Saturday, 1 August 2015

Back home - 1st August

The stay in the Nairobi hotel was short as we had been advised to order our taxi for 08:00 in order to be sure of reaching Jomo Kenyatta airport by 10:45.  We therefore had to rise at 06:30 and have an early breakfast.

Such an early start was unwarranted as it happened, since the journey took us just an hour.  In addition, our flight to Abu Dhabi was delayed.

Abu Dhabi airport is new, bright and shiny, but that doesn't seem to matter much in the wee small hours we you have a lengthy stop-over.  We sat in relative comfort, but with the assistance of Etihad blankets, to counteract the powerful air conditioning.  

Arrival at Heathrow was a little over an hour late, but Dave was there to meet us and transported us back to Five Oak Green.

The Kenyan adventure comes to an end!

Friday, 31 July 2015

Nairobi - 31st July

We arrived in Nairobi from Eldoret, a little late on the Fly540 plane.  See one of the evacuation notices below - the mind boggles!

We had arranged to spend the evening with Cory (Josphat's elder daughter), husband Gitahi and 15 month old Faith.

Our late arrival was no problem for Gitahi, who was meeting us at the airport, as he had had to battle through the evening rush hour traffic, and arrived at the same time as us.

It was lovely to see them all, and after we had eaten Cory's delicious meal, Gitahi dropped us off at our hotel.

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Emotional Farewells - 30th July

Our last day at school, and we arrived a little later than usual as we’d had to pack.

Spent some time in the office, and saying goodbye to several members of staff.

Break time is ugi time, heralded by a hand bell!

This thin porridge is cooked every morning for all the children and some of the staff.  It is vital sustenance for many of the more needy children, and it goes down a treat!  There is little furniture in the dining room, so the youngest pupils carry chairs from the classroom on their heads.

We toured the classrooms giving each pupil a pen or pencil (depending on their age) as these are often in short supply.  It was great to hear the enthusiastic chant and claps from the younger pupils, the welcome invariably received by visitors.

It was an emotional farewell to the children and their class teachers.

We left Aquinoe for Eldoret airport, stopping off on the way at Matunda  (which means “fruit”) to see Josphat’s dad.  Meshak, Josphat’s uncle, came with us.  We’ve known him since our first visit to the school, and we always receive a cheery welcome from him at the gate.

More emotional farewells with Josphat and Hanifa at Eldoret airport before flying to Nairobi.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Departmental equipment, Mandazi, Plaques & Dinner - 29th July

We distributed necessary equipment to various departments, which we had bought in town.

Mercy let out a squeal of delight when she saw the feather duster.  The library shelves and books have a fine red coating all over them, and we noticed that handling them was very messy.

Margaret, the tailor, was very pleased with everything we had bought, including two pairs of scissors.

As pointed out in a previous post, the cooks were in desperate need of protection for their hands - oven gloves.

We had decided to give all the pupils a treat - mandazi.  These are unsweetened doughnut-like snacks which are enjoyed by many Kenyans.

We had organised the mounting of commemorative plaques we had brought with us. These were put up in appropriate positions today.

This evening we were kindly taken out for a meal by the Chairman, along with several other Board of Management members. 

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Claps, bags and presents - 28th July

Clapping games are very popular at break times, especially with the girls.  We have enjoyed teaching them new clapping patterns.

Tina and Jean have loved the bags made by some of the pupils in the sewing club, and purchased one each today.

We brought with us presents for all the sponsored children, who were delighted with their gifts.  We also gave them photos of their sponsors.

Monday, 27 July 2015

School and former pupil - 27th July

Morning was spent at school in Baby Classroom and office.

We wanted to check out the detail of the alterations made to the Baby Classroom roof beams, in preparation for installation of solar panels.  This needs some additional work.

Rest of the morning was spent in the office alongside Rachel, who looks after the administrative arrangements of the school.  We have known her for many years, and she is a fantastic person and good friend.

In the afternoon Josphat took us to the St Thomas Amuka Secondary School, where Naomi started in January.  Naomi is a former pupil of Aquinoe, and continues to be supported by her sponsors.  She has had physical problems including club feet, which were operated on a couple of years ago.  Naomi seems to be doing very well.

Her Grandmother has looked after her since she was very small, and we visited her home where we were treated to the most vigorous hand shake you could imagine, preceded by an almighty hand slap - and this from a seventy year old woman.  She was very appreciative of the financial support she receives, and presented us with a live chicken and a large bag of vegetables.  This is considered a great honour, so despite the fact that we have vastly more than she has, we could not possibly refuse. 

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Staff Lunch 26th July

Highlight of the day was taking twenty one teaching and support staff to lunch.  Again we were ferried in groups to the Kitale Nature Conservancy, this time solely in Josphat’s car.

There is a large restaurant and bar area, and we were allocated a room of our own.  Josphat had organised a variety of food – chicken, ugali, chapati, chips and greens with gravy (or soup as it’s known locally) followed by bananas.  The sweetest ones here are tiny.

The meal was followed by speeches and group photographs.  Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.