Day 14

I really didn’t want to get out of bed today. I really contemplated telling the others that I couldn’t go in today but after some sleepy reflection I decided I would be really disappointed in myself if I didn’t at least try to go in and do some work. This is such a unique experience, I may never do something like this in my life again so I really should put my most into the opportunity given to me.

Breakfast was omelette but bread too. So, I abandoned my Weetabix and had an omelette sandwich. Probably not very good for me at all but damn it was good. After breakfast we went in search of Mama to give her some scraps, but alas, she was nowhere to be found. We have decided that most of the dogs look quite Shiba Innu like. They’re all obviously cross breeds but they have the distinctive curled tails pointed nose and smile with lots of them being a sand like colouring.

After meeting in the classroom to collect equipment we set off on our journey to the first destination. I Have used Lucas notes to write this, so thanks Luca! As I was busy taking photos all of today and didn’t have enough hands or time to log my own notes too.

Kanyimach Primary School

  • Long – E034, 3.497
  • Lat – S00,55.272

P.0.Box 46 Sare. Found in Rongo County, South West Cham gi Wadu. There are 17 primary schools in the region. It was founded in 1926 and is one of the oldest schools in the region possibly the district. The teaching age is preschool to class 8. The school’s principle is Magero Maurice and the deputy is Kennedy Ouko. Just at the bottom of the fields for this school is the second school on our visit.

Kanyimach Secondary School

  • Long – E034, 36.469
  • Lat – S00, 55.245

The principle is the same for the primary as it is for the secondary. This school was only founded in 2016 when a man called Ben donated 1.2 million shillings for the structure to be built. It first started under the church with the Pastor acting as principle but then the responsibility was passed on to Magero Maurice who will hand over the position as soon as the government sends another principle. It has 106 students and 8 teachers all paid by the community. Again, just across from this school is a field containing a church. Everything here has been within close walking distance which is nice as I wore flipflops today.

Kanyimach Seventh Day Adventists Church

  • Long – E034, 36.446
  • Lat – S00, 55.156

The pastors name is Zachary Opiyo Songora. The church opened in 1922 and runs a successful Saturday service, like most of the SDA Churches we have visited. We then hopped back on the bus to visit another shopping centre. So as not to confuse anyone I must highlight the fact that the Kenyan Shopping Centres are absolutely nothing like British Shopping Centres. They resemble more of a quiet Sunday market in England.

Kogenya Shopping Centre

  • Long – E034, 36.443
  • Lat – S00, 55.982

It is named after prominent village elder who donated land for construction of the flea market. Its run by the Luo Community. One of the community members introduced us to Rebecca Achieng Odtiamho who was happy to be interviewed. I spoke to Mac and asked if would be able to translate for Luca and myself as this woman only spoke Swahili and Luo. I then left them to talk whilst I went and took more photos. When I returned Luca seemed really pleased with how it all went and told me that she would love a community radio station so that she could have a slot for widows. They can have a space to have a voice and reach out to other women for support and guidance. This is a wonderful idea and hopefully something that can be set up once the station is up and running.

I spoke to more of the children whilst I waited for people to come back to the bus. I’m finding it less alarming being pointed at and swarmed upon. I don’t know if its because I’ve grown used to it or if it was because the children were in much smaller numbers today. I was trying to talk to them in Luo and Swahili as I’m determined to learn a few phrases.

Fiona and Halima had a heated discussion on the bus about politics. They clearly have opposing views and although I thought It might be awkward to see them arguing it was actually very interesting to see their passion in healthy debate. It wasn’t so different from conversations I’ve had with friends about politics in the UK, showing that there are similarities between our cultures. All of this is in the wake of tomorrow and the leader of NASA getting signed in against the current president and governments wishes. It will be interesting to see what happens!

We then went back to the University to edit what we had produced. Halima wrote some of the spellings for Luo and Swahili words I have learnt so that I can start using them in my blogs.

We had dinner and returned to the centre and did our usual stop off to buy a kinder joy on the way home. They only have two left now so I hope they stock up on them before we leave.

Asante Sana for reading!

Days 12 & 13

Saturday

I really don’t have much to write about for today so I will start off by talking about last night. I did another pub quiz for everyone when we got back to the Pastoral Centre just a little one with 20 general knowledge questions and 15 music round ones.  As usual for a weekend we had a few drinks too. Were all bonding as a group so well, getting along with everyone so well has made this trip so much easier and enjoyable. We’ve had some right laughs not all that I can write about on here but whilst on a frog hunt last night I made Sam jump and fart at the same time which was pretty hilarious. They didn’t have any Tusker Cider last night so I had the Larger instead. I might recommend it to the pub I work at back home, see if they might trial it for a few weeks.

Today we went to Lake Simbi. It took about an hour and a half to get there and really there wasn’t much to do. We listened to the old folk tales that a local Luo man told us about how the lake came to be, listened patiently as he told us of all its healing powers (I put that down to the high salt content in the water). It was interesting to hear to the tale and its somewhere I can say I’ve been now but I would have preferred to go back to Rusinga Island or something similar as that was really good fun. On the way back, we stopped off at a hotel to use the toilets, it was so quiet and everything was closed up, you can really see how they rely on in season tourist trade as it’s a ghost town out of season.

We also drove past a political rally on the way there and back. The crowd had grown in numbers on the way back past. The Kenyans described it to us as a little bit like Labour vs Conservative. However, a lot more violent. It is between the two main parties NASA and Jubilee Party. People fight on the streets and are sometimes killed, there is a lot of political unrest at the moment. Halima explained the country’s situation to me so I could better understand what was going on. She explained that what we saw was a NASA rally.

NASA:

Nasa, comprises of different tribes (Luo, Kamba, Luhya and Costal region). The coalition leader Raila Amollo Odinga is challenging the current president.

Jubilee Party:

Jubilee party, comprises of different tribes (Kikuyu, Kalenjin and partly NorthEastern region). The current president Uhuru Kenyatta is leader of the Jubilee Party. This is his second term in power. His legitimacy is under question however, after his initial victory was quashed by the Supreme Court and the opposition boycotted the re-run. He won again much to the disappointment of NASA supporters (which Halima and a number if the students are). The president has been criticised for trying to control the media and enforce censorship and take the county into a dictatorship.

The Rally:

Raila Amollo Odinga challenging the president is seen as treason to the government. However, he has a lot of support from the tribes I mentioned earlier and as we saw for the huge crowds that gathered. He calls himself the peoples president. The plan is for him to be sworn in on the 30th January so a few days’ time. As I mentioned earlier though this will be considered treason and there’s high anticipation and tension in the country, the government has refused to send police to help.

Dinner was the standard; a choice of rice or pasta, a selection of meat dishes and then cabbage and vegetables. The food is tasty I’m just starting to grow really tired of eating the same food every day. Especially as I’m vegetarian so I mainly rotate between rice or pasta everyday with veg and cabbage. We have been very spoilt though and I’m extremely grateful for all the hard work that goes into the preparing food for us every day. Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day because there’s more meat free options and variety, I will miss my Kenyan breakfasts dearly when I get home.

Sunday

We didn’t leave until 9am today so I got a whole 15mins extra in bed! WooHoo! Breakfast at uni was delicious as always, today I had toast with butter and marmite, so so yummy.

Isobel took us to get our hair braided it was 400 shillings for the hair extensions which me and Hafsa shared so just 200 shillings each which is about £1.40. You’d never get hair extensions that cheap in England. The labour cost was only 500 shillings each too so about £3.50. all in all, my hair that took over half an hour to do cost just over £5 (excluding the tip we gave her for doing such a good job).

I only had 2000 shillings left for the rest of the trip so I decided to go to the bank to get more money out as I still want to get people back home gifts. I took out another 3000 shillings totalling my spend for this three week trip at 13000 shillings, I checked my online banking and it translated into £90!!! I’d spend £90 a week easily in Brighton. I can’t get over how cheap everything is here, I’m coming back to Africa for sure.

We then went to treat house, I felt no guilt in splashing out on a few drinks and lunch. Lunch was amazing chips! Proper salty French fries! I practically inhaled them. We were joined by Fiona Lydia and Halima today. They’re all such lovely girls we’ve started chatting about having a WhatsApp group with them to keep in contact when we are back in England. We were also joined by Zarah and Amaya who are Isobel’s daughters. Zarah is 12 and Amaya is 6. They are beautiful little girls im trying to persuade Zarah to come to England to be a model she’s so beautiful they would adore her back in the UK. Amaya is so cheeky she’s so strong willed and independent I’m really going to miss them and Isobel too, she’s been like a second mother to us here.

I read a load of The White Masai (Corrine Hoffman) over 100 pages in 2 hours and totally missed all the drama that unfolded when a man bought his girlfriend to treat house where he was confronted by his wife. Drama! She was still throwing stuff at him when we left t go back to the Uni for dinner. I couldn’t eat anything as I was still full from lunch but the girls wrapped my hair for me in traditional African style to protect my braids. This was very funny and we took some great pictures of me resembling EastEnders Dot Cotton. We said goodnight to each other early and I hopped into bed to continue watching Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (Peter Jackson, 2002) the extended edition of course. I hoping to finish all three by the time I get back to the UK if I watch about 45mins a night.