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.