Saturday, 20 June 2009

Kenya Trip June 2009 - Last Episode and Back Home

Thursday 18 June

My stay at the coast was uneventful apart from two mosquito bites on my leg that turned septic, which caused my leg and foot to swell up.

The trip back to Nairobi was fine, almost comfortable on the overnight coach with plenty of "pee and tea" stops. We arrived in Nairobi at 5.30am on Thursday, but in a part of town that I didn't know.

Eventually, I found my bearings and made for my favourite café, but of course it was closed at that time in the morning, so I went into Jivanjee Gardens, one of the few places in Nairobi where one can smoke.

Having restored my nicotine/blood ratio to its correct level, I wandered down Moi Avevnue until I was accosted by a taxi driver. As I wanted to visit a client whilst in town, I bartered with him until he offered to take me to Langata for a price I found acceptable.

I spent the day, including a pleasant lunch in the KWS compound, managed to do some work and then made my way back to the City centre by matatu.

By now of course, my favourist café was open and I had my favourite snack.

Then more bartering to get a taxi to take me to that airport. My flight was not until 9.15am on Friday, but I had decided to spend the night at the airport.

The taxi driver was one of the nicest guys I have met, chatty, interesting - and a good driver!

At the airport, I could not check in my baggage as the desk for my flight was not going to open until 5.30 the following morning, but a security guard told me where to leave it. He would keep an eye on it for me.

I spent the next few hours drinking tea and wandering into a quiet area for a smoke. On one occasion, as I was puffing away, a policeman approached. I thought I was in trouble, but he only wanted to cadge a cigarette and have a chat, and I gladly obliged.

After the last flight of the day, I was alone, apart from the staff, who were ready to have a chat to break their boredom.

At 4am, I slept. Then I was the first to book onto the flight and finally managed to get through to the departure lounge, where I slept some more.

On the plane, I slept. I ate and slept some more, although I managed to stay awake as we flew alongside the Rift Valley, which at 30,000 feet is astounding.

We arrived over London early, but landed late, after several turns over Southern England.

Then a fight through the Friday afternoon traffic along the M4 and I was home - ah! sweet home.

It is good to be back. This trip was a little too long and I was longing to be back. Decent tea, and a decent bed, a decent toilet - and a hot shower. Bliss, sheer bliss!

But I am already making tentative plans for my return to Kenya.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Kenya Trip June 2009 - bla bla ...

Monday, June 15

Boy, oh boy,oh boy!

Did I ever get that wrong! It rained all morning, the heavy stuff, like drummers on the roof. But although I needed to go to the local shop, I couldn't as my foot had swollen up and I couldn't get my shoe on. So, there I was, working away, with my foot in a bucket of cold water to try and get the swelling down.

Then the rain stopped. It brightened up. The puddles disappeared. Birds started singing - oh, let's not get carried away here ...

I changed (there is no way I am going into the village in shorts!) and started to lock up the fortress. All was well, until I removed the final key - and it started to spit with rain.

By the time I got to the road, it was pouring and a local vendor with two umbrellas offered me shelter, which I gratefully accepted, even if this particular umbrella was more holes than fabric.

It slowed to a heavy drizzle, I thanked my benefactor and walked briskly to the shop. AS I paid, it started to rain heavily again. I skipped next door and bought a bit more. Then the rain stopped again.

I looked to the south, where the wind and rain were coming from, straight off the Indian Ocean, decided to risk it and walked briskly back towards home.

That's where I got it wrong. I hadn't gone 20 ft when the heavens opened. Within seconds I was drenched, so much so that I couldn't see the point in searching for shelter. I just kept walking.

Our neighbour, relaxing under her porch, laughed like a drain when she saw me.

"Too much rain?" she laughed.

"What? No. Just a little shower," I spluttered back.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Kenya Trip June 2009 - etc ...

Sunday 14th

It is a typical Sunday. It started with a call to prayer at 5.50am, then the preachers with loud, rasping voices testing their sound equipment, to make sure that even people on the North Pole can hear them, followed by interminable services of joyful but repetitive music, played badly on electric pianos and sung by choirs who, frankly, can't sing.

This morning, I set up a swing for the kids, strung up in the mango tree outside the front door, and that has kept them amused ever since, thank Goodness.

Liz's Aunt, who has at least one grown-up daughter and at least one grandchild, is 8 1/2 months pregnant and an epileptic. She is in hospital and this morning it was decided to carry out an emergency Caesarian Section. Liz has shot up to Malindi to be with her and I am left with the two kids, Ian (7), Natasha (almost 5) and niece Beonce (2 weeks older than Natasha). To add to the meleé, the boy from next door has come round to play with Ian.

And it is lunchtime.

Beonce doesn't speak any English, the boy next door doesn't either, and Natasha pretends not to understand when it suits her.

Ian, on the other hand is a little star. His English, although not perfect is very understandable and he also speaks a little French.

He is happy to act as interpretor and also tries to keep his little sister in check, although it will take a lot more than a seven year old for that task. Even her mother has difficulties with her; she is very defiant - er, Natasha, not Liz.

I can usually scare the boy next door into obedience - he is not used to a mzungu in close proximity, and if I stare at Beonce for too long, she may even burst into tears.

I think I have established that all the kids like eggs, so it will be eggy bread for lunch, coz I like it.

And the added annoyance factor is that the Safaricom connection keeps dropping. The service really isn't very good in these parts.


I have heard from Liz. A healthy baby boy was born by CS, but Aunt is still aout of it.


I am beginning to think about dinner and had a look in the freezer. We don't have a fridge so everything goes in the freezer and we switch it on and of so as not to freeze everything rock-hard. We forget sometimes. Just now is such a time and I have frozen milk in my cup of coffee.

But back to dinner. Bearing in mind I am feeding 4, including myself, and it would be nice if there wassomething left for Liz when she gets back, I can do frankfurters and pasta, sausages and pasta, chicken and pasta, pasta and pasta, etc. ... with a pasta sauce of fresh tomatoes and garlic. There are little packets of herbs and spices, but they are all labelled in Swahili, so I won't be using those.

Cooking a proper meal for 5 on a single-ring gas burner is a bit daunting, but I am sure I will manage ... somehow ... if I have to, although I am hoping that Liz will arrive before I have to contemplate it.


Liz's aunt died this afternoon after a successful Caesarian Section to deliver a baby boy. The baby is in the nursery and we do not know if it will survive.

I managed to feed the kids, stop them eating what I had prepared for Liz, get them washed and virtually ready for bed when Liz came home.

She and the kids are now asleep and I am winding down after a long, cold shower. There are Tuskers in the fridge and I am tempted to drink one, but somehow, it doesn't seem right.