We packed my backpack with clothes and I took my camera and video. But matatus with three places just weren’t coming, so we took three motorcycle taxis, and my driver was instructed to go slowly, on pain of death! I am more used to being in the command seat on these machines, but I need not have worried. My driver was good – that’s to say, we arrived in one piece.
We eventually arrived at the plot and I could see a small bunch of our kids already waiting for us.
After greetings and making a fuss of my little “Pixie”, Divina minor, we climbed further up the hill to the plot where we hope to grow our vegetables.
Upon our return to the hut, a few more kids had turned up, making a total of 12.
I searched the hut for remnants of the toys and games that KCIS had provided over a year ago, but apart from a hula hoop, I found only two balls, both somewhat deflated.
But we made good use of them until the rains started.
In a hut with a corrugated steel roof and no false ceiling, tropical rain and hail is deafening. It was impossible to hear myself speak for a few minutes, but once it had subsided, we started to dish out pens and pencils that had been donated in England.
Then the fun part, sorting out the clothes and finding recipients that would fit them. This almost became a free-or-all with certain garments, but we had to prioritise the kids whose circumstances are worst.
At the end, everyone got something and all the kids were happy. We sang a couple of songs and played a few improvised games before we sent them back to their lodgings, telling them that we would be at the plot on Saturday and Sunday of the following week, and to wear their oldest clothes as we intend to start preparing the vegetable plot.
I woke up stiff and sore, and with a mild case of sun burn, but as we had nothing planned, I contented myself with planning and brain-storming
Vincent and I went to town, somewhat later than planned. Our first stop was a cyber café, where we got two adjacent computers. Vincent logged on immediately but my machine was obviously steam-powered. It took over 3 minutes to log on to the Internet and never actually opened up my webmail. I gave up as there were no other computers free.
We had a look around town. It had become apparent that at this time of year, it would be folly to put seed straight into the ground. The rain would dig them out and wash them away in no time. So, in order to follow my “3 crop a year” programme, we need seed trays and a watering can. The can was easy enough, but when asking for seed trays, I just got blank looks!
I also needed to change some sterling into shillings. The first bank had a long, long queue which didn’t seem to be moving. The second was virtually empty, but could not change currency unless I had a bank account with them. The third was happy to change the money, but their anti-counterfeit machine wasn’t working – so I gave up.
We went to the local supermarket, Nakumatt, where Vincent decided that he was going to give the banks one more try. I stayed at the store and watched the world go by. Vincent returned just as the storms started. We bought some provisions, chocolate for the kids and the watering can. We were in no hurry as we could hear the heavy rain on the roof of the shop.
We waited outside for the rain to subside when a matatu pulled into the car park. They were no to keen to take us as we did not have to go far, but eventually we were on board and on the way home. The road at the bottom of the hill was totally flooded with cyclists and barrow boys stranded, knee deep in swirling brown water.
The final leg of our return home was, of course, the hill that had cost me my dignity upon my arrival, but in daylight it was somewhat easier, although still fraught with the danger of me butt-skiing to the river below. As it was, I negotiated this obstacle course without too many near misses.
I was glad to get back to the house though.
3 years ago