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Sunday, 25 December 2005

Location: Sydney, Australia

Just a quick note

After two whole days of travelling and 18 hours on a plane in total, i arrived in Sydney.

With prickily heat rashes all over my feet and hands, extra tyre around the belly and BAG-LESS.........
which means presentless on Christmas

You could say that i was an emotional reck for all the wrong reasons when i finally got to Colum.

All the same i got a bag full of pressies from home, courired over by Colum, which really made my Christmas.
I even went for a Christmas Day swim at 11.30 pm and i also got my ever own piece of home as well, to hound at for the next 3 months...........................

What more could you ask for?

Tuesday, 20 December 2005

Location: Watamu, Wasini, Tiwi, Kenya

Well no real excuses for the total lack of communication, so bear with me, while i try to paint a picture for you of the coast.

We went to Watamu village after lamu, and i loved it there so much that i blonked myself there for almost two weeks.
Had great accomodation and a very mothering landlady, who took care of us (as we were all in the horrors with bad bad African bacteria)
The beach in Watamy was surreal, the sand was so white that you had to wear glasses or a hat to walk on it because the glare was so strong. There was National Marine Park here and i went on a double scuba dive and saw some great coral and purple octopuses!

The village itself was very much a local village with the bear essentials, with great stall food.
The place was very much so a tourist resort for Italians, but they never ventured outside there resort(they didn't even change there cash), so other than the beach, that was all we saw of them.
It was very weird for all the little children to be running up to you yelling CHIO, it'a amazing how alot of the local tarders speak italian, simply from just picking it up from tourists threw the years.
It makes me feel like a language stunted idoit for not being able to speak french, after studing it for so long!

We befriended a bunch of Massai men, who visit the village once a year for a couple of weeks to, as they put it "make money out of the tourists".
They'd do dance for the Italian tourists at their resorts and after had jewellery and other curio bits and bobs to flounder.
So we were able to go with them, to this amazing resort and were even pre'd with there face powder, for a better effect.

After saying the goodbyes to neil and Katie as they had to make their way back to Nairobi, i decided that i had to make some move along the coast, i headed back to the huss and buss of mombassa, collecting supplies and then headed down to the south coast, which had more of an African influence than the North.

The first leg of the journey was to pass the river by a ferry )passenger and Car), i felt like being in the Sterage department of the Titanic.
First the cars went on then there was this huge big rush of foot passengers, and if you were lucky enough not to get trampled on going onto the ferry, then faith would have you definately squashed against a car for the ten minute journey.

From there i headed down as far South as i could get to the Tanzanian border to Shimoni, where i got a boat to Wasini island.

Which was a really lovely place, the only place where a tourist could possibly stay was like travelling back in time.
I had a traditional Swahili bed (a four poster bed), a beautiful view of the sea and palm trees from my bedroom window and an oil lamp, I felt like a princess.

The island is spread on a large coral rock, and they have the nicest sea grass i've ever tasted.
I was well looked after and had a roaring feast every night.
All good things have to end, so after a couple of days there i had to get back onto the dreaded matatu and headed for Tiwi beach, which is the last stop really before heading back to Nairobi, for most travelors.

Tiwi beach was a nice and relaxing place and was a even better place for meeting people, met 2 irish girls (i only met 5 Irish people in total here) so had good fun.
It was great to hear other peoples adventures, like for example a guy called Wolffie, drove with this motorbike from Austria to Kenya and plans to go all the way to Cape Town! Wild

Headed back to the big smoke on the train and was bumped up to first class, because they gave away my 2nd class seat ( as you do).

Did my Christmas pressie shopping in Nairobi for the Oz's and the Kiddies, it could have been any other day on the calender, didn't even see one Santa!

I felt that i was cheated out of Christmas this year, like it never happened?
Or it's maybe that we could possbily over-do it at home?

Well we all say that time flies when we're having fun!
I can relate.
i ended up back at the same hotel i stayed at on my first night, for my last night.
Feeling alot different from my first visit, where i was too scared to leave the place to call home, or even venture accross the street for better food than the hotel's slob.
I can even laugh about it now, even some what embrassed.

I think that it's the travel books and parents that put the fear of God into you about places like these, which in real fact does then the world of injustice.
Beautiful children, people, land, language, culture

Countind down the days to a reunion

xxx

Sunday, 04 December 2005

Location: Lamu Island, Kenya

Well it's offical i've arrived in Paradise

I am now travelling the coast with two other volunteers from Nakuru.
We took the over night train from Nairobi to Mombassa and from there took the local bus and boat to Lamu island.

This is no doubt the most wonderful place i've ever been.
It feels like been stuck on the set of Lawerence of Arbria then an island in Kenya.
With narrow streets and smelly gutters, it almost feels medevil.

It's mainly populated with Muslins with more than ten Mosques.
I'm woken up ever morning at half five from the prayers at the Mosque next door.

The feeling is soooooo laid back with the only transport been the Dhow sailing boats and donkeys.
There are beautiful white deserted sandy beaches and smaller islands.
We take a dhow everyday to an island or out snorkelling, have fresh fish and coconut rice cooked in the boat or an the beach.
With the juiciest mangoes and a jamming session on plastic buckets and drums.

Again I can't believe that this is Kenya!

Thursday, 01 December 2005

Location: Nakuru, Kenya

Well who would have taught that i'd get used to the flies, the pigeons outside my window, goats, pigs, chickens outside every morning, rubbish piles everywhere..................?

Now i feel like i won't be able to sleep in silence!

Left Nakuru today, it's crazy how you seatle yourself into a living habite, you can never realise it until yuo have to leave

One chapter down
and missing it already!

Wednesday, 30 November 2005

Location: Nakuru, Kenya

I kept thinking that this day would never come and then all of a sudden i was doing my usual and cramping everything.
However, one cramping session went well and that was planning the sports day for the centre on my last day in Nakuru.

It was great they didn't even know what to expect when then came in and even some of the teachers dressed in sporty clothes.

With the back up of eight other volunteers from other projects in Nakuru, we had 83 crazy, excited children under control.....?

We used a field up next to the dump in the slum, but it was perfect and even attracted local spectators.
We made eight stations with activities and then after the sugar buzz from the biscults and sweets we did the big races.
We did long jumps, gymnastics, bowling, hoops, spin the stick, sack races, tennis ball and spoon races and the best, three legged races.

I also got to play Santa early and make up goody bags and 'like totally' accessorised the ladies with jewellery and scupped up the boys with Ferrai's.
However, i'm disclaiming to the future effects of rotten teeth from sweets (but how could you not, they need to be spoilt rotten once in a while?)

I think that i can truely say that all had a good day.

So then the sad part of saying goodbye was heartbreaking, not just saying goodbye to the children and wondering what they are going to be like when i see them again, but saying goodbye to the teachers, who are so self-less and as much as they can for the children.

In the two months i've seen two mothers with two children in my class die to Aids and then i've seen Naomi finally write the letter 'A'!
They will always be up's and down's here, and i know that 2 months is a short time and that you could never magically improve the quality of life for these children in that time but it all has to contribute to the bigger picture in some way?

I just want to say Thank You sincerely to everybody that has helped me to do this project,
thanks for buying a cake.....
for swinging it at the 60's party...
for making me gooseberry jam.....
for donating presents.......
for your donations.

THANK YOU
XXX

Wednesday, 23 November 2005

Location: Nakuru, Kenya

Well yes i'm still alive you can either believe that i was stuck into it all and had no time to update or that i was dossing for the whole time.

But seriously i have been really busy in school and the creative side is flourishing
We've made indian hats and read up about cowboys and indians.

As well as making snowflakes, suprisingly i still have all fingers intact.

We've also started adding in maths class, which was great fun because just saying and writing the numbers was getting mind numbing, and it's great fun finding things to add up and add together.
We made an attempt at leaf printing, that really didn't go so well because our leafs were very hairy and the paint didn't stick very well, but it didn't go as badly as glueing a face on a balloon craft class.
They were bangs and tears all day, and i really don't think any of the children got their balloons home safely!

Also doing the sounds in english at the moment and it really is interesting witnessing the start of a language, because you never think how did i actually learn english, but of course it's much harder for the kids because they've got a Monzungo (white person) yapping on about breaking words down and laughing at me trying to make the sounds of the words and of the things we are spelling, but great fun in the end.

During the week we gave out clothes that were sent over with two volunteers Sue and Emma's workplace.
It was great every child got a item and put it on then and there.
Faith is still to this day wearing her bart simpson PJ's to school!
So advance warning now ye all know what i'm hinting at, ye all have a couple of months thou to prepare!

And an entry that should in it's own right should have it's own separate diary entry is the Mission in Action baby orphange.
I'm trying to spend as push time there as possible.
The background is an Australian family, Ivan, Mary and three kids, sold all and packed up and arrived in Kenya almost two years ago.
They are in the process of building a huge orphange outside nakuru town overlooking the beautiful Nakuru National Park.
And i'm glad to say that the concrete has one down on the second floor so hopefully they should be up and running in the near future, but as of now they have a house filled with 14 orphans and they own family.
Could you believe it they have 10 babies and 4 toddlers, each with their own stories, mainly incest, aids, poverty.
So as you can imagine theres plenty of holding and feeding to do.

Here's their web site address if anybody whats to check it out
www.missioninaction.info

Saying goodbye to all the volunteers slowly but surely now and soon i'll be following i have only a week left, and am really feeling like i'm not ready!

Friday, 04 November 2005

Location: Nakuru, Kenya

It's Kays birthday so were rebelously hitting th town ( there's practically a curfew of 6pm here)
The best cinema experience ever, saw Cinderella Man in the only cinema in town.
It's huge and we pierched ourselves for a little extra cost upstairs.

Picture and sound wouldn't be exactly anything to to proud off or even boast about it was awful.
At half time everybody from downstairs are allowed to go up stairs so next thing we surrounded with kids, behind, in front placed on your lap everywhere, wearing this big Sunday best dressses.

Then when the film comes to it's climax- this big important boxing match, the 25 people cinema start geering and shouting and clapping as if they were watching a real boxing match- it was brillant couldn't help but join in!

Afterwards headed to the social spot-Summit.
We were running low on funds and we all entered the twisting competition for the Vodka price.
And lets just say that i'd like to thank God and my dad for introducing me to jailhouse rock and gabriel for showing me Pulp fiction- Ha they didn't know what hit them i let loose, having the complete upper advantage thou.

paid for it all the next day of course

Thursday, 03 November 2005

Location: Nakuru, Kenya

Day of mourning, two girls down.
Hey Emma and Sue hope civilisation's treating ye well
Miss ye loads
More sightings of cockroaches, there are not the kinda replacements i had in mind!

Friday, 28 October 2005

Location: Mount Kenya, Kenya

Volunteered to do some tree conservation to make up for dossing a day at school.
Planted Mexican cypresses, really peaceful

On Saturday, did a day trek up to 11,000 ft- very proud of myself my fitness isn't exactly peaking at the moment from all the African fried foods diet.
It was realy exciting the higgest i'd every been to date and lots of wildlife.
two of the other volunteers climbed did the climb in 5 days and summitted- Congrats

Thursday, 27 October 2005

Location: Mount Kenya, Kenya

Travelled to some what familiar surroundings-mountains

Travelled up to Naro Moru home place of Mount Kenya- the second highest mountain in Africa- 16,333 ft
And when i say travelled it was more like bounced my way there in a corner, with huge maize bags surrounding my feet ( pretty much in the same position on my way back except i had an kid and a half on my lap pulling my hair-as if it looks fake)

We stayed at the Youth Hostel and just had the nicest pancake breakfasts yummy
The area is just a bird watchers paradise, it's really green and has vegetable gardens everywhere.
However, no matter how beautiful the whole place is, it's absolutely freezing

Wednesday, 26 October 2005

Location: Nakuru, Kenya

Great day introduced all the children to fairy land tales as well as Jack & Jill and TheThree Blind Mice.
I'm thinking of giving my baby infants teacher, Mrs. McAullif a present when i get back, i don't know how they do it?

Tuesday, 25 October 2005

Location: Nakuru, Kenya

I took a self given day off today to stock up on goodies.
it's hard working with a language barrier, but working with nothing, no materials requires more intiative then i can give.
So from books, rythmes, copybooks, pencils, story books, etc i was weighted down.
It was great to be able to get stuff cause it really makes difference as well as go a hell of a long way here.
Also getting local carpenters in to create my favourite thing, storage!

Monday, 24 October 2005

Location: Nakuru, Kenya

After getting the feeling back in my bum from the four hour bump a de bump road home, all the volunteers headed out after work for a nearest to swank meal as you can get here,
what a treat

Sunday, 23 October 2005

Location: Nakuru, Kenya

Passed the Equator today and did a water test to prove it, luckly it worked where we stopped because further up the road we saw another sign saying that we were passing the border!

I did a boat Safari on Lake Boringo, and saw hippo's up close and prehaps too personal for my liking.
Was really great and afterwards got to try out the local fish whicxh was fab, couldn't get fresher.
In this same region, they grow watermelons for the country and ye all should know how i reacted, hmmmmmmmmmmm, as well as honey which they sell in vodka and whiskey neck bottles, at first i thought that they were illegal booze, it's a unique selling ploy.

Saturday, 22 October 2005

Location: Lake Nakuru, Kenya

Visited Lake Nakuru National Park, which is famous for it's millions of Pink Flamingo's and the only white Rhino in Africa.
It was great it was if there was pink dye on the edge of the entire lake. We also saw the Rhino's which are like something straight out of Jurassic Park and as much as i think their hideous i saw a hyiena stacking out Zebras which was great.
Then after we trekked down to the bottom of the highest waterfall in Kenya, The Thompson Falls.
Stayed over in Faulty Towers in what they called the Executive Suites, Ya!

Thursday, 20 October 2005

Location: Nakuru, Kenya

On our tour of Nakuru when we first arrived we visited the towns dump which is where the project is set.
We were all shown this house that three kids that go to the project live with their mam.
It was like all the other shacks made from twigs and a iron coringated roof. In between the twigs they lodge volcanic rock, which is the most common rock type, for warmth.
Then they hang plastic bags or what ever plastic sheeting they can find, usually gathered from the dumb to line the inside from the rain.
So today we got lino, a beautiful clobble stone effect one for detail and lined the shack with it.
It was great so easy and it only took us less than two hours.
The shack was crazy it had a bed where they all slept in as well as their baby brother, they also had a couch but the rest of the shack was covered with big bags of collected rubbish from the dump, i think that they can recieve pennies for every bag collected of plactics, they was no place to move and little signs of cooking as well as food.

Tuesday, 18 October 2005

Location: Nakuru, Kenya

Ventured out after dark to Dimples nightclub, an experience in itself.
I've learned that swahili dancing is all about the hips then your ass, looking over it again now i must have looked like a hippo dancing!


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