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Hannah's Kenya Trip

Diary Entries

Monday, 15 October 2007

Location: Nairobi, Kenya

Jambo!

Well, my trip here is finally over :-( I am currently in an internet cafe in Nairobi airport killing some time before I have to board my plane home and am extremely sad to be leaving this country. I can easily say this has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life, it completely exceeded my expectations in every way and I have made a conscious decision to come back here for a holiday as soon as I can.

The time at the Walk and with the children and families has been amazing. I have some positive news to feedback about Ester, another family on the slum are going to feed her and her sisters with the food we are going to provide on a weekly basis. There is such a sense of community within the slum, all the families look out for each other and even though they have very little they are willing to share what they do have.

What has also made this experience so exceptional has been the time spent with the other volunteers, we have become extremely close to the people we lived with in Alex's house. For our last weekened we did a road trip to Naivasha and it was the perfect end to our time here. On Friday night we took Alex and Patricia out for a meal in Nakuru, we had such a laugh with them and it was hilarious to hear about their observations of all the volunteers living in their house (alex can do a wicked impression of the boys!) We really have built a good relationship with Alex and Patricia which has been so important to us, particularly as our support of the Walk Centre is long-term.

Carolyn and I then got up early on Saturday morning to go 45 minutes in the car with Nick to the equator. At the equator you pay 200 shillings (about 1 pound 70) to see a water test, it was amazing. If you walk about 20 metres from the equator point and pour some water in a funnel into a pot, the water goes in a clockwise direction one side of the equator and anti-clockwise the other side (demonstrated by putting a blade of grass in the water). At the point of the equator the water goes straight down (the blade of grass stays completely still). Awesome! We then went quickly to the Thompson falls, another breathtaking viewpoint of a huge waterfall. We then got back quickly to Nakuru for some shopping!! We have all got brilliant at bartering in the markets, it is quite addictive really! No Mzungu prices for us!

On Sunday the boys and us rented a car from Alex's friend and drove to Naivasha. What an experience driving on the local roads, it was like driving on the beach with a million vehicles! We went to the floating restaurant which was absolutely beautiful, and then took a boat out onto lake Naivasha and got extremely close to Hippos! The highlight of the evening was driving back to the lodge and coming face to face with giraffes in the road. They got startled by a dog and came charging at our car, we all panicked but then they stopped right at the headlights and then passed us right by the window. Absolutely amazing!

Yesterday we went exploring around Naivasha in the car and came across every luxurious restaurant and hotel possible. It was a complete contrast to what we had experienced in Nakuru. We then went to Nairobi last night to hook up with Rachel's friend Kat and had the most beautiful Ethiopian food I have had since I have been here.

Right, I have to go and board my flight now. I will upload the remaining photos when I'm back in the UK. See you all soon!

Hannah xx

Friday, 12 October 2007

Location: Kenya

Today comes a very very close second experience to the trip to Lake Nakuru with the children. It was our last day with the children at School, I am currently very slightly heart-broken after saying goodbye to them but what a send-off we had. We arranged for Masi dancers to come to the school for the day and they arrived (in two matatus) with guitars, microphones and massive speakers. The kids went CRAZY! We hooked up the equipment to a neighbour's electricity supply (organised by Alex) and had the best day of dancing and singing I have ever had. At one point local people and children from all over the area surrounded the school premises, dancing and watching us all pulling some funky moves in the dusty playground.

The music was amazing, it was another boiling hot day and dancing to reggae music in the sunshine surrounded by happy children was fantastic. You can imagine how the children dance, they are mini kenyan dancers, hip-swinging and everything. The Masi dancers got the children to get involved in a dancing competition, I haven't laughed so hard for a long time. Then it was the teachers turn! To my regret we have around 10 minutes of video footage of all the volunteers dancing, Mzungu style! All of the leaders/managers at the Walk were also there - Alex, Patricia, Chris, John, Rogers and Ken (even though his wife is due to give birth any second!)

The kids were even more affectionate than usual today, my arms are completely aching from hugging and picking up so many children. Ester also boogied-on down, it was sooooo adorable. At the end of the dancing Alex got Caroline, Rachel and I to come to the front and say our good-byes to the kids. They all shouted "thank-you", "God bless" and "come again soon", quite obviously I cried and when I went to sit down several of the children looked at me with puzzled looks on their faces and pointed to their eyes because I had tears under mine which made me cry even more! Then it was time to compose ourselves because the children were told to go back into their classrooms to be given their parcels from us - brown paper bags full of a bag of flour (to make Ugali), a bag of sugar and a bag of salt (all massively valuable to the families). They all got sweeties too! The children all clutched onto their bags (in my class they were about a quarter of the size of the kids!) and I took a million photos of my class (including a few more of Flora!) It was also really sad for me to say goodbye to Patricia, the permanent teacher for my class. She told me she would really miss me, that she had learned a lot from me and she told me to come back soon which was incredibly touching. She then got the children to sing the inaccurate version of "I can sing a rainbow" I had taught them back to me, there was a lot of laughter mixed in with my tears. I got to cuddle and high-five them all one more time as they ran out of the classroom and then they were gone.

Tonight Rachel, Carolyn and I are taking out Alex and Patricia for a meal in Nakuru. Tomorrow Carolyn and I are going to the equator in the morning (to see some really stunning waterfalls), then it is shopping in the afternoon and then out in the evening with the mzungus for our last night in Nakuru. On Sunday we are going camping in Navasha with Rachel's friend Kat again and going to a floating restaurant on a lake (?!), on Monday we are going out in Nairobi and then our flight back to the UK is on Tuesday. So a lot to cram into our last few days here, I don't want it to end. However a few things I am looking forward to when I get home are:

1) Seeing family and friends
2) Being reunited with my GHDs
3) Not having to chop or eat any more cabbage (although I have a strange feeling I may miss it when I get back??!!)
4) Being able to have a hot shower (the water and electricity in Alex's house often goes out on a daily basis!)
5) Having fast internet connection speed
6) Not being ill (I have had pretty much a constant cold during my stay, Rachel and Carolyn have also suffered later in our stay here. This hasn't by any means affected my experience but I would like to be able to come off paracetomal, flu-medicine, Karvol Capsules and Vicks!!)
7) Not being constantly covered in dirt and dust
8) Not being greeted by spiders, cockroaches, locusts or various other evil insects whenever I go to the toilet

These things are pretty futile and I am going to miss so many things in Kenya even more. Quite obviously the children and people at the Walk, but also the Kenyan people and ethos here, the weather!, riding the boda-boda, the music, being greeted by every child I see with a huge smile and a shout of "how are you", being greeted by wandering livestock as soon as we leave Alex's house, not having any concept of time, being able to pay 4 pounds for a B&B hotel room, 1 pound for a drink, around 5 pounds for a 3-course meal and 20p for a bus ride/boda-boda. It has been heart-breaking to see the poverty in the slums but also massively encouraging to see the tangible difference the Walk Centre provides to the children and their families. This has been a profound and life-changing experience for me and I know I will be coming back to the UK with a different attitude and a lot of amazing memories in my heart. I would like to thank my organisation Great Places for providing me with this opportunity, I hope all our diary entries illustrate the good work of the Centre we support.

I hope to write a diary entry over the weekend, but it depends if I have time! Speak to you soon, Hannah xx

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Location: Kenya

Hello!

A big thank you to everyone who responded to our request for people to sponsor a child to go to the state school, we got a great response and all the children who passed their exam have been able to go! The additional sponsors we got are going to be used for the next lot of children ready to go to the school (this could be as soon as January and as many as 27 so if you still want to be involved get in contact!) We have obtained photos of all the children so will get these and details of the child you have sponsored to you as soon as we are back in the UK.

Last week Carolyn, Rachel and I also went to the public school to meet the headteacher. She was incredibly positive and encouraging about the work of the Walk, again it is really good to see long-lasting, tangible outcomes from the work of the Centre and volunteers. The headteacher also praised the feeding programme at the Walk (we serve up ugali and cabbage on a daily basis to the children who leave the Walk and go to the school, I told you I chop a lot of cabbages each morning!) She said that the volunteers provide an essential support role to the children, however she did say she would like to see more direct involvement from the families (e.g. parents rarely get involved or come to the school). As in the UK, it is important that the teachers understand any problems going on in the child's home life that affects their performance at school.

This got me thinking about our work at the Centre. We get involved in many important activities here including hospital visits with an ill child and obviously helping a child get into state school. However we strongly believe we should maintain our support to the children and their families without completely taking over and assuming the role of "parent" when this is inappropriate to do so. I think we need to carefully assess the activities we get involved in so that we continue to carry out the good work that has already been achieved but look into ways of expanding our work further to provide the families themselves with the means to support their own children. I think it can be easy to come in to a project like this with a very Western view of how things ought to be done and this needs to be avoided as it would be hugely arrogant and unlikely to be what the families actually need. Having Alex is massively helpful here as he is local to the area, lives right in the heart of the community on the edge of the Slum and knows far more about what people need in this area. I think we should continue working closely with him to come up with ideas about how we can get more involved with the families so that our work has greater long-term impact and sustainability. For example, some of the parents have said they would like to buy fruit from the markets in town for 3 shillings and sell them at the dump site for 5 shillings. We thought people wouldn't pay the extra amount but apparently they can't get into town and so they pay this. This is a simple idea but an area I'm keen to explore when we get back to the UK and prepare for the next lot of volunteers.

Anyway. I have had such an awesome time teaching the children over the past few weeks, it has really stretched my imagination and required me to be extremely creative! I've found that the best way the children in my class understand what I am teaching them is to make it into a game or involve a song. The other day Patricia asked me to teach the children a new song, right on the spot. For some reason my mind went really blank but I had been teaching the children colours so I stood next to a colour board and taught them my version of "I can sing a rainbow". There is now a class full of 4-5 year-olds who sing a very inaccurate but equally enthusiastic version of this song! I also taught them 10 Green Bottles this week as we were having a revision session on numbers. It started off well until I realised I had chosen quite a high key and we all got a tad high-pitched!!

Yesterday was a special day because one of the volunteers staying in Alex's house turned 19. We call Russ the "Orange Mzungu" because he has red hair and a previous volunteer with red hair got called an orange mzungu by someone in Nakuru!! We had a surprise birthday party yesterday for him at the house where everything was in an orange theme. Literally everything. The room was decorated orange, every present we got him was orange, his cake was decorated in orange. We even had orange food (baked beans, crisps and biscuits) and orange fanta. NO CABBAGE on the menu!! We got an orange t-shirt printed with the words "orange mzungu" on it which Russ loved, he wore it all of yesterday and made practically every Kenyan burst out into laughter on the streets! Last night we went out for his birthday celebration, we went to an Ethiopian restaurant (nice food) and then onto a dance club called Dimples. The music in there is wicked, kind of a mix between funky R&B and reggae, and man-alive can the Kenyan's dance. I am in complete awe of their rhythm, watching them dance in a club is quite mesmorising. And of course we all joined in, some Kenyan women tried to teach Rachel and I some moves on the dance floor. It was a really fun night and I will get some photos on here soon!

I can't believe tomorrow is my last day with the children, I'm trying hard not to think about it or else I will get really upset. I have never met children like those at the Walk, they are absolutely amazing to be around. Today Rachel and I spent the afternoon bulk-buying flour, sugar and salt to hand out in packets to the children tomorrow as a leaving present (these are all very valuable to their families). We also bought writing books, pencils and shoes for those children who we have seen at the centre without them. And as a special treat tomorrow we have arranged for some traditional Masi-Tribe dancers to come and spend the day with the children at the School. I am soooo excited about that and will get another chance to attempt some Kenyan dancing!

Will let you know how tomorrow goes!

Hannah x


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Recent Messages

From Claire W
Hi Hannah, looks and sounds like you are having a wonderful time. Apologies for not sending you a message earlier.!!! The pictures are great and i know you are not joking about doing a madonna.!!!!!!!! Hope it isn't too upsetting for you and the children today, your last day with them, see you soon.!!
Response: Hi Claire, no worries, it is great to hear from you though- i hope everything is good with you! Today was very special, yes it was upsetting but I am bringing back loads of amazing memories and I really do hope to return to the Walk again in the future. See you very soon! Hannah x
From
Hi Hannah
I've just read your blogs for the last few days and was really moved by them. I can still remember that feeling of being overwhelmed by the scale of the poverty and feeling priviledged at the same time by being accepted by the little ones and their families. I think being out at the project was the best and the worst time of my life at the same time. Enjoy your last day at school and don't cry too much.

See you soon.
Love Sue
Response: Hi Sue, thanks for your messages, it really is lovely hearing from someone who has been here and knows exactly what I am experiencing. Our last day at the school was AMAZING, i really hope I have some time to get some photos on here over the weekend. We got loads on video so will look forward to showing them all to you when I get back. I feel incredibly sad to be leaving but also know I will be coming back to the UK a different person. I really hope to return here some day, I guess every volunteer says that! See you soon, Hannah x
From Neill
Hi Han,

I've just been reading all of your blogs and what a fantastic experience you seem to be having, definately something you'll remember for the rest of your life. It's great that you're doing something so positive and the children as well as yourself are reaping the benefits. The children look so happy in your photos which is a pleasure to see considering their poverty, it certainly puts things into perspective. On a different note, how on earth have you managed to survive without your GHDs?!! Never thought i'd see the day :-) Anyway, get these Lionel photos uploaded asap!

Take care and keep having fun

Neill x
Response: Hey Neill, wow it's so wicked to hear from you! Yeah I am completely having one of the best and most profound experiences of my life, I don't want it to be over! Neill one of the only things I have really missed are my GHDs! That said, it has been really nice not bothering about what we look like, we only get covered in dirt anyway! Will definately have to catch up when I'm back, it's been ages! Hope things with you are really good too, love from Hannah x
From Lucy Orlebar
Hello Hannah, YES, definitely up for meeting when you're back and have got settled back into UK life. You are very welcome to come to us & we can get katie up for the day too perhaps? Agree, LOADS to catch up on - lets get a date for the end of Oct/early Nov when you have your diary to hand. Looking forward to it. Your experiences in Africa will be something to treasure so soak it all up honey. Keep in touch, XL
Response: Yey, so excited about this, am trying to plan in loads of nice things for me to do when I get back so I don't get depressed about leaving here (i love it so much!) Can't wait to see you, I reckon Katie will be up for it too. Lots of love xx
From mum
Hi Hannah, Hope everything is okay. Aware that there has been no communication for a few days.Trusting that life is still treating you well. Have made contact with Karen so once our postal workers strike is finished I will get things in the post. Doreen is sponsoring a child which she is doing with her love and blessing. I am out for the rest of this week on a residential with our year 7 students. All about bonding, these are my tutor group! Going to North Devon, not far from Barnstable. Am having to take sleeping bag, old clothes etc. Can,t imagine what I am in store for! Back on Friday.
Am very mindful you are entering your final week in Kenya. I can imagine how you feeling. Lots and lots of love. Keep smiling Mum xxxx.
Response: Hello! Yeah everything is good thanks, don't know what you are doing when you send me your messages but I always get about 5 copies of them! (it doesn't happen with anyone else :-) Hope North Devon is fun, lots of love x
From Cathy McCormick
Hannah,

Just a quick one! Loving hearing how you're getting on - and so pleased that it seems that things are really starting to happen over there - buildings, electricity and water supplies etc, although I know there is loads more to do. Can't get over how beautiful the children look in their uniforms on your trip! I'm really glad you all enjoyed it.

Hope the appeal for sponsors is going well. Will do what I can to spread the word. Hopefully you'll be over-subscribed and you'll need to find something to do with the extra money!

Anyway, I'd better go. Saw Rachel and Braiden a couple of days ago. They send their love and hope you're well - Braiden already has plans for our next trip out... If we don't go to the farm again, then he wants to go to Disney Land(!) We have been warned!

Sending much love and a request for at least one Lionel photo (and a warning that you'll have to show us your 'thank you dance' when you get back!)!

Cathy xxx
Response: Thanks for your message Cathy! I think we should go to Disney Land!! Yes the children look stunning in their uniforms, they have started coming into school with their uniform AND a jumper over the top (in the scorching sunshine!!) Will try and get a lionel photo for you, and er yeah I think I will be avoiding doing the thank-you dance back in the UK!!! Lots of love to you too, Hannah x
From Liz
Hey sweet pea, how are things - it looks llike you are having an amazing experience (i've just looked at the photo's - not got time to read your essays!!!) Me and Robbo have FINALLY moved into our house - very exciting. Take care and have fun. xxxxxxxxxx
Response: Hey Liz, thanks so much for your message! I am having a life-changing experience, I don't want it to be over! Am sooooooo happy to hear you have moved into your house, I can't wait to come round! Will call you asap when back in UK xxx
From Aggie
Hannahhhh! So lovely to see all the beautiful little children, it sounds like your having such an amazing experience. It really makes you evaluate what matters and all the things we in the West take for granted. Keep up the good work! x xx Aggie
Response: Hey Aggie, fantastic to hear from you. Yes it really really is an amazing experience, I am so happy to be here. Hope all is well back home with you, really looking forward to seeing you when I'm back x
From Lucy Orlebar
Hi Hannah, it sounds like you are having an amazing time. Your Blog is so detailed but being there must be something else all together! Just wanted to let you know that I am thinking about you. Speak soon, lucy x
Response: Lucy!! Thanks for your message, it's lovely to hear from you. I hope we are still on for meeting up when I'm back??!! I know we will have loads to tell each other! Lots of love, Hannah x
From Gavin White
Hi Hannah,

Sounds like you are having an amazing time and making a real difference in the lives of those around you.

We prayed for you tonight at Open Home - may you continue to know the strength, health and blessing of God in all your activity and serving in Kenya.

We are well here. Rachel is now 26 weeks pregnant and Daniel can now say 'baby' and point to Rachel's tummy - it's so great to have kids - they're amazing!

Be Blessed Hannah,

Gavin

Psalms 68
Response: Hi Gavin, thanks so much for your message. I really am having an amazing time, it's pretty overwhelming and I don't want my stay to be over! Really looking forward to seeing you all when I'm back, send my love to Rachel and a big hug to Daniel!
From Sue Owen
Hi Hannah
I just looked at your pics of the trip to lake Nakuru and I am so moved. I think it was the best idea I have ever had in my life and I don't think I'll ever have a better one! I am so glad the children got to have their own experience of a lifetime with you three also experiencing yours. The uniforms look so fabulous on the gorgeous smiling children. I'm sure you don't need to worry about ever forgetting the memories and the experiences, they will always be in your heart. So glad you are better and enjoying every moment. What brilliant news about the water and electricity it will make such a difference - they could buy a Kenwood chef to chop the cabbage for dinner!
Take care.
Love Sue
Response: Hi Sue, I am so sorry for not giving you the full credit for your idea on my blog, I will mention it when I write my next diary entry I promise! Yes it was an amazing idea and one the children will be talking about for a long long time! A kenwood chef sounds amazing!!!! I'll suggest it to Alex ;-) If you have any other brainwaves let us know! love Hannah x
From Alex
Your trip today sounds amazing. I'm imagining all the school uniforms and children seeing animals that are synonomous with their country yet they have never had the opportunity to see. It is very humbling to read your diary. I can't imagine what it is like to witness! xxxx
Response: It is massively humbling to be here! It is amazing, I am appreciating every moment! About to post more photos (if connection not too slow!) so you can see more of the kids at the Park in their uniforms! xx
From Sarah Riley
Hi Spanner, You look so brown! Or is that just clever use of a lemon halter top? On behalf of Admin we would be absolutely delighted to help sponsor the children to go to state school. Just let us know what you need us to do. x
Response: Hey Sarah, yes I am slightly tantastic! Am not looking forward to returning to Mancunian weather! That is fantastic to hear about the sponsoring, please can you email karen pugsley in finance. Just tell her how many children you want to sponsor and she will coordinate the details. We are going to get photos to everyone who sponsors the children so you have your own child out here!
From mum.
What a great letter you wrote yesterday! Memories of bathtime singing Old Macdonald came flooding back!
Did you do African animal noises! Only a short note ...re fund raising:
1, Is the sponsorship a one off or would it be a regular commitment?
2. If wanting to sponsor how do I get the money to you?
Loving your diary. It is the highlight of my day!
Fondest love Mum xxxxxxx
Response: Hello! The sponsor is a one-off. Each child costs 30 pounds. A lady in our finance department is kindly coordinating the list. Email her to say you want to sponsor a child for Kenya and to ask how to arrange payment and she will let you know. Email address is karen.pugsley@greatplaces.org.uk Lots of love xxx
From Devilina
Hi Han,

I just can't say how amazing it all sounds and how happy I am for you to be there and have such a life changing experience. I know you will be giving it your all and no one deserved to be there better than you do. Altho I miss you millions and trillions etc I am happy that you are there.
It does put our lives into perspective.

Lots of Love and kisses to you and the children.
Response: Thank you Devi, I really miss you too. I am totally on a trip down to london when I get back so I can see you - I want to hear all about your trip too! It is a life changing experience, I have a feeling it will really hit me when I come back to the UK. Lots of love (and will pass on your love and kisses to children!) Han xx
From Gillian Davies
Hey Lady

Wow, it sounds like you're having a wonderful time. So glad you're feeling better!!!

I'm still an avid fan, reading your updates religiously!!!

Have fun honey, speak soon!!

x
Response: Thank-you honey! Hope you had a wonderful Birthday. Lots of love xx
From James Bagley
Hi Han, fantastic to hear that you are having such a life changing time out there. Continue to make the most of every opportunity. God Bless, James & Rhi.
Response: Hey James and Rhi, so lovely to hear from you! Yes it is such a humbling and wonderful experience. I want to do it again! Rhi, I'm returning to the colour of my graduation photo from our old house!!! Lots of love to you both xxx (ps when I get back you can come round to ours for a slideshow of my trip...only kidding!)
From kevinatie HUNTER
Hannah, I am so proud of you!!! It must be an amazing experience and i am so chuffed that you got to do it. I miss chatting to you. Take tonnes of pics for me to see.
LOVE you HEAPS xxxxxxx
Response: Hey Katie, thank you so much for your message. I really miss speaking to you too, I need to hear all about your honeymoon! I can't wait to speak to your properly when I get back. Lots of love and a massive hug, Han xx
From Amy Moore
HI Hannah, You'll be pleased to know while you are sunbathing that I wore gloves twice this week! Can't wait to hear what the kids do when they get to Nakuru park, Nick the taxi driver took me and Ali, He was like 'yeah get out have a walk around'!! Don't there are rhino's! How many other volunteers are there? You meet some great people out there, one of the volunteers I met is coming to stay with me next weekend, I'll show her you're diaries and try and locate some Tusker beer for the occasion (oh and off course make some of the special brew like they do on the dump site, its a party favourite and very cheap if I just use tesco's own bleach and battery acid). Keep up all the good work,
Love amy xx
Response: Hello! Yeah I'm not sure how exactly I'm going to cope returning to the Arctic temperatures in Manchester???! Taxi driver Nick is such a legend, he is hilarious! Not surprised he told you to get out in the safari park, ha ha! There are 4 other volunteers in Alex's house and some more coming next week (how exciting), then there are about 7-8 living in other houses that I've met but I keep meeting more all the time! A few of the lads bought and tried some of the special brew last week, it smelled absolutely hideous (even with a monster cold I reeled from the smell!) Lots of fun times to go with the severity of what we are encountering here. Thanks for your message xx
From Caz, Fred & Jamie
We are so enjoying reading your diary Hannah- what an experience you are having. Maybe, just maybe you will never say again that teachers don't know what hard work is! Very satisfying though isn't it? So pleased to hear you are beginning to feel better-it's not nice being ill away from home. Are you having any food cravings? What kind of meals are you eating? By the way have put your name down for the veg. prep at Christmas. Have a great time 'pool side' this weekend-don't forget the suntan cream. We are about to put on our waterproofs as we venture onto to the Moors!! Well done.
Response: Helloooo! Wow so good to hear from you, thanks so much for reading my diary! I still don't think the work I'm doing (teaching-wise) is as hard as the teachers in england, everything is extremely laid back here and the pace of life is very very slow (quite hard to get used to at first!) I don't want to complain about the food because I am getting fed and so many people here don't, but it is very bland - a lot of rice, cabbage and potatoes. Funnily enough I am craving lots of vegetables and fruit, the local produce is absoluetely gorgeous (makes the stuff you buy in Tesco appear tasteless in comparison). Am starting to put sauces on everything to give it taste! Will definately prepare veg at Christmas - ready for the challenge! lots of love xxx
From mum
Hi Hannah! Thinking of you at this time. Suspect a lot is going on that is affecting you one way or another. Expect reality is kicking in as the novelty wears off and everything is taking a while to settle into some sort of normal routine.Wondering how you are? Is the teaching proving to be a challenging and rewarding experience, or is it making you want to scream?! Children don,t all work at the same pace and when you are not well it makes it all the more tough.
Life at work is as full as it can get. Each week the calender seems to become more and more congested. Still one day at a time! Seeing Doreen tomorrow and you can be sure that our thoughts etc will be to support you and the work you are doing. As usual all my fondest love and blessings for your safety, health and well being. Mum xxx
Response: Hello! Yes I'm fine! Enjoying teaching, think it is very different from UK though! Read my diary page for full update! Thanks for your messages, lots of love xx
From Gillian Davies
Ahhh...write more!!! I've been logging in all day to see if you've added more!!! It's better than Neighbours. Will Hannah feel better? Will she have completed her lesson plan??? I can't take the suspense!!! Please give us the next installment!!

Hope you're having a great time honey...I'll log in first thing on Monday morning!!

Lots of love

Gillian xx
Response: ha ha ha! Thanks for making me smile :-) Not sure if you have read the diary note I've just updated but YES I am feeling better and YES the lesson plans are kinda going to, well plan! Feel like i'm in a whirlwind of emotions and experiences, keep the messages coming - it's great to hear from you. Hope you are well, lots of love xxx
From Alex
Dear Hannah,

How is it all going? Very strange to think that we are all sat here whilst you are actually getting stuck in a la Lara Croft! Are the children the cutest little things ... did you bring a spare suitcase to steal a few ? How has the rap been going down? I bet they've taught you a thing or to. What you i think can bring is the Manc accent!! Enough joking, really hope all is going well, it sounds hard work and like it pulls very heavily on the heart strings but you really must be making a huge impact and enriching their days.

Lots of love,

Alex xx
Response: Hi Alex, thanks for your message - yes it is all going so very well thank you. Our Kenya meetings seem so long ago now! The children are sooooooo the cutest things ever, yes I am completely attached and I am planning on visiting an orphanage soon which may require the spare suitcase ;-) Hows things in Manchester? Hope you are well, lots of love Hannah xxx
From Saf
Hi Hannah!
Aww, sorry to hear you are not feeling too good, hope you feel better soon. Apart from feeling unwell sounds like you are having a fab time and enjoying yourself! I can just imagine you with all those children!! Shows how much we take things for granted, keep up the good work! Love Saf
Response: Hi Saf! Thanks so much for your message, I'm loads better now thank you and even when I was ill I was still having an amazing experience here. How are things with you? How are you enjoying being a housing officer??!! Bet you are doing an absolutely amazing job, keep me updated (I miss the ASB goss!) lots of love, Hannah xx
From Louise H
Hi spanner..
Wow, sounds like you're having a fantastic time and making a real difference, knew you would be fab and am really glad you got the chance to go... hope you get better soon though. :-)
Response: Hey Louise, thank-you!! Yes I am loads better now. Having an awesome experience and making the most out of everyday. Hope you are well, lots of love xx