered for ages, but couldn’t get back to sleep, thinking what had I forgot to do, as I do have such a bad memory, but nothing would come to me, so read my book for a couple of hours and fell back to sleep till 7am.

I began walking into Ukunda after breaky. Just felt like a long, long walk. Stopped and got a fundi’s name who built a fence Lesley and I really liked.

Just went in and asked the owner who built it, and had a great conversation. Then went further down the road, to a souvenier shop and found stuff I hadn’t seen before and so cheap. Credit card machine was broken, so asked to put away and I’d come back in a day or so. Walked down to Diani Reef Hotel, (the best hotel in Ukunda), which has a fish tank underneath the whole floor of the foyer!! What a place, and so it should be for the price you pay to stay there. Anyway used the excuse that I was checking it out for friends and off I went photographing here and there and just soaking it all up. Actually even though it was so beautiful, it was not as nice as Serena Hotel on the north coast, where we had dinner last week, and I much prefer my little hotel I am staying at for $30 a night including a full cooked breaky, and a lovely pool. And I get meals at $8.00 or less and bitings (nibblies as well)!! Then wanted to go and see a man who made furniture, but while I was on the matatu got a few missed calls that I couldn’t answer.

Then Yasmin my daughter rang me about the horrible news, that my youngest daughter Rhiana, had been in a horrific car crash with her partner, and had to be airlifted to a Melbourne Hospital in Australia where they live. The stomach did cartwheels and I just wanted to throw up in the matatu. Thankfully she and Sam were both alive, and she was currently in theatre having a 6 hour operation on her spine. It was every mother’s worse nightmare and me being so far away, even worse if at all possible. I got out of the matatu and waited for the call back from Yasmin. The poor man in the furniture place didn’t know what to do with me as I recovered from the shock of what Yasmin was telling me. He just kept saying “Sorry, sorry”, not knowing why I was so upset after I got off the phone. I had to sit down, your legs just go so weak. How on earth did they both survive?? I’ll never know. But my baby has a determination like you wouldn’t believe and the operation went well and vertebrae had to be replaced and a cage put around them in her neck.

Thank the universe she has no brain damage, and Sam was only bruised and shaken. Rhiana bore the brunt of the car rolling.

Tenille my eldest organised to fly straight down, and my husband following so that was a huge relief that family could be there and I would leave here on Friday and divert to Melbourne. Once I knew she was going to be OK, and that she would be able to walk again and make a full recovery in time, I felt a lot better, but just felt so helpless, and it will take months of hard work on her part to be well again. I can’t explain how it knocks you – it hits you like a ton of bricks and you just want to be there. She is a brave little girl my baby and she will do well, quickly I just know it. I’ve always dreaded the thought at the many, many times I have been away over the years, that something would happen to my children, and it just gutters you. I can’t wait to hold her. That was the end of my day – couldn’t think straight, couldn’t even stand the thought of talking to anyone here, so just holed myself up in my room and drowned my sorrows with a couple of beers, thinking how precious life is and how glad I am I tell all my children every time I talk to them that I love them, and they do to me.

It was wonderful to speak with Rhiana and Sam and know that she knew me even though she was so groggy on morphine. My family kept me up to date with what was happening regularly which was so good. My husband arrives there on Thursday so she will have her daddy with her till I get there. Tenille arrived safely and was very shaken when she rang me to say how bubby was. Rhiana is an impatient girl, and she would want to be up and about which would frustrate her immensely, but keeping her sedated at present is the best thing. She will still be in ICU when I get there. Sam was so upset, I felt so sorry for him too.

I had to meet with the Architect today and I did not let on that anything was amiss with me. I had gone to get some printing done on changes Lesley had suggested for the site layout and we both agreed upon until we have time with the board to talk in depth about it. He was running late and I was running late, so we agreed to meet at 12 at Leonardo’s Restaurant to go over the site plan. I was walking towards a bookshop when someone called out to me by name. It was the chef at the hotel, and I kept thinking “Where do I know this man from?” He reminded me he was Evan from the hotel, and he asked me to stop and have a soda (softdrink) with him at the place he was sitting, along with his friend. I had time up my sleeve so did so, then the Architect turned up as he saw me from the matatu when it pulled up. I thought the David the architect was the other chef!!! They do look alike and felt like such a dill brain. Only me could do this!!! Finished our drink and went to the restaurant and discussed the site plans. We just need the surveyor’s measurements and we can work more on it as without them, it is a problem as we don’t have the correct measurements of the land, however, a first draft will have to do to show people the plan for Umoja Children’s Village-Ukunda.

The lawyer rang me to come in for a meeting on Friday morning, so all good.
Spent a lot of time this afternoon typing up stuff I need to get done for the orphanage project. Needs to be done – policy documents, administration stuff, etc., etc., so may as well make a start now while I have time up my sleeves and takes my mind off thinking about Rhiana. I just want to get to her and can’t take my mind off what she is going through.

POST SCRIPT – Rhiana had a broken neck and partially severed carotid artery. She is expected to make a full recovery over the next 12 months thankfully. It has been a very difficult time. Some days are diamonds, some days are stone. She was able to make it to her sister’s wedding in a wheelchair but 6 weeks after her accident that was amazing.. and then I looked after her for another 5 weeks.

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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

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