Saturday, 30 July 2016

Friday and Saturday week 1

Friday was a rest day for me, and a much needed one.  Debbie and Paul with two of their friends were spending the day at Severin, so I joined them and spent a day resting on the sunbeds and reading.  The evening was hard, and eating alone felt very odd.  I had an early night and, thankfully, caught up on the sleep I had missed on Thursday night's travels.

I woke on Friday morning to the realisation that my alarm had not gone off and so I had just ten minutes to get myself up and ready to meet Festus, the house dad from Casuarina House.  He had agreed to take me to do various errands in Mombasa as he was going there to do the weekly market shop. Amazingly I did manage it, and grabbed the packed lunch I had ordered as well!  Toby (one of the Casuarina children) was in the van as well - apparently he had saved pocket money to spend;
A stonking headache when I woke was a message to me that I needed to drink more throughout the day - not alcohol, but water - and so buying some was added to my list. I decided not to accompany Festus round the market as I had been warned the previous day that he ran round!  Instead I sat in the van and ate my breakfast and enjoyed watching what was going on around me.
 When Festus returned, we had to wait for Toby - who had purchased a fetching pink padded gilet and a zipped sweatshirt top - and for the vegetables to be brought to the van.  Once this was done we set off to pick up the solar lamps I had bought from Solar Aid in Nairobi.  In true Kenyan fashion these had been put on a bus in Nairobi to be transported to Mombasa.  Unfortunately the address I had been given for the office was actually the address for the depot rather than for the parcel office, so we set off again.  Mombasa traffic was heavy by this time and I was so glad I was not driving!  The rule seemed to be that if there was a space, anyone could drive into it.  It was interesting to see the range of vehicles on the road and I hope to gather photos of these for a later post.  The sight which really caught my eye was that of two or three men pulling and pushing large handcarts laden with goods - often purchased at the market.
The lamps were collected - I ventured into the parcel office alone and navigated this successfully, feeling quite proud of myself.  By dint of pushing and pulling we managed to get them into the minibus and I was very glad I had not tried to pick them up in a car, as they would not have fitted.  We then went to Nakumatt, a local upmarket supermarket in a shopping centre, where I was unsuccessful in getting a sim card.

Then to a chemist, where the malarone was overpriced and beyond what I had in my purse as I still had not changed my money.  Finally (I thought) to the exchange shop, where I got a good rate.  Then Festus pulled in to a garage, where I saw a chemist and went in to find that they did have Malarone - and it was cheaper than the price I had been asked at the previous chemist (which Debbie later said was trying to overcharge me!)  They also had water, so I got that as well.

From there we went to Casuarina House.  The children have grown and changed so much (not surprisingly since it has been nearly 6 years since I met them) and I struggled to recognise most of them.  I did recognise house mum Caroline, and she greeted me warmly.  After lunch we headed for the feeding programme.  I had been really looking forward to this as it was about to begin on my previous visit and I have heard so much about it.  500 children from the village are given a hot meal, cooked by ladies from the church, and 250 families are given a bag of maize flour to take home.
Getting the children who are entitled to have a meal into a line was a major operation in itself - but one which Jess, the current volunteer, took in her stride.

She and I then dished out the food, with the aid of two of the ladies from the Church.
Following the hot meal, children were given their bags of maize.  This was an even more difficult task, with Festus calling out the names of the children and some older boys giving out the maize.  Kadenge from Casuarina House turned up to help as well, but it was a major task to stop children who were not on the list from joining the line to pick up a bag of maize.
Having helped to support the feeding programme through my fundraising for so many years, it was good to see it in action.

After that Debbie took me back, calling in at Nakumatt as she needed to get some things.  This time I was able to buy the phone card and to get a large quantity of water as well.She dropped me off at the hotel where I have had a very refreshing swim.
The main task this evening is to add the phone numbers to my Kenya phone and send texts to various people.  We saw Florence, who has a group of ladies who meet to sew, on the way to Nakumatt and I have arranged to go over there on Monday to talk with them - and to drop off some of the solar lamps to give out to children at the school..  I have also met today two people who have ideas for businesses.  One is Jimmy's mother who would like to start a business selling charcoal and fire wood.  This is particularly attractive as she is a widow and her son Jimmy (who currently supports her) has been invited to join the interns programme at our church, Bromham Baptist. The second is actually a couple, Matthias and Sara, both of whom are disabled.  They have a well and would like a water tank so that they can sell water to people.
On Tuesday I have an open meeting time for ladies who wish to tell me about their business ideas, which I will be speaking about at one of the services at Utange Baptist Church tomorrow.  Things are starting to happen, and that is good and makes being out here easier; it reminds me of why I have come.


  1. Glad to hear everything is going well. Nice photos. Will be there myself in 5 weeks.

    1. Sounds good - where will you be? Shame I will not be here as well - would have been good to meet up!

  2. It sounds hard work but tremendously encouraging. It must feel odd being alone but it seems you are surrounded by good local people and we're doing the journey with you via your blog. It will be interesting to see what comes of your talk tomorrow at church. I hope there are many " takers". Keep drinking, resting and be kind to yourself. Looking forward to the next instalment xx

    1. Thank you so much Michelle. It means more than you can know to have people from home commenting!made more arrangements tonight, and a FaceTime call with Will this evening really helped to ease the evening blues.

  3. Lovely to hear you are having a successful time so far. Looking forward to joining you for dinner!!! Anything you need? X

  4. Really looking forward to having all of you here, Ronnie! I may need some more patterns but am waiting till I have had some meetings before I can be sure. If I do I will let you know and tell Will where to find them...!