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So, here we go, off to The Walk Centre for a month

My name is Clare Kelly; I work for Great Places Housing Group based on Princess Parkway. On the 28th of August this year myself, and two fellow colleagues Stephen and Lindsay will be volunteering in one of the poorest areas of Kenya, the Hilton Slum, Nakuru. The trip is being fully funded by our place of work so any funds raised will go directly to help the children and communities of the slum and the Walk Children’s Centre.

Diary Entries

Monday, 19 September 2011

Ill be updating about our crazy Saturday later as its on my phone notes which just ran out of charge. So ill fill you in on Sunday and today.
OWCH is the only word for it. Woke up with a banging headache at 7am. I went into the bathroom to brush my teeth using Steves toothbrush and paste as i had last night. As i did so i remembered how utterly disgusting the toothpaste had been the night before. I had been staggering abut the bathroom shouting to Steve about how rank and manly tasting it was and 'how could anyone use this stuff' but Steve was sleeping and i was talking to myself. I wandered out of the bathroom to bring this issue up again and Steve began laughing hysterically. Id been brushing my teeth with shaving foam. Lindsay was nearly wetting her pants as was I. Who makes shaving foam in a toothpaste tube, who does that, it even said Max Menthol and shaving foam in tiny writing. I felt sick.
We went down for breakfast, did not go down as well as yesterday at all. When we got back to the room it all came back out again (sorry for the detail). We booked out at 10 and left our luggage at reception and headed for the pool, the sun was amazing so basically the whole day was spent there. We had a gym session around 5pm and Lindsay did a 10K run on the treadmill. Crazy lady. Then home. Early night.
Back to work today. We woke early to visit the land Great Places bought last year in the next town. What a crazy ride, it was the bumpiest drive my head hit the roof at least 10 times and that was in the 4x4 car of Alex's. We had a look, its in a beautiful farming area called Ol Karao. Alex's tribe are from this area they are one of Kenya's largest and richest tribes. The land is set in beautiful rolling hills of green and is very tranquil. After looking at the 4 achre stretch and taking a couple of pics we headed back. Oghhh, i felt really sick when we arrived home 2 hours later.
We headed to the school for chore number 2 of the day, buying shoes. We had asked the teachers to get the sizes of all the classes, around 140 students. Fred accompanied us to town to the really bust second hand market. Harassment and marriage proposals here were as plentiful as the shoes. We gave one of the stall ladies our list and after 1 hour of back and forth's and re-counts we left with 140 pairs of new shoes for 42300 KES.
We are now in Merica after more shopping to change the ill fitting footie tops and shopping for goodies for Wednesdays party bags.

Rushing through this an t'internet keeps going down and im scared ill loose all my blog - AGAIN. Not long now till i see y'all. Much love.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Wow what a busy, humbling and amazing day! We were up early to meet Freddie at The Walk to weight out the flour and beans we bought in big sacks into 7 smaller bags to add to the home packs. The families were sent a message by Fred to meet at The Walk centre in order to pick up the packs. Members of 4 of the 7 families turned up and we invited them into the dining room to collect them. Each person carried a large wash basin filled with all the goodies back up to their homes (a long slog up quite a steep hill) . Steve carried one as one lady was quite elderly. To be honest he struggled more than them, they shot up there with the basins balancing up on their heads at the speed of lightning.
We followed up with 4 mattresses for some of the homes. we then went round each house and showed them the goodies. We lit up the parafin lamps as Fred said this insured they were less likely to be sold new for cash. Every family was so so grateful. What a humbling experience.  Each household blessed us over and over one chau chau (that call every woman chau chau which is a respectful name for older women) took our hand and spat on it. Apparently this is also a blessing, didn't feel like one, felt wet. Haha, no I was quite proud in a wierd way that she thought we deserved her blessing spit. You should have seen Lindsay's face though, I was watching for it and held back a giggle when her hand withdrew quickly for a trouser wipe. Haha! 
The last house we visited was Steve from the Walk Centre's family. Her family are really nice and her eldest boy is off to college (supported by The Walk) studying law. When we last visited we could see his mum was very ill, Fred was ensuring she had her medicine. When we visited this time we found out she has HIV. She's not well at the moment and was struggling to pay for antibiotics and pain killers which she needed. This equated to 500 Shillings. About £3.50. Obviously we gave her the money but  couldn't help getting quite upset as we left thinking how awful a situation that is to a mother of young kids. Food or medicine, how wrong. She was really grateful and overwhelmed. I feel we haven't deserved the praise and blessings. A lot of these guys do for being such strong and supportive mothers, grandparents, friends and neighbours to each other. 
Then came the rain but that won't stop us Northern folk. We went to town to get the foodie tops for Fred's Saturday foodie club. Larry followed us in an was chatting to me for a good hour while Steve and Lindsay tried to get the useless and pretty moody shop lady to find enough tops in one colour and in the sizes we needed. Larry is just one of the many market stall blokes who try to harass and befriend you every day. He is a Masai guy originally an a bit more chilled out than the rest, he obviously has a good tactic for gaining customers as we promised we'd come to him for gifts first. As he out it 'for you, cheaper than Aldi, Larry will look after you'. Ha! 
We ventured home with 22 green t shirts and met Fred. Then myself (chief buyer) and Fred wizzed off again on a motorbike (I want one now so bad, getting a bit addicted to this mode of transport) to the woodyard to buy a door and frame. As usual, nothing surprises me now, the door and frame were tied horizontally across the bike. He got me another bike and off tithe slum we went. By far my fastest ride yet......Wheeeeeeeeeeeeee! 
As we were in the dump I decided to get a few more 'germ infested pieces of rubbish' as steve says or beautiful and original recycled necklaces and bags from magazines and plastic bags  as I like to call them. Got loads for 1000 Shillings/7 squid. 
So that's it really. Merica for dinner. Home. Bed. 
Day off tomorrow and hotel :)

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Firstly, you may have noticed that Tuesday's blog just went up, you may not have, either way if you missed it go back (if your bothered) it makes sense of the reference to 'other volunteers' on yesterdays blog.

The thunder is booming outside Merica but do we care....hell no because today we finished the house. Today i was much more helpful and every muscle aches....HAPPY.
Me and Fred borrowed a motorbike and headed to the hardware shop this morning to buy the roof, plastic for the side covering and 2 more hammers to prevent yesterdays hammer shortage drama. The other volunteers and our Lindsay and Steve headed up to the slum. With the purchasing done we rolled we the huge sheets of corrugated metal then had to strap lengthways across the bike. This seemed mental but Fred informed me no other means of transport could get up the strap path to the slum and across the piles of 'shite'. I jumped on another bike with the hammers and roll of plastic and we wizzed up. Fred did not look to stable and took up the width of the road but fair play, we did it.
Some of the crew including Steve got the roof all nailed on, a long laborious job. The rest of us hammered in more horizontal beams to the frame. Today i kept a hammer in my hand and when i was hounded by the locals 'let me help, give me this' i simply snapped and said 'no, i bought this hammer and im going to bloody use it'. Now this may sound harsh but i was that bored yesterday and dying to get stuck in i did not care and it payed off. When it came to hammering the plastic to the outside my arm was strong and my aim dam perfect. We worked away until 12.30 and when Fred said 'lets just stay till its done' i was not only on the mark i was fast as feck. Really proud. So much so ill be partaking in more DIY hammering jobs at home (sorry Meeko).
In one of the short breaks in hammering (passing onto the local fella's who were zipping through the hard bits) a lady came with some stuff to sell. I purchased a bag made of plastic bags collected on the slum, its amazing, along with a few necklaces and bracelets made from newspapers and magazines with beads. They are stunning. All for 1400 (about 10 squid but i did haggle) ill be going back for more.

Anyways, off to the gym since im feeling so butch......grrrrrr

Ta Ta

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Hey y'all busy day today. Woke up early had a couple if bits of toast and off to the dump. Not been up there since the start of the trip and since then a little tin building has been erected, a church. It kinda shocked me again to see kids rummaging. Tiny baby's only just walking sat on piles of stinking trash. Makes your heart sink. Anyway, we collected the wooden posts and found the site where to house was to be built. First we did our best to clear the space of rubbish, glass bottles, rock (that looks like volcanic rock, very light in weight, porous and dark black), plastic bags and general stinking rubbish. We then got measuring out 16ft x 11ft and dug holes with big metal poles. We had some of the volunteers from yesterday helping so there was a lot of hands. To be honest it was hard to get a job to do at points so me and Lindz did a lot of encouraging and creating of humour as well as the usual sing songs (never underestimate to BlueKelly Jukebox). 
The sun was HOT so I had to leave early for lunch in order to wack on the aftersun and cover up with a shirt. After lunch we headed back and managed to do the whole framework by 5. Steve did a lot of hard work today so we thought we defiantly deserved good grub at Merica. After a shower and a change of duds we went to town. Steve replenished his protein stores with the fittest mix grill I've seen in some time. I had chicken snitzel and Lindz was on her favourite, lamb chops. 
We have just finished, satisfied so it's a couple of Tia Maria's and a tuc tuc home now. 
Roof on tomorrow. 

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Grrrrrrr I bloody hate computers, ive just written todays blog in a fab mood then the PC crashed and lost it all so this one wont be so nice!.......ill try to regain my thoughts and remembers but as you know, my memory is goes!
*word to self* 'CALM CLARE..... aaaaaand proceed'
Today we awoke to pancakes for breakfast, to Linsays surprise and delight i had saved half a lemon from the luch box on Safari in the hope we'd have pancakes again. Lindz always comments that sugar alone does not suffice when it comes to pancakes. YUM
We headed into town by Matatu to withdraw the max from my account again 40000 KES then got a pika pika back to The Walk by 9.10, good going me thinks. I handed the 35000 to Fred for the tiles, concrete for the holes in the classroom floors and the labor. The sun was blazing so we though it a perfect day to gloss the doors of the toilet block. This took us the morning and we were glad that a bus full of 10 Mazunga volunteers had just showed up which distracted the kids while we got cracking. The other volunteers are going to be at the centre for the next few days which helps lighten the load so we can crack on with other things. Tomorrow we plan to build the house as i mentioned yesterday. Cant wait, us Irish blooded women (NOTE - i may definitely not be a lady but i'm all woman) love a bit of hard back breaking work to get the blood pumping, ey mum?
With tomorrow in mind we decided to have a much needed break and headed to Merica to catch some rays. Lindz and Steve hit the gym whilst i concentrated on tanning not toning.
I'M BROWN, no more jokes from family members *AHEM HORNE FAMILY AHEM*
Me and Lindz purchased matching head scarves from the market today too, we look like proper tourists. Love it.

(P.S. if you think its weird this one appeared after tomorrows its because the bloody computer here went off the network, managed to save it on the C drive so just got it off and online......if that makes no sense call iGloo)

Monday, 12 September 2011

Today was a day for spending! Sponsorship money was burning a hole in my pocket and we had plenty of ideas for spending. Our main priority is sorting out the un-used and un-finished toilet block. It needs tiles and the doors varnished. Alex priced this up for u's and it will be 35000 KES including labor which is about 240 quid. I'll get this to Alex tomorrow so it can hopefully be completed by the time we go. We also have decided to buy the materials to build a house for a lady with 6 kids, we are building it Wednesday and thursday. 
One of the other ideas we had was to make up (home kits) for the families we visited on the slum. We went off to town by pika pika today, a motorbike ypu ride on the back of. Steve and Fred on one with me and Linds on another. I bloody loved it!! Lindz was not so impressed. I had to cradle her in my arms and hold her tightly between my thighs. Always willing to assist a needy maiden. 
We managed to get it all in a few shops and carried it all back by tuc tuc. This included 4 mattresses strapped to the top. Hilarious. Got pics to prove it! 
Each home kit included:
Wash tub (to carry everything)
Big wool blanket
2KG flour
2KG beans
Tea leaves
Sanitary pads
Paraffin Lamp
Spare wick
Washing soap
Cooking fat
So it's gonna be like Christmas. We will deliver these on Friday morning. 
We also had a bit of a freaky moment with a tuc tuc. They are  driven like a scooter with one driver but as we drove off in one we got from one of the supermarkets another guy jumped in. Fred ran up straight away and demanded we got out, obviously we listened with no hesitation. Fred was shouting and arguing with the guy in Swahilli for some time and later said they guy would give him no valid reason for there being two of them. Bit scary but it just reminds us to be vigilant. Steve filled us in on some survival manurers later that night lole how to rip out someones jugular NOTED! Don't mess wi me yo!!! 
Other stuff we purchased today:
Gloss for toilet doors
Bolts and padlocks for classrooms
Nails etc 
Knives for the kitchen
Wood for the house
Later on we made up the home kits. I got really excited. As fabulous as the teaching is it's great to really get going on the spending now. Many items we have been able to get will make a big difference and I can't wait to see how they are received. 
Dinner was lush today. Kenya's version of pilau rice was FIT! 
Oh I'm also reading a book, can you believe, it was left onthe room and it's called 'Alice I have been' the real story behind Alice in wonderland. I'm loving it. Check me out mum! 

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Recent Messages

From yvonne
Great reading your blog - find out whether there is a direct way of sending clothes shoes supplie sto the walk centre love yvonne
Response: Yep I've been asking today and there is it's just if the cost is worth the content. The uniforms went down an absolute treat. Got loads of pics gonna try to upload tomorrow and I'll email a few for you to bring into the school. Miss y'all thanks for following sis. Love you.
From Lorraine Horne (Clar
Finally got to read it all! Great writing. Can't wait for next instalment. Have fun and keep writing. Love you..
Response: Thanks Lorraine. Hope my ladies aren't missing me too much and are appreciating you ;) I do! Loving it here and it's going so fast can't believe it's half gone. Thanks for the compliment, you know my lisdexia screws up my creative writing and even spell check can't work me out sometimes but I'm trying ;) Miss you all. Love you too
From Hannah Reeves
Clare your blogs are hilarious, i love your perceptions and honesty. The sound of continuous matatu beeping at 6am will never leave me, although when i returned to the UK i found the silence/darkness in the morning deeply disturbing!! Some questions - Has Alex shown you the land we purchased for them yet? Is Peace still crazy? Is Esther and her family still being supported by the walk (they will be well known to Alex), is Stevie G blogging?! Love your blogs, keep them coming x
Response: Haha you know me Hannah. I'll send you the recording bet it'll take you back. Reg the questions. I keep meaning to ask about Esther and will tomorrow, promise, I'll update this again then. Peace, yep, the name still does not fit! Hehe. We've not seen the land but we have discusses it. If we have any time we hope to visit it but as you know the time flys. Thanks for reading. I'll reply again soon. Much love
From Raymond
"WE WE Clare"! I love your blogs they are everything but boring! Sounds you are all doing a great job. Great effort on the meal at least you got a good workout. I'm sure it was very humbling to visit the families in their homes, i'd love to hear more about how they get by. would a game of pass the parcel work with some treats work in the playground?
Response: Hey hey Raymond bet your dying to get over now. Thanks for the comments, feeling the pressure to keep blogging now :) we have done a LOT more shopping today which I'm gonna blog about tomorrow. Amazing how far the money goes and how diverse we have been able to be with our spending. Pass the parcel sounds like fun but too much fun/waiting/excitement can turn into amusing chaos here so we'll see :) haha
Thanks again - keep watching and speak soon x
From Carolyn
PS Where is your safari? Is Rufus your guide? We took some nice wine to enjoy with the view LOL!
Response: Hey Carolyn. See newest blog. Nope we had a tour fouled called Peter, bloody useless. Thank god for google and 3G lol! Read your mind on the vino trick. Me and steve shared a bottle of red back at camp and Lindz filled up on a few bottles of the only cider she could find, woodpecker, classy bird :)
Thanks for following.
From Carolyn
Loving the blogs and you're no. 2 on planet ranger already!! Ive just back from my hol so will transfer that dish for u this week.

Say hi to Alex and everyone for me, wish I was there! Can't believe you braved church in week one and I really want to know which hotel in Nairobi you consider to be nice!! Surely not the one I've stayed at!! Lol

Carolyn x
Response: Yep. Were brave soldiers and now god fearing soldiers :)
Thanks. I'll make sure to add that to my total. Did loads of spending today. Like I said tO Raymond been able to be REALY diverse with spending and a small amount goes so far. Will keep you posted on all the amazing stuff we've been able to do when I update tomorrow.
Much love to 2nd floor bet, bet it's quiet ;)
Clare xx
From Duana
Hi Clare, I loved reading your first blog, Sounds like you have been really busy, and the children sound adorable!! Hope you have a fantastic time and I cant wait to here all your stories when your back!! Take care and jelous of your tan :-)
Response: Thanks darling. Kids are amazing but a hand full :) I'll fill you in on my return. Keep watching. See you soon
From Hannah Reeves
Clare!!! Great to read your first blog from Kenya, you describe it all perfectly - remember it like it was yesterday. Pleaseeeee look out for Flora and tell me how she is doing :) Thinking of you all
Response: Thats the name! Not met a Flora yet but ill look out and let you know...
From Jay
Fab 1st blog, will not keep leaving messages but just wanted to say glad you all had a safe flight and that I will be reading the blog often. Enjoy the rest of your stay, cant wait to hear about all your adventures!!
Response: Thanks Jay ;)
From maggie
Clare, so good to hear you're all there safely. Wish I was there too!
Response: ;) Thankyou
From Rachel D
Hi Clare,

Sorry I didn't see you before you left. Have a fanstastic time. I'll be reading your blogs so make them good! Take care of yourself x
Response: Thanks Rachel ;)