Saturday, 31 July 2010

Friday 30th July 2010

Alex had to leave early again - 6.30, but surprisingly the children were not already awake, well, not all 100 of them! So I actually managed to get a better and slightly longer sleep yesterday morning! When I got up I went down and had tea and this lovely pastry type food - Madazi?sp - Which is apparently just wholemeal flour and water which is ten fried in oil but it was yummy!

I then wandered down to the school and spoke to Steven briefly about Scouting as they have a Scout group at the school, I will hopefully learn a bit more about their meetings when school starts back up again! I then met Kate (a volunteer from Reading). She had gone to a local salon the day before and had had her hair braided and extensions put in! It looked very nice but very heavy! It took 5 hours!! But it only cost 800shillings which is apparently twice the usual cost, but it's still only about 7GBP which is not a lot!

I then came back to the orphanage with Grace and Kate for tea and and bread. Grace decided it was time to teach me how and where to wash clothes, hang them and the device she uses to warm up water, looks a bit danegrous to me though so I shall stick to cold water.

Oh yes!! There is no running water here! Our shower is a bucket of freezing cold water and our toilet is a hole in the ground! You do get used to it quite quickly though!

I then decided to walk to the cyber cafe myself and check my emails, although it's not far it's an experience as everyone shouts 'Jambo' out to you (a Kenyan greeting).

I then went back to the school! They were getting ready for their class presentations which were being held in two of the classrooms which have a division which can be opened up completely allowing the whole school to fit in!!

the teachers still had a bit of marking to do and the children were getting a bit restless sat down so Grace and I decided to lead a little sing song as the children love to sing! e struggled to come up with songs they knew but 'heads, shoulders, knees and toes' went down extremely well!

Once the teachers had finished marking, they came in and sat down. Teacher James had his camera at the ready on the video setting ready to film, as did Kate! I was only able to take photographs but I took lots! One class at a time, starting from the nursery, then pre-unit, standard class 1 --> 8 came up and sang a song which they had prepared. It was lovely to watch and at the end some girls from class 8 did some traditional singing and dancing and invited Grace and I up to dance with them along with some of the teachers! It was very fun!

The children then received their marks from the exams they had sat, again in order of class (nursery -> 8). With each class they called out the top 3 and their marks and then they carried on in order from high -> low the marks of every child. The children must get quite nervous by this as the whole school is watching them and hearing the marks they achieved! Theresia and Joseph (the founders of Heritage) had come to watch. They are known as mum and dad to all the orphans and they in turn treat treat the orphans as their own children, even though they have 5 of their own!

After the marks had been read out, we volunteers were asked one at a time to make a speech - I just said how happy I was to be here and how welcome I felt! After James and Steven made their own speeches it was finally lunch time! Everyone was very hungry as it was 2.30pm before we could sit down and eat!!

I spoke to the children after lunch and was introduced to the family of rabbits who live on the roof - they are very cute and fluffy! I then went to my room and rested for a bit - Alex surprised me by coming home early - 5pm! For dinner we had rice and cabbage which was really nice!

After dinner we spoke with Grace, Thuku, Patrick and some other High School Boys who were home for the holiday! Grace showed us some videos and photos of two nearby lakes she's been too (well, 4hours+ away). One looked amazing with thousands of Flamingos! I must go there!

Lottie x

Holding Baby Crocs and Riding Camels! Sat 31st July

We left the orphanage at 9.30am for our 'orientation day', run by the company we booked through! Alex, their driver picked us up and drove us into the centre of Nairobi where we picked Patrick up, one of the owners of the company (Gracepatt Ecotours). Patrick is a lovely man and went to a lot of effort to make the day fantastic! We briefly went into a supermarket where I bought a HUGE avocado, bigger than Alex's hand, for 20Ksh, about 15p!

We then drove around Nairobi city centre and Patrick pointed out the main buildings including the British Embassy and I managed to take quite a few photographs which will be put up on facebook when I get back! We stopped at the top of a hill overlooking the centre and I have a few nice photographs of Alex, Patrick and I which I will share with you soon!

We then drove out of the city center, past the KWS centre where Alex is working and arrived at the giraffe centre! It was erally good and there were even a few warthogs snuffling around! There was a fantastic viewing platform where you could get up to the height of the giraffe's heads and feed them pellets, they started to eat my hand after a bit though...

We then drove off to find Mamba Village. Mamba means crocodile in Kiswahili. When we got there we were greeted by some Massai and got a couple of photographs with them :). When then had a lovely lunch of chicken and chips! After that we went to see the crocodiles and we got to hold one which was around 1-2 years old!! It was an interesting experience, the guide told us to make sure we held the head so it didn't bite us!

We then saw the much older crocs! They were huge and the guide kept poking them with sticks to make them snap which made me jump quite a bit! They seemed so fast and deadly! The guide explained to us that the larger, fatter bellied and tailed ones were the females. They lay their eggs in september but the temperature in Nairobi isn't hot enough for enough of the year so if hey wanted another crocodile they would send the egg to Mombasa. Excitingly, we were told that the temperature an egg is kept at decides the sex of the baby!

When we had another look at the babies, I noticed one had a gaping hole where it's forearm should have been! Apparently it had escaped into the pen where the 5-10yrs are and because crocodiles are cannibals (and eat their young), they had bitten the little croc before anyone could rescue it! Apparently is should make a full recovery and be fine as the most important limbs are the hind legs and the tail.

Next Alex and I got to ride a camel together! it was hilarious and Patrick took lots of photos of us! Standing up and sitting down was an interesting experience! I nearly went flying!

Mamba village also keeps Ostriches and an orphan giraffe they had been given to raise as it lost it's mum when it was tiny! And apparently it gets on well with the ostriches as they often share territories in the wild!

Once we had seen all of the animals we went for a lovely boat ride on the man made lake in the middle of the village! It had been made into the shape of Africa! The scenary was lovely and it was so peaceful, the weather had also turned very hot so I could have stayed on the boat for hours!

On the way out of the village I spotted a tiny chameleon which I just had to pick up!!

When we got back to the orphange we played and spoke with the children and that evening they were allowed to watch a tv for a bit! They were even watching music videos WWE!!

Well, I think that's one of the best days I've had in a long time! So much exitement!

Lottie x

Thursday, 29 July 2010

First full day here in Kenya!

I had an amazing day yesterday! Got woken up by the children at 5am, which is apparently a normal occurrence here but managed to sleep until 6am! Alex had to leave at 6.30am to get a Matatu as he had to be at the KWS at 8am! He was taken with James, one of the teachers at the Heritage School, to be shown how to get there!

-For those who don't know, in Kenya there is no public transport around the city (buses) instead there are private owned minibuses which are used like public transport. Due to their size they can get very crowded and can be very interesting as the driving is sometimes a bit crazy!

I went downstairs at around 8.30am for my breakfast which was tea and bread! No toast here - or anything on the bread for that matter! The tea was very sweet and different to what I have in England but nice all the same! After that the Orphanage's Book Keeper, who's name I didn't quite catch, took me to the school. The school is owned and run by Heritage of Hope and Faith and is a Primary School which caters for children from 3 up to 15! From there they go to High School which are mostly Boarding Schools. I was introduced to the Head Teacher, Steven, who was very welcoming and Lovely! As the Children were sitting their exams I was shown to the staff room and met some of the teachers and red through some of the exam papers.

I will put up some photos of the school when I get chance but the rooms are made from Iron Sheeting and seem very run down and in the classrooms there is a blackboard and some old wooden desks and you are lucky if you have a couple of large sheets of paper decorating the walls with information hand written.

After I had met a few of the children I bumped into Grace (another volunteer at the Orphanage who had stayed here earlier in the year and knew the place quite well). She asked me if I would like a trip around the town. So we went on a small wander around Mlolongo, the town in which we are staying. It is a very run down looking town, rubbish is left and then burnt in the streets but at the same time it is full of life and everyone is very friendly! Grace pointed out the Post Office, where you caught the Matatus from, a couple of good small supermarkets and even a good chicken and chips place! After a cup of tea at the Orphanage she showed me to the nearest Internet cafe, where I am right now. It's only 1shilling/min which is less than 1p/min!

We then went back to the school! The children had finished sitting their exams for the day and were cleaning and washing the floors of their classrooms! You don't get that back home! They were in great spirits and within 3 minutes I was giving a child a piggyback and two were holding my arms! It's a surreal place!On one hand the children were very poor and were lucky to own a textbook or even more than one pencil! Yet they were so happy and full of life and they absolutely love visitors and volunteers! They also seem to be very fascinated with watches and are very eager to have their photograph taken! After a couple of hours of taking and singing with the children (and getting to know 2 American volunteers; Qianna and Danielle) The whole school went to their 'playing field' - a large-ish nearby flat area of grass. Here most of the boys played football while the girls sang and danced! It was really lovely to watch them practicing!

The school day is very long, especially compared with England Primary Schools. It's from 8-5 and the children wake up between 5-6 and don't go to be until 10pm some nights as they have chores! They must get so tired!

After games there was a brief assembly held in the school grounds by the headmaster, Steven, reminding the children to wash their clothes ready for their class presentations tomorrow!

I then went back to the orphanage, spoke and sang with the girls and rested a while. Alex got back at 7pm and was very tired from his long day! Especially as we had not had a proper sleep since we were back in England!

For dinner we had potato and banana on a tomato-y sauce which was actually quite nice! We decided to go up to bed early - 8.30ish as we were exhausted!

Lottie x

Monday, 26 July 2010

My absence!

I haven't posted on here in a long long time! Mostly because although University had finished for the year I still had lots and lots of other exciting things going on!
In the last 6months I have joined a Cub Pack and from September will be the groups new Akela! (Cub Scout Leader) which is fantastic news but also a bit scary! It also means I have lots of modules to complete over the next couple of years alongside university so I will be busy busy!

I have also decided to apply in September for a Primary PGCE starting in September 2011! In order to stand a chance of getting a place as it is a very competitive course I needed some Work Experience! I managed to get 2 weeks at Alex's Primary School, Radford Semele and absolutely loved it! I had so much fun!

Finally but most excitingly tomorrow I embark on a 6 week trip to Kenya with Alex! This is the main reason I have gone back to my blog, I wanted an easy way to keep everyone back home up to date with my experiences and what I am up to on a day to day basis!

For the first month I will be living in an Orphanage (Heritage of Hope and Faith Children's Rehabilitation Centre). For the first week I will be helping in the School and then once it closes for the holidays I will be helping the children with their homework, revision and playing games and introducing them to new and exciting ideas! Alex will be staying with me but during the day he will be working with the KWS (Kenyan Wildlife Society) at the nearby Animal Orphanage!! I am sure I will be quite jealous of some of the things he gets up to!

Right well I best get lots of sleep as 2 long flights are ahead of me!

Lottie x