Before I start I want to say a special hello to Class 6 at Woodhouse see you all (walking to school) next week!
Had another great day, so much happens in one day! We had a great meeting with Alex and Patricia about how they survive financially and how they hope to expand in the future. Maggie gave Alex a quick lesson on how to write a business plan and then asked him to get back to her with one! We had an early night and I got the ear plugs out what a difference they make future volunteers take note!
Today we went to school and helped with carrots and cabbage duty, then we played games, I did round and round the garden too many times to count and sang if youre happy and you know it and heads and shoulders. After this we gave shoes and uniform to those that need it and they loved it. Maggie has missed her way in life, a career in Clarks would have been quite exiting for her it seems! Maggie and I dutifully checked that shoes fit properly, being a mum helps with these jobs!
After a couple of hours doing this Maggie and I got a boda boda (cushion on the back of a push bike) into town to buy clothes for Esther and first aid supplies (after a quick stop at our favourite café). Esther is tiny and her mum is not capable of caring for her, neighbours do what they can but you can easily see she is not as lucky as some of the kids. We used our best motherly instinct to buy a pretty pink tracksuit/t shirt and knickers for 6 quid. We then got a tuk tuk (3 wheeled motorbike) back to school and took Esther and Gilbert (with his sore hand) to Alexs house. We cleaned up Gilberts hand and dressed it, telling him to keep it clean and then Margaret (the housekeeper) bathed Esther. She is beautiful and was even cuter when she was clean! The clothes fit perfectly, we were very proud. We took them back to school with some sweets (I gave Esther a piggy back) and headed into town to use the net and shop. On the way Maggie mused that Esthers mum wont even notice the clothes!
We are so dirty it is untrue, Maggie took her sun glasses off and she had lines of dust where they touched her face! She was laughing at me as she put sun lotion on my neck as all it did was smear dust around! The kids love watching you apply sun lotion, I genuinely think that they believe this is what turns your skin white! Maggie offered some to a child on the market yesterday and anyone would have thought she was the devil going by the look she got!
This is our last blog as we will be leaving to head home tomorrow, on the way we are going boating and camping before heading to Nairobi. Maggie and I are in charge of refreshments so Jo and Mark will for sure enjoy their last weekend they havent been out at all in a month!
Anyway, fingers crossed a couple of pics have uploaded, see you all soon,
Hi all, Maggie here again as well as shoes and uniforms I also spent a bit of time with the top class doing maths as their teacher wasnt here today. Id taken some stickers with me, and they were delighted to get a star on their work but I was a bit of a hard marker and only gave stickers if theyd worked hard! One lad really stood out for me hes called Clinton, and I dont think its over the top to say he has real leadership qualities. He finished his subtractions before anyone else, and got them all right, but then he organized the rest of the class, brought me their books to mark, and generally made himself useful. At one point I was in the other class fitting shoes (my new calling in life) when I heard him shouting Maggie Cha hed brought me the last few books where Id made corrections and the children had done them again!!! (Mark Jo and Carolyn gave me a hard time for this!). Its heartbreaking to think that a child like Clinton will probably not realize his potential because of the place where he lives, but I do believe that with a bit of extra help and push which the Walk school can give him hell rise above the squalor and poverty. I also did something today that was quite a challenge for me another lad in the top class, Gilbert, (dont you just love their names!) has had a filthy rag wrapped round his hand for the last couple of days. I asked him to show us what the matter was and he had a really sore gash between his thumb and finger, and couldnt move his hand. So I got some antiseptic spray and a dressing and took him back to Alexs house to clean it and dress it captured on photo for those who dont believe it!! I think Gilbert was braver than me, and hopefully it will heal ok. Maggie x
Well, after yesterdays shopping trip from hell we felt the need to chill out! Mark and Jo ate with us in our hotel and had a couple of beers with us, they went home at 10pm (curfew) and we headed to bed. Didnt sleep well and was woken at 5.20am with a REALLY noisy truck outside, scared the life out of me!
We went to lake Nakuru this morning and saw lots of animals and birds, it was lovely. We've been for lunch in town to build up strength for shopping this afternoon, a matter of more shoes to buy - omg! Had chicken and cashew nuts for lunch, only they seemed to forget the cashews! We're blogging now so we dont have to drag the shopping with us later, so we'll report back on the shopping tomorrow.
This evening maggie and i are meeting Alex to talk about the future of the Walk centre, we will try to get to the bottom of why it is best to take the kids away from their families. Tomorrow we have a video to make (Rita where are you?!) on the rubbish dump.
On Friday we will go and watch the assembly for Mark and Jo as it is their last day and then we are off camping with Rufus, our safari guide - we are going on a boat trip at Naivasha and camping there, then we are going cycling (Hmm) at Hells Gate for a cycling tour - Hannah, please say a prayer for Mark and I - Maggie and Jo are going to leave us behind i think! We will then go to Nairobi so that we are close to the airport for our flight early on Sunday - it has gone so fast.
We are hearing good news about healthcare, the kids get regular checks free of charge now - maybe why they look so much better to me?
Will have more to report tomorrow, will tell you all about our meeting with alex and shoe shopping..until tomorrow.
Carolyn & Maggie
Hi all, Maggie here! having a fantastic time here - its just an amazing place, and Mike - I need you to design a certificate for Jo and Mark when they get back, they are super-heros!! (mainly based on the fact that they share a bathroom with herds of cockroaches withuot complaining). Some of you might remember my slack mum blog about buying school shoes? Well today all my shoe-buying experience came into its own!We managed to sort out shoes for the children who havent got any - first thing was to measure their feet and then keep a tally of who needed what. Then we trecked into town in the blazing sun to buy the shoes - by the time we got there (about half an hour) we were in need of a drink and a sit down. Mark treated us in a rather chic little establishment and we toasted St Patricks day with a coke! Then to the market where we entered into an Apprentice-like task to buy shoes from second-hand stalls in the sizes ( I now know that if your foot is 7" long, you take a size 28) and gender-appropriate styles. I got a bit giddy when I found Geox and Clarks shoes, and Carolyn just got giddy (too much sun) Then we divided the task with Mark and me buying boys and Carolyn and Jo getting girls- obviously Mark and I won. the prize was a coconut bun and a milk shake!! Anyway a BIG thankyou to everyone who donated money and fund raised - we got 50 pairs of shoes for 200 quid and they will be much appreciated. See you again soon, Maggie
PS - from Carolyn, they finished their apprentice like task before us but didnt complete it ! They are still some pairs missing - Jo and I got all 26 on our list so we reckon they are in the boardroom, not us! After a demanding afternoon Chris wanted to carry on shopping for clothes, we had to call a halt to the day - we were hot, dusty and tired and couldn't face more shopping whilst dragging sacks of shoes around, so we caved in and got a cab to the hotel! Mark diligently went back to school as he had promised to watch a football game, he met us town later.
Kenya take 2!
Well, we've been here a day and there is so much to report already!
The journey from Nairobi was brill - the new road make such a difference. We spent 2 hours in the back of a car with Peace age 3 - Maggie ended up wearing some of the crisps Peace was eating and apart from a bit of kicking and spitting she was as good as gold!
We got to the hotel (very nice!) and went for lunch in town, we met Alex and he shared stories about how the Walk was set up in the first place and the progress made to date. He also shared some ideas for the future - more on that later. We left in Alex's car to go to the Walk but were delayed as a woman was run over right by us. A crowd of around 50-60 people gathered, she was picked up and put into the back of the car that ran her over to be taken to hospital. The passengers all got out to make room and then got in with Maggie and I!! Alex took them to the hospital and along the way they told us that they were on their way back from their mothers funeral! Alex made sure all was ok, the driver responsible left quickly but his passengers stayed to check she was well (and pay the bill i guess!) Alex later told us that the custom is that the offender will get beaten up and so this is why they left and Alex intervened - Maggie was considering the merits of this system versus getting points on your licence as we then made our way to school.
We arrived towards the end of the school day and visited each class. My class from last time still has a lot of familiar faces and they recognised me!! Some of them called me Rachel though! Rach - you made a lasting impression! LAter on some were really exited, they remembered that it was me that went to Lake Nakuru with them - so girls - it was money well spent, they still cherish those memories!
This bit is for Rachel and Hannah - Masai looks fab, she has put weight on, Esther hasnt grown, we saw her mum and she is ill again, friends are taking her to hospital tomorrow, they think she is pregnant. Flora looks fab too - didnt get to speak to her though, she was in lessons. You wouldnt believe the kitchen - there are chimneys and proper cooking stoves - heaven!
I cannot believe how good the kids look, they look healthier than the last time i was here - it confirms what i already knew, that the Walk Centre is doing a great job against the odds. It is so good to see progress being made.
Alex took us to the dump, we saw women trying to collect plastic as a truck dropped more trash off, there were pigs, cattle, children, storks - all in it together!
Alex seems to think the way forward is to take the kids and build a home for them, leaving their parents behind on the dump. Sounds a bit brutal but i think he believes he can help more this way. Will remain open minded for the time being..
We are going to shower and change soon and go for dinner. We're tired after a long hot day and want to be ready for our day tomorrow - cabbage chopping here we come! Mark has blisters on blisters.
Love to all at home, don't forget your spellings Luke!
I'm watching comic relief and am thinking it won't be long before i am experiencing life in Africa first hand. Did you see Fearne Cotton's visit to a hospital? That hospital is many times better than the one in Nakuru. I am a tad stressed, trying to finish a couple of things for work, get school uniform ready for the week ahead and pack my case - although that should be easy as its 70% full already - with your donations - thank you! Having to be stingy with the clothes!
I am so lucky to be going back to see how things are going at the Walk Centre, cant wait to see the children again - there are so many new children too.
I expect to be there by Monday lunch time (late afternoon in the UK) so check for a blog on Monday evening.
Location: The airport!!, Kenya
Well, we are waiting to board our flight in Nairobi so we've just got a few minutes to catch up.
Friday at school was great. The dancers werent really masai but they were great and the kids absolutely loved it. They had dancing competitions and kids were unbelievably good at dancing - we got lots of video footage to bring back! They got their lunch an hour late but didnt even notice!
At the end of the day there was a small leaving assembly for us and it was very sad to say goodbye to everyone. We then went into our own classes and handed out the food parcels we bought (flour, sugar, salt and some sweets) My class all gathered around me and gave me hugs. One of the lads gave me one of his three sweets. I tried to give it him back but he said that he'd miss me and he wanted me to eat his sweet - so I accepted! I am still gobsmacked at how willing they are to share their treats - they dont exactly get them that often.
Our last weekend was great. On Saturday night we went dancing and stayed out in our usual cheap hotel. On Sunday we hired a car and went to Naivasha lake. We took Rob and Russel with us and had a great time careering round crazy roads with huge pot holes in the rain (the back windscreen was loose and Hannah, Russ and I got wet!) We went out on a boat and saw Hippos - we thought we were just going for a look at the views so were like little kids when we realised there were Hippos! We found somewhere to stay very last minute and went for our best meal yet in a floating restaurant. On the way back to our lodge we were driving behind 2 giraffe - wow! They got freaked out by a guard dog and so turned round and charged past us - we thought that they would walk straight over the car at one point! Despite 5 cameras and many attempts to capture the moment we didnt! Rachel got a good shot on her phone we think.
Yesterday we drove to Crater lake and had a really chilled time. We accidentally found the poshest places in town to eat and drink - it was such a treat and so different to what we've been used to!
We then dropped the lads off to brave the matatu to Nakuru (ha ha) and we got back in the extremely dusty hire car and headed to Nairobi. Rachel did a great job with the driving and gave as good as she got in town! We found Kats house without getting lost and went for an Ethiopian meal around 10pm.
We were up early this morning to hand over the hire car and get a cab to the airport. We stopped by police twice, once Hannah and I nearly got charged for not wearing a seatbelt but we got away with it!
Well, its time to board, see you all tomorrow!
Take care, Carolyn
Had a fab day at school, I was actually there all day - no home visits or hospital trips - yipee!
Edwins eye is looking so much better so I am pleased with my assessment and treatment of it and it didn't involve hours in hospital or any dosh!! Just hope I don't need the eye drops now I've given them away!!
We went out for an Ethiopian meal last night and followed that with some dancing in Dimples (night club). We splashed out on a hotel (4 pounds b&b) and we got exited about having a room to ourself!! It was by no means the Hilton or in fact a Travel Lodge but we loved it and got a good nights sleep in a comfy bed!!
This morning I attempted to teach my class to tell the time. We had a fab interactive session with kids getting up and drawing clocks on the board and then I gave them a worksheet to do, some got it real quick, it was really satisfying to see them learn.
After lunchtime I read 2 Winnie the Witch stories and then Snow White, they loved listening so much they demanded more after each one! At the end of the day the teacher explained that tomorrow is my last day and the kids said that they don't want me to leave! Some said that they will cry if I go - it's going to be tough day! I explained that I have a son at home that is missing me and they wanted to know all about him. When I told them he was 8 half the kids put their hands up exited that they too were 8 like him! They chanted his name many times and said that they want me to take Luke to meet them next year!!
We've got Masai dancers confirmed for tomorrow and so it will be a lively day, its a good job as we'll probably cry buckets! We've bought loads of flour, sugar and salt to make food parcels to send home to the families and we've bought sweets to give to the kids too - the plan is to fire them up on E numbers that they are not used to and then say goodbye!!
I've lined up a video interview with Kevin's father tomorrow at 9 so fingers crossed I'll get some good footage to bring home for you all to see.
I've probably got one more blog to write after today and then I shall have to wean myself off the net! I do hope that you have enjoyed reading and learning about what I've been up to.
I want to say a special thanks to those who have so far sponsored a child to go to the Prison school - we still need so many more. If you've thought about it but not done anything about it yet please do it now! I'd love to able to tell them they had the funding before we leave...
Thank you to:
HATS (x3 kids)
Penny Reeves (x 2 kids)
Sarah Riley + admin team
A2 Accident Solicitors
Thanks and love to all,