Sunday, 24 May 2009

Kenya Trip 2009 Part Three

20/5/09 Wednesday
Today is a day for thinking. There are no kids in the house, so it is relatively calm. Had to send home for money as it is not lasting as well as last year.

Heard that Mum is very confused, which worries me, although I know she has a friend calling in at least twice a day, as well as her carers, who also make two daily visits.
Vincent and I have discussed the possibility of extending the existing hut to three times its present size, and building a second one next to it, one for boys and one for girls.

Apparently, if we use traditional building methods, wattle and daub, we do not need building permission as it is not considered to be a permanent structure. Maybe so, but the ones I have seen are pretty solid.

21/5/09 Thursday
Vincent and I will be going into town this afternoon, but with two kids to get ready for school and two others that stay at home, mornings are a bit frenetic, food shopping, kid washing, laundry, cooking for later on, etc. But we will get there.

I have quite a shopping list. I have also been contacted by Dennis in Kisumu, who is Alison Lowndes contact regarding MMS.

[Note to self] Do not take phone into wet room. It is bound to ring in the middle of a “shower”.
I am seriously beginning to miss Internet connection and I will be looking for a cell modem this afternoon. Unfortunately, there are several companies to choose from, all with different packages. This could be a mammoth task to find the best deal. Oh well, I know that Vincent will be more than willing to help as he will benefit as well.

Another little annoyance is that the left Ctrl button on my laptop has decided not to work in the prescribed manner. That and a persistent virus which I picked up off Vincent’s laptop are little annoyances that, at home would not worry me.

Vincent and I went into town by matatu just after lunchtime with a big “to-do” list and a bigger shopping list.

The first stop was the bank to obtain local currency, then a tour of the various mobile phone shops to see who was offering the best modems, as I was not going to waste half my time in cyber cafés, trying to get my emails.

We settled for Safaricom, not the cheapest, but with good quoted speeds, if offered the best value for money.

Next stop was Nakumatt, the Kenyan equivalent to Tesco, although not quite as grand. This was mainly for food shopping. We bumped into another mzungu, a rare enough sight in Kisii, let alone the supermarket. We stopped and chatted for a while before finishing off and making for the tills, where we queued behind another mzungu! They are getting everywhere, these white people.
We took motorbike taxis home, and again I threatened my driver with a fate worse then death if he went too fast, bearing in mind that the journey home is downhill with a major junction at the bottom. This is where I was pleased to be on a motorbike rather than a matatu as we weaved – slowly – through the jam and out of the other side in very little time.

But then my driver went and spoiled it by asking for 50 shillings for the 2 km ride. In the end we settled on 30/- for each driver and they went away, seemingly happy enough.
But then, I had to negotiate the dreaded hill, loaded down with the shopping, but as it hadn’t rained, it was quite easy.

At the time of writing, 22.15 local time, it still hasn’t rained. This is the first day that it hasn’t poured down before teatime. And I can see stars for the first time, too.
There are electric storms all around us, so I don’t think that the rainy season is quite over just yet.

After a slight struggle, we got the modem working on my already creaking laptop and I had the pleasure of downloading over 200 emails – mostly junk mail, of course. Still, there were a few interesting ones, and a couple of important ones as well. So it wasn’t all a waste of time.

22-05/09 Friday
It was a bad night. The local dog population decided to howl at the moon for the third night running, but this time, it sounded as if they were right outside my window. And, as it hadn’t rained yesterday, it was warmer than usual, so sleep eluded me for quite a while.

That having been said, I woke this morning feeling reasonably refreshed. I didn’t have a choice in waking up. We had one extra kid I the house overnight, and long before 7am, they were all up and making the din that only small kids can make.

So I crawled out of bed, into the porch and had my first fix of the day, a local brand of cigarette that doesn’t quite take the skin off the back of my throat.

It seems that the kids are not going to school today, which means that my little shadow, Joespat, is following me everywhere – well, almost everywhere. He is not allowed in my bedroom, which is a blessing, as I keep my cameras, cine equipment and other assorted non child-friendly equipment there.

I had a good play with the new cell modem, which seems to work at the speed it boasts, about 3.6Mbps, which ain’t half bad and a lot faster than offered at most cyber cafés in town.

After a breakfast of cinnamon tea and a type of local hard doughnut, I had another play with emails and similar. I have now received all of the back-log, a total of 846 emails. That will teach me to keep on top of them! Still, some of them were actually interesting, but, as I said before, the majority were rubbish. I don’t have the same filters on my laptop as I have built up on the main PC at home.

I spent too much time in the sun this morning and by lunch time I was definitely suffering with a dizzy head and a feeling of total lethargy. But with 5 young kids in the house and no other adult, I was not about to crawl into a corner and rest. As soon as I could, I took a “shower”. Of course this is not a real shower. I wet myself all over, soap myself then pour the water over my head. It is refreshing if not a conventional way of washing – not for me, anyway.

A couple of glasses of water later, I was feeling almost human again, but I have turned distinctly pink in certain places. But I suppose that is better than the colour of a plucked chicken, i.e. “white”.

The weather was funny today. It started to rain in the early afternoon and cleared up for a while at about 1600. But it is now overcast again at 1800 and there is rain in the air again. It is also very cool (18°C), which to me is a blessing.

I don’t know if I will be able to face a full supper as this will comprise an overfull plate. I just don’t know where my hosts put it all!

I went to bed early, but was awakened by a terrible sound and realised that the whole house was shaking. It lasted about 20 seconds and I lay there waiting for an after-shock or something. I have never been subjected to any sort of earth tremor before, but have, of course seen plenty of TV coverage of disasters around the world. This was in fact a very minor tremor, but it scared
me. I cannot imagine what a force 8 or 9 earthquake would be like.

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