Sunday, March 7, 2010

Its March already!!??

S and I are good here in Africa- the weeks have been ticking by, and its not long now until S’s dad comes to visit in the last week of March, and then my mum and dad in the second week of April. We also have R coming from California inbetween. She is coming to Nairobi as part of a delegation to meet Queen Sophia of Spain, Nobel Peace Prize Winner Muhammed Yunis, plus other important key people- who are meeting in Kenya to discuss how to end poverty. We are looking forward to our visits from home- and we will be back in England in July for the wedding before we know it!

School life is going well. Last week I re-visited the volcanic Crater Lake near Naivasha with a school trip. It was a fun day with lots of wildlife spotting along the way. I also attended a theatre trip to see seven short plays written by American playwright Charles Darang at ISK. S has been busy writing all his school reports and is glad that is now over until next time! S has been enjoying his smaller class sizes now that his class has been split- he now teaches only six children which is luxury by any teachers standards!

The last couple of weekends we have remained in Nairobi- we went bowling (I beat S), played pool and table football (S beat me) and we went to the cinema. We went to the ballet yesterday at Bomas- it was part of the international Kijani festival which raises funds for HIV/AIDs projects. It was quite bizarre as there were many famous Kenyan politicians and news presenters sitting amongst us the audience and we were completely oblivious until our Kenyan friend P, who came with us, pointed them out! S was pleased this week when he scored a goal at football, and in Taekwondo he is training for the green striped belt.

Last week at Dandora, we were heartened to see some new volunteers from a local bible college come to help teach the children. S and I will be delivering a teacher training session for them, and existing volunteers next week. We are hoping to make them more autonomous so that we can spend more time with other charities too. This week we got further involved with Mogra- the children’s orphanage and school in the Mathare slum of Nairobi. The orphanage is actually 6km away from the school in a safe area, as during the election violence a few years ago, there was fears that the children would be killed amongst the slum. The sad thing about this is that they have to walk on foot to the school each day- 6km there and 6km back along dusty roads just to receive an education. Children in England don’t know how lucky they are! We helped to deliver a nutritional census of over 1000 children and their mothers, alongside some friends of ours- so that a bid can be submitted to the WFP (World Food Programme) to try and guarantee food for the children as currently the charity is struggling to provide it. It was a strange experience- we asked for the names, date of birth, height, weight, bmi of every child under the age of sixteen, plus took the details of their mothers, including HIV status. We are trying to gain statistical data to prove that the children of Mogra are malnourished. We asked the mothers if they fed their children before and/or after school, and the majority of the mothers admitted that they couldn’t as they didn’t have food. The mothers almost all had at least five children in their care- either because they were their own children, or they were the guardians (sisters or aunts) because the birth mother had died during childbirth or from HIV related illnesses. We encountered many orphans. S and I have agreed to give free teacher training to the teachers at Mogra school as their morale is low- their average salary is less than £35 a month!

That’s all our news for now. We have international cultural day on Thursday- so we are scratching our heads about what we can wear for that- at the moment it looks like we will be sporting our Fulham tops! The week after next we have an exciting four day and three night Camping Trip with the school to Tsavo East National Park which is about six hours drive from Nairobi. It is known to have a large population of predators such as lions and often boasts large numbers of elephants too. We are really looking forward to it!

Wedding plans seem to be going really well- we were pleased to learn this week that we will definitely have S’s old class singing in the church at our wedding- it should be really special. We also have several friends coming from abroad- including a few from New York and California in the USA and from Italy. We can’t wait!

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