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Bluetail's blog

Welcome to the wonderful world of Bluetail's blog.. A day by day account of my travels to Kenya and life at The Walk Centre. Get involved!

Diary Entries

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Location: Bolton , UK

For the remaining followers, this is my final blog now I am back on my home turf in Bolton Town..

We left The Walk for the last time at 11am on Thursday 22nd September, lots of goodbyes and children following us- waving, to the gate. The five minute walk home was very quiet we were lost in our own thoughts.. I was trying to take in the past 4 weeks, how quickly it had come and gone, and although a lot of good work has done I acknowledged the centre would continue on as it has done before. I remember thinking I'd probably miss the children and the community more than they'd miss us, that pretty much goes without saying.

My main reason for going to Kenya was for self fulfilment to experience a different culture, to work with children in a different country to have an opportunity to do something worthwhile with my time, when Maggie and Orlagh said I was going to Kenya I was in disbelief but I grabbed hold of the opportunity with both hands, and ran!

I never thought that I was going to Kenya to change the world or make much difference from the day to day lives of the children at the slum, Walk centre or community, however what I did want was 'to make their day' and to show them a little taste of something different, to spend the money raised on them and within their community boosting the local economy, and to have fun!!

I was worried that I'd find it difficult to deal with the poverty that I was about to faced with and whether I would be able to cope with that.

I convinced myself that unlike the materialistic western culture which we live in, that the folk in Kenya may actually be quite happy with 'their lot'- due to the old saying of 'never missed what you haven't had' In this niaive thought process the 'want versus need' obviously escaped my mind!

The reality was quite different... Children played without appropriate footwear, ripped clothes in sess pits.. they played with the boxes and the empty wrappers of all the 'stuff' they could never imagine ever possessing. They struggled on a daily basis to feed their children, to buy medication to treat their ailments, they had no light to see in the dark- my original theory was in tatters from day one.

One thing that I noticed was the children dressed in scruffy clothes most of the time, but Sundays- everyone were in their best dress. This was good to see. It was also good to see the complete sense of community which was so strong, the church being the centre focus.

There was talk about relative poverty, for example wages are low in Kenya, so are the cost of buying, renting and even building a house, so is food. To us these things are a pittence.. What struck me the most was that although the people can afford to live in the slum, can they ever afford to leave? How difficult would it be for a Kenyan to buy a £600 return ticket to England to visit us, when they struggle on a monthly basis to pay £10 rent?

to me it seems the only way out is through education, this is the main aim of the Walk Centre- who pay for children to go to Prison Primary- The cost of a desk, uniform and text books (around £40)

They also pay the fees for older children to attend high school..

They feed over 200 children daily and support 320 children in total and their families as best they can..

I'm glad to be back in Bolton, having missed my Family, friends and Bedouin like crazy. I look back at the past 4 weeks and it almost seems like a distant memory, like it was just a dream.. However my emotions are very raw to it; I feel an over whelming sense of empathy, understanding, and an urge to continue helping- knowing the daily struggles, the lack of food, resources, H&S (lol)

Next fundraising will be to build four homes in the resettlement area, culitvation of the land, farming equipment and title deeds- i reckon about £1,500. Also going to start a trainer appeal! They need trainers when the football team are using flip flops and school shoes (".)

And the question on everyone's lips seems to be, "will you return?"

Bet your boots I will!

with thanks to Clare Kelly and Stephen Greenwood for making this an unforgettable experience..and Great Places Housing Group for supporting The Walk and funding this once in a lifetime opportunity! :)

Time to be reunited with friends and family and paint the town BLUE! xx

Thursday, 22 September 2011

This morning we woke early to the sounds of the mutatu.. Been up through the night again by howling dogs... They go on for everr! So annoying! Also got a bad back today (".)
Had a shower and washed my tan off and since then I've been watched Clate try to pack all of the stuff she has bought into her case. She bartered with all her clothes so she hasn't even got any clothes to pack and she is still struggling. She bought an elephant that weighs about 10kg on it's own (that's just one of the things) it's like the krypton factor challenge! Steve just took a pika pika to town to print off our boarding passes. For anyone interested.. We are travelling with KLM and our flight from Kenya to Amsterdam is KL4140, A'Dam to M/C is KL1097.
We are going back to school this morning to say final goodbyes and take some last bits we no longer need. Feels weird getting ready to leave, really enjoyed my time in Kenya but I'll be glad to get home and see family and friends.. I know come Monday morning where I'd prefer to be! ;-)

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Today we woke and went to school for 7:30 to make chapatti... I rolled chapattis for 5 hours straight, not looking forward to tomorrow, *backache* it was worth it though, all the children had two/three chapattis, mince, cabbage, tomatoes, carrots, onions.. we tried a little too- delicious!!!

This afternoon we bought a tank which will hold 2000 litres of water- the idea is that the children will have water to hand to wash their hands following going to the loo. We thought this was money well spent. We also stopped for milkshakes- sooo hot today.

Tonight we plan to eat at Alex and Patricia's for dinner and then pack all of our things.

When we left the school today it didnt feel as bad as I thought it might, the children gave hugs and really enjoyed their party bags- especially the pop. WE are leaving for Nairobi at 12noon tomorrow so for now, Hasta Mañana! :)

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Yesterday morning was mostly spent fitting shoes, everyone had a new pair- they looked brilliant...
We also met with the four women who are to inherit the land to prepare a plan of action to move them away from Nakuru and the slum for good...they need the land cultivating, they need four homes, tools to farm with and a land surveyor to complete title deeds so they all own their land officially... We reckon all this would cost around £1500 so fundraising begins when we get back! In the afternoon we bought some food for today's events..
In the evening we took Fred out for a meal, he brought along his eldest daughter Esther (8 years) she is beautiful. We gave Fred a thank you card and present for his commitment to the walk, for making our time here really enjoyable and generally for being a really good guy. He like the others was taken a back by the prospect, he thanked us, the people back home and feels that a lot of positive and helpful things have been achieved over the last 4 weeks. If nothing else we have raised Fred's profile as provider to the children... Because when he brings the goood food in, they thank Fred. Lol.

So today it is our last full day in Nakuru and our last day with the children and we are going out with a bang! Party bags, skipping ropes, frisbees, footballs, party games, singing dancing, face painting! Chapatti, meat!!

There are gonna be some tears before bedtime!! Camera is fully charged and ready to rock!

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

I don't know why all my 'brain child's are monotonous but this last one was. As we are having a party on the final day I suggested a few weeks ago that we should make party bags for all the children, at least 150...
Last night we selected the goodies to go in the bag and between us we packed out each paper bag with; toothpaste, toothbrush, notepad, crayons, pencil, Vaseline, a lolly and a drink of juice. X150! It took a while but it was another little 'challenge' now we are fallin over brown paper bags everywhere. We also exchanged a few of the football tops as a couple didn't fit... Bought first aid boxes for the walk, disinfectant to wash tables down with. We have skipping ropes and some toys are us stuff that we are gonna take for 'party day'

So now we have finished breakfast (pancakes, again) we are going to school to fit the shoes, then we are going buying chapatti flour, cabbage and meat for tomorrow. Meat is such a massive treat!


Monday, 19 September 2011

we visited the land we purchased this morning... it was a 2hour drive over rough terrain- felt like we were off roading for the majority opf the journey... felt sick! basically the land is 4 acres, the idea is that four families will come out and farm the land. They will stage it out though gradually so the families won't move out to live on the land until they have grown enough to sustain themselves and the family. The four families were selected on need, and whether they are able to farm their own land and whether they will do to better their lives. (they have to be careful not to give the land to people who will just sell it)

This afternoon we bought 140odd pairs of shoes.. hard task especially in this heat- boiling today. we bought an ice cream, :) *little luxuries*

We returned to school and sorted the shoes per class ready to hand out in the morning.

We then went back to town and bought some textbooks for the school, key stage maths, english etc etc

We also started buying 'things' for our party bag which we are going to hand out on the last day! lots going on!

Monday, 19 September 2011

Keep forgetting to take my Malerone. So yesterday I thought I had I had the onset of malaria, dizziness, sickness in the stomach, headachy... Turns out just had a really bad hangover! After 10k run and tea was in bed fast asleep for 8pm. After speaking to Smethy, that cheered me right up but equally got a massive homesickness pang! Give my head a quick wobble and now I'm over it.
I'm sacrificing myself today on two counts... Firstly we are driving milesss away to view the property GPHG bought last year (instead of sending volunteers) so I need to face my travel sickness demons face on. Secondly I hate shopping, HATE it, but this afternoon we are going to a second hand Market to buy (minimum) 150 pairs of shoes for the kiddies. The shoes on the Market are decent ones that have been sent over from places like UK etc... Best crack on with brekkie

Sunday, 18 September 2011

10k run, done! Time for T-bone! :)

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Last night we decided to treat ourselves, off we went 5pm to gilani's keg joint, football was on, it was good to see something so familiar. So we indulged in that and jaeger :-) x3 each.. And more drinks... Clare went to the bog and steve was buying a drink when some old guy skulked over to tell me 'you are a very beautiful woman' it was a *cheers pal, now move out the way coz you're blocking the football* moment. We went back to Merica to drink the stash we had in our hotel room. Steve bought a bottle of wine, then corked it. Lolololol. Never is an opportunity to laugh at each other missed! 
We had our dinner and then I spotted Larry (one of the Market stall holders who had given Clare some good bargains) I said hello and he told me he was waiting for us to finish eating so he can take us out.... Alrighttty then. On the way back to the room we snook passed Larry (".) to finish drinks
Sooo not long after we headed to the lobby, Larry was STILL waiting, he told us he'd take us to a good club. We arrived at Dimples at 8pm. We were the only ones there, listening to retro RnB. :-S we had more drink, more shots and Larry had Clare in a corner telling her all about him and his origins as a Masai... Me and Steve thought it rude to interrupt so we pulled some shapes on the dance floor... Steve did some break dancing I did some cartwheels. *fun* 
Clare found us at the bar... And wasn't happy we'd left her to get chatted up by Larry. So I went downstairs with clare so she could have a fag- Larry turned up. We had a little chat about running, he said he had a cousin who was a very good runner... I can't remember which is which now but one is a marathon runner, Nicholas lekuraa and an 800mtr runner- rudisha lekuta. Random. 
So now I need to tell u what happened next- this all hear say because I don't remember, we left the club walked back to the hotel- Larry confessed his undying live to clare enroute home, and that they'd b together one day... (we shouldn't have bought Larry so much beer) Clare told him she was taken, this was not a concern of his. Lol. Clare fled the scene, steve told Larry that Clare had had a long day and too much excitement to deal with such a confession and she has retired for the evening. Larry said 'Is there a problem' Steve said 'no, you'll see her soon' 
Apparently we went back downstairs to the bar, I was banging on about needing to b sick and sleep, I was tucked up and clare and Steve stayed up another few hours. *lightweight* 

This morning I woke at 5:30am :-S and waited for the others to rise... Clare talked about how disgusting Steves toothpaste was.. She wanted to know why it tasted so 'manly' Steve replied 'it's aquafresh' clare brought out said toothpaste to discover it was SHAVING FOAM.... We laughed, a lot!!!!! 

Just struggled through breakfast, all I can think about is 10k run! :-( 

Lastly, GOOD LUCK DUNC! Run run run!!! x

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Hello all, this morning as planned we visited the school paid some money towards meat for the children's dinner (meat is a really big treat and a rarity on the school dinner menu) we gave the football team their green tshirts- and gave Fred one too. Before we go we are gonna get Fred a polo shirt with Coach on the back, a whistle and a stop watch. Once the football team were given their top and a bag and pictures were taken I gave Stephen his casio watch- he was surprised and lost for words and gave me a massive hug *lump in throat moment* I told him he wasn't allowed to sell it. lol. 
We then trotted to town, checked into the hotel before heading to the markets... 
Step forward- no messing tail. I was bargaining for some items coming in at 1,200 another guy was selling me an item for 900- I wanted to pay him 500, we finally settled on 750 but not before the other guy had run across the road to fetch me a basket priced at 900. He was asking 1000 (wanting an extra 100 for running across the road in the rain) I said 'I don't think so pal- I could have run across the road myself...' I continued 'I'll have all your items for 2,100 and then I'll buy the other guys item for 750.' The guy waiting for his 750 explained the two men were not affiliated, my reply? "Tough!"
I got the price I wanted in the end, however definitely felt like I was coming off worse. (sorry to b vague but can't say what I was bartering for- *surprises*) 

Still sporting my Kenya turbanesk scarf look- it's amazing I don't need straighteners anymore- I've gone for 3weeks without- I don't even need a brush! *paradise* 

Saturday, 17 September 2011 could I forget to mention that Steve tried selling me yesterday.... Oh how funny he is! Apart from the fact that he had mo selling rights it begged the question of how he would explain returning to the uk with a goat instead of a bluetail! Lol

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Well after the full night of drinking and clubbing last night (in bed for 9:30pm, again) it was up with our daily 6am mutatu alarm. Sssshhh!
You really can't tell it's Friday night out here there is no such thing as a crunchy, TGI Friday or any other feeling the weekend may conjure up. (fb may be the only hint seeing all my friends planning their weekends activities)
Anyway today it's Saturday 17th. I bartered for a casio watch yesterday for Stephen, he saw mine and asked to have it, I said no as it was a gift but he's an awesome kid and decided to buy him one myself.. £3. Probably ripped off but compared to Argos's £7 it's a steal!
Yesterday Steve announced he was heading back to town in the morning to do more suit shopping, I announced id b waiting at home for him and Clare to return Shen they finished. This morning we are going to meet the footy team and drop off another mattress to one of the homes (I forgot to mention yesterday that we bought 5 double mattresses for some of the (dare I say it) more needier! this afternoon will mostly be spent bartering on the markets and sunbathing *here's hoping the sun stays out* :-)

Thanks for reading and continued support- I can imagine it's not quite the same just reading my exploits unless you've been. Rest assured there will b many photos to come! x

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Recent Messages

From Geoff
This may be a litte late, but I finally read your blog today!!! Great blog blue nose, I loved the summary entry. Whatever fund raising you have planned let me know, I'm sold, inspiring stuff.
Response: experience of a lifetime.. be assured- lots of future fundraising.. dig deep :)
Im being serious. I love this blog. DO NOT DELETE!!!
Response: ha
Im gonna keep blogging until u delete this
Response: lol.
From James
Hiya sis glad ur back! Can't u keep doing ur blogs until Planet Ranger shuts u down?
Response: i need to do one more to summarise then 'that's all folks!'
From Reidy
Response: :)
From James
Of course I'm joking! Besides I already have a dead leg (don't ask)! Can't wait to see u friday!
Response: :-) it'll b Saturday for u by the time I roll into town. I heard about your growing pains. 'I feel your pain' I used to get it @ ur age, bad! :-(
From Caz
Aww Loo! I'm really going to miss your little blogs. I feel a bit emotional about your journey coming to an end! You should be very proud of yourselves for what you have accomplished and have provided during your stay and the best thing is that you're going to continue to make a difference even when your back in rainy, cold naff B'Town! Bet you can't wait to have a good scrub or just to see some familiar faces. Btw the party bags idea was awesome and I bet the kids felt really special. They'll be sad to see you go. Anyway make your last blog is a good'un! Bumps managed to hang on for you coming home however reality that another month has past is sinking in..... Yikers. Going to see the baby on Friday to see if shes a heavy lump. See you soon xxx
Response: It's been an amazing trip a but of a one off but I will definitely be coming back out at some point (not for 4 weeks tho) yeah the kids loved them.. Things like yesterday don't happen very often for them, if at all. Glad to hear bump is still hanging in there- giving u gip no doubt. Nearly time now, getting excited. My last blog'll b a good en...
From Mike
Legend's gig? Pray tell what is the Legend's gig? Although I've got a terrible feeling you've already explained this to me once. Just pretend you're talking with one of your least intelligent clients.
Response: Yo Mike, hows the buddy system going without me? lol
Yeah i did tell you... Its at the Academy, can't remember all the acts but the lead from The Gaslight Anthem is gonna be there... so thats why I signed up for it :)
also.. no pretending necessary ;)
From Captain
Hey Linds, glad your having such a marvellous time and doing such great work as well. Expect I'll see you when you're back on your birthday
Response: Hey Captain, good to hear from you. Yes I'll definitely see you out for birthday drinks- if not before hand. I'm looking forward to it :)
From James
U expect me to tell u all about it? Maybe I don't want you to come back... Jk.
Response: Better be joking, either way you're getting a dead leg when I see u next!
From dad
just making plans for friday, did you say ian(tenpin) was picking you up.if he is i am out for a pint if not let me know what your requirement are .i will warm up the rolls.
Response: Ha, keep the Rolls in the garage and treat yourself to a pint, I may need a lift up from town on Saturday afternoon tho, to come see everyone, and collect my Porsche! :)
From Mike
Birthday on Thursday, which is good; I've had these socks and undercrackers on for the last six months. Yes, thanks for the greeting. You next week. I'm going to say 27th or 29th. You're not looking forward to coming back. Why ever not? I haven't counted but I think most of your clients are still alive.
Response: That's a comforting thought I'll look forward to seeing them.. Oh yeah you said a week between, yeah 29th. Can't wait to b back in work for it, after attending 'the legends gig' the night b4 (".)
From Mike
Been busy for last seven days so haven't really given a lot of notice to your blog. For 'lot of notice' read none at all. Any road up, it looks like you're still hard at it. Hey, listen: if those party bags are typical, I won't be coming to a party of yours anytime soon. Just to give you the heads up, we have a new Ops Manager. She only works the back half of the week, so you'll only see her on a Thursday. That's about it really. It's as rainy here as it seems hot and sunny over in Kenya. What day are you clambering on to that big silver bird for the return journey? Running 10K in that heat? Impressive. What time?
Response: Under an hour.. I was taking it slow coz I was hungover and knackered. So not too shabby. Sounds like it's all happening there then, can't say I'm looking forward to coming back. Lol. The weather here is very temperamental, one minute blistering heat the next thunder storms! V strange. I'll b clambering onto the big bird early Friday Morning.. So all day to get back- think we touched down in M/C around 9pm.
Anyway am I right in thinking it's your birthday on Friday?? If so Happy Birthday and have a great day!! :)
From James
They even have ice-cream in Kenya! But shoes? That's just down-right wrong.
Response: Well 150 more children have shoes today! ;-)
How's school? can't wait to hear all about it when I get back
From Hammo
Just been reading your blogs and keeping up to date with Clare's picture blogs on FB. Great to see so many updates and hear what's going on, I didn't realise the slums would be so bad out there, things we take for granted as well. Keep up the good work. Good luck with your run, hope Steve wins his bet ;-) !!
Response: did you get my postcard? lol.
Steve didnt win, i won, i always win where food is concerned, he just needs to keep his end of the bargain now! I had a Tbone steak last night and thought of you. in fact every time i think of steak i now think of you. i have loads of pics but you wont be able to see them until i get back... only another few days! :)
From dad
hi loo , what are your plans for the next few days.are they for yourselves or are you still buying things.
Response: We have no down time, only in the evenings which are mostly spent doing nothing then going to sleep at 8:30 coz we are bored. Lots to do.
From dad
well done loo tell him to get his money out.
Response: I nearly died, but a challenge is a challenge!
From Anon
How good is the hotel? It can't exactly be a 5 star now can it?
Response: It's probably a 2/3 star?? Are u going to tell me who it is? Was I right with Sophie?
From James
That's our lindsay. Telling people that are probably starving out there 'tough'! btw i've read claire's blog aswell its pretty cool!
Response: That's our Lindsay? How old are you? 40? Lol!
From uncle bill
whats this i here building a house are you called jack .painting putting nails in wait till you get home dad will have you doing d i y .anyway keep up the good work see you when you get home .
Response: I'm rubbish at DIY and I hate jigsaws but it was for a good cause. So I stopped moaning for a day or two n got on with it ;-)
From Sarah
Hiya Linds, your blogs are as humbling as they are hilarious, puts everything in perspective, you’re an inspiration.
Back on safari in ‘sunny’ Bolton we’ve got sharks and a couple of crocs n a few running repairs, doesn't compare I know, it’s all waiting for you when you get home;)
Hope your final week runs smoothly, all things considered, sounds like there may be a few tears or is that just dust in the eyes?
big hugs x
P.S. You're right about the yoga and tell Steve if the goats a good runner after a few pints he may be onto a winner:0

Response: Haha yeah I'm dreading the return but I'm sure you've kept everything and everyone as 'in check' as viably possible! Funny you should say that because I had to give my eye a bath the other day with sterile water to wash out the dust.. :-) but yeah there could b a few tears when we leave. The goat gets worse after beer, fact! Lol. We'll have to go out for a drink on my return to celebrate your bday tooo! If I don't get chance Happy Birthday for Tuesday! xx
From mum
well it's nice to hear that you are supported by 'friends' (and i use that word loosely)---bartering for my daughter and only getting a goat when i would expect at least a camel.You know they eat goat there so you wouldn't have made it to the airport!! Joking apart it must be so hard to decide who to help there when there are so many needy people this blog is a reality check for all of us who whing and moan about nothing and think we are skint when we are rich in comparison.We may be only reading about what you are doing but what an eye opening experience for us all. keep safe .love mum xxx
Response: Well I think it's called relative poverty, something which I have had a lot if time to acknowledge and mull over.we've just been bartering on the markets *hard work* the blog will b on soon to explain why. Lol xx
From Maggie
Hi. What an inspiring blog, we're getting stuck in to Charity quarter back at great places and made over £200 at southerngate today. So glad the donations are being well spent and your idea of home packs is brilliant xxx
One thnx that has come to light, pardon the pun is the need for wind up torches? So we are gonna look into that when we get back.. Also spoke with Alex and we are going visiting the property we bought on Monday morning. Exciting. x
From dad
stick to the wine gums loo ,ive seen you after a few pops,youll never do that run and it will cost you a meal .
Response: After running Salford 5k still drunk I reckon I can do anything. Lol. :)
From James
Lindsay? Build a House? Not ask for anything in return? Hahaha u gotta be kidding me. I can see Parker not being able to sleep when u get back because of all the snoring. I have sooo much homework. A little help may be in order for me to be able to believe u actually did all this stuff. What do u prepare skating and risking to put ur back out again or building a house? Knowing u u probably put ur back out already building the house. U can even go out for quiz night in Kenya now can't u?
Response: Of course I'd help you with your homework but my speciality is doing it under pressure on a bus with two minutes to spare. I haven't put my back out (yet) I bailed out of the 'lifting' and 'carrying'. It's about doing something without wanting back or getting any self gratification... You may b too young to understand the concept. :-P xx
Skating was a 'break the leg thing not a break the back...