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Jo's Experience of Kenya

Jambo (Hello) and welcome to my Travel Page. Here is where I will attempt the role of Journalist, to ensure I keep a record of my experiences for all of you to read. I will aim to update this each day, so you can read all about my day and the progress of the Centre. Please feel free to leave a comment for me.

Diary Entries

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Location: Nakuru, Kenya

Jambo. One more sleep to go and I'll be home - noooooooooooooo! I have enjoyed every minute and I could easily stay out for another couple of months, it has gone so fast.

I have so much to tell you all. On Thursday night after we wrote our last blog (in Nakuru), the lady from the internet cafe gave me and Mark a present each - I got a lovely necklace and bracelet. She was so sweet and said she was really going to miss our company.

We then went shopping and we managed to buy 21 items (out of 28) from the teachers wish list! You should have seen us waiting for Alex to pick us up at half seven stood on the Street corner - we each had eight bags, 24 packets of salt, a box full of text and exercise books, colouring books, loads of sweets, mop and bucket, an axe, a panga, 6 buckets, more shoes and unifoms, 6 jugs and 6 basins and I had four hula hoops around my neck. Everyone stoped and spoke to us.

We gave all the items out on Friday and we ended up giving Gladice (the class 2 teacher) the rest of the charity money (100.00) to buy paper and more exercise books. Maggie paid for the water bill as Jeremy and a few others at work kindly give her 25.00 each. All in all we achieved so much with the charity money and so I would like to say another BIG BIG THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO MADE THIS POSSIBLE.

On Thursday evening Maggie and Carolyn came to tea at Alex's house. You could tell royalty was in town, they made chaptis and the best china came out - we have had odd plastic plates for 4 weeks! In England if you invite someone round for dinner you all eat together and have a good conversation and no one leaves the table until everyone is finished. At Alex's house the opposite happens, Maggie was so shocked. Alex joined us but continued to watch TV and then he finished his tea in about 5 mins and then left without saying anything to watch more TV. Patricia then joined us and she did the same. After we all had finished and sat in the lounge Alex brought in 10 guests - all preachers. I have met them before but Maggie looked very incomfortable. In the end we all sat in the dining room as there was no room in the lounge and Maggie and Carolyn made every excuse and left. They said they laughed all the way home and found the experience bizare. It was just a normal night for us but with nicer food and better plates.

We packed on Thursday night, which was sad. On Friday morning we got up at 7am to say goodbye to the kids and to give them their presents but they had already left, which was a real shame. Mark and I went to School for half eight and gave all the presents out and chopped the cabbages for the last time (which felt good). We then went into every class one at a time and gave each child two biscuits, a lolly, two marshmellows and three sweets - they were so happy and they kept shouting 'thank you so much teacher'.

At 11am Chris got all the kids into the playground and gave Mark and I a special assembly. I cried all the way through it, to the extent were I couldn't speak! Mark had to say a few words on behalf of both of us. The kids then sang four songs and danced, which I have videoed. Three older kids from class 2 then came to the front and said a special thank you to us. I managed to say the odd word right at the end and then my favorite child, Stephen, came running over to me and jumped on me and gave me the biggest hug and kiss, it was so lovely (I'm crying now thinking about it). I can't believe I wont see the kids again, it is the strangest feeling and really sad. I have to stop crying now as people in the internet cafe or looking at me so I'm going to move on:)

Rufus picked Mark and I up at 12noon and we all headed to Hells Gate which is about one and a half hours away. We paid about 80.00 to go to Hells Gate, Lake Naivasha and then to Nairobi. Hells Gate was great, not many animals but you get to cycle round the safari amongst Zebras and wart hogs. The weather was perfect for the cycle ride and it was really funny as the ground is so sandy we all kept falling off as it is so difficult to cycle in sand.

We then cycled to our camp which wasn't that far away and we stayed in tents. It looked so funny as our two tents were the only ones in the field surrounded by little cottages. We finally got to dance last night. There was a bar and a disco on the camp site so we had a few drinks and got down to the r&b grove with the locals.

This morning we drove for about half an hour to Lake Naivasha. We paid 15.00 and jumped onto a boat. Today was the best trip I have done. We saw so many hippos really close up and then four water bucks ran across the lake infront of our boat and right next to the hippos, which spooked them so all the hippos started to come towards us. I have never been so scared but excited at the same time. Our guide, Peter had to start the boat and sail off quick. It didn't stop there. Peter then bought two fish off a local fisherman. He made some strange noise and threw the fish into the Lake. In a matter of seconds two eagles came and stooped into the water and got the fish. It was amazing. Then!! We got out of the boat and we walked about amongst Zebras, Wildebeast, Waterbucks, and Gairaffes. I can't decribe the feeling but it was amazing and didn't feel real.

We then drove to Nairobi and here we are! It is actually nice to have some time in Niarobi, as the first night we arrived it looked horrible and unsafe but it's a nice City during the day. We have found the most incredible shop and we have managed to buy so many lovely gifts. We are all very happy.

We are going to try and check in on line now and then we need to book a taxi for the morning to take us to the airport. Our flight is at 9:30pm and we should arrive back into Manchester at about 6pm.

Thank you all so much for following my once in a life time experience. I am so happy but looking forward to seeing you all very soon. All my love, Jo x x x x x x x x x x xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
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Thursday, 19 March 2009

Location: Nakuru, Kenya

Jambo. I am getting very emotional, it is our last day at School tomorrow, I am so sad.

We managed to buy 19 pairs of shoes yesterday and all the uniforms. It wasn't as stressful as the day before but it was equally as funny. The soko (market) stall welcomed us back and gave us a seat at the back of the shop (wooden bench). Two of us went to one shop and the other two to the neighbouring shop. Well, this caused uproar, as they all started arguing on who was selling us the shoes. Whilst this was going on a little girl weed on Carolyn's shoes! They had sat us over the toilet (a gulley), it absolutely stunk. I gave one of the lady's my list and off they all went - to someone else's shop to buy there shoes and resell them to us. In the end I think we bought shoes from seven stalls as the lady kept counting them in different piles.

Patricia asked me last night what I liked and didn't like about Kenya and staying with them - she asked me for feedback. I was taken back at first but we had a good honest chat and she said she feels close to us and is happy that she has been able to speak openly with us and trusts us. How nice! I promised to give her a list of things we liked and a few suggestions on what to change, so the next volunteers will feel even more at home (you lucky things).

Today has been soooooo busy. We gave out the shoes and uniforms which took all day. The hard thing was going into each class and calling out the names of the children who we had bought new things for. The faces on those who knew they weren't getting anything was heart breaking. They kept coming up to me all day saying ''teacher, me, new shoes for me teacher, please''. So sad. I know we can't do everything but you really feel like your leaving people out and it's the worst feeling, it kind of takes away the good work we do.

But onto the happy children! Maggie videoed the kids with their new shoes and uniforms and there faces were so cute, they didn't stop smiling. SO A HUGE THANK YOU AGAIN TO EVERYONE WHO MADE THIS HAPPEN.

We were five pairs of shoes and a few pieces of uniform short so we have just been out to buy these. We have also just bought 2 types of text books and exercise books for the two top classes and are now off to buy Salt, an axe, a panga (large knife) and other bits which we will give out tomorrow.

The School are doing us a special assembly tomorrow at 11, I know I am going to be an emotional wreck but I am also looking forward to it.

We leave Nakuru tomorrow lunchtime and head off with Rufas to Hells Gate and to Nairobi were we will stay on Saturday night as our flight leaves early Sunday morning.

My time hear as gone so fast but I know we have achieved so much which is the main thing.

So, this maybe my last blog until I return home. I have just uploaded 9 more photos but I will make sure I do a final blog when I return home and upload as many photos as possible so stay in touch.

Love Jo x x x x x xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
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Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Location: Nakuru, Kenya

Jambo. I have just uploaded 11 more photos for you to enjoy. I have had to use Mark's photos, as we left the house at 6:30am for Lake Nakuru and we haven't been back home yet. Luckily Mark remembered his disc. If you have any special requests with regards to photos let me know and I'll put them on. It is really hard to choose which ones to upload, as I now have nearly 1000 photos. If you ever read my blog and think 'I wonder if the image in my head is anything like reality' ask and I'll show you. Your wish is my command.

The shoes and uniforms are bought and we still have 500.00 left but I'll update you on this tomorrow as we are being kicked out again.

Take care, love Jo x x x

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Location: Nakuru, Kenya

Jambo. What a lovely day we have had. Not only is it pay day but we have been to Lake Nakuru all morning. The animals were beautiful and the landscape was breathtaking. Unlike Masai Mara, the Zebras, Buffalo and Giraffes came so close to our Jeep and the biggest Giraffe I have ever seen came onto the road in front of our jeep and then walked in front of us for about 1 minute. (Andy - you will be pleased to know I managed to take a picture of a Giraffe licking its lips - they have blue tongues?!)

Unlike Masai Mara we were allowed to get out of the jeep and stand close to the lake with the millions of flamingos. It was such an amazing sight to see. It took me ages to get a good photo though, as from a distance they look pink but when you get close up they are white with a very slight hint of pink? The older the flamingo the more pink they are.

Lake Nakuru is definitely a must see. It feels more like a forest when you drive through where Masai Mara was just rolling fields with the odd tree. We saw some amazing birds, including Eagles.

It is so sad to think that Lake Nakuru is only 4km from Nakuru town centre, yet hardly any Kenyans have been, despite it only costing 1.00 for a Kenyan citizen to enter. Carolyn, Hannah & Rachel took the kids from the Walk Centre when they came a year and a half ago and the kids were ecstatic; more about being on a bus at first but Carolyn says when one of the kids spotted a monkey they all went mad and nearly tipped the bus over to see it.

We are off to buy the rest of the shoes today and all the uniforms (thank you Space)! We are also going to buy the rest of the items from the teachers wish list (as many as we can afford) so we can give everything out tomorrow. I love giving people presents especially when you know it is what they need and want and is so appreciated.

Gladice (the teacher of Class 2 who was miserable when we gave the kids their pencil cases) came up to Carolyn and me yesterday and thanked us for the gifts you all kindly donated that Carolyn and Maggie brought over. Gladice has asked me to pass on her and the other teachers thanks - ''they are all so very grateful, god bless you all.'' Gladice also said a special thank you for the sanitary towels from the older girls.

Mark and I will return this evening to load photos but whilst we are in town over lunch time (first time ever) we thought we would take the opportunity to write our blog so we can spend longer putting photos on this evening.

Last night was the first night we didn't go back to Alex's for tea. We went to Maggie and Carolyn's hotel, had a shower, a few drinks and dinner - on them! Yipee. It felt great to be out. As a bonus, Alex picked us up at 10pm. This is only because HRH Maggie is in town and he wants to impress:) When we got home I had a really good chat with Alex and Patricia, we didn't go to bed until midnight which is a first for all of us (rock and roll). Alex told me about a serious accident they had in January when there Jeep rolled over and everyone had to be taken to hospital. Luckily they are all ok now.

Right, were off shoe shopping - wish us luck! See you later with lots of photos.

Love Jo x x








Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Location: Nakuru, Kenya

Jambo, Karibu. Today has been very amusing. Mark, Maggie, Carolyn and I measured the Childrens feet and checked their uniforms during the course of this morning. I wore gloves as I hate feet but I think I scared the children, as I went into the classroom wearing them and took them out one by one! We haven't got enough money to buy every child new and some kids shoes and uniforms are ok so we set the criteria before we began. We measured those who wear flip flops but unfortunately we can't afford to buy them shoes. In total we need 26 pairs of girls shoes; 38 pairs of boys shoes; 13 girls dresses; 5 girls jumpers; 18 boys shirts; 12 boys shorts and 8 boys jumpers.

Maggie and Carolyn also helped us chop the cabbages and carrots but after wards Fred told me they had chopped them to thick and made me re-do some. Maggie helped to serve the Oji and Carolyn dished up the veg whilst Maggie gave the lunches out.

At 1pm we met Chris and walked into town to buy the shoes and Uniforms. Mark and I are use to the walk now but I did get sunstroke the first time I did it as the sun is so hot. It's about a 45min walk and when we arrived in town Maggie and Carolyn looked very pink so we stopped for a drink in this back street cafe. It was so cheap, 2.00 for five drinks.

The buying of the shoes was hilarious. If you think about how long it takes you to buy one pair of shoes and then imagine buying 64 pairs of shoes from a Soko (market) stall which pile the shoes up on a sag on the floor. The first stall we went to wanted 5.50 a pair which we couldn't afford (budget 4.00) and he wouldn't negotiate. So we went a few stalls down. Mark and Maggie took the boys list and Carolyn and I got the girls list. We managed to get all ours which took about an hour and a half but we need to go back tomorrow for 17 more pairs of boys shoes. It was the craziest hour and a half I have spent, we were grounded by about 10 kenyans trying to help but they kept taking the shoes we wanted to buy away and loosing them and then giving us unmatched pairs of shoes in their place - nightmare. We then tied each pair of shoes together like tommy balls so we didn't have to match them again and some guy started to untie them, I nearly lost it! It didn't help that it was so hot and Carolyn had to leave me for 10mins to sit down before she fainted with the heat.

We are off to Lake Nakuru tomorrow morning. Mark and I have already paid for the travel so we just need 4,000KH (40.00) for the gate fee. In the afternoon we will buy the rest of the shoes and the uniforms.

Mark went back to the School at 5pm to take photos of the boys with the football strips he brought over. Alex finally gave them to Chris and Ken this afternoon - he has had them in his house for 3 weeks and some have gone missing!

I know this week is going to fly by and it scares me. I don't want it to end, although I know when I land in England I will be equally happy to be back - so I can show you all my photos!

Getting kicked out again so I'll be back tomorrow.

Take care, love Jo x x x x




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Recent Messages

From DekH
Look forward to seeing you back on Terra Firma!!
See you soon.
From Ed
Have been reading the blog whenever i have had the chance. Seems like you have had a brilliant experience. I bet now coming home is in sight you can't wait!!!
Speak more when you get back.
Ed

ps Susannah is going for a month in July !
Response: Hi Ed. Lovely to hear from you. Susannah will love Kenya. I can't wait to find out about her trip, who she is going with etc. I think I will have to hide in her back pack. I can't believe I will be home tomorrow, it has gone so quick. I could easily stay out here for another couple of months although I have missed Andy (and you). I have bought you and Susannah a little present today from Nairobi so I'll bring it round with my photos next week. I still need to see your photos 2! Take care, have a great weekend - I hear Spring has arrived (is it the first day of spring today?) Jo x x
From mum
Hi Jo Jo, Can't wait to see Tina Turner. We'll av alot of catching up to do and I'm sure you'll still be on cloud 9 with the help and love you have shown to the children. Ste's doing brill and misses you, he's going to phone you when you get home. smokey says woof woof see you soon love mum xxxxx
Response: Hi Mum. Your message just made me laugh. My last day at School was very emotional so expect some tears when I start to talk about it. I'm so pleased Ste is doing well, I'm very proud of him. I will give you a ring when I get back on Monday. Love you lots and lots. Joey x x x x x x
From DekH
Jo,
I am guessing that by the time you read this you will be back home after your incredible experience. It's been a bit of an emotional roller coaster and I am so pleased that you set up this blog so you could share it with every one of your blog fansters. It cannot replace the experience of being there, but with your frank and honest 'tell em how it is, warts an' all' approach, you have opened up the window so we could all see into another life that is happening everyday outside of our secure world that we know here in the UK.
It’s also given everyone a unique and privileged insight into the private world of you and your family, friends and work colleagues that sit behind the Jo that we all know in our own way.
Thanks for sharing every twist and turn with us this last month.
It will seem strange, but also great coming back home and when the first person asks you 'have you had a good holiday' you will get that experience I have had many times before after I have just come back from one expedition or another, where you cannot even begin to start explaining that it wasn't exactly a holiday. My advice is do what I do, and that’s just say yes thanks it was great. You have just been to the moon and back, that's how different your experience has been.
So happy memories for you and thanks for the memories from your blog for us.
Now it’s back to the world you left behind - but definitely richer in mind, spirit and soul for the experience.
Welcome Home XX
Response: Hi Derek. Thank you for your lovely message. I am in Nairobi and I have managed to find an internet cafe, yippee. I can't believe I only have one sleep left! I will certainly take your advise, as I could not begin to explain my experience to someone at work who has not been reading my blogs. I have loved every moment and the memories I have will stay with me for life. My last day at School was so emotional I don't think I will ever be able to talk about it without getting upset. I have just bought you a little present as a special thank you - you have been brilliant from the day I told you I was going. Your advise before and during my experience has been a great help and your messages have been full of motivation and support - thank you so much. Hope you have a great weekend and I will speak to you when I get home - I have lots of photos to show you! Jo x
From mum
Hi Jo Jo, I feel abit emotional with what I've read in your blog, it must be brill to see results for the kids? I'm so missing you but it's lovely to see your smiling face on the photo's. I love you so much Jo and I'm so proud of you. See you next week love you 5 Mum xxxxx
Response: Hi Mum. I HAVE MISSED YOU LOADS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can't wait to see you - Tina Turner and cocktails here we come! It has been a very emotionally experience but one I will never forget. The kids are amazing and I am so happy I got the chance to share their lifes for 1 month. I hear Ste is doing well, you must be very pleased. Say hi to John for me. Love you 5 and as big as the sky. Jo x x x x x x x x
From Christine
Jambo Jo,
Well, your latest installment on buying the shoes and uniforms had me in stitches. It must have been so annoying after a while though with people taking shoes away and giving you odd ones etc! I bet that 'luxury' shower you had must have felt like heaven!!
I had a great time at home thanks. Was just what I needed, a nice relaxing break. I was spoilt rotten which I am hoping happens every time I go home in the future!! lol. Well, I'm not home that often (-;.
Played for the Thunderbirds last night and they won 20-10. Such a good game and I was on form. Hope this continues for the No Hoopers in May!!
Enjoy your last few days hun. The work you have been doing is amazing! You should be so proud of yourself. Looking forward to seeing these photos.

Take Care
Love, Christinexx
Response: Hi Christine. Well, I will never work in a shoe shop so it has taught me one thing, and that med are useless when it comes to selling shoes. I'm so pleased you had fun at home, I think I'll join you next time I could do with being spoilt. Your netball skils sound amazing, you should get your Dad to sponsor you for every goal again. Thanks for keeping in touch hon, it means so much. Love Jo x x
From DekH
Well I would just love to see the photos of you bartering, buying and tying up the laces of 64 pairs of shoes, ably assisted by an entourage of helpful men who are untying them as fast as you are trying to Tommy Ball them!! The image is priceless :o)
Sounds like your a lot happier now as well now that you are able to make a difference with your gifts to the daily lives of all those happy smiling faces we see on your pictures. The time seems to have flown that you have been out there and soon you will be back. I know Andy can't wait, McD's and partying are all weairing a bit thin and we have struggled to find a french polisher to sort out the little problem after the big sleepover!!
Keep up the brilliant work and keep smiling over the cabbages.
:o) x
Response: Hi Derek, I'm so pleased your back - I missed you. The shoes experieince was one I'll never forget but when I think about it, it takes me longer to buy myself one pair of shoes. So buying 68 pairs in 3 hours must be a record. The time has gone so quickly, I can't beleive tomorrow is my last day in School, it will be very sad:( If we had anything expensive in our house I would worry but since we have begged, borrowed and stole our furniture and then been burgled! I'm sure the plastic chairs will be fine:) I am certainally still smiling. Take care, Jo x
From Julie Dawson
Hiya babes
You're more than welcome to come in! What fantastic photos bet it feels as though you've been their ages with it being such an intense experience. I will most def take you up on the wine and photos offer; really missed you. Steven is doing great, he's sooo tired but full of enthusiasm. He has sent photos of him in kit and kept in touch via phone and letter. I've lots to fill you in on but that can wait. Till then, as always my beautiful little sis keep safe and happy - I'll treat you to a lazy afternoon of Tapas & sangria when you return x x x Olivia & Owen send you lots of love, well Liv does, Owen's just run off after the dog - mad house as always xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Response: Hi gorgeous big sis. Thanks for your lovely message. I'm so pleased Ste is doing well, I can't wait to see him in his uniform. How grown up. Send my love to all of them, including the dog and cat! I can't believe tomorrow is my last day in School - I am so sad, I got emotional in the playground today thinking about it. I will really miss the kids. So you have gossip, I'll bring two bottles of wine, yipee! Take care hon, love you as big as the sky. x x x x x
From Jane in France
Hi again Jo, I am a very happy grandma, as you can imagine. We are coming back to England on Wednesday 25th March and fly back on 1st April so am so looking forward to seeing Matilda. I would really love to see you too if, you are in England yourself and, you have enough energy to get to Leicester after such an amazing but exhausting time. If we don't manage to meet up this time, perhaps we may see you here in France.... cocktail in your hand, sunbathing next to the pool! I'm still absolutely gripped by your blog and like everyone else, I swing from laughing out loud to wanting to cry over some of the problems the children have every day. Lots of love Jane xx
Response: Hi Jane. I bet you can't wait to see Matilda (and Rich and Claire of course). I'm gutted as I am going to miss you. The first weekend I get back I have a hen do, so I will need lots of engery!! I had a dream Andy and I were in France last night. I think Andy is hoping we can come over in the summer (July - Sep) but I'll check with him when I get back. Giving the children their shoes today was a very emotional experience. They were so happy but then you looked up and saw the other 150 children we couldn't buy new shoes for. Thanks again for reading my blogs, it means so much. Take care, Jo x x x
From Vicky
Hi Jo

Showed Mum some of your Blogs last night, she is very impressed by all the work you are both doing. My Nintendo Queen is actually 83 years old but said you could say she was 80 if you wanted.

Glad you had a relaxing shower and meal last night, sometimes a little RnR does you the world of good.

Wow Matilda has made her entrance into the world, is this your niece Jo.

Enjoy the rest of your week,

Vic
Response: Hi Vicky. Nintendo Queen will always be 80 in my eyes! Yes Matilda is my niece, well, it's Andy's brother and sister in law but I'm going to say yes she is mine! I can't wait to see her. Take care, Jo x
From Jane in France
Hi Jo, Just wanted you to know that Rich and Claire's baby was born today, 17th and is a little girl called Matilda. She weighed 8lb 3oz and is beautiful ( according to her daddy!) They are all well, just very tired.
You must be retty shattered yourself after all your efforts to buy shoes for as many children as possible. Stick at it! You are doing so much good there!
Lots of love Jane xxx
Response: Hi Grandma Jane! That is fantastic news, I am so pleased Claire and Matilda are both well. I can't wait to see them all. Are you planning on making a visit to England to see them? We are buying more shoes and uniforms today - wish us luck! Take care, love Jo x x
From Vicky
Hi Jo

What a blog, I haven’t laughed so much in ages. Your tales of the antics at the swimming pool were hilarious. You’ll have to come and work in Supported for a couple of weeks Jo if you think Jentar and Vincent are bad

No Caravanning or fishing this weekend as I started painting my bedroom. Mum is going away soon so I am going to blitz the rest of the house while she is away as I am in the decorating mood. Might have a go at tiling the bathroom as well but that might be a step too far, be hay ho if you don’t try.

Glad you and the Mouse are feeling better although I am sure with a little luxury of a hotel suit you would both be feeling a100% better. Has Carolyn and Maggie offered to let you both bunk in with them (There goes any bronze stars I might have had) I’d take over one of their rooms if I were you hehehehehehe.


Well my 5 mins lunch break is over so I had better get back and do some work.

Enjoy your last week See you soon

Vic xx
Response: Hi Vicky. I didn't think anyone got in a decorating mood, I thought this was just forced upon you. I'm sure you will get bored before you start the tiling but good luck. I just used Maggies shower but don't think the offer extends to sleeping over:) I'd love to have a stint in supported housing, maybe I can take a few days leave and come and work with you? Take care, Jo x
From Kevin
Hi Jo,

sorry ive not left you a message before now. I have been reading your blog though! It sounds like you are doing a great job and having a fab time. Cant believe youve been there 3 weeks already!

Looking forward to seeing more pics when you get back.

PS youve missed some cracking netball premier league matches!
Response: Hi Kevin. Thanks for getting in touch. I'm really enjoying myself and I can't believe it is nearly over:( I don't suppose you sky plused England Netball? I know they won all three games against the sunshine girls but would love to see the replays. Hope year end isn't to stressful. Take care, Jo x
From Emily
Hiya you!
I see the blogging is still as detailed and interesting as ever. I start to read it and a few hours later i realise that i should have worn my glasses as what should have taken 20 minutes actually took ages in between playing/feeding/cooking etc! The swimming lessons sound eventful! By the time you come back you are going to be a master of many new things. You are free to have my job if you like - I'll just have a nice rest whilst your keen and raring to go. I've been telling all the children what you are up to and we have been looking at sections of your Blog in our lessons. They loved the looking at the pictures, but asked if the animals were 'stuffed' as you couldn't really get that close-could you?? I told the girls to log on and read how fab your blog was. Think i prob spoilt it coz couldn't stop going on about it and rhymed off events, people you had met etc. Well, not long to go before you are back home. Missed you lots and will be so happy to have you back home, safe and sound. Keep smiling and making us sooo proud. Love you lots Em, John and Mimi x x x x
Response: Hi honey. Lovely to hear from you. I have really missed you and I have been thinking about you so much. I am so lucky to have you as my best friend and being Amelias Godmother is an extra special bonus. Thanks for sharing my blogs with your kids. We really did get that close - you are meant to be 25m away from the animals but they ignore this rule and practically run them over. If I reached out of the jeep I could have touched the lions, scary stuff. I don't think I'm cut out to be a full time teacher, I would burn out too quickly. Full respect to you as your job is hard but very rewarding, your lucky. I can't believe this is my last week. I don't it to end but at the same time I can't wait to come home and show everyone my photos. The first weekend I get back I'm on a hen do but the following weekend 3rd/4th/5th April I'll come up to Darwen. Hope your around. Love you to bits. Take care, love Jo x x x
From Christine
Hi Jo,
Just read your blog from Friday - so so funny with the hokey kokey massacre!
Hope you are Mark are now feeling better - that's rubbish that you have both been so ill. i guessed that Mark was the Scouse Mouse a while back - are you both still in competition? lol Just seen those photos of the kids in week 3, they are so cute!!

Hope you have an amazing last week out there. Look forward to catching up when you are back and seeing all your photos.

Stay safe, take care
Christinex

P.S Simple netball starts again at the start of May. I reckon we will be at William Hulme Grammar on a Monday. Will be good to play somewhere different I suppose.
Response: Hi Christine. Were both better now thank you. How was your holiday back home? Hokey Kokey is definitely off the lesson plans! Mark is number one now - nooooooo! He is MUCH older than me though so he should know more people! I know that this week is going to go to quickly. I can't wait for netball, it is going to be so good getting the No Hoopers back together. Take care hon, speak soon. x x
From mv
hey jo...a great blog which made me laugh picturing you trying to talk to mark whilst he is watching the tele...i know that feeling..even worse if he is listening to music...u av definately found your vocation in life teaching..hope u both enjoy your last week free from being poorly...ciao Bella
Response: Hi Mark. Lovely to hear from you. We are both feeling much better thnks. Mark is well in the lead now, number one spot and I am number 3 but don't let this put you off visiting my site. Mark is a great guy and talks about you all the time. Hope you had a great weekend. Take care, Jo
From Julie Dawson
Hiya Joey
So sorry for sending you that mesage twice! not sure why that happened? I can't wait untill you're home and safe. That doesn't detract from how proud of you I am. I want you to know that I've posted your blog site on our staff shared computer - tied in your experience to PHSCE & geography. Also used this in many an assembly, especially with it being Comic Relief today! The kids have been amazed with what you and Mark are doing - yr both now iconic figures at Vale. I dread to think of the Hoky-Cokey massacre tho our kids wanted to replicate it so thanks for that! Ha, ha, as always my beautiful little Sis, keep safe - (put on plasters with gloves) and I love you so, so, much x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x
Response: Hi Big sis, lovely to hear from you. Thanks for keeping in touch, it means soooooooooo much. Your the best!!! I am happy to come in and talk in assembly when I get back, we are going to shoot a video this week which I will be presenting to a primary school in Oldham on my return. The hokey cokey was so funny, that memory will stay with me forever. I hope you and the kids are ok? Have you heard from Ste? I'll buy a bottle and stay over at yours when I get back and will bore you with my photos! Love you 5 and as big as the sky. x x x x x x x
From Reevesy
Hi Jo, glad you are still having fun! Jo - carolyn rach and i spent many a night in dimples!! Yes it does have some prostitutes in it but they are harmless. Some of them tried to teach me how to dance, kenyan style. Nothing dodgy though. The music is really good and as long as you are sensible i'm sure you will be fine, not sure about the tales of a man following you into the toilets with a knife tho..maybe it's gone even more downhill in the last 2 years since i was there! Another place you could consider going to is the Summit - that's not a dive like Dimples, it's really quite posh - for nakuru. I know you said you didn't go to lake nakuru but i'd really recommend it - the million flamingos in the lake are amazing, it's lion king heaven! Also, i fogot to ask you - what ever happened to alex's taxi driver friend Nick, you've not mentioned him in your blogs so i'm assuming he is no longer around? He used to drive us everywhere, he's a bit pervy but again harmless - and you could always use mark as your husband again :) Wonder if carolyn will take you to hell's gate safari park - another amazing place to visit (she may not have enough time though). Have a great weekend, enjoy the weather while you can - spring still hasn't started in manchester! Hannah xx
Response: Hi Hannah. I'm afraid Dimples has gone down hill as has Sumit - we have been told under no circumstances to go!! We have never met Nick so he obviously is off the scene? I do want to go to Lake Nakuru so I'll speak to Carolyn and Maggie about there plans. They have just arrived and are both logging to there sites. Hope you had a great weekend, ours was very relaxing - got as much sun as possible before we have to come back to gloomy Manchester. Take care, Jo x x
From Carolyn
Hi, send me a txt if you get any news on the money...See you Monday with lots and lots of donations!!!
Response: Hi, Your going have to bring the money I'm afraid. I haven't seen Alex since we went to the Bank?! I'll tect you later just in case you have left now. I bet you can't wait. Ken says don't forget his newspapers - Saturday or Sunday with lots of sport inside. See you Monday and have a safe journey.
From Rachel
Hi Jo
Wow some people will go to great extremes to lose a bit of weight and do the cabbage soup diet ;0)
Sorry it's took me so long to write to you. Glad to hear your enjoying your trip. It sounds like an invaluable experience and a rollcoaster of happy and sad emotions. It makes you think how materialistic we are and what really is important in life.
I hope your well and Mark is looking after you. It's great that your teaching ina school I bet the kids love it.
Thanks for my birthday card by the way. I've not opened it yet. I'm going for a meal in Manc to celeberate (the only time when your away typical!)
Well look after yourself.
Love from Rach xxxx and a big kiss from Daisy X
Response: Hi Rachel, lovely to hear from you. Glad you got my birthday card - I hope you have a fantastic birthday hon and sorry I can't be there. It is a rollacoaster but very enjoyable - I am so glad it is the weekend though, been a tough week. Give Daisy a big kiss from me. Keep in touch hon, love Jo x x x
From Vicky
Hi Jo

Wow what are you two up to first 1 of you is sick then the other. There are easier ways to get out of the cabbage cutting hun hehehehehehe. I would have given a weeks salary to see you and Mark keeping the kids under control on Tuesday while the teachers had their meeting.

Joking aside I really don’t know how you guys get through the day, I couldn’t do it. Your both doing a fantastic job and reading the messages you are getting on your blogs I think its fair to say everyone is very proud of you both.

Cant wait to fill you in on the latest instalments of what has been going on in St H, its positive so no worries.

Keep up the good work Jo. See you soon Vic
Response: Hi Vicky, lovely to hear from you. Hope you have been reading my blogs to your grovy Mum? You and everyone else - it should have been taped and sent to Beadle, we didn't do a very good job but we don't speak there language! Thanks for your support and I hope you read my blog which gave you, your Mum, Helen and her Mum a big shout out? Tell me know! I have been checking my emails so I know a little bit but I am sure you have plenty more to tell me. Mandy Catteral agreed to a reduced acquisition price today so thats good news. Angela isn't presenting the planning report but Stephen assures us it is under control - it needs to be! Hope everything else is ok? Have a great weekend, are you caravaning or fishing? Take Care, Jo x x
From Rebecca
Hey Jo,

Only just had a chance to read this but sounds amazing and really hard at the same time!! Anyway enjoy the experience, I am sure those kids are loving having you there...

Take care,
Rebecca xx
(as in venus seconds netball rebecca!!)
Response: Hi Rebecca (as in Venus seconds netball, he he) Thanks for your message hon. You have sumed it up well, one minute I am happy, the next sad and the next tired! Keep in touch, Jo x x
From claire
hey Jo, wowwee, what an experience! Rich has just sent me the link to your blog so Ive jsut done a big catch up on all you've been up to, what a lot to do, teaching, cooking, doctor! I think hardest of all must be managing your emotions?
Well no news from us Im affraid!! Now 6 days over due with no sign of little one making an appearence! We've tried everything-well, someone suggested I came down the stairs like a dog would!!! rest assured I haven't, and won't be trying that!!!!! ha ha I'm sure she'll arrive when shes good and ready!
I hope you continue to enjoy your experience, I really can't wait to hear all about it xxx big love Claire and bump
Response: Hi Claire! What a lovely surprise. 6 days overdue, you are making it too comfortable for her. I have never heard the suggestion of coming down the stairs like a dog, someone is having you on. There is a comedy show, forget who with, but they admit that all the suggestions to make the baby come out quicker were thought of by men - have sex, order hot curries, go for a drive, off road in a jeep etc!! Don't believe any of them. I bet you are both very excited and nervous of course. Your little bump is going to have the best parents ever. Keep me posted and when she does arrive, send Andy a picture and tell him to send it on. Love to you, Rich and bunp. Take care, Jo x x x x
From doris chisunka
Hi Mark and Jo,

You are doing a great job, you have hearts of gold, may God bless you both always.

Dorisx
Response: Hello Dorris. Thank you for your lovely message. Take Care, Jo x
From Tony - France
Have followed daily with Jane, we are so proud of you well done! Promise rest and recoup at your leisure in pool with refreshments. Hope you feel better soon. XXX
Response: Hi Tony, hope your hand is all better now? Thank you for your kind message and for keeping in touch, it means so much. I am feeling lots better today thanks and I am looking forward to a sunbath in the local hotel at the weekend. Love to Jane, x x