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Yvonne's Adventures in Nakuru

Hi, I am writing this intro the week before I set of on the biggest adventure of my life! Cathy and I are off to work as volunteers for 4 weeks at the Walk Centre, Nakuru, Kenya. We are going to help out feeding and providing basic education to the children who live on the dump, known as The Hilton.

Diary Entries

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Location: Nakuru, Kenya

Hi everyone, well it's nearly time to come back! Was our last day at school yesterday, so no more mounds of cabbage to chop! I had a bright fundraising idea! A cabbage chopping competition between all the ex volunteers! (now no groaning at the back there Mark and Jo) It was obviously a very emotional day, lots of laughs and even more tears. Heartbreaking isn't the word for it. It was also a very busy day!

We went in to do our last chop and last lesson and to serve lunch for the last time. When we walked into the playground there were lots of very little children there - January's new intake, all little dots! So cute. I took Eucabetha's class for the last time, lots of singing 1 man went to mow, which they have now mastered, and 10 little ducks, which they absolutely love!! Also they did a reasonable version of Baa Baa Black Sheep. Onto arithmetic, Eucabetha asks me to write sums on the board for the children to do, as they know how to add and subtract up to 15, it's not too bad a task. Once they have done the sums on the board, they come to me to have them marked and if they get them all right, then I write some more in the book for them. The class then usually descends into mayhem, as some of the children are quicker than others and I end up completely surrounded by little bodies shoving their exercise books under my nose.

When we had finished class, Eucabetha asked me for my contact details as she would like to keep in touch with me. I have loved every moment of working with her and admire her so very much.

When we had served lunch we had to dash off into town to buy the children some lollipops and chocolates, and exercise books (tip for the future - go to Gilanis Wholesale - lots cheaper than buying individually upstairs), then back to school before they finished for the day. Made it with about 15 minutes to spare, great excitement and lots of squeals of delight when the sweets were handed out. Then out into the playground for assembly and time for the children and us to say our goodbyes, I am nearly crying now with the memory. Eucabetha asked us to speak and she would translate for the children, I could hardly speak for the tears, but managed to thank them for making us feel so welcome, and asked them to work hard and play hard and not to cause Freddie to much trouble.

They then sang to us - more tears, and then several of the children came forward and said how much we were appreciated (mainly for the sweets!) for helping the school and to wish us a safe journey back. Then the last hand holding walk home, lots of hugs, cuddles and kisses. Even some of the big, rough, tough boys gave me a hug! As I said before, heartbreaking does not begin too describe how I felt.

See you all next week.........................

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Location: Nakuru, Kenya

Ha ha ha, the bank had me fooled! I rang up yesterday (it didn't take as long as I thought it would!) and spoke to someone who checked everything and said there was no problem at that end and that I should be able to get funds out today. WELL HE WAS WRONG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have just been to the bank again and the message on the ATM was Your Card Issuer has declined the transaction. Well who is the card issuer? I am sure it was the bank the last time I looked. Thanks to Cathy I now have some money, but if it was up to the bank I would be stuck here without any means to withdraw cash! I will be ringing them again. I can't believe we have been here almost 4 weeks and we are just having problems now, when we need the cash to shop for things for the Centre.
I am getting a little fed up of it now,,,,and am quite looking forward to returning.

On a lighter note - chai! A lot of you will know that it is tea, but boiled with sweetened milk (well it sure tastes like it). It's a little like Marmite I suppose in that you either love it or hate it. I am in the latter camp, just the smell makes me feel quite ill! I like my tea strong, not a lot of milk and one sugar, thank you very much. Patricia must have noticed that I wasn't drinking the chai and I now get a thermos of black coffee at breakfast every morning, thank you Pat!

Alex has been away since Monday and is back tonight and we have to have a big discussion as to how we spend the funds, as he wants us to buy uniform for the new intake in January, but Cathy and I can see that the two baby classes are desperate for uniforms too! A very delicate balancing act, and one I am not looking forward to. Don't know when we will next get a chance to blog as we will be shopping for uniform tomorrow and we have also set up a meeting between Alex and Imre (the graduate student who is looking at low cost housing) We hope that this will be the start of something good.

See you later

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Location: Kenya

Hi all, I'm having a bad time at the moment, I can't get any money out of the bank account!!! Fortunately we have got most of the money for the uniforms, etc. I am going to ring the bank in a few minutes to try and find out what is happening. I don't do online banking, so Cathy suggested I try to register for it whilst we are in the Internet Cafe - only one problem with that - they will send my details to my home address within the next 10 days - not a lot of use then! It's so blooming annoying as I have about 10 quid to my name at the moment.

Oh well, I hope to get it sorted out this afternoon, but knowing banks I will have to press about 15 buttons before I get to a human - grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

On the lighter side, we recorded some of the kids singing this morning, something that Jeremy wanted, don't ask me why, all will become clear within time I suspect.

I am going now as I need all my strength too deal with the bank. Catch you later

Monday, 26 October 2009

Location: Nakuru, Kenya

Hello, not a long blog today as I have spent most of the time uploading some photos from the weekend.

Good plumbing is something we take for granted at home! Well let me tell you it is a whole lot different in Kenya! The toilets here range from a hole in the ground (yes you read it right and yes I have used one!) to western style loos but they don't always function like western style loos. For example, the ones at Alex's have no top on the cistern and no handle to flush. You have to put your hand in the cistern and pull up a loop of wire, which will then flush the loo if you are extremely lucky. Also the lock on the bathroom door is nothing like you have seen before. It is a nail knocked into the door frame and when you need to lock the door you just swivel it round so that it's against the door! Should be patented - hehehe. There is a similar arrangement on our bedroom door, but we also have a real lock on that.

Cathy and I have been brainstorming today about how and where we spend the funds that were raised. We want every child in the school to benefit from your generosity (which they have to some extent as we have bought the food for the 4 weeks we are here). But we want every child to get at least one new item of school uniform and for each child to have a new pair of shoes. We think we may have cracked it! So watch this space for news.

See you later

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Location: Nakuru, Kenya

Hi everyone, well it`s Sunday lunchtime and the sun is beating down outside and here I am sat in a dark internet cafe writing to you all! But not for long as I am ready for my lunch. We walked into town this morning via the Botanical Gardens. We thought, as you would, that this would be gardens with trees and flowers, but it was much more that that. It is, apparently a show ground and has permanent buildings in there representing for example the Kenyan Port Authority and several banks. These buildings have people living in them temporarily and as there is a show scheduled from July next year to the following July, these people will be moved on. We assume that they are homeless. We did spend a very pleasant, but strange hour or so there.
There were poinsetta, you know the red plants we buy and Christmas and by the New Year they are dead, as tall as me!

Lake Nakuru was FANTASTIC! so different from the Masai Mara but just as good. We saw loads of rhinos including a baby, sorry Jane! We also saw hyenas, which are quite cute in an ugly kind of way. Two leopards, a mother with a quite grown cub, lions, a giraffe, and the flamingoes. A beautiful sea of pink, constantly moving and shimmering. Rufus was a knowledgable as ever, with loads of information, for example why the white rhino is called white when it is actually grey. It`s because the Boers could not pronounce wide as in `wide mouth` so pronounced it white! Educational as well! I also know why Yellow Fever is so called, but that`s a story for another time. We then went on to the Mesangai crater, which is another breathtaking site. Rufus kept standing at the edge of what is a sheer drop of hundreds of meters, and pointed out that a Masai warrior lived down at the bottom and grazed his cows and goats, a lonely existence! Then onto the Equator, where we were given the demonstration of the water draining clockwise and anti clockwise on either side and went straight down on the equator. The demonstration was given by Moses, who then proceeded to sell us naff certificates to say we had crossed the equator for about 3 quid each! Oh well.

Onto Thompson Falls through some spectacular scenery, the Rift Valley is so vast and beautifully different. Hmm now whilst I have been here I have not felt particulary `ripped off` in fact quite the opposite, but Thompson Falls is a little different. You pay approx 2 quid to go and look at them, which isn`t bad and pays for the upkeep. Then you get two people dressed in ceremonial garb shaking a bucket at you and asking for another 2 quid to have your photo taken with them, no thanks! Then a guy comes over with 2 chameleons and puts them on your arm, so Cathy photographed me with them and I photographed her, with our own cameras and then the guy pointed to his arm where he had written 200 shillings and proceeded to take that amount of us both!!!!!! Rufus had disappeared at this stage, a little ashamed of the con. Then they wanted us to hire a camel to take us to the bottom of the falls. Obviously by this time I was skint so it was a harsh NO!

Well I`m offski for now and I will catch you later

Friday, 23 October 2009

Location: Nakuru, Kenya

Hi all, it's Friday and the end of our third week here, and it has simply flown by!! We are off to Nakuru National Park tomorrow and Thompson Falls and the equator. It will be a really early start (pick up at 6.30) and a long day but will be so worth it! We are going with Rufus again, so he should make it an interesting day. When we went to Masai Mara last week, he thought nothing of going off track to get us a better shot of something, and we ended up chasing the mongoose (tiny little things) over lots of rough ground trying to get a photo of them for Imre (the guy from the Netherlands who came with us).

I have had a real giggle today at Cathy's expense! Because the kids missed their porridge yesterday as there was no fire lit to boil the water (Freddie was late and it takes about and hour and half to boil) Cathy offered to light the fire if Freddie wasn't there at 9, as long as he left some firewood ready chopped (machete experience needed here guys!) and the matches. She asked how to light the fire so he obliged and gave her a prarctical demonstration. At this point I wisely kept out of it, I have no desire to start fires (but this is the girl that bought The Prodigy's Firestarter off Flobay!!!) Anyway we duly arrived this morning to no Freddie - now there's a surprise. Ranger Cathy to the rescue, she duly put the chopped firewood in and lit several pieces of paper, then several more, and then several more again - resulting in...............................lots of smoke! But the funniest thing was she wore a white (yes you read it right - white!!!) top. As the fire burning stove and all the surroundings are covered in soot - hmmmmmmmmmmm - top no longer white, shorts no longer brown, arms and face no longer flesh coloured - what a siight, I collapsed in a heap! Oh and on our shopping list for this afternoon - a box of matches.

Only the arrival of Joseph and his mate saved the day - i.e. they took over for a little while and got the fire going. Freddie was most impressed when he eventually arrived and said it was an historical (no not hysterical) day as it is the first time a Masungu woman has lit the fire. Feather in cap for Ms McCormick.

At playtime and before porridge and after chopping cabbage and carrots we took some bubbles out into the playground, as you can guess, we had a whale of a time, the kids chasing all over to catch them - classic and a picture that will stay with me for a long time, how the simplest of things give so much pleasure.

We have wagged school again this afternoon as we need to get our act together and buy things for the children - shoes for some, sweaters for others, school shorts, dresses and shirts. There is an endless list. We want to buy footballs and skipping ropes too, but they may have to wait until next time as everything is so much more expensive than we thought. Jo and Mark - where did you go for shoes????

Anyway am going off now for a hot shower at Merica - will catch up with everyone on Sunday or may be Monday. Have a good weekend

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Location: Nakuru, Kenya

Hello hello, those bleep bleep matatu!!!! We are quite used to them waking us up around 5.30 every morning bipping their horns at regular intervals whilst they wait on the road to pick people up (bipping their horns and whistling is how they let everyone know that they are there). Usually we can turn over and go back to sleep until we hear the next one at around 6.30, but not so this morning! Oh no - the 5.30 driver thought he would beep his horn a lot louder and a lot longer than usual, I suppose he thought if he did people would suddenly jump out of bed and decide that they wanted to come into town! Now I am quite used to the dogs barking, the cocks crowing (even if they don't know dawn from dusk) but the bloody noisy matatu - arrrrrrrrrrrrgh!!!!!!

Apart from that it has been a quiet day, Freddie was very late this morning and as a consequence the kids didn't get their breakfast, but it didn't seem to bother anyone. I had a good conversation with Joseph, the football coach, over the chopping of the cabbage. He was said that there was a protest in the UK last week about climate change and there was also a protest in Kenya, the difference being that the protesters in Kenya were beaten up by the police (it was a peaceful demonstration). He also said that not a lot of people in Kenya were aware of their human rights. So I for one will think carefully before I complain about how our country is run. The difference here between rich and poor is vast and it is the rich that run the country and own the media, so things will never change as quickly as they should. Here I am getting serious again, but after being here a while you begin to the see the huge injustices. Yet people in the main are open and friendly, for example Rufus, our guide to the Masai Mara. He invited us to take tea with him, his wife Gladys and their two children. He came to pick us up from town and drove to his house. We were welcomed by Gladys who shook our hands and kissed us on both cheeks and thanked us for coming to her home. She brought out a bowl of warm water and a jug to wash our hands and insisted on pouring the water over our hands. Rufus and his family have not got a lot, but were so gracious and welcoming and happy to share what they do have, which was chai and bread.

We are known as Masungu (I don't know if that is spelt right) in English 'White Lady'. Rufus's children called us 'Aunty Masungu' which I thought was quite comical.

See you all soon

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Location: Nakuru, Kenya

Hi, it's me again! The mince and rice were a great success. We still had to chop cabbages though :-( It cost an extra 35 pounds for the mince and rice (they feed 200+ kids on 20 pounds a day, so you can see it was a real treat for them) and we had almost full attendance at school! It really has been a superb day for so little relative cost. I don't want to get all serious, but................ you have to experience the grinding poverty that the majority of these kids live in to really appreciate what we take so much for granted. If I said to my grandchildren, you have to have watery porridge every morning and cabbage and carrot soup every lunchtime, every single school day I can just imagine what would happen. The children even take the carrot tops that we have cut off and eat them. At weekend they do serve a lunch on Saturday but nothing on the Sunday, so potentially they will have no decent meal from Saturday lunchtime until Monday morning. So next time you hear someone ask for something for the Walk Centre, please think very carefully - and dig deep!!! Right I'm off my soapbox for now. The lollipops were handed out to all the school at home time, so you can imagine what it was like coming out of school!! Mayhem to say the least, but a lot of the children came up to thank us for the lollipops and the lunch, nearly brought a tear.

Cathy and I had a discussion with Alex yesterday evening about what the immediate priorities are. Apart from food (which as I mentioned before, we are funding for the 4 weeks we are here) the main priority is the class that will be moving up to the next school. All 40 have been accepted, so they need complete uniforms, shoes and school bags - This works out around 20 pounds per child and we have already committed to spend 15 pounds per child on a 'desk' for the new school. As you can see this is a pretty large financial commitment, but very necessary to enable the children to move on to further education.

Sorry to have been a tad more serious but it had to be done! See you soon


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Recent Messages

From Andrea Smith
Hi Yvonne, like the new piccys, the rhino is very similar to our Tot !!!!, glad you got the coffee back (yuck to the other). Cant wait to see you. Take care lots of love
Andrea xx
Response: Hi Andrea, 4 weeks have flown by, but I am so looking forward to a soft bed, soft pillows and a comfortable sofa. Not looking forward to the wind and rain and cold - brrrrrrrrrrr!!!!
From Jo Dawson
Hi Yvonne, it's a shame your having problems with the bank - take the kenya attitude and let it pass you bye with a smile! Enjoy every moment of your last day at the centre. Good luck with your discussions with Alex, hope you all manage to agree a way forward on the best use of the funds but whatever is agreed, it will not go to watse! Have a safe journey home. Jo x
Response: Hi Jo, it's my bank I'm afraid! Apparently I have reached my withdrawal level for the month! Never known anything like it!!!! We will be buying new uniforms for all the school, plus the new intake, who we saw yesterday - very cute!
From Jane Greenhalgh
We'll get the kettle on in Oldham for you next week!
Can't wait to see the sun tan and the rest of your pictures.
Response: Hi Jane, the sun tan is not too bad, shame it will be buried under layers of clothes back home. Rainy season is just starting here, but still very warm. See you soon (for a nice cup of tea)
From Jo Dawson
Hello, so you like the secured by design bathroom door lock! Mark had lots of problems with his bank whilst in kenya, it drove him mad to. Hope you get it sorted. Enjoy your last few days at the centre, be prepared for an emotional last day - if you can record the assembly that would be great to use in future as they sing lots of songs. I can't believe it's been 4 weeks already. Good luck with your shopping. Jo
Response: Hi Jo, our last day at school tomorrow, we can't believe it's been 4 weeks either! Still no joy from the bank. I rang them yesterday and they said there was no problem at their end yet the message I get from the ATM is that the card issuer has denied my request!!!
From violet
Hi Yvonne
last email as you will be home soon and I am off on holiday.
I am sure the children will be better from having met you and Cathy and that you will have brought a little ray of sunshine into their lives. Shoes and a new school uniform sounds a brill way to spend the money and I am sure the children will love them but remember Maggie's tale about buying shoes!
I am sure you will both be very sad leaving the children to come home but everyone here is looking forward to hearing your stories of your time there.
Take care and a safe journey home
Violet
Response: Hi Violet, thanks for all your messages whilst we have been here, they are very welcome. Home on Monday, work on Tuesday! See when you get back and have a good holiday
From violet
Hi Yvonne
The Falls sound beautiful but it is a shame that so many people have to approach you to make a living. I suppose to them you will seem very rich! The visit to Mesangai crater and the Equator sound great as well. What an experience you and Cathy are having. Rufus and Moses sound . greatYou may be having sunshine but here it is rain and wind. I go off for my hols on Thursday so I am not sure if I will be able to send another email but if not I am thinking about you both.
Take care
Violetxx
Response: Hi Violet, that's what we are dreading come Monday, the wind and the rain. One thing that neither of us will miss is the flies!!! or the bloody matatu at 5.30 every morning! Have a great holiday and see you when you get back. Love Yvonne xx
From Jo Dawson
Hi Yvonne, I want more photos please! Especially Cathy in her 'white' top lighting the fire, very funny. You did well to keep out of it. I see - cheeky git:) - Mark has responded to your message about shoes, it wasn't a good experience so be warned but you definately need Chris's help! Enjoy the sun for as much as you can!Jo
Response: Hi Jo, we are going shopping for shoes on Wednesday with Chris. I will put more photos on today if possible. See you soon - Yvonne
From sheila bishop
Hi Yvonne

Sounds like youre having a great time, sorry its took me all this time to contact you - but you know how techinical I am, its took me 3 weeks to find your blogg!!!!!!!!!!!! You will have to write youre memoirs when you come home - it makes really good reading. Anyway enjoy Nakuru! see you soon, Sheila
Response: Hi Mrs B, how`s it going with the new job, all OK I hope. Can you believe I have not ironed an item of clothing in over three weeks!!! Life is so different here, but a good different in the main. See you soon, Yvonne x
From Mark Karlisle
Jo...Get real!!!! ha ha ha...

Hi Yvonne no doubt you will have been to Nakura N-park and the falls by the time you read this once again a fantastic experience, however not been to the falls so you cna let me know on that when we meet up. have a great weekend and have a fantastic last week. The shoes we got from the Market, Chris took us and done all the wheeling & dealing it was behind where all the buss are at the end of the Kenyeta but dont go on your own get chris or someone to go with you both...Mark
Response: Hi there Mark, loved Lake Nakuru and Rufus has got to be the best guide ever, you can tell how much he loves his job as he is so enthusiastic about everything. Will speak to Chris about the shoes, see you soon!!!! xx
From Maggie
Hi Yvonne, hope you enjoy Lake Nakuru and the flamingos - I'm sure you will! And I'd have loved to go the equator but we didnt quite make it. Shoes? Well Chris took us to the market where there were lots of second-hand stalls selling a whole range of stuff, including kids shoes. We reckon they had come from those Humana boxes you see here, but the stallholders were making a lot on the deal - you have to bargain with them. They wanted £8 a pair and I think we got them down to £4. Speaking of Chris, I havent heard you mention him - is he around? He's the principal of the school and does a lot of outreach work with the families on the dump.
PS thanks Jo for reminding me of our camping night - one of the funniest things ever!
Response: Hi Maggie, yes Chris is still here and really helpful. They are all such nice, genuine people and at times I don`t know how they cope! But they do. Lake Nakuru was fantastic and Rufus is such a good guide, knows such a lot of interesting facts. Well off to Guava for lunch now and only a week left!
From Nick Summerscales
Hiya Yvonne,

Enjoyed reading your blog. Ryan Smith and I can tell you a story about chopping carrotts and someone getting an ASBO.

Anyway, sounds like a real adventure. Good luck with your last week and I will probably see you at the Old Bill Christmas Party.

Nick Summerscales
Response: Hi Nick, it`s been a real big culture shock but also been really good. The people here a so friendly and make you feel welcome. Lake Nakuru was fantastic and we saw the rhinos as well as flamingoes, giraffe, hyena and lions, fantastic!
From Jess
Hi Yvonne - have finally got to see your blogs, thanks to Andrea providing the details. It looks like you are having a real experience out there - I look forward to catching up with you when you return and hearing about all your adventures (over a nice bottle of wine or two). Take care of yourself. Love Jess
Response: Hi Jess, yes it is a real experience and everything is so different from what we are used to, I will never take running water, meat, sprung mattresses, soft pillows or lie ins for granted until quite some time after I get back! See you soon. Love Yvonne x
From Jo Dawson
Hi, so pleased you had a great time in Masai Mara. Reading your blog brings back so many fab memories of the Centre and the animals we saw. I also like reading your comments, mark's just made me laugh - camping with Maggie on the last night was so funny, I even had to borrow a pair of her knickers (and yes Mark, my bum did fit)! Oh, the Matatus, the dogs.......oh how I don't miss them - mark and I thought we would have more sleep whilst in Kenya - quite the opposite. Your tea with Rufus and family sounds lovely and the special meal you gave the children was a great idea. Your doing a fab job, keep up the good work. Love Jo
Response: Hi Jo, we are off to Nakuru National Park tomorrow with Rufus, as well as to Thompson Falls, the equator and he said something about a crater???
(or was that equator) Whatever it will be an early start and a long day, but so worth it. Bye and see you soon. Yvonne
From Jane Greenhalgh
Hi Yvonne...work has finally realised some of us technophobes need a link from Flo to get on your site.
Glad to hear you are having a great time. How about doing a cabbage and carrot soup lunch in the office when you get back? Not sure if I am joking or not!!
Your safari experiences sound great - i was there for a whole week a couple of years ago and still didn't see rhino so don't feel miffed!!
Do remember to have several showers when you get back before you come into the office! Enjoy yhe rest of your time. Jane
Response: Hi Jane, we are hoping to see rhinos tomorrow when we go to Nakuru National Park, along with flamingoes and possibly some lions. Carrot and cabbage soup - I think not!!!!! See you in just over a week :-(
From Mark karlisle
Hey Hun you doing ok there, you sound like you are having a great experience and im so pleased i picked you....oh yeah and Maggie (sorry Maggie) we spoke yesterday about being there and being really jelous of you both. I sense you are having a fantastic experience and im so proud of you and think the mince lunch is brill...I wish we had thought of that...it so heartwarming when you see how the litle things we take for granted just seem amazing to the kids...im getting choked up here just thinking about it..your amazinging and dont forget it..and the cook book is a winner...love & stuff Mark
Response: Hiya Mark - having such a fantastic time! It's going too quickly and we will be back before we know it! The lunch and the lollipops went down really well, as you can well imagine. Like you said, they are so pleased with so little, makes me want to cry, but I don't xxx
From violet
Hi Yvonne
Hope both you and Cathy are well. Cabbage does seem to be a regular feature. It is hard to imagine mince being classed as a treat but I am sure the children will love it. Masai Mara sounds wonderful seeing all those animals in their natural habitat.
I would love to be sharing e your experience first hand but really appreciate your blogs so keep them up.
Take care and love to you and all the little children.
Violetxx
Response: Hi Violet, I am so amazed at how the kids react to a bit of mince and rice and a lollipop! But living on a diet of cabbage and carrot soup every day I suppose we should not be surprised. They really do have so little that a plastic bottle is a treasured possession, even an empty crayon carton is prized. Makes you want to weep buckets, but you can't. Love Yvonne
From sharon
Hi Yvonne, missing you!!!
The trip sounds amazing, you and Cathy are doing an fantastic job, i bet you feel like your life will never feel the same again after experiencing such highs and lows, keep up the good work.
See You soon mate...Sharon
Response: Hi Sharon, can't believe we are over halfway through the trip!! It has gone so fast. We've had the afternoon of today as it's a national holiday, so we've been for a little luxury at the pool at the hotel in town and had a hot shower, bliss!
From Carolyn
I'm off on holiday for 3 weeks so wont be able to read your blogs, although i will be thinking of you and everyone there. (from my luxurious cruise ship..) I'll put £100 in the fund when I get home so you can add it to your total. I went to host a 'discussion' on poverty in my sons school on Friday and they are busy fundraising again - will let you know when i hear how much they raise, they had £40 last i heard and hope to raise more.

Give my love to all there.Take care x
Response: Will do Carolyn, have a fantastic holiday x
From Andrea Smith
Hi there Yvonne, what a mountain of cabbage that is !! Sounds like your doing fantastic, love the emails your posting especially the bus ride one. Keep up the chopping and singing (lol)
Lots of love Andrea xx
Response: Hi Andrea, the chopping never goes away - it's a national holiday tomorrow, but we are still doing lunch for the kids, so more cabbage chopping - see you in two weeks xx
From Jo Dawson
HI, I can't wait to hear all about Masa and see your pictures. Keep up the singing. x
Response: Hi Jo, we have mastered 1 man went to mow and we are now on with 10 little ducks! The Masai was brilliant!!!
From sam leonard
missin u lots nan can`t wait til u get back
Response: I'm missing you all too sweetheart - see you in two weeks xxx
From Mark Karlisle
Ha haha so you having fun yet!!! I keep saying it and I am gonna put my own foot in my mouth, but I know how you feel and I am laughing here thinking yep sounds about right....
Got Cathy's message about monies. Im gonna be in southrn gate so will take what i've got so far and get it banked and in the account. Good job you said save you 3 books as only have 8 left from 63. I hve collect and will bank £88 which inclued £5 that Violet owed and £2.50 Tracey Greg owed. I will also check in Southergate what money is there on Cathy's desk and take any reminder books..as will deffo sell them. We also have (the royal we) a further £57 owed which should be a total of £137.50 for 55 books sold. Ontop of that i've £7.50 as mentioned above and £12.50 from Space for some cookies/cakes sold over there which I'll get banked for Monday...and again speak with Ryan. people have mentioned they want more books mary Lofthouse is exporting them to Malta!!! have bought 9 off me today for her family over there. I will also ask at Crompton primary when we go there for a photocall Tuesday and to collect the Check for £240. which is towards buying uniforms, and will get that banked ASAP for you. Rufus is fab, a really really nice man. if you go the same camp site as us it fab and the showers in the luxuary tents is amazing...some we tried to get for Maggie and Carolyn on our last night...but hey thats another story!!! laugh! we did in our two man tents on the lawn...the good old glory days of Kenya...it was a night I drank wine and eat nibbles with Meryl Streep and Co and we were giddy before running off to the disco.... Glad you founf the joys of the Merica and the cold beer..yey. I hope you also took supplies with you to Masi Mara as you will need them. It's a fab experience and unbelievable how close you get to the anmals, which are still wild animals by the way. I'm gonna catch up on your blogs this weekend. Have a fantastic time and just live it all it as much as we could tell you it still doesnt really prepare you for the great and the sad....but its also about you both stamping your mark on this as your own once in a lifetime experience...love & Stuff to you both and speak soon. xx
Response: Hi Mark, thanks for selling the cookery books! Sounds like we have a hit on our hands. The Masai Mara was fantastic and the animals were nearly near enough to touch, and yes you are right about the campsite, it was glorious after sleeping in the bunks at Alex's, especially as we had been without running water for a good part of the week. Thank goodness for the Merica and its 3 quid showers, lol. Over halfway through the trip now. No late nite boozing for us (me - Cathy doesn't) as curfew is 8 o'clock!!! See you soon xx
From Carolyn
We should have sent you sooner if you bring on rain!! Hope the safari was good, am hoping to do Masai on my 3rd trip - never made it yet!! Look forward to hearing about it!
Response: Hi Carolyn - Guess what - it's raining again! And it rained heavily on our way back from the Masai yesterday, luckily we were in Rufus' van! What a fab trip that was. Can't believe we are just over half way through the visit!
From Hannah Reeves
Hi Yvonne, really good to hear you have fully settled in and into the daily routine of cabbage chopping!! I kinda missed it when i got back! So, is the Walk Centre like you expected? Are you finding the time is going really quickly? Are you already in love with all the children and wanting to bring any home with you? Please send my love to Patricia and Alex and enjoy the safari - it's a fantastic experience, you'll love it! Hannah x
Response: Hi Hannah, the Walk Centre is nothing like I expected! Nothing on earth can prepare you for the dirt and dust but equally nothing can prepare you for the joy of it! Loved the safari - saw so much! Can't believe we are just over halfway through our visit - it's going in a flash!
From Jan Wade
Hi Yvonne,
Glad to hear you arrived safely and have settled in okay. It looks like you've taken over as the Cabbage Queen! I'm sure you'll see many things that will make you want to cry, but what an experience and how great to be able to work with young children who can really benefit from you being there. Say 'Hi' to Cathy and I hope she's feeling better. Jan
Response: Hi there Jan, Cathy is feeling much better now thanks, I think it must have been the change in everything! Food, temperature, etc. Can't believe we are over halfway through our visit. Cabbage is now in my blood, hahaha