A Travellerspoint blog

in need of change...

rain 4 °C

right girls and boys - i've moved to another blog - much better might i add.
Easier to follow, looks prettier, and i know how to work it better!

I have also finished my blog - WOO!
I know it's long overdue, but it's done, it's finaaaally done.
Read it if you wanna know about some Team Tusker gossip!

www.travelpod.com/members/ann.scarr

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Posted by annscarr 07:32 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

Makongeni - Week 3

sunny 28 °C

October 1st - October 7th

Okay, so Friday afternoon was pretty good! We headed out with Rosie and Beverly on matatus, not chucking people off this time though, and went to a local market which was just a 10min ride from Makongeni. We drove up and were hit with so much COLOUR! It was amazing... and i went a bit mad. We were all wandering around, and surprisingly we were left well alone - no "mazungu" shouting or crowding round us or just generally being annoying.. which in the end made us spend more money because we felt comfortable to look without being forced. Maybe they really do know the secret to customer service out here.. they should let the boys on the beach in on the secret too though! I was being calm and holding onto my money with the good auld phrase "i don't need it" then BAM! - i see sparkles. Now, i'm a girl who like her sparkles, wether it be a diamond (I WISH!), some nice high heels, or if i'm feeling adventurous - a dress... so i didn't stop myself and bought two bits of material, a red coloured Indian looking piece and a silvery piece, just for £10! I didn't think that was to bad to be honest, that was until Lauren went "So Ann, what you gonna do with them?" SHIT. "erm... make... cushions?" PHEW. That went down a treat, so if anyone asks, thats what i'm doing with them.. but really all i do is hold them up and stare at there beautifulness :D knew you shouldn't have let me be in control of my own money eh daddy?
We then got back in matatus and... got stopped by police! Always a delight to be shit scared by police.. even more of a treat in a country you don't know that well! As we pulled in a guy in the front beside the driver jumped out and hid in the bushes, didn't really pay much attention to it until after the car had been checked and the driver was pulling out, the same guy ran along side the car and managed to jump in as the car was moving!! Apparently you are only allowed to carry 14 people on a matatu, although ours was carrying 21 at one point - just imagine, kids sitting on knees, 4/5people squished onto three seats, people hanging out of an open door and sudden stops, sweaty bodies, avioding pot holes at every given opportunity and general crazyness... you getting the picture? haha.
Ukunda market was really good and i have to say i didn't actually buy that much apart from two pairs of earings, which i haven't worn yet - but i swear i WILL find an outfit to go with them! haha. We also got a tour round the 'Masai Club', which is a verrrrry dusty night club bang smack in the middle of the town. Haven't made it there yet but you never know what the last week will hold! After a pretty hectic day, the plan was to stay out at 40's for dinner, and then party on into the night.. nah! We were all slobbed out on the sofas by 9pm and the taxis were ordered for 10pm. Although as we waited, Sarah and i did have a nice wee run around the beach avoiding the 100+ crabs that appear at night, and then had a stroll along the shore in the dark talking, a nice end to a nice day :)
Saturday was the usual day at the beach - chilled, with food and tannage. Although at night was when it got wild... i will continue!
We had heard a lot about this club called Shakatak - in all the guide books it's described as 'seedy', somewhere you won't want to be long, but an experience none the less! So we thought we would give it a shot as well as an outside bar called Tandori for pre-drinks.. oh, and what an amazing start to an amazing night, with a few hiccups on the way though. This bar was a little strange though, the toilets are AWFUL but the music makes up for it - and the free condoms dispenser? Just an extra treat, not. You can tell why they are there though, the bar was filled with prostitutes, skimpy clothes that looked like t-shirts with a belt, and the worst bit? The white guys "dancing" with them on the dancefloor.. get a ROOM! Aw man, boke. As we where in Tandori bar about to head to Shakatak, a thirty second walk away, Bryony decided to collapse - i know she picks her moments eh? We figured out she got heat stroke from being in the sun all day, hadn't drunk enough water and the Smirnoff's just weren't doing the job! Luckily the truck was there as back up for us as Edward (our driver) doesn't like Shakatak for white people and almost refused to take us cause he didn't want us to get in any trouble with the locals, so he took Bryony home and Emma went with her because she had her diving course in the morning, it was gutting to see them go but it was best!
Then the rave started - we put neon paint on our arms for Shaks and it was worth it! Some sleasy black men seemed to like my booty shaking a wee bit to much so when ever one would try to grind up against me, i would spin round and the paint from my arms would go on their shirts - a warning to my later drunken self to STAY AWAY! haha. Rosie and Gladys came out with us and we decided to hit up 40's to finish off the night with style. Taxi? Yes, why thanks, we shall squeeze six of us into a four seater because we're tight like that! A rule about going out is that unless you sign a liability form you must come back to camp in the truck at 1am... but the other Camp Kenya brats (yes, the Aussies where back in force) weren't allowed to do this because they get insanely drunk and aren't trusted, so as we headed into 40's at 1am when it just started getting really good, the Camps kids where heading out... WAYYYY! Wee shame though, some of the nice British ones wanted to stay with us but where ushered out as soon as the words came out of their mouths. This is where we met Ben and Jimmy, white Kenyans, older and quite a treat for the eyes.. it could have seemed like that because of all the free shots and drinks Tina and i where getting off them though! The night ended short at 4:30am and we headed back to camp... what. a. night.
We went to Pinewood Beach Resort at the other end of Diani Beach on Sunday because some of us had planned to go Jet-skiing.. but the night before had taken it's toll on some of us.. Exhibit A - Lauren being sick in a bush at the office, Exhibit B - Lauren falling asleep on the toilet, Exhibit C - Keira hungoverly cutting her toe open, Exhibit D - me having thee worst tummy pains everrr... the list goes on! To be honest though, the resort wasn't the best, these people who pay all this money to go Kenya don't ever see the REAL Kenya people fall in love with, as soon as you go through the resort gates they are shut tight and you are made to believe it is all white beaches and luxury food and lovely rooms... where the real Kenya is right outside, full of amazing people, great atmosphere and adventure!.. with beaches there if you want them!
Monday was porridge day for me and Katie and even though it is a completely worth while cause, we got a little bored as the mama took over the making of the porridge and we were left to just put cups out while we waited on the porridge to cool. But playing with the kids and doing the Hokey Kokey got the mood up beat again! I taught maths with Sarah in the afternoon and our class where an absolute dream, really enthusiastic for the work that we had set them and enjoyed the games we had made up for them too! Jen, Bryony, Tina and I where late back for the coconut gathering that we where told nothing about and had to run through the village with the boys trying to remember our way back to the coconut site we where meant to be at. You don't understand how frustrating it is trying to get an African man to walk fast when their countries phrase is "Hakuna Matata" (no worries) and they constantly say "Pole Pole" (slowly, slowly) - sums it up yeah? The coconut climbing was good and i have to say i didn't get very high at all, although Saife got 3/4 of the way to the top - show off! ha. An old man climbed up and got some Palm Wine for us, can't say i enjoyed it too much though, and Salim and i shared the last of it.. although i'm sure he got all the good bits and i got the dregs! Bleugh. After that we enjoyed the sunset with everyone at the mangroves, was really really nice! Went back to see Lauren have her braids finally being finished off, she suits it SO much! I said she should have put shells on the end to be like Monica from "Friends" but she was having none of it... ha!
Tuesday was another Mamas house day but i have to say i noticed quite a bit of tension between Bryony, Katie and Ben towards Salim.. rather awkward at times as Lauren and i watched on as they became quite blunt with him, but i later found out that one of the other village boys who is apparently jealous of Salims sponsorship through priamary and secondary school told them a rather harsh rumour about Salim, and trusting the other boys honesty they began to notice things. It was a complete lie, and it was soon all back to normal, but it was such an awkward morning! While walking about the village you notice people who might live 30mins away suddenly appear wherever you are.. and it got me thinking - i bet they have walkie talkies EVERYWHERE! That baby you hear crying in the pram isn't actually crying its screaming "The white people are passing - heading towards the chipati house, corner them at the banana stand!!" and then the fruit monger phones ahead on his walkie saying "they are heading round the back of the school, pretend you are playing football!!". Sounds daft - but i wouldn't put it past them... they appear everywhere! ha. Some of us went to the lake for the first time tonight, was so tranquil and just.. nice. We sat with the local boys and just chatted while the sun set, and it just felt like a normal group of friends hanging out, making jokes at other people expense and talking about music etc. Apparently the lake is there because they had some serious flooding one year and so much so that it brought a hippo inland and it lived in the lake up until 3years ago because someone killed it cause it was eating all the farmers crops! Poor thing. We walked back through the village and Salim got some of his acrobatic club kids to do some stunts, although he wouldn't perform any himself.. to which i said "well you know, those who can't do, teach." That got him in gear - hello tower of five people with him at the base! ha. Katie was cycling round on the front of Muhamads bicycle while Ben sat in the grass talking to another couple of guys.. and then, at that moment i knew, we where settled here.
Wednesday was much the same on the teaching front, Sarah and I slowly falling more in love with our class! Later on in the evening Bryony, Saife and I went for a walk round the coconut trees where we bumped into Amos and Tina on a stroll on their own, although the raised eyebrows of Tina told me something wasn't quite right so we arranged to meet up in 20mins at the mangroves for the sundown, where Tina explained that Amos had taken her on a walk so he could ask her for money. It really got to Tina, and rightly so to be honest, i would have been heartbroken if Saife or any of the other guys had asked me for money because what does that mean - that all this friendship has been for one thing, more schillings in their pockets? It made the whole camp a bit on edge as more of the boys asked for walks alone, but we all stuck together and worked through/avoided it. Although Keira couldn't avoid Rajabs questions on her sex life and if she wanted a chocolate baby with a Kenyan boyfriend, que to run i think!
Thursday - HALF WAY!
Thursday was a usual day of working and in the evening we sat on the grass playing two truths one lie with Salim, Rajid, Saife and Amos. I was wearing a three-quarter sleeve white top with buttons down the chest and one on each sleeve with a nice red printed skirt. Rajids "truths" where, i work as a teacher, i went to Makongeni Primary School, and someone in this circle only has 7buttons on their top. I had nine, one on each sleeve and a spare one on the side and seven on the chest, as all the faces turned to my chest it brought much hilarity/shock as everyone realised what he had been staring at for some time to be able to count them out... little perve! ha. At night after dinner we all sat around the sofas at the mess hut and said some truths and random facts about ourselves - plus V plates and no's. It was really funny as we slowly got more out of people as the night went on.

I know it has taken me over a month to put this on - but if you where in a place like this, would you want to be stuck in an IT room?! haha

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Posted by annscarr 03:07 Archived in Kenya Comments (0)

Makongeni - Week 2

sunny 30 °C

September 27th - October 1st

On Monday we didn't do any project work in the morning we just headed to the local nursery where we were introduced to the 70-strong class of 3-7year olds! We introduced a completely new project for The Leap were some of our money has gone into buying porridge, cups and cleaning utensils for the local nursery school! It's the first of it's kind and everyone was really excited to get it started, because it will be a long standing thing even after we have left! The nursery school was a donation from an Italian couple who worked at one of the churches in Makongeni in remembrance of their son who died when he was just 19, but it's quite small so thats why we are building a new one for them!

Monday night.. nothing exciting.. except... WATCHING THE LION KING IN THE LOCAL CINEMA! :D i use the word cinema loosely though, what i really mean is a mud hut with a large television at the front of lines of wooden benches where you slowly start to sweat and sweat and sweaaat and sweaaaaat... and then your bum goes numb.. you get the point! The film was amazing though, and it was Bryony's first time watching it, what a deprived childhood she has experienced! I also found out during the film that the film 'Mr Bean' isn't a documentary, like i thought it was.. i mean come ON! People always say "who's in that new film that's out?", "Aw, it's Mr Bean!"... really, what was i to think!

Tuesday was when the Lions were on the prowl.. Lions, as in my wonderful team who were first to tackle Mama's house :D! The man in charge is a lovely guy called Willy, though he doesn't understand a word of English, he makes up for it in his building skills! Salim is on hand to translate, and just to generally give us girls some muscles to stare at, as is Duncan whos hilarious chat keeps the fast pace of the house building humorous! We dug out all the soil that was covering the foundations and really got into it.. although the sheer amount of mud around was less enjoyable, "hello fake tanned legs!". We are aiming to build a traditional Kenyan house made out of wood, mud and reeds for an old lady whos current house is falling down and is having to be home to the old woman, her granddaughter and five of her great-grandchildren! Seven in a house with only two rooms, really puts things in perspective.

We had a bonfire on Tuesday night, but to be honest, the massive pillows that i had let my body sink into were wayyyy to comfy to be moving from to let my bum go numb on a LOG. Come on now. So Sarah and I opted for our new entertainment at camp - 'Lizard Big Brother'! It's basically were lots of lizards gather above the light on the ceiling of the mess hut and try to capture creatures to eat, mostly moths and fly's (we were treated to a praying mantis one night though), but if we have learnt anything from his very entertaining show... it's that lizards are idiots, and even when their food is in front of them, they still don't attack it.

On Wednesday it was the Lions first day doing scaffolding on the nursery - although there were only four in our team today! We had to take lengths of logs and saw them up, granddad - i'm afraid to say, but i still to this day can't saw/chop wood to save myself, all those times you tried to teach me i feel i have been wasting your efforts! - i did one, then gave up. The scaffolding looked... sufficient... for a local. I however was not overly keen to get right on up, photos on facebook may explain why.. rope and wood. I was thinking metal poles with metals platforms, nuts and bolts, and possible if we were lucky, a health and safety officer to come round and inspect it! Nope. Just good auld Combo jumping up and down on it saying "That'll do.." - gotta love the African way!

Wednesday evening was our African night out to a restaurant called 'The African Pot'. The transport was so much fun, we got a Matatu (local bus/mini van) for only 50p! We would have got it for 30p but the driver already had 3 passengers, and decided to kick them out so he could take the twelve of us and make more money.. they're not daft these drivers, they go were the money is! The food was good, although it took an hour an a bit to get to the table! We all sussed out that they where delaying it so we would all get more drinks and spend more money, so when we stopped buying the drinks.. OH! THE FOOD MAGICALLY APPEARS TO BE READY. Strange that eh? Sarah and I couldn't decide what to have so we decided to share and have a bit of everything local! We had some Mataha (potatoes, maize, greens and corn all mashed together), Matoke (fried green bananas in a spicy tomato sauce), Chapatis and Ugali (a bolied maize product - very starchy and bland... not quite a fan to be honest). I had some Choma Kuku - grilled chicken. And.. i ate it off the bone! I'm growing up out here, i really am.

Thursday was a lazy (as in not doing construction) morning as Sarah, Bryony, Katie and I headed off to the hopsital to help out with the weekly baby weighing! Only three babies came, but the nurse said it was because it was the end of the month and therefore lots of people had already been, but it was quite good because we spent aaaages playing with them and generally just cuddling them! I didn't make any of them cry either, that's a triumph in itself! One did cry however, but not because of me.. I think our scary white faces may have had something to do with it..

It was quiz night on Thursday and it was my teams turn to run it because we had won last time.. its hard winning everything all the time ;) And it went down really well with everyone! The questions were all to do with the trip so far and to see if people had really been listening/looking when our guides and project leaders were telling or pointing out to us interesting things!

Back to construction for our last day on the Friday morning and we were all glad to be focusing on the Mama's house as of next week! We're heading out to a couple of local markets to buy material and such things this afternoon then heading to 40's for some dinner, i will fill you in on the details next week!

On a different note others than our happenings, we have really settled into the village! We can quite happily walk around the places heading to the stalls to get fresh bananas and local 'cakes' , and most of us spend our evening with the local boys just chilling on the football pitch chatting and mucking about. All the little kids from the school always shout "Jambo Anna, Habari?", really makes me feel a lot more comfortable when everyone is so lovely! When we are away at the weekends, people don't say "It's time to head back to camp now.." it's home, not camp. Because that's really what it feels like, like we are a part of the community. After a rocky transition to realise that Stevie is no longer around, i couldn't be happier with Rosie. She is SO lovely, and we talk about everything with her, including Sarah, Katie and i's strong obsession with our Camps International contact Dipesh. Oh, lovely Dipesh. I would describe him but i don't want people booking flights to come over and try and steal him from us. End of story.

I can't believe it's been a month already, time really does fly when you're having this much fun! Our new social calendar is keeping us busy at the weekend so i'm sure there will be much to fill you in on next week.

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Posted by annscarr 03:39 Archived in Kenya Comments (0)

Makongeni - Week 1

sunny 32 °C

September 20th - 26th

Okay, i'm not gonna lie to you guys, we have to much of a deep-cut routine in this particular camp for any serious spontaneity so you would get bored of reading our day to day happenings, so week to week is best for Makongeni :)

Monday morning. Early rise. We set off bang on 9am. WHAAAAT?! Stevie lets us discuss times to leave at so we were fully ready. Already things are verrry different. The first different thing is the heat, VERY hot. By 10am the heat is already what it would be at midday in Mwaluganje!
We got an orientation tour round the village by Rosie, our project leader for our time here, and it was really good. We looked round the stalls, went in the school, looked at the construction site, went down to the mangrove projects, went to see the Mama we were building a house for, went in the IT hut, looked round the village "cinema", looked round the local hospital and after lunch we started constructing the nursery. Busy busy busy. Sarah unfortunately missed out on all of this because she got heat stroke and the doxycycline tablet just didn't agree with her yesterday and she had to stay in bed aaaaall day ): poor wee soul! Emma asked the chef to make her some soup so she wouldn't have to eat a big meal, but that was ALL he brought out. A little bowl of soup for all of us after our first day of construction in blistering heat. The sheer disappointment on everyone's faces said it all.. AND THEN DINNER FOLLOWED! Thank. The. Lord.

The rest of the week has been a bit of a mixture of things but we have mainly been working on the nursery, which to be honest, at the beginning, was quite repetitive and unorganised. The local boys which follow us about mainly take over and leave us standing there with nothing to do, which leaves us pondering the thought "what's the point in us being here?". They are clearly eager to help us, but we are all just as eager to get our hands dirty!.. that is what we came for after all.. Teaching in the IT centre has been the same, we turned up to teach students about Microsoft Word and such things and there were no students for us, and we had only been given our teaching materials 30mins before we were due to start which gave us no time to prepare a lesson plan. Rosie then came to sort out the situation, but it turned out she went next door and dragged out some girls who were in a sewing lesson so we would have someone to teach.. We weren't happy, but it wasn't because it was unorganised or anything, well maybe that had a part to play, but more so because we are all here to do something worthwhile, not just for the sake of doing it. We want to make sure people benefit from the things we put effort into.

Dipesh from the Leap came in to check on us, as he does at every new camp we get to, just to see things are alright etc. etc. and i think he may of regretted asking "how are things?". Some 5mins later the whole team were sat down with Dipesh, Ducan (camp manager) and Rosie (project leader) having it out. Not in a really negative way.. but more like constructive criticism.. He totally understood everything we said though, and in fact was really happy we had sat him down and told him what was wrong. He gets that we are a really hard-working group of people, which he says is rare as most people will try and get away with doing as little work and sunbathing as much as possible, and that we want to be doing productive things rather than time fillers! So things are looking up :)

Building the next couple days were SO much better - we had Rosie on hand to answer questions and Combo actually started to tell us where we were going wrong rather than just fix it himself!
The teachers also came over for lunch so the team could sit them down and ask them what they REALLY wanted out of us while we were here, and it turns out the children have exams soon as this is their last term before summer, so revision is essential! SCORE - we're getting somewhere (: so we are all set up for teaching next week, we have our books, our subjects and now all we need to start are the lesson plans.. job done.
Team morale was quite low on our first week or so here, just things run completely different and the lack of organisation at the beginning threw us all a bit, but now we all know what we are doing and we have drawn up weekly plans - all is well again :)

Here we have a school sort of set-up.
Breakfast at 7:30am. Morning projects are 9am-12pm. Lunch 12:30pm. Afternoon project are 2pm-4pm. Then dinner at 7:30pm.
This happens Monday - Thursday, and on a Friday we have a half day.. much different to Mwaluganje were we only got a Sunday off!
On Friday i have never felt so good! I did all the odd bits and bobs i had to do, and it was amazing to just relax! Had a REALLY good scrub in the shower, washed all my dirty clothes, sorted out my bag for projects and my bag for the weekends, and then the ultimate - the Love Shaks 'FRIDAY TIDY!'.. that's right mum, I'm carrying on the tradition even when i am on the other side of the equator! New bed sheets were put on, the whole floor was swept of sand and my clothes were re-neatened on my top bunk! Mission accomplished.

On Friday night we decided to have a 'quiet' night out at 40's... oh how wrong we were! We ended up calling Sayidih for a taxi at 2:30am and i can quite blatantly say, it was THEE best night out i have had in a very, very long time. So many funny moments, so much banter... and the Aussies weren't there, so it makes it double the fun! We got chatting to a few British guys in there and they got some of the girls doing the limbo, although i thought (at first) that they where a bunch of prats, that thought proved out very wrong on my part! ;)
The weekend consisted of much of the same; sunbathing, buying things, our all important trips to the supermarket and a nap on the way home on Rusty!

Oh - and all the stealing note, we told Duncan about it and it turns out he know the owner so he phoned him, and he said the staff were trying to steal money by pretending we hadn't paid to cover their bums...
....now we know why it's called "40 Thieves", it's a nickname for the staff....

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Posted by annscarr 03:13 Archived in Kenya Comments (0)

Day 18

rain 27 °C

September 19th

Early rise after a very late and drunken night out, people where struggling. I was in a spiffing mood - Sarah and i had headed to the truck at 12am and just chilled until 1am, because by this point the alcohol had seriously worn off, so we weren't as bad as everyone else! Plus i don't get hangovers, so even if it HAD been a heavy night, i still would have been fine - win, win (:
Headed to the beach at half eight in the morning and it was VERY cloudy. It rained on and off all morning so we were in and out of 40's all the time - had chicken and cheese toasted baguette for brunch while sitting at the bar writing my journal with a coffee. I know, i sound fancy eh? haha.
I went on the internet at the beach, and i have to say i was more than pleasantly surprised at how quick it was. Was on for about an hour or so just writing emails but i never got to do my blog because i got chatting to people on facebook chat! oh how things change eh? (; loved it though, might do the blog tomorrow.
After i headed i to the beach with everyone else, was good to chhhhhill! Went a walk along the beach with Bryony, got hassled by men then headed back - was so good though, got some nice photos!
HAHAHA - ran into the sea with Bryony and i totally tripped over a wave - i made it into a "dive" cause i totally meant to do that anyway.. "/ water was good and warm though (:
Got back, a bit more chilling etc etc, them BAM! accused of stealing food... not even just a misunderstanding and an "okay, never mind! thing, it was a taken into an office on our own and accused by the manager, type thing. Jenny and I then sorted it out with the owner who was really nice, sounded South African, but he said if the books didn't balance up he would call the camp and get us to pay up.
Chilling tonight though, good alternative to 40's... I'll keep you up to date on the stealing thing...

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Posted by annscarr 06:38 Archived in Kenya Comments (0)

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