Archive for the ‘Kenya’ Category

Leah and Maria have taken the kids out for breakfast this morning to their new found favourite breakfast place, Stacks, who have delicious breakfast potatoes that all the kids love.  So here goes, I’ll try to catch up on some blogging.

We’ve read some fantastic books on our travels.  Bede has devoured the Artemis Fowl and Wimpy Kid series earlier in the trip, followed by the Percy Jackson series more recently.   We’ve tried to read books relevant to each place we travel as our bedtime books.  In Africa we listened to Born Free, Living Free and Forever Free by Joy Adamson.  I loved these stories about Elsa the lion as a kid and the boys really enjoyed them.  We were thrilled to discover that our new friend Maggie was born in Kenya and knew the Adamsons and had even met Elsa.

We didn’t find books about Cambodia that were suitable for the kids to read but we’ll keep a look out when we are home from our trip.  We were able to find lots of books about Italy and had read plenty before embarking on our trip, which allowed Bede and Emmett to “recognise” some of the famous features at Pompeii and in Rome.  I had not expected to find that we learnt even more about the Romans in England but this certainly did happen when we visited Arbeia Fort, where we picked up this little book.

It follows the story of an 11 year old captured by the Romans in Northern England.  We read about the process of building a Roman road, the one in the book eventually becomes Hadrian’s wall.  Emmett was fascinated by the descriptions of Roman and Celtic armour and weaponry.

In between chapters of other books we’ve also been reading these:

My only complaint is that they are LONG fairy tales, with no chapters, so I find myself reading for hours, to Emmett’s great pleasure but to the detriment of sleep and my blogging!  It’s good to meet the characters of Irish mythology though and imagine them in the places we traveled in Ireland.

We have also been finding about about Robert the Bruce in this story:

Bruce spent many years on the Islands on the west coast of Scotland, where we traveled, so we could imagine the bleak terrain described in the book very well.   I also liked the way this book began by discussing the differences between fact and myth and mentioned through the book which parts of Bruce’s life were certain to be true and which were likely to have been embellished over time.  Being six, Emmett was also fascinated by the ways myths can be “lies” or “not true” and yet can be true in our imaginations.

Meanwhile, both Leah and Bede have been reading books with labyrinth in the title, which I found amusing, but Leah says hers is not as good as Bede’s.  Bede had just finished this Rick Riordan when I took the photo and managed to convince me to buy the fifth book in the series by paying me the difference between hardcover and softcover price (it’s not out in softcover yet).  He then read it overnight the night we left Vancouver and left it in our room along with the other books photographed which we’d finished with.

I’ve had more reading time this year than during most of the last ten years when I’ve been combining rural general practice with heavy on call commitment with parenting little kids and often studying for post graduate qualifications, which has meant most of my books have been rather dry medical tomes.  Unlike all the other house officers in my first year of medicine I was parenting a teeny prem baby and so was even more sleep deprived than the average new doctor and never quite fitted in reading “House of God” the 30 year old American story of the intern year of medicine.

It’s a pretty macabre book, but doctors can develop fairly warped senses of humour and I certainly recognised many of my colleagues in this book.  The list of medical specialties graded by lack of interaction with the actual patient was hysterical.  I happen to prefer the kind of medicine where one does know one’s patients but I may still need to copy the list to refer to on challenging days in general practice!

I also read the “Life of Pi” which linked into our travel quite well as Pi explores three major religions: Christianity, Hindu and Islam and we have spent time in countries shaped by each and all of these this year.

I also have my suspicions that surviving and even thriving after six months on the world highway with 3 kids may be almost as much of an odyssey as surviving alone in a liferaft with a Bengal tiger….

Vancouver Aquarium


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We went to the animal orphanage and saw some cheetah cubs we asked our guide if we could go in with them and he said that we could go in with some of the older ones.  When we went in the enclosure they barked because cheetahs only bark or purr.   They felt soft and cuddly.  Florence touched one once and the screamed and then cuddled in to mum very tight.  When we were back outside the cheetahs thought that Florence was lunch and they ran up and down the fence beside her.  They did it to me and Emmett as well and then someone videoed me doing it.

Cheetah Encounter

Before that we went to the Nairobi museum and asked someone where the Joy Adamson display was but they said that it was closed because some people were building where the display used to be.  Me and Anna were angry because it was the only reason that we wanted to come to the museum.

After the cheetahs we went to giraffe manor and we fed the giraffes.  Someone showed me how to make them kiss me.  You get a long piece of giraffe food and put it between your lips then they lick it out and it looks like they are kissing you.   Then we went to see Kibo

Kibo is the Elephant that we are sponsoring.  We saw a black rhino while we were waiting for Kibo to come home from playing in the mud.  Kibo was really cute and he reached his truck up to Flo while she was looking away and she screamed.  Kibo was about as tall as Emmett.  He looked muddy and felt scratchy when you touched him.

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Well, I’m next in line for the bath but had the others!  A long day on the bus to Nairobi today, but staying in a lovely Guesthouse that has all the essentials and rustled up a lovely meal of pasta and rich tomato sauce for us along with lots of vegetables!  Just what we needed!

The children were very sad to say goodbye to their calves this morning (sorry Norah, we couldn’t pull off special delivery to NZ plus the calves are boys and I’d want a milking cow…).  It’s been interesting that we have all really enjoyed our time in Kenya, the farm was a really lovely relaxed place to stay.  Under other circumstances, having the camera stolen and money taken from our room would be enough to put us off an experience, but we still left with lots of happy memories and the boys were asking when we could come back before we’d bumped our way down the dirt track to the main road (after they raced back to get Leah’s handbag – still hanging in our room…).

I found the mobile medical clinics really rewarding and interesting.  The typical presentation was someone who, when asked what I could help with, would begin by holding the head, then clutching the lower back, before grabbing the elbows, then the knees, then the chest.  I barely needed the translator to say, “Headache, backache, joint pains and cough”.  These are the long term outcome of farming, drinking next to no water during long hot days and cooking over an open fire with no chimney indoors.  We also treated lots of malaria and typhoid and other exotic tropical things.  When I can find a decent internet connection I’ll have to post some photos of one of my unfortunate colleagues feet – he experienced “Jiggers” or pig fleas first hand, these wee creatures burrow into the skin around the nails and produce lots of eggs and then larvae, we just thought we had a nail infection till the locals showed us the wee worms under the skin!!!!

Kenya reminds me of New Zealand because it is very green with lots of mountains and hills.  There has been mass deforestation here over the last 50 years which is threatening lives and livelihood as well as the fantastic wildlife.  Living rurally without running water and with minimal electricity – only a couple of hours each night when the generator was running – has really informed my desire to live a simple life.  I want a simple life WITH the good parts of modern technology.  I now know first hand how hard it is to pump and carry large quantities of water for a family of 5 and how grubby a room gets with no paving outside, unglazed windows and 5 muddy footed people coming in and out all day.  Part of coming to Cambodia and Kenya to volunteer was to see if we could manage to do something similar for a longer period – say 6 months – with three kids in tow.  The kids love it, but Leah and I realise we’d need to be able to cook for our own family to survive more than a few weeks and we’d be choosing which organisation to give our time to very carefully, the mobile clinics were very interesting but rather a sticking plaster solution and I’d prefer to be part of something with a more permanent effect f I returned for longer.  It’ll be a few years before we’ll be ready to up sticks again for more travel after this big adventure anyways – we miss our home and garden and most of all our extended family and friends in NZ!

Tomorrow is a big day, seeing as many of Nairobi’s attractions as we can.  Hopefully Bede will manage to update you afterwards – he’s listened to Born Free on his ipod today in preparation for the Joy Adamson exhibition at the Museum.  We fly to London late tomorrow night – I’ve been carefully planning the underground route to our hotel with 3 kids and 6 bags – apparently they’ve never permanently lost a child on the underground so we should be fine!

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Over the equator


We went over the equator yesterday twice in fact and it was only about 20 degrees Celsius and I thought the equator was supposed to be hot.   |-) We had Indian for afternoon tea not the people the food  I got mattar paneer.

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no post tonight!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  O and I had a hot shower 🙂 |) <sleepy

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Only 3 days untill hot showers and Flo got  squeaking shoes from the Kabula market when she went with her friends she goes squeak squeak squeak. I cant write any more bye (I am to tired) 🙂

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We went to town and brought some ice blocks while we did this Leah went to the police station to report the camera missing so we could claim insurance.  When we got home mum discovered that someone had taken $41  from our room.  I think that it could be the person  whose room is next to ours because someone got $100 stolen and a few days later the person who I think it might be wanted someone to change $100 into Kenyan Shillings.  If  they are guilty they might be trying to make friends with Leah so she will try to defend them but it probably is not them because they stole some of our money and in my opinion that would me a bad step on the path to friendship.

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