5:25 Alarm goes off 'Green Onions' Booker T. Hit the snooze button, lay there for 5 minutes before dragging myself out of my silk bed liner. Everyone was up - there was some coughing & spluttering, but by & large we were all set for an early morning drive out to Kendu Bay. The aim was to get there to see the fishermen set out at sunrise, and equally get back in time to finnish the planning of the day ahead - sports day, 'banquet', and church. The school was so quiet - we were up and about before the children! We still needed torches for the loo! Breakfast was a ginger biscuit, purely to help take with the malarone, and a bottle of water. We were joined by Duncan, who'd be our navigator/guide, and we set off.
6:45 Driving up to Kendu Bay we drove part on lad part of the village which had been completely abandoned - it looked like a scene out of Apocalypse Now! At one time it must have been thriving, but now it was void of life. We approached Lake Victoria just as the sun came above the mountains and before it disappeared behind the clouds - perfect timing. Tony had taken his usual bouquet of serious lenses - by now I'm getting serious lens envy, but at $2k+ for a lens is way beyond my capabilities - and budget! But he does take awesome photo's. We're all looking forward to getting copies so we can pass them off as our own to family & friends ;) Ooops, blown my cover! As we parked up 3 boats were being pushed out, through the water hydrangeas, before raising their sales. We were all snapping away like mad! There was a derelict 'canteen' which had seen better days - you could see that the lake had been significantly higher, but over the last 10 years it's receded by 10 feet!
Duncan tells us stories of when he was a boy, and used to walk from near H&K to Kendu Bay with huge bags of charcoal balanced on his head to sell - a walk of at least 20km!! I'll never forget how resilient the Kenyan people are.
Next is Simbi, the volcanic lake. We sat down on the edge of the lake while Duncan recited some folklore about a woman, who after running off with her husbands animals was swallowed up by some mud. Voila, salty lake! OK, don't kill the messenger! We decided to walk round the lake - Virginia Water it's not, but it was an interesting stroll; half way round we were greeted by a dead dog, semi-decayed, Polly did say it smelt of wet dog, but she never mentioned it had died!. Obviously the salty water didn't agree with it! The walk round takes a good half-an-hour, and as the Land Rover comes into sight we all start discussing what type of coffee we'd order from Starbucks, and which pastries ;) Personally a nice cup of 'Breakfast Tea" would've been fan-bloody-tastic!
9:30 We pull into H&K - home sweet home. Usual goings on at school - kids are running around playing games, boys kicking a football, some of the girls are helping the cooks plucking the hens, others are placing them on a fire, and a goat's tethered up waiting to be slaughtered - same ol' same ol' ;) The chickens and goat were for the banquet later in the day. They asked if I wanted to slaughter a chicken - well, why not. First though, the goat was led away to be slaughter. The venue - the end of the children's playing field. The goat was tethered to a post while someone ran off to fetch the knives. Suddenly the goat made a run for it - I think he knew what was in store. However, he hadn't banked on Duncan (who, let me remind you, carried bags of charcoal on his head for 20km a day no-less!), who quickly sprang into action and caught hold of the rope before it could run into the next open field. I'd never seen a slaughter before, and had a morbid fascination to look - and Polly, and Tony. And we weren't the only one's - virtually all the children were crowded round, especially the really young ones, trying to get a good vantage point. I'll spare you the gory details, apart from the fact it was at least a minute before it had stopped spluttering - and if it wasn't for the bowl he had under it's neck the blood would have spurted a good 6ft! We didn't stay around for the butchering, but that would all take place where it lay, and the meat would be hung out on the post. We left the children to admire the skilful butcher, and walked back to our chilli-out room for breakfast.
We arrived to find the ladies tucking into their scrambled eggs on bread, and strangely enough weren't interested in our goat story. John then came and offered a gift - the goats sweetbreads. No thanks, we said, we've just eaten.
The rest of the morning we spend around the school - playing/talking to children, teachers… each other about our experience and future plan.
1:00 We make our way down to the school field to start organising the sports day, with our 'special' races. Walking past the kitchen area we see some children still helping the cooks make the chickens - stripping what's left and putting in a bowl for the chick stock.
The air-horns arrive, and we're all set. First of all, the 50mtr dash! One race per class, starting with yr1, the 4yr olds, through to yr7, who are 16. Age has is not related to class, it's based on academic ability. Children are called forward to race - there are some unusual names as some are named after famous people - the best being Vladimer Putin!
Once we've the obligatory 'dash' race is over, we move onto our very British egg & spoon race, though without the eggs we go with stone & spoon race :) It doesn't take long for them to work out the top cheat - thumb over stone to stop it falling off when running :) Lot's of false starts follow, re-starts but the kids love it. Next, the 3-legged race! We bought some elastic at the market a couple of days back, and start to tie the ankles together in pairs. We obviously bought cheap elastic as we only get one race out of each piece of elastic!
2:30 With the races complete, it's end of term prize giving time! :) The teachers are awarding academic prizes for best in-class, most improved, discipline & responsibility, social studies, language studies, maths & english and sport. The awards consisted of pencils, books and a new pair of shoes! Can you imagine our children settling for those? It's so hot - there's a make-shift piece of cover which everyone tries to crowd under to get some shade. The children sit very patiently - in this heat it's incredible. Some of the small children are getting some special cuddles from our ladies :) One little boy has taken a special hold of Polly - she found him earlier crying, but a few special cuddles, and the gift of a little whistle soon made the tears dry up. For the next hour he wouldn't let her go. I notice during the prize giving/speeches that he's fast asleep in her arms :)
4:15 Final speeches are concluded - we all feel completely drained and dehydrated - god knows how some of the children are. We crash back in our chill-out room and Rachel puts the kettle on (no, not Polly), and we start to dream about what cake we'd like with our teaa…. Malt Loaf, Blueberry Muffin, Cheesecake, Carrot Cake, Vanilla Slice, ….hmmmm! if only! We realise we have no clean cups and no bowl to wash them with as everything's been used by the cooks for the feast - the tea will have to wait!
Ok whats for tea i hear you cry, well we could have goats and chicken claws but we were missing our noodles so more of them and some chips then, yes I know chips again, how healthy are we!
The new normal is our new saying! These are some of them:
Shitting in a hole
Not having electricity after 7pm
Wet wipes being a good substitute for a bath
Mozzie tennis being the only entertainment at night
The ladies having a back massage from Tony every night
Not having a fridge at all
Sanitising your hands before, and after everything!
Puking in your jumper, and not throwing it away!
Looking forward to travelling in a 40 year old Land Rover - anywhere and for however long
Not seeing any other white people since we have landed
Looking forward to a safari more for the food and plumbing than seeing the animals
Not wanting to have a drink in case you have to go to the toilet
Not being freaked out by looking at a very full fly strip in the front room
Children crapping outside a classroom
Having everyone call you mozungo
4:00 The feast commences! everyone had huge portions, ate well, and had sodas! Personally, I gave it a miss - somehow had lost my appetite after the chicken & goat incidents! The big shock - seeing the children opening coke bottles with their teeth!
5:00 Mr Bensen made a short speech, and we were all presented with individual letters written by the children! Now that was very special! It's something we will treasure forever.
9:00 We're all burnt out. It's been an experience more than any of us set out to achieve, but we're exhausted. We leave tomorrow at 9am and head to Nairobi. Tomorrow we'll be in tents, which have en-suits, running water, and alcohol. But before all that - a 9hr drive!
Going to bed - love all.