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Rachy Volunteering in Kenya

Welcome!! I will be in Kenya for the next month volunteering at a children's centre in Nakuru courtesy of the very lovely company I work for - Manchester Methodist Housing Asc. part of the Great Places Housing Group. I hope you enjoy my news and photos, please feel free to comment and leave me messages! Love Rachy xx

Diary Entries

Monday, 15 October 2007

Location: Kenya

Saturday was a good day - Carolyn and Hannah went to the Equator and to the Falls, I waited around to hear from Kat who we hoped to hook up with over the weekend - she was entertaining two friends from England and they were off camping and climbing volcanoes so arrangements were sketchy!

I went shopping with Alex and bought food for Esther's family whose mother is unwell and not taking care of them - I also bought tons of reading books for the school and balls etc. We then all went up to the slum for one last time and purchased loads of plastic bag bags for people at home who had kindly donated money. We then visited Joseph's family (Carolyn supported Joseph through his stay in hospital) and spoke to his mother about feeding Esther and her sisters. They desperately need another room on their house as Joseph is 14 and shouldn't be sleeping in the same room as his parents so we have funded the building and supplied the food to feed the family - she was more than happy to do it anyway but was very happy with that!

I had to leave Esther sitting in the rubbish with her baby sister who is barely 2 standing next to her crying full of a cough and cold - my heart was ripping out of my chest but then Joseph's mum came and picked them up to give them a meal and I reasoned that they were tough kids and I know they will be fed.

We then went home, packed an overnight bag and did one to a local hotel for a nap and a lovely hot shower - we then danced the night away at The Summit Resort which is a massive partly open air bar / club - great night! We missed Kat though but she was stuck in Naivasha as no one would attempt that road in the dark!

We rented a car and set off with Russell and Rob (as we could not seperate from our baby brothers yet!) and drove to Naivasha with the intention of camping.

The road from Nakuru to naivasha is no more than a pile of rubble with unspecified lanes of traffic and the main goal is to overtake as many vehicles as you can! I had a great time rally driving it through the rain with mud flying everywhere - fantastic!

We had such a great day, we got to Naivasha and went to check out this floating restaurant which was beautiful so we booked in and there just happened to be a boat there so we jumped on it for a few quid and the guy took us round the lake which we thought was marvellous and we were chatting away wondering what people on the shore were looking at and the guy was trying to tell us to turn around, when we did there were Hippos like right there! I don't think I've ever seen Hippos - they're massive! Really cute too so we watched them for a while then went in search of a campsite armed with our lonely planet (the bible).

During our search we just kept seeing random wildlife and giraffes chilling by the road it was mad. Of course we ended up in a very nice cottage with a shower like a hot monsoon and the comfiest beds we'd known since our trip began! We did fib and say there was three of us though! We then went for the best meal at the floating restaurant which was wonderful. We did however get stuck in a giraffe jam on the way home and had to wait for them to walk the road, we enjoyed watching the mother and child and didn't mind that they kept stopping until of course they charged us!! Twice!! They had been startled by a man and his dog. The first time they stopped at the bumper (of course we didn't all scream honest!) and then turned back then they charged again and passed us - we felt very little in our car!


We got up in search of a bite to eat and of managed to find the poshest hotel on the planet - it was beautiful - all lodges, we sat out on the veranda and giraffes and impalas and monkeys strolled by - our food came silver platter style and we felt very posh and very colonial!!

We hit the road again and enjoyed stunning scenery all round the lake on our way to go walking at Crater Lake sanctuary - of course when we got there the first thing we found was a beatiful hotel / restaurant on the edge of the lake with boudoir lodges and a partially open air bar with massive comfy chairs - bizarre! So of course it would have been rude not to have some drinkies and lie swinging in the hammock and lounging on the couches!

We had such a lovely and luxurious weekend - it was sad to wave the boys off at the bus station so we commiserated my visiting a nice hotel in town and having a drink! Kitty Kat did make it to Naivasha and went off to climb more volcanoes and sacrifice virgins etc so we left them to it!

We then took off to Nairobli and impressed ourselves that we found it and found Kat's house! They arrived soon after us and we all marvelled at how dirty we and the cars were - even though we had been living it up and they had actually camped and walked and climbed..... I think we smelt better so they won the funk contest! A shower marathon later Kat took us to a fab Ethiopian restaurant and ordered us some of everything - it was delicious - a perfect end to our stay in Kenya.

Friday, 12 October 2007

Location: Kenya

Am cheating a little on the backdating but was enjoying my last few days to the max so I'll catch you up now!

Today was Friday and we arranged for some local dancers to come - we could not get Masai dancers but we got some entertainers who came to sing and dance with the children. I was emotional when i woke up and had been alright up until this point but felf sad knowing I was saying goodbye to the kids today. My little friend Esther hardly left my side and I was more than willing to keep hold of her al day - it was like she knew I was going.

We chopped cabbage for the last time and made a production line of volunteers to pack up the food parcels we were donating to the families then we chilled with the kids until the dancers arrived. They were so excited!!! A neighbour very kindly let us use their electricity so the builders ran a cable from the house, around everything, buried it in the road and eventually to the school! The kids started dancing as soon as they put music on and it was histerical - if only you could have seen the little boys gyrating and the girls bootie dancing!!

The entertainers were great and had all the children up dancing, the teachers and even us! It was a fantastic day and it was so good to see them all laughing and the staff too.

I was crying behind my sunglasses but I was very happy - the children were lovely to me and my class sang to me then hugged me as they left which turned me into a puddle - the kids were absolutely fine of course and skipped off with their food parcels! Watching some of the tiny ones drag them off made me think that we had not realy thought if they could carry them but they were determined!

We then took Alex and Patricia who we stayed with out for a nice meal to say thank you - we had such a good laugh with them - it was very interesting and funny to hear their observations on volunteers and different cultures and Alex did some funny impressions of the lads - he had Rob down to a tee!

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Location: Kenya

Howdy Doodie!

Am enjoying my last week, was Russell's birthday yesterday (one of the volunteers), we call him the Orange Mzungu because of his red hair! We ruined him yesterday - we had sausage and eggs for breakfast then as a surprise we threw him a birthday party lunch and made everything orange! The table, the plates, the balloons, the banner, the cups, the food, the drinks, the candles and the cake! We also had him a t-shirt made with "Orange Mzungu" printed on it and all the orange stuff we could find including towel, brush, socks, football etc etc!! It was hilarious. We then went out to dinner and he got loads of laughs in town from his t-shirt. Had a great night, had no sleep whatsoever and still managed to chop cabbage today! Also went on a shopping mission as we are making food parcels up for all the kids to take home and also bought loads of school supplies - of course the taxi broke down and we had to load all of the flour, sugar, books etc onto a Matatu (little bus) and get them to take it up the hill! Too funny. Have still had no sleep but feeling ok as have just had a shower in the local hotel as we have no hot water at the minute and very little water.

Tomorrow is our last day at the school and I am very sad but we will spend the whole day with the children and we have arranged for the local Masai dancers to come to the school for the day to dance with kids - its going to be wicked! We are also doing some more filming with the father of one of our children which I am looking forward to and we are going to visit the local orphange too.

We have also sent supplies upto the family we visited that is struggling and are trying to make arrangements for them to be looked after.

A big thank you to everyone who has sponsored a child to go to the state school we have about another 10 to get.

We are planning our weekend it will certainly involve some rest and a bit more shopping for the school. I am so grateful for my time here - I think a month was just long enough to experience the culture and the way of life and do some work but is the minimum amount of time - I wish I could stay longer but I know that I would find it very hard to leave if I did. Hannah and I have been concocting plans to stay including paying the hospital to plaster my leg so I can claim that I can't fly!!

Am going home soon to relax and watch a cheesy video - have not watched any TV since I have been here really and I haven't missed it!

We will write again over the weekend and post photos of our last day - you will be able to see us blubbing!!

Be good and be grateful for all you have,

Love Rachel xx

Monday, 08 October 2007

Location: Kenya

Happy Monday!!

Spent most of the day in bed yesterday as was full of a cold! Bought some wicked medicine from the chemist though and spent the rest of the day in a haze!

Busy day again today - went to the centre but managed to get out of cabbage chopping duty - hoorah! Went to the Prison School filming and then upto the dumpsite for more filming of the building project up there.

I then had the opportunity to visit some of the children in their homes - I have been to the dumpsite a few times but this trip was very different as it was the homes of children that I have got to know. Everyone was very welcoming and the children were excited that we had come to their homes but it was heartbreaking also. We visited the home of 3 sisters who come to our school, they live with their baby sister and their older sister who is 12 and takes care of them all as their mother is mentally ill and does not get out of bed. We sat in their home advising the eldest child how best to dress the children, I looked at them in their tatty clothes (they had taken their uniforms off to keep them as nice as possible) with no shoes or unmatching shoes on, all of them dirty, no food in the one roomed home they live in and they were all smiling at me. We invited the eldest girl to bring the baby dpown to Alex's home for food as she is the only one that we do not feed at the centre and she is very weak and skinny. Patricia, Alex's wife has made arrangements for food to be sent to them everyday. No one is coming to help them, there are no social services coming and the neighbours are growing tired of helping them. The only solution may be that they are taken to live at a boarding school away from their mother and their friends. This is just one case on the dumpsite. Heartbroken and powerless.

Rachel xx

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Recent Messages

From Karli
Hello Darling!
It is hard to believe that your trip is nearly over. I have been reading your blog but I can't truly imagine what it is like there. I will have to live it through your stories! I am sure you are having the time of your life and have made some memories that will last a lifetime. Keep doing all the wonderful and amazing things that you have been doing for those little ones......keep making a difference! We will catch up when you get home ;o)
Love ya,
Karli xoxo
From Ellie
Hi Chick, I can't believe it's taken me this long to work out this website existed!! Miss you loads, you're doing an amazing thing and I am so proud of you. Can't believe it's nearly over, I'll buy you a nice cabbage as a welcome home present!! Love you loads, Ellie xxx
From Sue Owen
Hi Rachel
I can hardly believe its nearly time for you to come home, I thought you had another week to go. I hope your last day with the children is full of laughter though I'm sure there will be a few tears too as you listen to your goodbye song and get kissed by a hoard of children. Don't tempt fate by planning a fake injury - how scarry would it be to stay in the hospital for real?! Have a fab weekend and I'll see you soon to catch up on your tales and see you photos and video. Give my love to Alex and Patricia.

Love Susie
From mum
Never known time to fly so quickly, you will be home next Tuesday!! Please may I have 5 bags? love you and miss you. xxx
Response: Hi Mum - I will try and get you five! Can't wait to see you guys - will take the money for the sponsorship when I get home. Will ring over the weekend - love you xx
From lisa
well finally got on this com site the class looks lovely in their uniform baboon cliffs looks good aswell oh yeh and the giraffe copying you is that when your sober or drunk ha ha sent you a txt other night but seen sarah since she told me over your phone looks like your enjoying your self think it would upset me im going to make you some cabbage for your home coming dinner obviousley your not getting enough of the stuff see you soon vodka is definatley waiting for us x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x xxx x x x x x x x x x
Response: Great to see you on the tinternet!! I am truly honoured! I look forward to my cabbage and vodka homecoming!! Miss you babe - see you all next week xx
From katharine
the other option for your girls might be to find a pay a neighbour or a relative, like $20 a week or something. People are less tired of helping when they get a little something and then it gives them a stake in the family as well. give me a call when you get a chance, i can't get through to you. xx
Response: Its a good idea babe we were discussing taking food up for the families - talk to you tonight my darling can't wait to see you at the weekend xx
From mum
Your dad and I will sponsor one of the children. Where do we send the £30? I need 4 bags so far with the long handles in nice bright colours please. love you lots xxx
From rachel
hi rackell u doing a good job out there,i enjoy your letters keep up the good work dont think that geraff looks like you unless you have been on the pinot gratio ha ha lol wayne x
Response: Me pinot grecio?? South African wine out here darling!! I miss all of you very much! Say Hi to all the girls for me and I'll see you all next week - what shifts am I working??????
From mum
Hope you soon get rid of your germs and resume the saga of your adventures and hard work.
Response: am still working hard! Am putting pictures of the bags up today hopefully! I can get different styles too.
From katharine
hey there girly, are we still on for Lamu this weekend? Whassa plan?
Response: Don't think we are going to Lamu will give you a ring tonight baby xx
From Sue Owen
Hi Rach
I have just updated myself on what you are up to and again I'm wishing I was there. I've just had a look through my own pictures and been imagining what a brilliant time you are having. It's a pity your not doing the safari but it is a long trek. You could do it at the end of the trip and end up in Nairobi which would cut travelling down a bit but I guess you'll want to be with the chilren as much as possible. Glad I missed out on the cabbage chopping.
See you when (and if!) you get back. Take care.
Love Susie
Response: I'm having such a wicked time Sue - we took all of the children to Lake Nakuru this week - I will write all about it tomorrow - Hannah has put lots up am busy having a pedicure today!
From Mum
How many cabbages have you chopped?? Keep up the good work all of you. I'll get Sarah to have a shoe clear out!!!!
Don't forget the bag picture.
How many could you bring back?
Response: Hi Mum I took the pictures today but can't upload - will sort it tomorrow! Have chopped all the cabbages in Kenya!!! Miss you! Love to you and Daddy Rachel xx
From Hanifa
Hi Rachy,
Sorry it's taken so long to write!!! How u keeping sweet? You have done really well like we knew you would, keep up the good work and keep making the kids smile.
Love Hanifa xx
Response: Hi Hanifa - I am going to write about our trip with the kids tomorrow but just to let you know - you provided the picnic for 140 kids!! Hope you are all well - I miss all of you very much please say hello to the girls for me! Love Rachel xx
From katharine
hey my dear - don't forget that the kids can get out and stretch their legs at baboon cliffs in the aprk, tis the only place where you can get out and walk around. But be careful - those baboons are cheeky and will grab the food out of the car or even your hands so keep a close watch on them and keep them together! See you soon (not this weekend because I'm working - booooring.
From Auntie Valerie
Can you please wear your turquoise top for photographs otherwise I cannot spot you!!

Pleased it is all going well for you and your friends and knowing that you are all making a difference. The children looked fab in their new iniforms.

Keep chopping that cabbage girl!

much love
Auntiue V and the others!
x x x x
From Amy Moore
Hi Rachel, Its making me well jealous reading you're entries especially as its turned baltic in manchester this past week. Glad to hear the internet is just as reliable as when i was there (Tip- write you're blogs in Word and download your pictures on internet then if it crashes you can just download what you've wriiten the next day and don't have to re-write). You have to go to the Masai mara it took us 5 hours to get there and a little longer to get back (!!!!) but its unbelieveable. Have fun chilling at the Merica, I can strongly recommend the paneer and sweetcorn curry if they still do it! Take care,
Amy XX
Response: Hi Amy! The Merica has set up a little internet cafe so we are sorted! I will enquire about the sweetcorn curry!
From Henry Machazire
Hi Rachel

I t looks like you are enjoying yourself. This trip will change you forever. Enjoy.
Love Henry xx
Response: Hey Henry Hakuna Matata Baby x
From Katharine
Hey there crazy girl, looks like you're having a great time. here's to the next camping trip!

Response: Get your arse down to Nakuru asap!!
From Sue Owen
Hi Rachel
Sorry it's taken me so long to write but we have only just been sent the link. Sounds like you are having a fab time - you will come home won't you? Reading your entries has been like stepping back in time to my own visit to Nakuru - I still miss the lovely children but not the smell of the dump (which I can smell now!).
I am glad to hear that you and CP did a thorough risk assessment of the situation before setting off in the car (business insurance etc).
Are you staying at Alex's house? Are you going to the Masai Mara?
Have a restful weekend at the hotel pool and write soon.
Love Susie

Response: Hey Susie! Of course we did a risk assessment! You know me all risks high and do it anyway! Yes we are staying at Alex's house and no I don't think I will do the Masai Mara just can't do everything and the eight hour trip each way is putting me off! Everyone here says Hi and I can't promise I'll come back.... xx
From Mum
Fingers crossed for the puppies. Enjoy the National Park with the children. People at work would like a bag. How much and can you put a picture of it on ?
Response: Bags are 2 pounds will get some pictures soon but there are many and you can order what you want - won't be able to carry loads though but will sort something out as money goes straight to her and her family.
From matthew
Hi Auntie Rachel. Mum took me to the docs today where the nasty lady stuck needles in me again! I told her I'd rather go and see the giraffes and zebras - your pics are great! Glad all is well, keep up the fab work. xxx
Response: Hello my darling Matthew! I would have brought you with me on my adventures had I known nasty mummy was going to take you to get jabbed! Never mind - next time! xxx
From Mum
Who was driving you or Carolyn? Hard to believe you have been out there for 1 week. Don't enjoy it to much you won't want to come home!! Purchase me a plastic bag please. Everyone at work is following your adventure and looking forward to the next installment. lots of luv from mum xx
Response: I was driving!! It has crossed my mind to stay but I think I will come home if only for a bath!! Love Rachy xx
From Jane Greenhalgh
Good to see you learning some new skills....I am sure they will come in handy when you get back to work...just ask Carolyn to write them into your contract! Can't believe you've been gone over a week the time is flying for you in a very positiv way. Don't forget to come back to work you are needed.
Enjoy the rest of your time out there.
Response: Can I not stay here and work?? Please??!!!
From Garry Coulthard
Sounds like you are having a great time. We need more pics!!!
Stay safe
Response: Thanks Garry I will try my best to put more pics up check out my colleagues blogs as they are photo crazy! or /hannahreeves
From Auntie V
Sounds as if you are having a fab time. here in the other London all is well. Popped up to see Liz at Buck House. She remebered you from your visit the other year, especailly your sprint up the Mall when you left your bag in the loo at the other end of the Mall!
Can I order a bag made of plastic bags. I can crotchet plastic bags but am a little slow at it! Hope the weekend good for you all and be your totally amazing self!!

love Auntie V
I will indeed get you a plastic bag bag!!