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Sue at the Walk project, Nakuru, Kenya

Welcome to Sue's Travel Page. Here is where I will be keeping a record of my travels for all of you to read. Please feel free to leave a comment for me - in between discovering new places and meeting new people I will reply to them!

Diary Entries

Saturday, 05 November 2005

Location: In flight

Saturday 5th November

At 00.45am we take off from Nairobi airport for the long journey home, with a very short lay over in Dubai. The flights are relatively uneventful - apart from me having to change seats on the first flight because I am squashed in my seat by a rather overweight (and extremely rude) man. Emirates are great to fly with and the in flight entertainment is brilliant so the time passes quickly. We land in Manchester to rain (no surprise there) and temperatures 20 degrees colder than we are used to.

It's nice to be home but I am so, so tired.

I said at the end of Wednesday's entry 'job done' but that only relates to the volunteering element. I am now on a mission to get as many sponsors for the children as possible as soon as the new scheme is up and running. Watch this space.

Also - has any one got a spare £20,000 for a new school?

Friday, 04 November 2005

Location: Nairobi, Kenya

Friday 4th November

This is our chill out day before an overnight flight and return to the hectic pace of life in England. We are up by 6.00am and have breakfast at 7.00am. We take a taxi to the Westlands market and do our final souvenir shopping. We are expert hagglers now and never have to pay "white prices". We get some good bargains and spend up. Then its back to the hotel to swim and soak up the last of the Kenyan sunshine.

Sitting in the luxury of the hotel feels really decadent after all the things I have seen and the situation I have woked in. The dump in Nakuru could be a million miles away, actually it is just 156 kms away. Today there is plenty of time for reflection on the past 4 weeks. It has been really tough in many ways and I have seen sights I never imagined I would come across. I don't know how I have managed it but I have not cried once - perhaps its a case if if I started to cry I wouldn't be able to stop.

I feel priviledged to have worked at the Walk centre and I know it was the right choice. I am humbled by the resilience of the children I have worked with and in awe of their ability to enjoy life. A number of fellow volunteers have said that the children have never known anything different which is of course true. However this does not make their situation any more acceptable. Alex set up the project because he believes that these children deserve more - to be fed, clean, clothed, housed and educated and I am sure that no one can disagree with that. But delivering this costs money. There is aid coming to Africa but it is not getting to the children on the dump who so badly need it. There have been times when I have felt overwhelmed at the magnitude of the task and felt completely hopeless. However having made the direct link with the Walk gives us (mmhg) the chance to make a difference and that is a positive feeling. Knowing that we have started a relationship which will benefit the ragged but smiling children for years to come has been a comfort and has made the hard times and the harrowing experiences worthwhile.

Simultaneously I am happy and sad. Sad to be leaving the children and teachers but glad to be going home too. I will never forget my time here and I am sure I will come back.

Thursday, 03 November 2005

Thursday 3rd November

Today we are leaving Nakuru. We are not flying home until tomorrow night but it is a public holiday tomorrow and transport may be a problem so we are going today. We have decided to take a taxi rather than the bus as we know that a bus was hijacked last week and the tourists on board had their ears and fingers cut off - did that make the press in Britain?

We relax with our fellow volunteers at the Merica hotel for a couple of hours (whilst sunbathing of course) and have lunch together for the last time before leaving for Nairobi. Emma and I are both looking forward to going home but it is sad saying yet another round of goodbyes.

As we drive out of Nakuru we are soon in the poshest residential area overlooking the lake with its icing of pink flamingos. Against the contrast between the town's haves and have nots is striking. The journey by taxi is much more comfortable than by matatu - the car's suspension is much appreciated. The drive is pleasant and the scenery is spectacular. There is also the usual array of 'drive by' shops, selling every thing from corn to coffins, and clusters of ramshakled towns with animals everywhere. As we get close to Nairobi there is a feeling of getting closer to "civilisation". Everything seems much cleaner, there are traffic lights and western style buildings.

Finally we arrive at our hotel. We have chosen a place called the Fairview because it is close to the Israeli Embassy and as a result the security is good (there were riots in Nairobi last week and 4 students were shot - did that make the British press?). Our room is gorgeous! There is a wooden floor, crisp white bedding, curtains that fit and a fully tiled bathroom with a BATH. And best of all when you turn on the hot tap hot water comes out of it! I have a bath and get changed for dinner. For the first time I can wear white and not get grubby. We have a walk in the gardens followed by dinner and a long talk about our experiences. As routines are hard to break we are in bed by 9.00pm and asleep before half past.

Wednesday, 02 November 2005

Location: Nakuru, Kenya

Wednesday 2nd November

Today is my last day at the Walk school. The day begins as usual with the dawn chorus from the ensuite bird's nest together with the matatu horns, neighbours shouting and goats bleating. We take the matatu to town and go shopping before school. First we buy a range of text books for the teachers to use to make the lessons easier for them and more interesting for the children. This is a tricky task as we are careful to avoid books which are not relevant to the lives of the children at the Walk. We avoid books that go on about the importance of personal hygiene and keeping the toilet clean. We also buy a school bell to replace the triangle which is too quiet. We then head for the supermarket UKWALA (I probably haven't mentioned this place before but it has been a regular haunt for the purchase of water, biscuits and treats). We buy more storage boxes as we are convinced that the MMKG boxes will arrive today (actually Emma is convinced whilst I am past caring). We also get enough skipping ropes for all the class to use at once and new cups and tubs of bubbles for each child in our class.

When we arrive at school we see that the new blackboard has been put up and looks great. Christopher has started the maths lesson using the workbooks again. The children are working quietly and getting on well. At breaktime some of the children need strong persuasion to stop working and have to be forced to go out and play. Zack is still not in school - he is still on house building duties. During break time we mark the workbooks and consider the progress the children have made over the last few weeks that we have been 'teachers'. David is outstanding, way past everyone else, and we have bought a new text book specifically for him. Felix has speeded up so much so that he is showing how much he understands and he loves the praise he is getting for this. Betty is my star! She has learnt how to do tens and units and hundreds, tens and uits. She can do additions and subtractions and I am so proud of her. I think she is quietly chuffed with herself. Peniner is not acheiving as much as we expected her to though - we know there are problems at home.

After break we have a special treat for the class. This a combined English and Maths test. Yes this is a treat! The children love tests. David finishes in record time - 25 minutes when we expected between an hour and an hour and 15 minutes. Michael, Amos and Felix (yes Felix!) finish in under an hour and everyone finishes on time. We mark the test and leave the results for the teacher so he knows who needs to work on what skills.

Today we stay for lunch. As usual it is beans and corn, known as Cathery, with rice. This is OK but it has pieces of grit in it. As I eat I wonder how I have managed a month of eating food prepared in what are relatively unhygienic conditions without being ill. For example the food buckets, plates and spoons are handled by the children who don't have anywhere to wash their hands after going to the toilet. I conclude that I must have a strong stomach and am glad that I had the immunisations against all nasty illnesses before I came. During dinner break we finally hear from the delivery company informing us that the boxes will be delivered this afternoon. Better late than never I suppose. As there is a rain shower at lunch time all of the children congregate in the large classroom and have a rest. This looks really sweet. The children are either sitting on benches with their heads resting on folded arms on the table or lying on benches. Some are fast asleep. David, Michael and Amos are being prefects.

At the start of afternoon school Emma and I distribute our presents of new cups and bubbles. The children are very excited to be given something - even though each present cost less than 40p. The bubbles are really popular - although there are some arguments as some get spilt (good job we bought spares). After bubble time comes new skipping rope time. There are enough new ropes to go round and the girls particulary like the ones with glittery ropes and tassle handles. These children are ace skippers, skipping like boxers in training. I take my final photos of the school and the class which is sad. I have my picture taken with the girls and then with the boys and finally I have a picture taken with Felix (yes I know teachers should not have favourites). We finish the afternoon with everyone's favourite quiet activity - colouring. At 3.15 I do my last task as teacher and ring the bell to signal the end of another day at the Walk and the end of my time as teacher here. As they go out to line up each child kisses me for the last time. I feel very tearful but I don't cry. Betty hangs back until last and surprises me with a very big bearhug. I am very close to tears now but keep it together. The whole school say goodbye by singing 'If your'e happy and you know it...' and then it's home time. There is a bit of confusion about whether the children can take the cups home or if they have to be left in school. When I tell them they are personal presents and they can take them home there is cheering - you would think they had been given something expensive not something costing about 12p. I notice that Rogers has collected in all the bubble blowers. When I ask him why he says the children will be able to play with them at dinner times. How they will play with them with no bubbles has me beat and I think it is very sad.

Emma informs me that the boxes have been delivered to Alex's - how ironic that they arrive at exactly the same time as we leave. For the first time I walk part way home with the children, Alex lives at the bottom of the lane leading to the slums and the dump. The children are in no rush to get home and the pace is slow. Felix introduces me to his little sister Faith and some of her friends, one of who falls into the drainage ditch (I have said before how dangerous these are) but she is not badly hurt. I say my final farewells to the children at Alex's gate.

With Christopher, Rogers, Patricia (Alex's wife) and fellow volunteer Becky we unpack the long awaited boxes of resources. There is so much good stuff in here that I feel a little resentful that we have had to work with nothing during our time here. This feeling soon passes as I see the look on Christopher, Rogers and Particia's faces. Rogers in particular is like a small boy on Christmas morning as he sits on the floor playing with the toys. The three of them are clearly moved by the generousity of MMHG staff and the resentment I felt earlier melts away. It doesn't matter any more that the stuff is late. All that matters is that the children are going to benefit from it and enjoy it.

Soon it is time to say goodbye to the teachers. It's hugs and kisses all round. I text Alex to tell him the boxes have finally arrived and this is his reply:
Sue and Emma
Thanks a lot for all you have done for the kids. I wanted to be there tomorrow to say goodbye but I can't. Always know that I love you, and will be communicating frequently. You were our angels sent from God to us. Pass my love to your work. Have a blessed and safe journey and know that you always have a brother, friend and a hme in our house. You are always welcome.
Love Alex.

Time over - job done.

Tuesday, 01 November 2005

Location: Nakuru, Kenya

Tuesday 1st November

Today is the penultimate day before leaving the Walk. We have prepared lessons for the morning and have made a maths workbook for each child. (Photocopying was rather pricey.) We intend to do craft activities in the afternoon and play with the stuff from our boxes which is promissed for this morning.

Zac is absent today. He has sent a message with Michael to say that he can't come in as the shack house he shares with his grandma and siblings is falling down and he has to try to repair it. He is the 'man of the house' but he is only a little boy. Betty tells us she has to leave at dinner time to nurse a sick relative.

The maths workbook is a real hit. It is just like 'real' school with each child working at their own pace and at their own level. The children are fully engaged right up to break time. After break time we do letters for prospective pen pals in Ireland - at a school in the village that volunteer Becky comes from. I take the opportunity to take individaul photos of the children in the class and a class photo. The photos are beautiful with big beaming smiles from everyone except Betty who is very shy.

Would you believe that the boxes don't arrive?! This means that we can't even have one day of fun with our stuff before we leave which is a great shame. Christopher makes the children do work instead. I tell him he is a slave driver and he agrees! When the work is finished the children sing. Peniner's voice is noticeable above the others in the class. When the others have stopped she carries on singing. Her favourite song is "Yes, Jesus loves me" which I find really moving. How can a girl who has so little to be thankful for have such faith?

At hometime I wonder what the evening and night will bring for each child living in the incongruously named 'Hilton' slums and on the dump. What do they do with no water, no power and no light?

At 4.00pm we meet the other volunteers at our usual cafe, the 'Sweet Mart' and are picked up by an Australian guy, Ivan, who is taking us to see the orphanage he runs with his wife Mary. Ivan, Mary and their 3 children - Adam 17, Rachel 15, and Sarah 13 - came out to Kenya 2 years ago to set up an orphanage for babies and children under 4 years old. Currently they are renting a large house in a good area but are in the process of building a purpose built orphanage overlooking lake Nakuru. As well as their own 3 children they have 14 Kenyan children living with them. They have 4 toddlers and 10 babies - 7 girls and 7 boys. Each child has a sad story. Diana (3), Joshua (9 months) and Milly (7 months) are HIV babies. Joseph (2 weeks) and Elisa (8 weeks) were abandoned on the dump and in the street. 2 of the other girls were the result of incest so their mothers left them at the hospital. Others were just not wanted.

The orphanage is an amazing place. It is in a beautiful and clean house, well equipped and furnished for this large family - and that is what Ivan and Mary see it as rather than an institution. These babies will be part of their family and not part of a business. We arrive at the busiest time of day as all 14 children need to be bathed and fed before bed time. Although there are 3 paid carers there are plently of babies to go round and they all need cuddles.

When we first go in a little boy named Anthony who is 17 months old comes up to me and sits on my knee. He is so adorable I want to take him home. He likes the feeling of skin and strokes my arms for ages. When he goes off for his bath I am given baby Joseph to cuddle and feed. Joseph was left naked in a plastic bag, still attached to the placenta, on the dump. He is really contented and feeds easily. Once Josheph is put down in his crib I get baby Grace for her feed. She also feeds easily and goes to sleep without a fuss. Once she is asleep I get baby Jake who is the darkest of the children but has really pink hands and huge bright eyes. Visitors are always welcome here as extra hands are useful.

At 6.00pm the toddlers have their tea. They are aged between 15 month and 3 years. They all go off to wash their hands and bring their chairs to a little table. They even take it in turns to say the Grace before eating which is really sweet. This is an amazing set up. Mary and Ivan have to raise money from family, friends and businesses in Australia and Kenya to care for their evergrowning family.

Unfortunately the problem of abandoned and orphaned babies is so huge here that the ones who are fortunate enough to come here are just the tip of the iceberg. Many others die where they are left or just give up and die in hospital. Many others end up with relatives who can't afford to care for them properly and are condemned to a life of poverty and want.

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Recent Messages

From Pat
Hi Sue

When will you be home?
Looking forward to seeing you and hearing all about your adventure.


Response: Home on Saturday at dinner time. Will sleep for a while then may make contact.

From Paul
Hi Mum
Hmmm. 12 years old, tiny and skinny, good sports acro top, called David. Where have I heard that one before? Only four more of your children to find over there. If you still have time, I'd quite like an ugly Mask please, If films have taught me anything it'll have magical powers.

PS. Message to Dad.
My current 'Ugly Mask' is a genetic byproduct of either you or mum. So which one of you are you calling ugly, eh?

PPS. Message to Debbie.
When you said you were thinking about looking at other peoples sites, did you mean others one the same project, like Paula, or, like me, were you thinking about just looking at anyone's page for a laugh?
Response: Good point Paul - I'll have to do Kenya again to find the rest of the family. Ugly mask for you sorted out.

Love mum
From Katie
hey this is just a quick message to say i am still reading, and yes like everyone else i read all other messages but i see it as i way of knowing what my family doing, plus i nosy, well i thinking about coming to visit you or asking you to visit me once you back but i will tell you more sooon, see ya soon
love katie x x x x
Response: Hi Katie
Please stop telling everyone that we are a family of nosey parkers. I don't know where you get such a bad habit from!
Will visit soon.

Love mum
From Rebecca
Hi Mum,

I can't believe it's already your last few days there. To me it seems like you only just went, although I'm sure it feels different for you as a lot has happened in a few weeks. You even managed to indulge in your favourite hobby - sun worshiping! Typical Brit - can't wait to get home to show off a tan! You'd probably still be considered pale compared to all the orange-tinged people around. Debbie is right about it getting cooler, but we've had some perfect Autumn weather which I love. One day it was sunny and in the 60's (not sure what that is in celsius) and it reminded me of being in Sacramento. Of course that was winter weather over there! You mentioned being unsure of how you'd adjust to being back at home. Do you still feel like that? If it's any consolation I haven't had problems adjusting after being away. Unless you count the fact that I often forget I don't earn as much now but spend the same. Plus there are the constant coughs and colds I've had over the past few weeks! And it's not winter yet...

George Best is improving which is definitely not down to the positive thoughts sent his way by Matt. According to him it is "a waste of a kidney" and it didn't matter how many times I pointed out he had a liver transplant. Apparently it is the same thing. Must have missed that class in Nursing college!

We are having a lovely time at the moment because we are off work for the rest of the week. Someone from Persimmons came over to fix the things we'd found on the 1-month inspection. The bathroom door was stiff and there was a certain technique to getting it open. Now it's fixed I can't get used to using less force and come flying out at great speed every time. Almost as dramatic as Deb. Tomorrow we're off to Blackpool to see the fabulous illuminations. We're heading up to Glasgow on Thursday and over to Edinburgh Friday. We're hoping to be back in York Saturday in time for the fireworks display. It's going to be a special one to mark the 400th year of the gunpowder plot. Maybe I can watch them from our balcony just like we did in America! I'm coming over to yours on Sunday morning. Hopefully you'll have caught up on some sleep by then - in your own bed. That's the best thing about coming home!

Ok, that's it from me. I'm not sure if I'll be on the internet over the next few days so may not be posting again. Enjoy the next few days and have a safe trip home.

love Rebecca xxx
Response: Hi Rebecca
Time in Kenya now over which was sad but a relief at the same time. Revving up a gear is going to be hard as I have managed the Kenyan "pole, pole" (slowly, slowly) rather too well. Sun worshiping has been a must - can't be in 28 degree weather and not make the most of it! I have been careful and never used below factor 25.

I am glad Matt has been wishing George a speedy recovery for his heart problem - major organs are all the same I believe.

Hope you have a good trip and I will see you on Sunday.

Love mum
From Debbie
Hi Mum

Glad to hear the new classroom is working out well, keeping fingers crossed that all your boxes arrive before you leave. The photos of the Kids at school are great and am looking forward to seeing more when you get home. I'm sure that it will be satisfying knowing that the work you have done will have a lasting effect when you leave. Yes family I did get stuck in Rebecca's bathroom and have to freak out, but it wasn't just me being stupid the door is broken - but on reflection my reaction was a little dramatic. I found Paula's response to the whole nosy family issue very amusing - I may take a look at other people's message boards to see if there is anything more interesting about.
I'm afraid that there won't be much chance for you to show off your tan in little white tops as winter has well and truely set in. The clocks went back yesterday - you missed getting your extra hour - and its getting very cold.
Hope you enjoy your last week in the Kenyan sunshine and leaving the children is not too hard for you. I'm not looking forward to going back after halfterm - but is only 7 1/2 weeks till christmas holidays - not that I'm counting.
Take care and see you on Saturday
Love Debbie
Response: Hi Debbie

Please don't mention the boxes! They should be here tomorrow - but I've heard that one before. I have taken individual photos and a class photo today so you can see who everyone is. I will be sorry to leave the class but I am looking forward to being home too. I will be showing off my tan - whatever the weather.

See you soon

Love mum
From Rebecca
Hi Mum (and rest of our nosey family!)

The photos are great and I spotted Felix straightaway from the pink top! I managed not to cry at the Michael/birthday story, but only just. I'm glad the classroom is working out well and hopefully it won't be long before there is a new school.

I think I speak on behalf of all my siblings when I ask, no beg, you not to bring back a safari hat for Dad. We all know he'd wear it - remember the cowboy hat?!

Deb and Jess arrived Friday and stayed overnight. We went over to the Lysander and then to Frankie and Benny's. We then came back for a few drinks of wine. No alcohol for Jess. Honest. Matt came home drunk and ranted about various topics, as he does (mostly George Best) before falling asleep on the beanbag. We stayed up late so they didn't drag theirselves out of bed until noon. The bathroom handle hasn't been fixed yet and of course it had to happen.... Deb got stuck in the bathroom and had to squawk loudly until she was rescued. How we laughed. Jess also got locked in a bit later. It was a pity they didn't complete their tour but they pointed out that my other siblings probably had better things to do than be host to them. And I didn't? Actually no, point proven by the fact that I've just enjoyed watching Ant & Dec's gameshow marathon. (It was family fortunes this week) Going out tomorrow night though so there is some hope for me! I doubt I'll see a Kane Dingle either but at least I've got the memories.

We've got a few days off next week so are planning a trip of our own. We're going to see the illuminations and then up to Glasgow and Edinburgh. I'm going to visit David of course. I'll see you next weekend. Enjoy your last few days there.

lots of love,
Rebecca xxx

Response: Hi Rebecca

I didn't know there was a problem with the bathroom door but I can hear Debbie's cries! What is Matt's stance with George Best? Is it his waste of a good human organ?

I have had a lovely weekend in the Kenyan sunshine as the usual afternoon rains have not shown up. 3 of us decided to give the night out a miss and watched another chick flick and chilled out instead. I am prepared for a busy week trying to do everything I wanted to do at school before coming home. I'll be glad to be home but I will miss my class. I'll give some serious thought to the safari hat situation!

Have fun in Scotland.

Love Mum
From Vicky Rockliff
Hi Sue
Your entries are wonderful and we are enjoying reading them so much. At some entries I have a good old chuckle and at others I am crying buckets. Its was both sad and yet uplifting to read about the skipping event. Your description of the children’s attire was very moving but the fact that they didn’t care and had fun said a lot about these fantastic children.
When you get back hope we can all pull together and get something done about the school.

Finally found the pictures you guys have taken on Emma’s page, it all looks amazing Cant wait to see you when you get back as I have a million and one questions. Take care of yourselves and see you soon.

Love Vicxx
Response: Hi Vic
Nice to hear from you again. The kids here are great - even with their bellies empty. It has not been an easy trip but it has been fabulous. Will be even better if the boxes of stuff arrive before we leave.

We are making sure we have some chill out time to balance out the harder days. Today we have sunbathed and swum at the posh hotel and are going out tonight so its not all work and no play. The other volunteers are a friendly bunch so there is an element of making new friends too. Looking forward to being back home but not sure how I'll adjust.

See you soon.

Love Sue
From Keith
Ah, successs with the photos huh? They look very good - I like the cheetah pic. It sounds like the classrooom is looking much better now you've got the furniture. It seems that your goal of providing decent equipment for the class will have a long great effect. I don't think you need to bring an ugly mask back for Paul - I thought he was already wearing one.
Response: Hi
Classroom is looking good and will be even better when the boxes of stuff arrrive on Tuesday. I can do the photos but it takes such a long time here and with my busy schedule of classes and lesson planning (and subathing and swimming) am struggling to fit it in.

Not nice about the mask....

Love Sue
From Pat
Hi Sue

Put my name on your sponsers list, any child with great need,presumably all at the Walk school.I already have a girl in Lima who lives in a similar situation , so a boy might be nice for my second child but I'm happy with any of your ragged souls.

Love Pat xxxx
Response: Hi Pat

Plenty of needy children here. Alex will make sure those most in need get help first if possible.

Love Sue
From paula
Hello sue,
It must be a family thing because I read all the other messages, even Emma's!!! I will be interested in being a sponsor, I've seen a cute little boy with cheeky face, he's on the page called walk centre and he's on the right as you look at the photo, white shirt. He seems to have the other boys laughing and looks full of fun. I quite like the sound of Betty, just because she's called Betty!
What music do they play in the nightclub? I imagine it to be a Roxy kind of place but perhaps not quite as dirty, did you have to argue with the bouncers to get in, or did a Kane Dingle come to your rescue?
That's all for now, just off to take the cow dog round the block.
See you soon,
Paula XX
Response: Hi Paula
I'll have a look at the photos and see if I can figure out who you mean. Next week I am going to do the class as a whole and each child alone and I'll get them on the system as soon as I can. Betty is lovely. She is 13 and was working as a maid for 4 years before coming into school. She is very shy and is one of my 'remedials' but she is a very quick learner. I bet the boy you have seen is Felix.

The clubs play a mix of African music and some 80s stuff too. I would say some of the clubs are dirtier than Roxy - hard to believe but true. No problem getting in clubs - they need the mzungu money. No Kane Dingle in sight unfortunately.

What a nosy family!

Love Sue
From Paul
Hi Mum
You see, the problem with distancing yourself from the nosy people is that your distancing yourself from all of your children! Having finally got up to date with your diary (bloody fascinating stuff - certainly looking forward to seeing the pictures) I made some time to poke my oar into everyone else's business, with two consequences. Firstly, I find it interesting that reading other people's messages to somebody on a different continent is, for me, a practical way of finding out whats going on at home! (George Formby grill incident, Cousin being pregnant, debate over who's going to sponser my "mini-me", etc) Secondly, I've also started looking through your diary with half an eye on spotting things that everyone is going to comment on in messages - most notably the you smelling thing. Actually, I'd like to be home for the first few days of you being back, just so that you wouldnt be able to tell me that I stink.
Response: Hi Paul
You have made some very valid points. In particular about the smelling thing. My standard have definitely slipped - I put clothes in the wash only after judging that I can't possibly get one more day out of them. I would like to point out that I do wear clean undies each day and I do shower every day - Its just that the clean feeling does not last. The mini you is so like you. He is last to finish every piece of work, he has the class in fits of laughter whenever he sings, dances, answers questions. He is full on with all activites except the written stuff. Yesterday he called me grandma so I may have to let Rebecca have him. One of you is enough to last any parent a life time.
Keep on reading. Is there anything I can bring back for you? Kenyan flag, ugly mask, wooden animal...?

Love mum
From Pat
Hi Sue
Sent you an e card but it didn't arrive, is your hotmail address not working.

Glad youhad a good time on your birthday

Pat xxx
Response: Hi Pat

Email is working but I there was a problem with e cards - I think it depended on the size of card. I got one from Keith but the animations were slow and the sound non-existent which kind of spoilt the effect.

Love Sue
From Paul
Hi Mum.
Just thought I'd say that I took an instant liking to this Felix character the instant you first mentioned him, I think the qoute was "Daydreamed Hard".
Response: Paul - I was describing his actions not commending or promoting them.

Did you like the bit about him riuning his 'new' sandals by pulling off the velcro whilst daydreaming?

Love Mum
From Debbie and Jess
Hi Mum
Of course we have managed to sort ourselves out to arrange our trip!! It is a bit shorter than planned, just off to Rebecca's on Friday, but we need our rest this week. It is so sad hearing about the ragged appearance of some of your students, a far cry from Rockport boots and the latest Nike trainers, but still good to hear that this doesn't bother them. Hope you remember all the tips you will have picked up from gym club for being a gym coach - hope there are no plans to get Felix to reinact Paul's Wickers World routine!!
Your teaching strategies sound good, it much better to disguise boring maths as games and 'active' activities. Was very amused to hear that Rebecca was also just as interested in other people's messages as me and Jess.
Take Care
Debbie and Jess
Response: Hi to the girls on tour - if it can be called that!

David has sent me some stuff for gym coaching. We have 2 gym mats which one of the teachers has made for us so we have made a start. I taught head stands and Emma did forward rolls. Felix isn't very good at gym - but then again neither was Paul (sorry Paul). Felix does not need to do a gym routine to make people laugh he has so many other things - singing, dancing, speaking English, writing on the blackboard... Everything he does is full on - except shool work of course. Yesterday he called me grandma! I think Rebecca will have to have him.

Have a nice trip and keep your noses out of other people's business.

Love Mum
From Rebecca
Hi Mum,

I cried a bit after reading about the skipping. It was the description of the clothes that did it. Should we have a clothes collection to send over???

Feel free not to post this. Not that my family don't already know how soft I am!

Matt will get a new van and starts mid November. He handed his notice in today which he'd been fretting about. Maybe he'll sleep better tonight now!

love Rebecca xxx
ps. Hope the brothers made it back to class!
Response: Hi Rebecca
You big softie! I am surprised that I don't cry every day. Today Emma took a photo of the classes footwear which I will get a copy of and eventually get in the diary.

There are a lot of problems with sending anything over here as you have already read. However there are loads of rickety market stalls selling westwern style clothes really cheaply so the idea is that sponsored children's family's should be able to clothe them.

Felix called me grandma yesterday when he found out my age. You can have him!

The brothers are back in school as is a boy called Zack who had been of for weeks. We now have a full class.

Glad Matt's sorted now.

See you next weekend.

Love mum
From Jess
Hi mum
HAPPY BIRTHDAY - i know it was yesterday but all i wanted to do when i got in was to have a bath and sleep ( D of E was very wet and tough - it was much harder than Bronze especially with no mummy to look after me when i came home but we all managed to stick it out even though on the second night it was so cold that 4 of us had to get in a 2 man tent to stay warm and i had to share my friends slleping bag because mine was soaking!) then me dad and debbie went out to see Wallace and Gromit (for your birthday celebration). Well anyway i hope you had a good day although it probably wasn't like any other birthday youv'e had before!
I can't belive you got to stroke a cheetah im very jelous (i saw the picture on emmas page - when are you putting yours on?) but you can keep the reptiles. I was wondering what happens to the water if your stood on the equator? God im sad - oh well!
Keep up dating see you in 11 days
Love Jess xxx

PS - i am not a swot Rebbeca!!! I Guess Davids not the only one who likes to read through what everyone else puts.
Response: Hi Jess
Glad you managed Dof E. I was going to go to Mt Kenya this weekend but found out it was cold so I changed my mind so I can sunbathe and swim instead. How did you wet your sleeping bag, or should I not ask? Birthday was definitely different to say the least. I have had a practice at setting up a phot page so cheetah photo should be on soon.

On the equator itself the water goes straight down with no swirl at all. I found this fascinating so I don't think you are sad.

We gave the reptile park a miss but did go on the river where there are hippos and crocodiles.

See you soon

Love mum
From Sabina Khanom
Hi Sue
Hope you're having a good time, read some of your entries and it sounds like your having an adventure per day!Im sure you'll have lots of stories to tell for years to come, look forward to seeing you and hearing all about it when you get back to work.

See you soon

Luv, Sabina X
Response: Hi Sabina
Glad you are finding time to log on - Lim must be being a good boss! It is an adventure a day and most of them are beyond belief.

See you in November

From Debbie
Hi Mum
Hope you've had a good birthday, we went to the pictures earlier to watch Wallace and Gromit as a cerlebration for you, I think you would have enjoyed it, you could have slept all the way through it! Like you I enjoy teaching lower ability pupils, it is very rewarding when they achieve something very small and Felix sounds v. funny. Are the teachers over there qualified teachers from the UK? Are they working voluntary or is this their paid job? When I was doing my teacher training we were told that the most valuable resource in school was a teaching assistant(not the photocopier), so I'm sure having 2 extra bodies in the class is making the world of difference. While your diary entries are fancinating, I like David am also interested by reading other people's messages, we must be a very nosy family! Well off to bed for me, hope you get your boxes soon that must be very frustrating.
Response: Hi Debs
Its difficult to say whether the teachers are qualified or not - if we ask we get different tales. I think only the nursery teacher is qualified. At present everyonenworks for free but when they get the sponsorship scheme up and running they will have a small salary. Thing is Emma and I are not treated as classroom assistants - we get to be the teachers! Its an uphill struggle doing anything as they can repeat things but have little understanding. For example they can say the alphabet but they don't recognise letters if out of sequence. Any way we are plodding on with our new fangled teaching methods - usually called playing games and learning through fun. I would just like to distance myself from the nosey element of the family.

Glad you enjoyed my birthday - it was OK here too. I thought you and Jess were off on tour?

Love mum
From Rebecca
Hi Mum,

Look at me just trying to post the most messages!

I hope you've enjoyed your birthday. It's a bit rubbish having to wait for your birthday cards/presents - I remember that well! You'll be glad to know that Dad, Deb & Jess are celebrating your birthday as well. They've gone to the pictures (no prizes for guessing what they're watching) so I hope you enjoyed that too! I went to Tesco - I know how to enjoy myself. And now for the really sad bit.... Eastenders was good tonight because Grawnt & Phiw (to be pronounced Cockney style) are back!

Deb and Jess are coming to stay Friday night. I'm bracing myself for the hair straighteners argument. Matt has got a new job. I told Dad that he'd been 'headhunted' to which he replied "Is he ok?" I have to admit that I laughed! Anyway, Matt's old boss has asked him to go back there and he'll have a more office-based role. Good eh?

If you've got attached to Felix/Paul I'm happy to sponsor another kid. Diane also wants to do it, and I think a couple of my friends might.

Keep writing and try to put some photos on when you get chance.

lots of love to you,
Rebecca xxx
ps. I must be as nosey as David as I've read everyone else's messages too.
Response: Hi Rebecca
Birthday was OK really - cards, present, curry, what more could I ask.
I am surprised that Debbie and Jess have managed to sort themselves out, have fun.
Tesco and East Enders sounds pretty good to me. We go to a supermarket called UKWALA and watch chick flicks for fun.
I'll get as much information about the sponsor scheme as possible and I'll give some thought to who can have Felix. He did some singing today which was really funny - loud and out of tune but he really put his heart and soul into it.

Tell Matt good luck with the job, must be nice when the boss comes looking for you. What about the van? When does he start? As I said in reply to Debbie I would like to distance myself from the nosey people in the family. See you soon.
Love Mum
From Katie
Hey mum,
just a quick message to say happy birthday and that i reading your page, well nothing happening here just the usual, well tlk again soon
love katie x x
Response: Hi Katie
Thanks for birthday wishes and keep on reading. Hope Uni is OK.
See U soon
Love mum
From Debbie
Hello Mummy

Happy Birthday!!! I'm sure this is one of the most unusual places you have spent your birthday!! From your diary entries it really does sound like your having the experience of a life time and I'm looking forward to hearing more about things and seeing the photos when you get home - and don't worry we won't mince words if you smell when you get home. I am sure you never expected it to be easy but I bet you getting a great deal of satisfaction from the work your doing. Ever thought of changing career to becoming a teacher? if you want my advice I'd say don't do it! The kids over here don't know how lucky they are, I've had a very tough halfterm with some of the delightful children at school. I had an incident last week when a kid stabbed another kid in the head with a pen, there was blood everywhere but I think I handled the situation OK. Nothing exciting to report from home, Jess has just got home from a very wet weekend camping and I think we are both looking forward to a nice, restful halfterm. Dad will be an expert guitar player when you get back. Your entry says you have been to a reptile park this weekend - was that has horrific as I am imagining! I would like to do some of the Safari things like seeing the lions etc - but a reptile park, are you mad woman!
Take care, keep working hard, and happy birthday. I have time now to read your entries everyday so lots of detail please.
Love Debbie
Response: Hi Debs
I haven't had any stabbings which is just as well because I would faint at the first hint of blood. The difference in teaching here is that the kids come because they want to be here and they want to learn. You thought your class room was a challenge with your leaky roof - you should try mine with no power or water in the entire school. We gave the reptile park a miss as we thought it would be a let down after seeing hippos and crocs close up. Are you girls still going on tour or having a PJ week?
Love mum
From Pat
Hi Sue

Mum came for tea on Sunday and was able to read your diary, she really enjoyed it and the photies on Emma's page.

Did I say everything here was boring well it all changed on Saturday, Sarah called round and your going to be a "Great Auntie" again!! Sarah and Nick are expecting a baby (well I hope it's a baby) late May. Mum is very excited, as you can imagine, although she has already decided its going to be a girl - as we are due one, and Paula is in agreement.

Alan also hopes it's a girl but Oliver is certain it's a boy as he has quote"already getting one of them up there", up there presumably being his Dad's. Baby sisters are an alien life force according to Oliver, well we all know that men are!!!

Hope your having a happy birthday.

Love and Best Wishes
Response: Tell Sarah congratulations and to take good care of herself. We are definitely due a baby girl in the family! Birthday is going OK and meal out later planned.

Love Sue
From Paul
Hello Mother
I (eventually) aquired the means to get to this page from Rebecca yesterday, and I'm just using my free hour to catch up (I'm up to Tuesday last week). As a result I know what you're getting up to, and you can probably guess what I'm getting up to, albeit with a lower budget and a higher attendance than you may expect! As an aside, I still have a good twoish weeks left of the food you bought me, so it didn't half go a long way!
What else was there?
I'm Sure there was something else.
Response: Hi Paul
Thought you were too drunk to read or reply! Keep on reading to find out about my little friend Felix who is frighteningly like you in his mannersims and approach to academic work - quality not quantity!

Keep on working - and of course going to all lectures!

Love mum
From David
Hiya Mum

Happy Birthday. Sorry Ive not sent you any messages yet, I have read everyone elses though because I am very nosy. Ive been a bit busy and ill and haven't done anything more exciting than shove a thermometer up a cow's butt, so not had a lot to say.

Sounded really exciting earlier with all the safariing etc, but later entries seem to be a bit sadder. Hope you can do just a bit to improve things - I'm sure you can.

Have a fantastic time and keep posting your notes, it's great.

Love David xx
Response: Hi David

Hope you are better soon. For anyone reading your message it may be worth mentioning that you shove thermometers up cows butts because you are a vet student not because you need arresting! I have sent you an email to hotmail account so check it out.
The safari stuff has been great and we needed it to balance out the sadder stuff.
Nice to hear from you.

Love mum

Response: Thank you boys. Hope you are being good and doing all your homework.

Love Auntie Sue