A special blog from 2 friends of mine!

Hey, two of the older girls at KKV wanted to write a blog for you!  Just a couple of things they wanted to say:

“Hi, my name is Judy and I am seventeen years old. I am the only girl in my family. I have four brothers and am the third born. I want share with you a little about my life. I lost my mom in 2005. I was left with my little brother Sifa(which means praise) to take of him. At that time I was fourteen years and it was difficult for me to be a mother at that age. I had a lot challenges. I went through a lot before I came to Kings Kids Village, but God is good because I know that He has a purpose for everyone of us and a future. I hope you inspired by this story. Thank you and may God bless.”

“Hello, this is Essy and am glad to write to you. Hope you guys are enjoying there as we are here in Kenya. It is much fun and Ian has experienced it. Advice, the next time he comes, grab him and come too! We will be happy to meet you. Bless you lots.”

I’ll write again before I go home hopefully!

Love

IanEssy & Judy

 

Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you…

Whilst i’ve been over here, news has come through that I have officially passed my youthwork & ministry degree course with a 2:1! As you might guess i am just a little bit chuffed with this!!!  3 years of doing what definately doesn’t come naturally to me…studying…and i’ve achieved something i’m pretty proud about. Thank you to everyone who has supported me in so many different ways over these last 3 years, its really been a journey!  You’ve seen how stressed i’ve got about it at times and always helped me come back down to Earth and get the job done! Especially thanks to Mum, Dad & Paul, i DEFINATELY wouldn’t have made it without you!!! (I’ll be back soon and i’ll want to celebrate by the way!)

The graduation is on October 3rd and I believe that as there were only 15 of us on the 3rd year there will be lots of space for guests so everyone who wants to come can come!

I don’t know yet where it will be or what time, but it will most likely be in London and done as a celebration service & comissioning rather than a traditional style graduation. I should still get to wear all the silly robes and funny hats though!

Bye for now!

love

Ian

 

Safari…so good! (sorry, couldn’t help it!)

Wow, I only have ONE WEEK left!! Blimey!

Anyway, i’m back at KKV after returning from safari in the Masai Mara yesterday, all very exciting! So i’ll tell you a little bit about my 4 day adventure…

I got up at the-crack- of-stupid-o’clock on Monday to get down to the safari pick up place in town, this early morning carry-on was something i’d have to get used to (yes, as you can guess, I was thrilled). So anyway there were 5 of us and we soon joined up with a group of 11 who were on a longer safari taking in other areas before the Masai Mara. Our group was a kind of League of Nations (for those of you old enough to remember that, or young enough to remember your history lessons), we had….

4 Americans

4 Germans

2 Danes

1 Canadian

1 Norwegian

1 Frenchman

1 Uruguayan

1 Kenyan

…and me, the only Brit, hoorah!

And everyone played wonderfully to the national stereotype (including me I guess, I was terribly polite you know). So the Yanks were loud, the Germans very organised and a bit serious, the Canadian was offended I thought she was American, the Frenchman was always shrugging his shoulders and making big hand gestures and the Danish girl looked like the singer from Aqua (think Barbie Girl & Dr. Jones (may mean nothing to you, but they were Danish!)).

Anyway, we travelled down in a 26 seater wagon – a kind of coach on top of a lorry. I’ll show you a picture when I get back! Anyway, this meant we had good elevation to see the animals, with big windows that wind all the way down. The trip from Nairobi to Masai Mara took EIGHT hours (including a lunch stop), and the closer we got, the bumpier it got! This was good preparation for the next 3 days, comfort is not an option. We stayed in a campsite, where we were based for the 3 nights.

So, over the next 2 days we spent probably about 16 hours out in the Mara on ‘game drives’, spotting just about every animal bar a Rhino! Masai Mara is around 900 sq miles and is simply awe inspiring, with plains that seem to go on forever, broken only by occasional trees & streams set against a backdrop of rolling hills & mountains.

The first animals we saw were Zebras. Bless the Zebras, most of the other animals are shaded in yellows & browns to camouflage themselves, or at least a solid dark colour. Not our friend the Zebra, he’s stuck looking like a walking bar-code with about as much chance of hiding as a man in an illuminous suit at a disco. And then they get ignored by all the safari vehicles because there’s so many of them, they’d rather find a Lion. Anyway, to cut all this short, we got up close to see some brilliant stuff, like Elephants, Giraffes, Cheetahs best of all some big roaring Lions, oh yes!

It is quite an odd spectacle however when animals are spotted, suddenly a sleeping Lion will be surrounded by half a dozen vehicles full of umpteen gawping tourists pointing cameras at it! Not sure i’d want to wake up to that! And there’s no chance of sneaking up on them either, not with our armoured vehicle chundering along!

But all things said, it was an amazing experience, and I feel now that having spent time in Mombasa at the coast & in the Masai Mara I have a real feel for Kenya when combined with my experiences in Nairobi. Its an exceptionally beautiful country that seems to be let down by its governance. More on that another time though.

So, just 1 week left, which means i’ve lots of loose ends to tie up before I go, so must be off to do that now!

Bye for now!

Love

Ian

 

All about Tuesday… (theres 2 blogs below this one by the way!)

In this particular blog i’d like to share with you some of my experiences from Tuesday…

I got up very early, 7am people, 7AM!!!

Anyway, my reason for this was that i was going with one of the guys i’d met through KKV to visit some projects in the slums that he is involved with.  We only had half the day as i needed to be back at KKV in the afternoon.

We started off by heading to his home.  Kenyans would not class this as a slum, which is a statement that says more than enough.  He lives in a high rise block of apartments, up several flights of dark dank concrete stairs (no lifts of course).  His home is a tiny box room, with room for a bed and very little else.  No sink, toilet, cupboards or anything else we would take as standard.  A small single hob camping stove was the only technology.  The toilets were communal, and needless to say you don’t need to worry about leaving the seat down, its simply a hole in the gound behind a cubical door.

Next door you hear babies crying as they are washed in a bowl in the coridoor.  There is a window but it only faces a wall 2 feet away.  Its open, and the smells that come in are not pleasant.

However, as i said this is not a slum, and this is a working man who turns his attention to helping others, not once did he bemoan his own situation.  Instead we met with one of his colleagues and his friend Faith, who is Alex Obahatsu’s sister.  Faith took us into one of the slums to meet some ladies who she is working to help.  More about that in a moment.

However, it is worth stating that when i visited the House of Mercy orphanage a small time back i described the area it was in as a slum, i was wrong.  To you and me it was a slum, but in Kenya there is another level below that.  And this was it, in all its shocking glory (although i was told that this is one of the better slums.  Its 5 acres big i think, with 80,000 residents.  Its a shanti town, made up of corregated iron shacks, open sewers and rubbish everywhere.

So it was here that we met with two ladies called Jessica & Jenifer.  They are Aids widows & single mothers, meaning they have lost their husbands to Aids and also carry the disease themselves.  Faith & another lady are helping them though.  Along with two other ladies they make jewellry & embroidery (sp?) which they sell to make money to put their children into education in the hope they can escape poverty.  Thank you to Georgina (from Emmanuel Church) who was here in the spring for pointing me in their direction, when i return home i hope to  be able to bring some of their products with me, they really are very good.

After leaving the slum we went to see a lady who my friend from KKV is working with as part of his project to help widows and orphans of Aids.  This lady is a widow and single mother of three.  Her middle child, a daughter aged three, was taken to the local hospital with sickness in January and transferred to the national hospital in Nairobi for treatment.  Treatment however is not free in Kenya, but was administered anyway, out of the control of the mother.

The rule in the health service is that a patient cannot leave hospital until the bill is paid.  This lady could not afford the bill.  As a result her daughter has not been allowed to leave the hospital.  In addition, every day a patient is kept in, an additional 600 Kenyan Shillings is charged.  This lady can only work part-time as she looks after her family, and she earns on average 2000ks a week (i have a feeling she might have even said a month actually).  Currently the bill is around 100,000ks (approx 1000 pounds sterling), and grows daily.

How insane is tha?  She doesn’t even earn enough to effectively keep up with the ineterst.  Meanwile she can only visit her daughter from time to time.  In addition the family only live in another glorified shoebox.  And they’re not the only ones to suffer, a story in the paper that day told of how one man had been kept inside for 5 yrs!  And its normal practise for mothers who give birth to be seperated from their babies  if they can’t afford to pay – the babies are realesed but the mothers must stay.  And they really don’t have a choice, they are watched by guards, and if you try to escape you can be put into prison.

The hospital persist with this policy as it usually gets the money from somewhere in the end.  Of course it is not meant to work quite like this, there is meant to be aid available, but there is such curruption in Kenya that this aid never makes it to the people in most need.

Quite frankly some of the things i have witnessed have been at best wrong, at worst abhorrent.  And it is very surreal visiting these situations, as you feel as if a camara crew will appear at any moment, or that you are watching this on TV.  We are so used to seeing these situations, but only from a detached perspective.

I want to finish though on a brighter note.  When i got back to KKV one of the kids, aged 12, was telling me (in great detail!) about the chronic trouble she has been having with her back for the last 3 years and how various doctors have not been able to help.  She then asked me if i could pray for her back, so in the house with the rest of her ‘family’ we prayed.  At the end of praying for her she was a little dazed, but she just looked at me and said with a look of bemusement and joy, “it doesn’t hurt anymore.”  Awesome.

Love

Ian

 

Greetings from Mombasa! (first post of three!)

Wow, two things to say…

1. Internet access is getting more & more difficult to come by!  Hence i’ve not been emailing people back, very sorry!

2.  I now have soooooooo much to talk about as a result!

Ok, so today i am in Mombasa, well about 10km south of Mombasa, but in that general area.  And let me tell you, its a very hot & humid general area!  Its techically winter over here, but that doesn’t bare much significance in this part of Kenya, as its always baking.  But this is a good thing, as i’m just sitting and reading, and listening to music, ahhhhhhh.

Don’t get too angry with me though, i’m only here 2 nights, arrived yesterday, leave tomorrow.  Slightly amusing however is that i appear to have ended up in a rather well-to-do persons resort.  You see as its the off season this place had a deal on, which was very reasonable and included a hassle busting flight and transfers instead of the 14 hr bus ride from Nairobi!  Its also half board.

So i’m in a rather nice resort with its own private beach, lovely.  I hit a problem last night however when i turned up at the resteraunt for my evening meal.  I had read in the info pack on arrival that there was a dress code, no shorts or t-shirts or ripped/faded jeans…guess what i had pack for 2 nights at the beach!!!

I put my best clothes on (some 3/4 lenght black trousers & a casual black shirt), but sadly this would not do!  I must admit to finding it privately amusing that it took three members of staff & alot of furrowed brows to decide that my trousers were just that bit too short for me to be allowed in.  As i thought back to my experiences the other day in the slums of Nairobi i couldn’t help but wonder what a frankly wierd World we live in, i mean does it really  matter how long my trousers are?!?

Anyway, in the end i was shunted down to their pizzeria (sp?) and my food brought down to me like an outcast!  Being this is off season, the pizzeria was empty bar the 2 staff behind the counter who were chatting away in Swaheli.  I couldn’t help wondering if they were discussing ‘that silly Englishman, his trousers are too short!’

In the end it was a lovely place to eat as it over looked the moonlit Indian Ocean, so maybe i’ll dine there again tonight!

Must go and write about Tuesday now!  Please read on in the next blog!

Love

Ian

 

Some more pics as promised!

Tray, Christen, Anna & Catherine

Tray, Christen, Anna & Catherine

I just popped in there to say hello!

I just popped in there to say hello!

Harvest time at KKV!

Harvest time at KKV!

Younis & Maturi

Younis & Maturi

 

Some pictures at last! (more to follow hopefully!)

This is Faith House, where all the kids live

This is Faith House, where all the kids live

My house!

My house!

Me with Wangechi (aged 3)

Me with Cefa (age 3)

Me with Cefa (age 3)

 

A few things I have noticed…

Ok, so i’m now around halfway through my time here in Kenya and theres a few things I haven’t had the opportunity to tell you all about yet, first of all….

Driving!

Oh boy. Ok so apparently driving in Kenya is based on Grand Theft Auto (a computer game for those of you not in the know), no holds barred! Here are some of the things that you don’t do when driving in Kenya:

1. Mirror, signal, manouver.

Why bother? Instead just push into your lane of choice whilst pointing out the window to where you’re going, the traffic isn’t likely to be moving too fast in the city, its clogged almost 24/7.

2. Wait for a safe gap before entering a round-a-bout.

Its much simpler to nip out and force the on-coming vehicle to break sharply.

3. When on a two-way road only overtake when you can see no traffic coming the other way.

Thats for losers apparently. Real men (and women) overtake inspite of traffic coming the other way, and whats more, its always best to stay out there til the last possible minute.

4. When an inevitable shunt happens, pull over to the side of the road and amicably discuss the issue & exchange insurance details.

Nope, wrong again people. How about stopping where you are (say the middle lanes) and having a barny about it for half an hour or so, whilst everyone else is held up trying to get round you?

5. Stop at a red light.

Nah, sometimes maybe, but definitely not at night. Although to be fair, this is because if you do wait at a red light at night you have a good chance of being car-jacked.

Having said all of that, it does make driving fun, and of course there’s no speed cameras! And the people who appear to have most fun are the people driving the ‘Matatus’. These are small minibuses that are each privately owned (like black cabs) and run as a kind of bus service. There are agreed routes and the Matatus sign up to these, but its very informal and a little chaotic. There’s millions of them though, maybe every fourth vehicle, and they drive like they own the city!

The Roads

Well, lets just say that you need very good suspension on your car. There are roads, mainly coming up to the standard of a ‘B’ road in the UK, but from there on you’re in for a pretty bumpy ride. John describes it as like driving across the surface of the moon at times. I’m reliably informed however that there has been a significant improvement in the roads in the last 5 years. Hmm! But seriously, many of the roads are just dirt tracks and you could quite easily lose a ‘Smart Car’ down some of the huge pot holes.

Hence many of the cars are not exactly top of the range, or they are specifically but for African roads. But if you’re looking to start a business over here, i’d go for selling shock absorbers.

Oh yeah, and curbs & pavements are sooo passe.

Hmm, thats enough for now, must go!

Love

Ian

 

The Brittish are coming! …and i ate a goat!

Hello once more intrepid reader!

So, what to tell you…

Well firstly, after 2 weeks of nothing but Kenyan & American company, we’ve finally got some Brittish volunteers here!  Its great to be able to chat with Brits again, trust me!  Tell you what though, you don’t half notice their accent, it sounds so bizarre after all the American & Kenyan voices i’ve been hearing, and whats worse is that they actually sound like the rubbish English impressions the Americans have been doing, its like something out of Mary Poppins!

Anyway, now the bit about the goat.  At the weekend i hooked up with Alex Obahatsu & his wife Amy, spent saturday evening with them, went to their Church in the morning & then ate goat for lunch!  Goat is very easy to come by in Kenya and is much loved by the locals, especially Alex & Amy who couldn’t wait to have some.  We picked it up from a stall at the side of the road (i know i know!), but this is normal.  Alex got out (i was instructed to stay in the car out of site as my presense would raise the price significantly (tourists are fair game)) and asked for a quantity of meat that was then BBQ’d for us at the stall.  I was slightly concerned as it was brought back to the car in a bin-liner and Alex said, ‘sorry it took so long, he had to wipe the blood off’.  But actually it was very nice, if a little chewy!

Alex & Amy’s Church was similar to the Sterns Church i went to last sunday, 2 big services, over 1000 & a good couple of hours long.  Lots of dancing, which i’m getting the hang of (don’t laugh).  This Church, like many i am learning, is in a big semi-permenant marque tent because it has grown so quickly!  Basically these Churches can’t get the buildings in time to meet growth so plonk a tent down in the nearest space of land!

Anyway i had a great time with Alex & Amy and will hopefully see them again before i leave.  Alex (as well as his parents)  has been asking after lots of you that knew them in Woodley and send their love.

I hear you’re having a heat wave in the UK!!  Here its kinda always hot, even though we’re in the middle of the Kenyan ‘winter’.  Its constantly a very nice twenty-something, but not too hot.  Nice.

I’d like to say more, but i’ll put it in another post so as not to bore you!

Love

Ian

 

I’ve got a new mob number out here!

Alex has very kindly got me a local sim card, so most of the time i’m on a local number, but it is accessible from the UK i think, and i still check my normal sim each day.

DON’T DELETE MY OLD NUMBER, THIS NUMBERS JUST FOR OUT HERE!!

But anyway my new number out here is… +254731133378

Also, ive had 2 voicemails this week but couldnt access them!  if that was you please email me!  thanks!

Ian