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Hannah’s Travel Diary

Wednesday, 19 Sep 2007

Location: nakuru, Kenya

MapI can't believe it, i'm in Africa!!!

It seems like a week ago since we left Manchester in the freezing cold. Waiting to leave for the airport was exausting in itself, I was so excited about coming and really not sure what to expect. One of the other volunteers Rachel came to my house to stay up with me (we had to be at the airport at 3am!!) and we went through some last minuate teaching plans, made sure we had packed the essentials (mossie net, spray, anti-malaria tablets...I have left my hair straighteners at home - how brave am i?!) and played some of the songs she has uploaded on her phone to show the children here. Our flight left at 6am, we changed at Amsterdam (really easy changeover) and then arrived in Nairobi at 19.10 (their local time - they are 2 hours ahead of us). I slept the WHOLE way, Carolyn and Rachel thought I'd popped a load of sleeping tablets because every time they looked at me I was zonked out!

When we arrived in Nairobi I was sooooooooo excited, I couldn't believe we had finally arrived. Since March we have been busy fund-rasising, getting our jabs, going on TEFL training, arranging our VISA and promoting the project through the media and suddenly this was it! We got through immigration really easily and all our bags arrived which was a relief. The Walk Centre Project founder Alex was waiting for us and greated us with a huge smile and told us we are very welcome in Kenya. This is actually something we have been told a lot since we have been here, everyone is so friendly. My first impressions of Nairobi are that it is a bustling, very busy city, the drivers are crazy! i tried to work out the lane system and realised there wasn't one! We spent out first evening in a hotel in Nairobi and then alex came to pick us up this morning to take us to Nakuru.

The drive to nakuru was STUNNING, and it is so hot here, it was a beautiful clear day and Kenya is far greener than i thought it would be. As we got towards Nakuru we could see across the Rift Valley which is full of mountains and a volcano, it was breathtaking. And there were Zebra's and monkeys on the side of the road! The roads got progressively worse as we got towards nakuru and the ride became very bumpy. As we got into Nakuru i started seeing children on the roadside who all smiled at us and waved hello ("jambo').

The walk centre project is in the slum area of Nakuru, named the Hilton of all names. Alex and his family (and all the volunteers who stay with them) live in London which is about a five minute walk from the centre. We briefly went to the school to see the children before we properly start work tomorrow. There are a total of 230 children now at the school, Alex was saying they all come to school now where they receive love, education and food - none of them are scrounging off the dump site anymore which is such an amazing achievement for the centre. I can't explain fully what it was like meeting the children, they all swarmed over to us and started cuddling us, asking if we were ok and what was our name. Every child wanted to be high-fived and they are absolutely beautiful. I made the mistake of picking one of them up and suddenly they all wanted to be picked up, i didn't have enough hands. They are really small, obviosuly because of their diet. Alex was telling us that the aim of the project is to provide them with an education but most importantly to show the children love, to be like another mum to them. The children all come from the slum area and many of their parents are alcoholics so they are quite neglected. They are just so excitable, happy and affectionate though, I was completely overwhelmed and my aim of not getting attached to them is clearly not going to work! We also plan to visit the children in their homes while we are here so we can meet their families and provide them with support too.

I'm going to leave it at that now, i just want to let everyone know that we are all safe, well and incredibly grateful to be here. Alex and his family are wonderful and taking great care of us. I am so excited about teaching the children tomorrow in school, we are already in discussion with Alex about taking them on a trip to lake Nakuru national park (all 230 of them!)

Will keep you all posted.
All my love, Hannah xxx