Sunday, 21 August 2016

Fish and feeding!

Another action packed day here in Kenya with lots of wonderful memories stored up for the future.
This morning Will, Frances, Ronnie and I went out on a glass bottom boat. We decided to go with the Severin hotel diving team, Barracuda, and we were so glad that we made this decision. The equipment was top class and they looked after us so well. 
The trip began with a very long walk through the water and along sandbars to reach the boat. The tide was out, the water pleasantly warm and never got much above knee depth, but it was a good workout and beat aqua aerobics any day!

Once we reached the boat

we sped off for 15 minutes towards the reef,

where the fish were attracted by bread and we watched them through the bottom of the boat.

 Then we slid into the ocean. I have only snorkelled once before and it took me a little while to get the hang of it, but once I remembered not to breathe out through my nose (it made the mask steam up) and took off my flippers, it was wonderful. I was directed over the reef (which was so close to the surface that at one point I scraped my knee on it) and saw the most amazing fish.  I identified Angel fish, zebra  fish and a puffer fish as well as many other species I did not recognise. Many of them were huge. It was wonderful to see them darting in and out of the coral. I just wish I had taken a waterproof camera to photograph them!
When the others had returned to the boat I was still in the water, and was able to feed the fish myself. I held bread and they came and ate from my hand. Magical.
Then we rode a little further out and came to the part of the reef which is dead and forms a barrier to the main ocean. Here I was transported back to childhood rockpooling as we wandered across, peering into pools and identifying amazing things. We saw numerous sea urchins - both small and large, some with ferocious looking spikes. We handled starfish which looked like plastic toys - grey and bright red. The sea spiders were fascinating; the sea cucumbers slightly disturbing! We saw cowrie shells which had inhabitants, crabs and sea anemones. One sight which took my breath away was a clam, buried in the rock, which closed up when the water was disturbed - I was warned not to put my fingers too close! It was a wonderful experience.

After returning to the hotel for a quick shower and change of clothes, it was time to head off for Feed500. Debbie and Paul picked us up in the van. The usual mass of children was awaiting our arrival. Today I handed plates to the servers which was a moving experience. For the third week in a row there was enough food for children to have second helpings, which were enthusiastically received. 

The maize was handed out. Because some children who were due to receive maize were not present, Festus had the unenviable task of choosing 16 extra children from those who remained to receive food. 

We then headed over to Casuarina House; I chose to walk with Jess through the village rather than go in the van. However, the route we had used previously had been fenced off - but Jess and I found a gap in the fence and crawled through, much to the amusement of the locals!

Back at the house, the children sang to us - and we to them; a rendition of Swing Low Sweet Chariot. This was greeted with enthusiastic applause; apparently it was the first time visitors had ever sung  to the children.

Sue took five of the children off to have a keyboard lesson. Will took photos of all of the children and staff  to update the charity website. Phil walked with Jess to Noah's Ark to pick up some paperwork for the ladies' SACCO application. I got a photo of all of the children with the sewing machine I bought for them all. All those at Casuarina House were really enthusiastic about the machine, and it wasn't long before some of the children were trying to use it. I had a go as well, and managed to get the hang of using a treadle, which gave me great satisfaction.

We finished off the bags which Mariam, Jess and Tina had started. Monica was missing some of her fabric so I have undertaken to find it for her at Noah's Ark and help her to finish her bag on what may be my final visit this trip to Casuarina House on Wednesday. 

I spoke to Festus and arranged for him to order the charcoal for those women who requested it. He also translated a message which I will text to them, to tell them where and when they can collect it.

It was then time to return to Severin. I intended to get a lift to Nakumatt to withdraw more charity money but was just too tired and instead spent a pleasant time relaxing before dinner. Tiredness is catching up with me at this stage of my time here, and I recognise the need to relax - but also to finish off all the things I have set in motion

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