Month: November 2013
This morning I went out with Ed on some home visits. Why do little girls like my hat?
Faith and Teddy
Faith and George
A long walk took us to Utange. This lady, rejected by her family after her husband and children died, is making baskets out of old plastic bags. They’re surprisingly strong and stretchy.
Outside her house.
We then went to Barnabas Mission Center, a school and orphanage, which is nearby.
They raise broilers
The girls’ house.
A guest on the roof.
We then met Joe with Jacob, Meld and Maggy and drive to Mtwapa where we met Daniel and went to lunch at Cobba Cobana. There were cats around
Relaxing before the meal
Meld cools her feet
A fisherman cleaning fish
Meld at the bar
After a shopping stop, we returned home to find several youngsters who are starting KCPE exams tomorrow here to pray with Joe. And to share Chai.
A couple of panoramas at the beach (click to view full size}
This was the point at which I got an e-mail from my dear friend Ann at CiC,who seems to wish she was with us!
After the long day yesterday, we decided to go to 10am Mass in Shanzu (the third of 3 back-to-back Masses). Although we were there on time, the previous Mass overran so we were maybe 20 minutes late starting. Pwani time!
As ever, there were liturgical dancers who danced at ever opportunity.
The church is massive, there were several hundred people there.
The mass itself took 2.5 hours or more (including notices of at least 30 minutes), after which we retired to the pub!
We walked back to Majaoni for a quiet afternoon, then we were joined by Joe’s brothers Martin and Samuel, and 3 nephews. Martin would get us coconut to drink….
When the others had left, Meld and Maggy set to in the kitchen – our first attempt at cooking here – which was successful (lentils being a change from the regular food here).
Then we set up the laptop for a “Majaoni Cinemax” evening, watching the end of Bride and Prejudice (which Maggy missed the other day) and then The Constant Gardener. The latter is one of my favourites, and it was interesting to watch in the company of Kenyans (who seemed to recognise their country, rather than dispute the representation thereof, which is maybe a bit worrying!)
Today we had an early start to get to Giriama for a “Deanery Mass” for the 6 parishes in the Deanery (or maybe 2 deaneries!). After breakfast at Kikambala we drove over Vipingo Ridge and eventually joined the new road being constructed from Kilifi to Mariakani. This lorry had somehow fallen off the diversion alongside the new road, into the construction site.
The new road will cut journey times and keep a lot of traffic heading from north cost to Nairobi out of Mombasa.
At Giriama we had a second breakfast (liver and chapatis) before heading downhill to the start of the procession. OK, I found a spot on the hillside and stopped to take photos.
The procession starts to climb back to the church.
There were lots of people processing (and many more waiting at the top)
The clergy reach the altar.
There followed quite a long delay whilst benches were brought from the church and everyone was seated (although not all on seats, some on the ground)
The service started with the Liturgical Dancers, various groups from different parishes.
One of the priests plays kiamba with vigour – leaping in the air.
As part of the service, many couple who were not married but living together were formally married.
The couples making their wedding vows.
Celebrations as they return to their places.
After Mass (all 3 hours or more!) and lunch, Meld and I took a stroll around the school, where a new gateway was under construction.
Fr Joe and his friend
And then, another bumpy ride home, back to Majaoni for supper and bed!
Here are some of the children from Standard 3, Fumathoka school, who I taught today! Wrote with chalk on a blackboard; amazing how you don’t forget how to do it. After a talk about my family I asked them to write a bit about their own families. Corrected some punctuation and gave them all smiley faces. The children ranged in age from 8 to 11; they only go to the next class if they pass their exams.
This photo was taken just before the end of the day. Can you spot their teacher Rebecca?
The children are very happy because they have 4 days holiday while the standard 8 children take their National exams. Back to school next Friday!
This is their teacher Rebecca, marking their exam papers from earlier in the week.
She has been teaching these children for three years but will be going back to standard 1 next year to start again.
No, we’ve not swum across the Indian Ocean and trekked across the subcontinent: Bangladesh is a slum on the western outskirts of Mombasa, and I accompanied Edu on a visit to meet the Community Health Worker (CHW) and to make some home visits with her.
We first headed to Tudor, an area of Mombasa, where at Tulia Africa we picked up an intern, Christine, who would accompany us.
2 more matatu rides and we were there. We met the CHW, Rose, who took us through the slum to our first visit. This widowed lady lives with 3 kids in this rough house the size of our garden shed. Their beds are rough sacks which are laid on the floor at night. She makes a little money by bringing vegetables from the market at Kongowea (north of Mombasa) and selling them here, but they only get 2 meal a day at most.
The location, on the side of a hill overlooking the creek, is attractive.
Rose, the CHW, at another home.
Living room, bedroom, everything.
Walking through the village
Another visit: granny and grandson. Slightly bigger, but more children live here.
Anywhere else this building would have been fenced off, but the goats were still in the undercroft and I guess the people weren’t far away.
Another visit, a sick lady.
The catholic church / school / dispensary: most poeple get their drugs and healthcare here.
The middle of the village, a vast open space where the school kids were playing football.
Next visit: Granny (left) and widowed mum with 2 kids of her own, plus 6 orphaned kids of her sister.
Granny making Chang’aa, an illicit brew
Mum and toddler
Mattresses (just about) airing on the roof.
Mentally disabled and HIV+, Pauline loved my hat (and tried to eat it)
Ed was upset by the running drains through the village. There’s minimal sanitation, people either use a toilet at the school or the “flying toilets” down by the creek.
To get to our next visit we had to walk along the railway. The absence of clips on some sleepers was a little disconcerting (others were noticeably loose).
Rubbish dump across the tracks.
Christine, Edu and a baby (the lady we were due to visit had gone to hospital)
Not just a view of the railway for Julian: more improtanly, a young boy picking through the previously pictured rubbish.
We met the Assistant Chief. She was a feisty woman, and well intentioned, but we were somewhat alarmed by her attitude that the slum dwellers were all squatters and they should return to their homes – sounded too much like UKIP for my taste!
We addressed a women’s group meeting before we headed home.
On our way back from Nguuni we called in to see Eunice and baby Tina. Nick shares a picture.
Maggy’s turn to be mum!
Today we went to Nguuni Nature Sanctuary near Bamburi, the trip we’d postponed because of rain yesterday.
It had rained heavily overnight, but we were optimistic.
There were pretty little flowers.
But the overnight rain had made the path treacherous.
Imelda was regretting her choice of flip flops 🙁
The reward was a close encounter with twiga (giraffes). On the basis that you can’t have too many giraffe pictures (Katherine, Wendy) here we go. Sadly the rain returned and the distant giraffes were a bit shrouded in mist.
A little wagtail – one of the few birds braving the rain.
Sitting by the lake
with this view
The lake house
Nick felt the need for a crown of thorns
A little hedgehog on the path.
Community Light Programme (CLP), founded by Edu Pondah and TJ from the USA, aims to improve the lot of HIV+ people and their dependants around Shanzu. They take a multi-front approach, through support, education and empowerment.
When I visited in April 2013, CLP was based in the old Bush Bar club in Shanzu, a ramshackle collection of buildings with space to house the office, posho mill (to grind maize), handicraft workshops, rabbit rearing, small-scale vegetable growing, etc. They had a borehole and electricity, which enabled them to pump water to irrigate the 3 acres of land across the road which has been loaned by Shimo La Tewa prison.
Sadly, the owner of the Bush Bar has reneged on the agreement (rumour is that he was squeezed for cash, and his bankers want him to realise the value of the property). CLP are squeezed into a single store room, and the power is off. Although the project continues, its activities are dispersed, and some suspended.
But it’s not all doom and gloom: Bamburi Cement have agreed to drill a borehole across the road (on the prison land that CLP use), which will allow them to pump water for irrigation again, and resume cultivation of the land. Some buildings will be erected to house CLP on that land too.
Meanwhile, CLP’s support for the community continues, with kids in school and so on.
But Edu told us of some challenges they face:
- It’s important for the clients to take their medication regularly, and to attend hospital appointments, but timekeeping is a problem. A company donated some watches with alarms that could be used as reminders, but it’s too tempting for the clients to sell the watches for some ready cash!
- Sponsoring children through school is important, but there’s a risk that the parents simply assume the kids will be taken care of, abdicating responsibility for their wellbeing.
Life’s never simple! But Edu and his team keep smiling and doing their best to help those in need around them.
We had to take care round the puddles.
In Shanzu, Joyce was doing the washing – a toddler in these conditions gets through a lot of clothes!
Edu,Nick and Gloria took us round CLP.
We paused at a shop selling an array from cereals and pulses.
And animal feed
At the nearby school we were welcomed by John, a teacher and part of CLP
In one of the classrooms
Little ones taking a siesta
The school compound
Playing skipping games
We went into town, parking at the Cathedral, with lunch at Tarboush.
We spent the late afternoon at the home of Samuel, Joe’s brother, chatting with his family. Granddaughter Naomi
Naomi’s mum, Tina
Me with Gloria and Naomi
Gloari with her mum, Joyce.
Selina Bahati, wife of Martin, maker of the bags featured a couple of days ago.
With Edu – at last we meet again!
Follow this link anfd watch the video: http://www.ted.com/talks/mitchell_besser_mothers_helping_mothers_fight_hiv.html
Today we eventually met with Edu who runs the Community Light Programme in Shanzu. He told us a bit about the programme, about the work that they do, the challenges they face, and he showed us this video.
I could say more, but Mitchell Besser says it better. Please watch the video – this is what CLP is trying to do locally.
I’m sure you’ll hear more of CLP in coming days.
We had a quiet morning at home, during which Shariff found the puppies of one of the dogs, and moved them close to the house.(Meld then bought dog food for the mum – an expensive luxury!)
Late morning we went next door to visit the school where Meld will help, and met the headteacher Mr Muli.
After an exciting trip to Tusky’s for food shopping and lunch with Joe, we visited Joe’s brother Samuel’s house in Shanzu. Joe’s niece Mary holds great-niece Gloria (they are 1st cousins once removed – the two brothers, their children and grandchildren were all around!)
Selina Bahati, the wife of another brother (Martin) makes bags to sell. Maggy loved the change to model them!
Martin models a “man bag”
Maggy with two more ladies’s bags.
The laptop bag is awesome (this is mine!) modelled by Jacob. (About £7 each)
If you fancy a bag, place your orders!
Walking back to the house, the sun hd set and the stars were emerging.
At 13 months, Gloria wants to be a photographer!
- Don’t forget that you can comment – we like feedback!
- We’ve added a page of Maps, showing where we’ve been each day.
- Click on pictures to see them enlarged- especially the panoramas!
After lunch with Joe and his brothers, we walked down to Sun’n’Sand Hotel, which has some amazing fan palms.
Through the hotel towards the beach, the pool looks inviting.
But we were heading for North Coast. Daniel (one of the Kikambala youth). His cousin Gillian and her niece Natasha met us at North Coast.
Maggy and Natasha enjoy the water.
Meld is amused by Aid’s attempts to teach Maggy to swim.
Swimming lessons continue
So what about the eclipse? It was due to happen close to sunset, and we were sitting on the east cost and the sun sets in the west, so if anything was visible we didn’t see it!
And so, back to the church, then to Majaoni for supper and bed.
They have a new church which is only partly constructed, made weather proof with tarpaulins. From our perspective, it meant a welcome flow of fresh air.
The singing was accompanied by drums and other percussion only, and sounded great.
A gift for Father Joe was brought up – but not opened, so we don’t know what it was!
Joe blesses the gift.
Outside the church as people chat or disperse.
Meld talks to a local teacher
We could have gone with Joe to another outstation for another Mass, but Joe decided we should rest at Boko Boko, where we drank juice (Tamarind, Lemon and Passion) and wrote up the blog. It’s a hard life!
After a brief rest at Kikambala Church, we walked down to the beach again, this time Milk the Bottle Bar further north from Sun’n’Sand and North Coast, for a late afternoon swim. Maggy needed some encouragement (it’s OK, I didn’t drop her in).
A local kid helps to bury Jacob in the sand.
Sadly we discovered this beach has rock close in which was excruciating to walk on, so we just floated for a while. The sun was going down.
Back at the church, the house roof was nearly finished.
Sun setting behind the church.
So, does lunch really deserve its own post? At Boko Boko Seychelles Restaurant it does! A wonderful ambience, tremendous welcome, delicious food, and interesting company…
Maggy and Panda (the dog)
One of 3 giant tortoises – they sit in the pools to keep cool.
Tickle me under the chin mama!
What do you mean, phone home?
Back in the restaurant for coffee before we take a matatu to Kikambala.
Emmanuel likes the England kit!
Esther (Joe’s sister-in-law) with her children and nephew.
Walking to David and Eunice’s house to see the new baby.
Hmm, I think I can remember what to do (but Meld commented that I never cooed over my own daughters).
Pretty baby (her mama enhanced the eyebrows!)
Mama and baby
On of the neighbours’ children, a pretty but very quiet girl.
After inspecting the works and enjoying a fine lunch, we were joined by Maggy and took a walk to the beach. On the way we passed a “family of three” baobab tree.
Walking the deserted beach.
First stop, 500m along the beach, is North Coast Beach Hotel, with its beach bar. Mango and passion juice all round.
Meld and I swam, the water has as hot as a bath, and from the water we saw two horses being ridden along the water’s edge. Mandatory photo for Bridget!
Relaxing after the swim.
Then we strolled back, passing the fragrant frangipan trees.
We were back in good time for All Saints’ Day mass, where Joe told his parishioners that the house had to be finished before we go home so that we can spend a night under it roof.
Friday 1st November (posted late because of network)
With the money that has been raised, including the money from the pilgrims, work has restarted, and the roof is well under way.
When the roof is on, the internal work can begin.
Fr Joe and Meld survey progress.
No one is quite sure why some of the roof panels have areas of colour on them, maybe it’s just modern art?