Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Back in Kenya

The journey was thankfully very uneventful, although Vincent and I managed to miss each other at the airport terminal, maybe because I was desperate to get out to my "private corner" to have a cigarette. It had been too long since my last one.

We soon met up and had a bite to eat before haggling with various taxi drivers and touts to get a good deal for the city centre.

Having sorted out a bit of business we were free to get the shuttle. We had reasonably good seats and a clear road once we cleared the city. Our first and only stop was at Narok, where we got food and drink and stretched our legs.

Not many wazungu pass through Narok so I was a bit of a curiosity, especially as I now speak a few words of Kiswahili.

A few hours later and we were at the bus station, swarming with passengers, touts, hawkers, just the way I remember it - noisy, chaotic, dusty, Kenya. I was home.

A short car journey and we arrived at my Nemesis, the dirt track down the hill that separates the road from the little houses perched on the other side of the valley. Simon, the deaf boy arrived at the top of the track at the same time as us, and his face split into his wide, open smile as I got out of the car. Little did he know what I had brought for him.

I negotiated muddy hill rather better than usual and I was soon in the living room with Vincent, Abigael and all the kids, including the latest addition, Esther, a poor girl who had been displaced after the post-election violence.


How things have changed in six months

The plot next to the house was rapier grass and cow pasture, where a little boy, Brian, would attempt to control the family cattle and be dragged along on his belly for his efforts, much to my amusement, if not his. But he would not give up and he would always manage to tether these beasts that weighed so much more than he did.

Now the plot has been turned over to maize, over six feet tall and waving gently in the breeze.

Brian is still around, of course. He is a friend of Simon, our deaf child, and he can sign and almost speak English.


How beautiful is the night when there is no light pollution (because there is a power cut). With a half moon, the whole valley is lit up. The insect life is in full voice and fire flies are darting around everywhere.


The rains were rather heavier than usual this year as I could see from the debris that had been washed onto what has returned to be the path used by us residents to get to town. And the rain is still heavy. I had just getting provisions at the local supermarket when the heavens opened - and stayed open. Not only that, but I would have said it was a bit chilly. I have never felt chilly here before.

Vincent was in the town centre and asked to procure a car and meet us at the shop, but this being market day, and with the torrential rain, finding a car with three empty places was not easy, but he succeeded eventually.

It had almost stopped raining by the time we got home.

Simon is becoming a permanent fixture at the house. He pops in on his way home from school (he goes to school every day now), just to tell us that he is going home to change but will soon be back. Cute kid. I am also learning Kenyan Sign Language and we can almost hold a conversation.

I have brought a selection of hearing aids and a small amplifier with ear pieces like an MP3 player. At first, Simon refused to try any of them, but after a lot of persuasion he tried the amplifier last Saturday. It was also his first visit to the Twiga Centre.

As soon as he saw the swing (now well worn), he was on it with a smile splitting his face, giving off grunts of satisfaction.

The other kids took to him and got used to his unorthodox ways very quickly.

They also got used to playing cricket with the set I had brought with me. OK, so their rules are not what you would see at Lords, but they were enjoying themselves. The girls joined in eventually and even Simon got off the swing to have a go. As it turned out, he makes a very good batsman, his hand-eye coordination being well developed.

Another big hit was the game of Connect Four, to the point that I think we will have to organise a league table!

Some of the girls are taught crochet at school, so when Abigael handed out crochet hooks and balls of thread, a variety of little works of art were being produced.

Abigael tried to show Rister how to crochet, but her deformed left hand was too much of a disability. It looks like we will have to get her a sewing machine as her only chance of earning an income when she leaves school.

On the Saturday, Rister had an epileptic fit. Apparently they are becoming more frequent as she does not have the drugs to control them. She really needs a sponsor to provide her with money for this much needed medication.