Tag Archives: linkedin

Some things are worth sticking around for!

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Those of you who have been reading my blog since day dot will have been through all my life drama with me, all the James stuff, all the Kenya excitement and even my little mini breakdown around Easter….how many of you remember my post about a new craze running through Twitter? You know that hash tag….what was it? Oh yea….#rugbyunited. Back then it seemed like a phase that would eventually fade away.

It didn’t!

In fact it has now been going strong and steadily gaining influence over my entire twitter feed for the past 27 weeks!

Now, in my last post about #rugbyunited I spoke about how the idea was flawed. The ethos was I’ll follow you and you have to follow me back or I’ll get cross with you. This didn’t wash with me. I do not use twitter to follow people I don’t engage with. I use it for news, work and more recently to raise awareness of my charity stuff. you can read my views on the whole thing in THIS post)

I have to say however that what started off as a bit of a fad has blossomed into something truly great. Not only had it gained me some great friends some of which have offered better advice than anyone else I know.  I am naming no names here, they know who they are.  I have watched as #rugbyqa has developed, a predictions game has started (#rugbyrekon), and now, the first ever rugby united charity fixture has been arranged!  They even have staff in Ireland and South Africa!!

Rugby united has come a long way from the days of being too easily comparable to #teamfollowback and that is through the tireless work of Trevor Large and his team, of which I am now officially a part and will be heading up the first ever #RugbyUnited game on the North West.  (Dates to be confirmed as soon as the venue is definite, Caldy is looking likely so please, if you know someone there put us in touch!!!)

Not only has Trev managed to unite fans across the world who share a common interest in an awesome sport, he has managed to get players engaging even more with their fans. The q&a sessions have had everyone from Glaws fave @Eliota_Sapolu to one of my childhood heroes Will Carling, and a current love Mark Cueto.  I know that Lisa Wadey has even more famous names up her sleeve and will be bringing them to the Q&A session soon.

I would like to thank Trev for everything he has done for the world of rugby, and for me personally. You have, possibly without knowing, introduced me to some amazing people all of whom have had a massive impact on the way my life over the past 6 months has panned out!  Now, can you please start making some serious cash from RU and give me a job?

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This is Not the End Only the Beginning!

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Day 14

So it is my last day at school and I can’t even begin to explain how sad I am to leave.  writing this (both at the time and now I am typing it) is bringing a tear to my eye.

I arrived at the school a little later than planned.  Having being woken at 4am by Anna who forgot the key and was then her usual inconsiderate self with her loud voice waking us all up.  (There is no baby by the way, false labour.  Contractions have stopped!)  I was then late getting up, and somehow managed to forget my water so needed to go back!!

When I finally did arrive I got the best welcome I could have ever imagined.  You know those films you see on Comic relief…kids running up to the celebrity visitor…THAT!!! about 6 of my kids ran up to me and just threw themselves at me.  I was right outside the directors office as well but didn’t think he saw.  He did, and mentioned it when I was leaving stating you can see the positive impact I have had here at Shikamana just by the greeting I received that morning.

Today I think a few of the kids realised something was up.  Teacher Gemma was sad, but I don’t think they all knew why.  Little Ruwa was definitely sensing the sadness in the air.

I spent most of the day with the kids climbing all over me, giving me cuddles and asking to have their picture taken.  I also added a final poster to my collection.  I really don’t think I will ever make it as an artist!

 

Madam Mariam did explain to the children that I would not be coming back on Monday and some of them were saying (in Swahili so I am going from Mariam’s translation)that they did not want me to leave.  Little did they know that I didn’t want to go!  I was also told that when asked who their teacher was they said Teacher Gemma which is really, really cute.

A few rounds of Wheels on the Bus, Heads Shoulders Knees & Toes and Paka Paka Paka (which means cat cat cat) later and it was nap time. I used this time wisely – finishing off my picture above with Siti, spend a bit of time with the staff and other classes before my last day drew to a close.  I have to be honest I was holding back the tears.

Lunch time was on major delay today,  I really hope it was not my attempt to help:

Ugali is NOT easy to mix!

I spent the afternoon and most of lunch time with my little soldier attached to my hip and just hanging out with the kids, taking pictures, doing some last minute bonding.  I really didn’t want to say goodbye so I took every chance to hang out with my little angels! This is why I love them all:

 

Despite their earlier nap some of the children still managed to fall asleep after lunch.  So off I went to a CRE lesson where the teacher didn’t seem to accept I was a practising Christian.  Slightly strange but interesting all the same.

Actually, I have totally missed a section of the day! Whilst we were waiting for lunch to be ready the kids had a mass colouring session. Big Saidi was super cute with this…every picture he coloured he would come and show me, looking for approval.  They also had a little bit of a mad hour which was kind of funny.

 

As the day drew to a close, I made my way to my class, tears in my eyes camera in hand ready to snap away.  The pics below show how sad I was to leave.  This SUCKED!!

The plan was for a group shot…but the children didn’t realise exactly how this should work and all wanted to be next to the camera as usual!  eventually we got it right and although they are all looking in different directions and at different things…here is (most) of my class in 3 photos I will treasure forever!

I said my teary goodbyes to them all as they left for the day and walked to Jackson’s office unable to really see where I was going!  I wasn’t the only one who was emotional, Jackson & Mariam were too.

As a thank you for the work I had done (which felt like nothing to be honest) they gave me a stunning ostrich egg decorated with Maasai beads.  It apparently brings good luck so will be hanging in my room if it clears customs. (It did, and I look at it every day)

And that was it.  A quick exchange of contact info, a promise to stay in touch, some pictures and I was gone.  Not even sun glasses could hide the tears!

Madame Mariam

Pst Jackson & Madame Eunice

There is no way I can leave this place and not come back.  It has been one of, if not the best experience of my life!

The children, despite their poverty are so happy (well, except when they fall over, stub their toe, etc)  They are full of love, no matter of race or religion.  They want to learn despite the lack of resources, I have seen 6 pupils share 1 book.  And the teachers continue to give the best education they can to these children in order to better equip them for their future.

I have sworn to do all I can to help Shikamana.  As soon as I get home I will be looking into setting up a fund for the school.  Now that seems insane right now but I can not sit back in England and go ah yea, Kenya was cool, nice place, would go back there! It will take a lot of work, and require a lot of support from friends and family.

if from reading these posts you feel moved at all, please check out the other areas of my blog (how you can help…) drop me a message, tweet me, or just comment below and I will happily give you more info.

So, bye for now… Next post my last night/day in Kenya 😦

Gem

 

“Twa Mpenda Teacher Na Wetu”

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Day 13

Only 2 days left 😦

I am amazed at how in such a short time I have managed to feel so connected to a town.

Ukunda is so vibrant and busy.  I think there are currently 4 wazungu here so everywhere I go I meet people who have seen me around town or even met me on a matatu!

The kids of KG1 were told that tomorrow is my last day.  I am not sure that they all understood, but some of their faces definitely showed they did and were not happy!  I was then treated to a rendition of this:

The basic translation is something along the lines of “we love our teacher with our beating hearts” needless to say I burst into tears!

And today we got to see how much they had learnt since I have arrived.  When I got here, most could count to five but not write.  Now they can all count up to at least 10, write up to number 6 and write letters a-d! I was so so proud of them.  They were also learning to say “my name is________ and I am a girl/boy.”  Which, in case you were wondering is “Jina langu ni Gemma, na mimi ni msichana” in Swahili, yes I learnt this, I am pretty proud of myself!

Both Madam Mariam and I were so happy, there was lots of “well done well done a very good class.  Try it another day.  Thank you Thank you, very much” which is sung to a tune and clapped along to as a ‘congratulations’ when someone has done something well.  all about positive reinforcement!

I had my Kikoy in my bag today and was showing Mariam who suggested i put it on, great idea as it appeared to entertain the children! I walked to meet them for outdoor play and was met with lots of singing and giggling from them all.  They thought it was hilarious that I would dress in one! I only had it wrapped round my waist but it brought a smile to their faces and that in turn made me smile!

I am a little worried about what will happen when I leave.  Some of the children have become very attached to me (and me to them) Macdonald has some serious attachment issues which I have already briefly mentioned but it has now got to the point when he will only calm down after being separated from his siblings when he is sitting with me.  Mariam simply does not have the time to soothe him so I can see tantrums coming next week.

I spent some of my day just taking pictures of the kids while they were playing, I just cannot get enough of these kids and their cuteness! So I can share them with you guys as usual!

Little Sebasitan being cute...

Shee pulling his hamster face again!

I love these boys!

Mbwana complete with his runny nose!

Little Saidi learning numbers!

Friends for life?

My little soldier

Shee is a little in love with the camera, he always seems to be there!

"Siti Baker" and her cousin! Siti could never be called just Siti, it was always her full name!!

Saidi with his finger up his nose...nothing new there!

Little Siti Baker had a bit of an accident today, it was horrible! One of the boys tripped her up (unintentionally) and she went face first into the floor, the tiled floor!  I felt so sorry for her, she hit her mouth and nose which I am sure you will agree hurts! The only thing I could do was give her some water (which was tepid, and kinda salty) and pop a little bit of Bonjela on the little cut in her mouth! oh and give her a cuddle!

Now continuing my refusal to spend any unnecessary time with Ana and both Carla’s and my need to be away from the controlling attitude of Daniel we headed from our after work beach spot (which yet again had no beach) to a local Ukunda bar (which I am sure would NOT have been approved by Daniel) But it got us out of the house and into some more local culture.  A culture I want to spend more time in (and will when I head back!)  It was so chilled out and was really nice to spend some time with Juma and a friend of his too.

That is all for today, I have to sleep in prep for tomorrows emotional day!

Ok, after I said that was it, we get a rushed and chaotic Ana come into the bedroom saying “I have to go to hospital Nanis is in labour”.  As a none family member, a vet, and knowing Nanis for a matter of days, she was the OBVIOUS choice for birthing partner!
Carla is a nurse, and I am the daughter of a midwife who took great joy in knowing details of her mothers work so I would say between us we know enough about the early stages of labour to try & speak with Nanis about needing the hospital!  None of us wanted her to go all that way only to be told to come home again!  But Mama (Daniels mum) had checked her out and in her opinion the baby was coming NOW.  So off they went to hospital, Nanis, Daniel, Mama, Kazungu and Ana, who (and this is not just my opinion) should not have been anywhere near it!

Baby update to come tomorrow.

Gems

  • Kikoy (kangaworld.wordpress.com)