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Archive for the ‘Volunteering’ Category

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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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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we went to make walls with mud at a school and on the way there Anna said she had left her hat at home so I went to get it but luckily it wasn’t very far across the sugar cane fields.  Then we went to the main road and caught a matatu to Harumbe, on the way there somebody stole our new camera, Anna felt it but thought it was Emmett pulling the camera strap.  Then we got off and we realised that the camera was gone we asked everybody if they had seen the person who got out, we got the person sitting next to Anna, but it was the person sitting next to Leah that was leaning forward who took the camera.  We said that there would be a big reward in money for the person who found the camera, we gave someone our phone number to tell us if they found it.

Then we went to the school to do the mudding.  They had a fishpond there and me and Emmett played around it, Emmett pushed me in.  At the end the kids got me some sugarcane, you peel off the outside skin stuff and chew the inside, the juice is the bit that tastes the sweetest.

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When we got off the plane in Nairobi we went to a place and stayed there the night.  Anna was angry because it wasn’t the place we were going to go to and it cost twice as much.  In the morning we went in a car to the bus station, Emmett wasn’t feeling very well, I think he was homesick and missing his grandparents.  The bus trip was 9 hours long, not very long for our terms since we did the 18 hour Perth – Ceduna trip, but it felt almost as long as the Perth trip because it was very hot and I was busting most of the way!

I have admit the sight was amazing out in the country, the houses were alot like  in Cambodia, but they were built with metal roofs and mud.  When we got to where we were staying, somebody came and picked us up in a van, the place we were staying was pretty amazing.  It had lots of cows and sheep and things like that.  They even have sugar cane.  The people who own the place, their family own around 25 acres of land from a tree that is 1/2 dead and 1/2 alive, down to a river a long way away.  Me and Emmett got to use machetes.

There are these two calves that me and Emmett have made good friends of.

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Kabula, Kenya

We’ve had four days of travel this week, back from our safari, then flying to Johannesburg and staying overnight, on to Nairobi for a night, then a 9 hour bus trip to Bungoma and on to Kabula, where we are staying for just under 3 weeks.  I’ll be doing some mobile medical clinics and the boys will attend the local school while Leah helps out.

Our night in Nairobi was less than ideal, arriving late at night to find that the place we’d booked had pushed us on to another guest house as they were full (we booked months ago), to a place where we were charged twice as much for a grubby room and no hot water or flushing toilet.  Given that we’d traveled for 3 days before that and we are now staying on a farm with no running water at all, we’d been planning a good shower so were quite disappointed!  The bus trip was extremely bumpy on a pot-holed road, but had seatbelts to my surprise – once we started going I decided it was to keep us in the seats on the bumps more than anything!

So far, washing under hot water heated on the fire and poured on oneself has been OK – haven’t really got the kids clean yet – that’s tomorrow’s task!  The farm is just the right place for the kids to be after a week of places where they were constantly told not to go close to the water or the cliff face or the animals!  Here there are friendly cattle so the boys led the calves out this morning and tied them to their trees (Emmett moved his calf about 15 times to “better” spots), there is lots of space, trees to climb and kids to play with!  Florence has developed a fan club of other pre-schoolers who like avocado and passionfruit as much as she does.

There are 17 other volunteers staying at the farm currently, about half teacher trainees and half medical students, with one other qualified doctor.  This meant we got bumped out of our planned thatched hut here and into one room of another less quaint outbuilding.  But it comes with a single electric bulb that runs when the generator does (7-10pm if there’s petrol and it’s not broken) and a single powerpoint so we can charge all our electronics if the generator is on too.  These were not part of the deal on the quaint hut so I think we’ll survive the change.  Everyone is enjoying the children and going out of their way to help us with them, which is really lovely!

We are quite close to Kakamega Forest and so may take a 3 day weekend to explore there but will mostly just see how we settle in here this next week.

Can’t upload photos just now so will post this anyways and try another time!

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We went to the land mine museum it was so cool it had biographies of war survivors and a fake land mine field.  The founder of the land mine museum and his friends got guns when they were 10.

We now have like 40 movies because mum found a video shop with movies for $2 and a buy 5 get1 free.  The movie we are watching today is tom and jerry it has 80 shows in one and we are watching all of it.  We also got Eragon and Curious George (for Florence).

I have lots of friends at Knar  school because I am teaching there with Leah.

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