Tag Archives: NHS

A familiar face…

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I really should apologise for my distinct lack of blogging activity recently.  Life is getting away with me right now, lots going on, a major update  in the whole James story (which I will let you all know soon) and a nasty little virus (which is currently being dubbed as malaria due to the NHS making me go get tested) that has swept through the entire house and making us all a little lazy!

Apologies over, here is my latest update, it is actually not that long:

Day 11

So my last week at school begins.  I am pretty sad about it to be honest as I have become very attached to my kids.  They are so cute.

I walked into the class and I have never seen children so excited.  They ran up to me, hugging me, saying “hello” or “jambo” or “how are you?”  It was so sweet.  What was funny, or strange I am not sure, was little Ruwa, who last week was my best friend, was in tears at my reappearance.  Then within about 5 minutes he was my best friend again.  Maybe he thought I was never coming back!?

I did a bit of teaching again today.  Well, it was only singing but I was still teaching them things (they found it hilarious, I am not sure if it was my voice or my attempt at teaching that amused them so much)

We were interrupted part way through the day by Ana and Laura doing their tour which actually worked really well.  My kids showed them how good they were at shakey shakey and the girls got to see how awesome my class are!  The children were also a little excitable again today, yet very very cute…I love showing you all pictures so check out some of these!

My little Ruwa and his Uncle Juma

Smiley happy faces all round but especially when you have lego!

Who wouldn't love this face?!

The ball in little Mbwana's hand was brand new this time last week....

How much of a little heart-breaker is little Issa at the back going to be?!

Little Stanley is always smiling!

Cheeky little Sebastian!

Yet again Ruwa fell asleep on me today (I really need to stop him doing that as it is far too hot) and actually, despite his initial tears, spent the majority of the day attached to my hip!

I headed to Nakumat to find some shoes for him and Juma (his uncle, not Carla’s boyfriend) but came up short so a trip to Ukunda market ensued and boy what an experience.   I didn’t really dare take pictures but I wish I had done!
Walking on my own as the only white person (never mind white woman) in the village (yes, I am aware of the “little Britain” thing here) was kind of daunting but I have learnt, from a very inspirational person in my life, to whom I am forever grateful, that there is no point being too scared to do something that you may regret missing out on.  Luckily, the first stall I spot was as shoe store!  I set myself up for ‘tourist prices’ and worked up the courage to start bartering (I am English, we are BAD at trying to make things cheaper) But, I didn’t need my bartering technique at all! The stall owner was really lovely and took a genuine interest as to why I was buying kids shoes!  I explained to him that I was working at Shikamana and 2 pairs were for 2 of the little boys in my class as they had no shoes and hardly enough money for clothes.  He charged me 100KSH a pair, that is less than £1.  I have however vowed to buy some proper shoes for Ruwa and his uncle when I get back to England.

I then ended up in the back streets of Ukunda Town, possibly not the best move in the world but REALLY interesting!  Lots of people, very small thin streets and what felt like hundreds of stalls selling everything from mattresses to mirrors, bags to batteries, anything you could think of, I am sure you would have found it in Ukunda!
I went to jump on a Matatu home and the conductor actually remembered me which was kind of funny, kind of freaky! He knew I was heading to Konamsa!
I got home in time to enjoy some time alone to chill out before the ‘Spanish Mama’s’ got home after one too many beers for my liking making them (well one of them) more obnoxious than usual!

Actually, I forgot to tell you all, I took bubbles in to school today and boy did they go down well.  Lots of shouting and cheering and general merriment! And not just from KG1, but from the older kids too! This needs to be added to anyone’s list when packing for Kenya (or for any volunteer placement working with children)  a bottle of bubbles is a sure-fire way to capture children’s attention!

That’s it for today!  More soon!

Gems

What a difference a shoe makes…

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What a difference a shoe makes…

Today I got ASKED where my next blog post was! This made me smile….so here it is!

 

Day 7

1 week gone already and I am so attached to the kids at Shikamana it is crazy!

When I walked in to the school today and was met by a round of “Jambo” everywhere I went, hand shakes from the staff and high fives from the kids (which HURT, they don’t realise its meant to be a gentle smack….full force)  It put such a smile on my face I felt I was making an impact on their day which was great.

I arrived pretty early today which meant I got to join in with a PPI lesson (don’t ask me what PPI stands for…its not Payment Protection Insurance) which was really interesting.  Seeing kids getting excited about God was cool and is something I will definitely be taking back to the UK for my kids church lessons.

KG1 were WILD today.

Running and jumping everywhere, climbing on tables, fighting and shouting.  My basic knowledge of Swahili just wasn’t enough.  There is only so many times you can say Kachini and be laughed at.  I was followed everywhere I went like the pied piper and I don’t know what ‘go back to class’ is and the kids don’t know enough English to understand me!  I was left alone quite a few times by the teacher today which was hard work but balloons helped.

One of the young boys, who comes from a very poor family stubbed his toe today.  Which, if you are wearing shoes hurts, but if like little Ruwa you can’t afford shoes it can result in a detached toe nail and lots of blood & pain.

I always carry a first aid kit in my bag due to my serious accident prone nature, so I was able to clean it up pretty nicely, put a plaster on his tiny little toe, which he sat incredibly still for surprisingly.  I then gained a friend for the rest of the day as we both got a little attached.  Well, wouldn’t you?!

My little wounded soldier!

We went outside for our ‘outdoor play’ session and one of the other children stood on his toe which caused more tears and an immediate turn for a cuddle.  I am not sure if parents just don’t have the time or it’s not something Kenyan’s do but a little bit of love has gone a long long way today.  He also fell asleep on me today which, although it is cute, I was unbearably hot as I think he may be running a fever.

I am going to buy him some shoes as soon as possible to prevent this kind of thing happening again.  And the school needs a good first aid kit, which I think I will have to get back in the UK as they just don’t have the things I want in Kenya!  Everyone should have access to basic items which prevent infection.  If anyone would like to help out with this please drop me an email or comment (or donate to the Kenya fund HERE, funds are going to help these amazing kids and the school they learn in)  I want to be able to equip this place with simple supplies that they so desperately need.  These kids run around in the dust and dirt all day, risking Jiggers and various other infections.  Antiseptic, plasters and shoes could stop this!  For just 100KSH you can buy shoes which protect against jiggers, for around 600 KSH you can get some really good, really sturdy school shoes. (remember £1 = 127 KSH)

After school Daniel and I took a trip to collect Carla from the dispensary in Msulwa, meeting a few unusual obstacles on the way:

But the dispensary is an amazing hospital in the hills near Shimba with VERY basic supplies.  Carla showed me where women would give birth.  It is currently in a corner of what looks like a storage room.  The bed does at least have stirrups and there looks like there is sanitation equipment but it is VERY basic and makes me very thankful for the NHS, however much I complain about them!

There is a German couple who are funding the building of a new maternity unit at Msulwa, with a dedicated delivery room, a shower and clean running water which will make all the difference.  But, it wont be finished until at least November.  They have issues with tiles that have been laid and won’t let the work continue until they can over see the project!

Anyway, when we finally got home Carla and I managed to escape the father figure of the house and headed to Forty’s bar in Diani.  It was great to be away from the house and back in the company of people the same age and with similar interests.  We met up with Juma and a few of the volunteers from Colobus trust.  It was meant to be a quick night out but, we got home at 3am…ready for an early start for the new arrivals tomorrow….

Clarification

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This week I have had a bit of backlash over my trip.  So much so that I am writing this entry with tears running down my face. So I am sorry if this is poorly written.

Tonight, I have been told that what I am doing is a huge waste of money and that I obviously just want a free trip to Kenya paid for by other people.  This all came out of an innocent tweet to the guys of  the #rugbyunited community wondering if anyone could donate prizes to the raffle.

I am happy to take on board people’s opinions and yes, there are people to help closer to home and yes it is costing a reasonable amount of money to get out there.  But what is it to them how I spend my own money and if people want to donate, (a number of people do and have, for which I am very, very thankful. full on thank you post coming soon) then great!

You all know that this whole trip has come from a belief in God and a word I received back near Easter.  This isn’t a ‘oooooooooooh I fancy going to Africa, how can I get people to pay for me to go’ kind of thing.  No, this is something I have had on my heart for a while and want to do something about.  If I had no ties in the UK I would quit my job and go out there for an extended period to help as much as I can, even establish my own charity or look into ways of aiding others.  These are both things I want to do in the future and yes, this trip may indeed help that but my primary reason for going is to fulfil something God placed on my heart.

It’s strange because just this evening I was discussing with my Church the idea of being judged and persecuted for your faith.  Now, I don’t mean persecution in the ways of old where you are fed to the lions.  I mean suffering for your faith in a modern way.  Being bullied at school or work for being a Christian, not getting a job because you refuse to work Sunday’s, being left out by your friends because they are doing something you don’t agree with through faith.  During the discussion I could honestly say that I hadn’t found this so  far on my faith journey.  Today I fear that changed.  I feel like anything I say to this person is going to be shot down, I have been told that my Christian attitude is terrible and all I am doing is ‘helping my own soul’.  I have never ever been judged in the way this person judged me today.  To be told they hope I do not need the NHS any time soon is just disgusting, almost hinting at meaning the opposite of what he stated.  I haven’t publicised what has happened in my private life recently but what I will say is I have never been more thankful for the work of the NHS and other emergency services.

So, to clarify and put to rest any doubts that any of you may have… I am not going to Kenya to swan around and maybe do a day in an orphanage to make me feel better.  I am also not doing this to “cleanse my soul” so to speak or even at the detriment of a UK-based charity.  In fact, the only reason I have gone public with this whole trip isn’t to say ‘look at me look how amazing I am’  goodness knows I wouldn’t do that! (why would I need to, I am awesome enough already 😉 ) I wet public to see if I could raise some funds to help me get out there to make a difference to these kids lives.  I do it at home for Kids Church, why not for others?!  I am loving the support that I have got so far.  People are amazing.  Your kind contributions will not only be making an immediate difference to me getting there, they will also help provide much-needed equipment for the kids and care workers alike!