06.02.2010 34 °C
Hello again! I really haven't done well with "writing the blog every weekend"... I've been keeping a diary every single day, so when I come home you'll have something to read!
So this is weekend #5 in Kenya so far, and weekend #3 at the beach-I'm still loving it! I look at my life like this: I'm saving the world 9-5, Mon-Friday, and living the life of Royalty on the weekends! I'll update you on the past 3 weeks here at Makongeni Camp/Diani Beach.
We're staying in the Leap owned 'Makongeni Camp'. It's about 6km down the "highway" (aka dusty no-speed-limit road) to Diani Beach (town). It's right bang smack in the middle of Makongeni Village in a fenced off area next to the primary school. We're sleeping in canvas tents with camp beds and mosquito nets, and we have the 'Coz-Moz' (chill out, mill out zone...?) where we all-CHILL! The camp is great, and like luxury compared to sleeping in a D of E style tent like the last camp! The best bit of camp is waking up in the morning and eating breakfast surrounded by about 15 monkeys all grooming and play-fighting eachother!
We're doing lots of work within the community while we're here, which involves walking around the village like the Pied Piper being followed by so many kids.. We've been building a nursery for the school to expand into, as at the moment there are 4 year olds in the same class as some 9 year olds! We buil every morning to avoid the hottest sun, but in Kenya, there's no escaping the day's heat! The building involves us mixing 4 wheelbarrows of sand with 1 bag of cement (the ratio for plastering walls, not building a school!). We then slap wet cement onto the top surface of the wall, and whack down a "brick" which is just a stone with flat edges.. The whole process is extremely repetative, and after much thought, I've decided that I do not want to be a bricklayer.
There's a charity called 'Rafiki Kenia' that's been set up in Makongeni village providing a Health Center, woodshop and a tailoring school. We've recently been chisseling, sawing and varnishing wood to make beds which are given for free to the community. The hospital only opened about 4 weeks ago, so they've only had 5 patients as they all worry that a visit to the center is very expensive, but it's actually only 2.60gbp for a check-up and treatment. As for the tailoring school, we're not actually working for them, but being a group of girls, we've provided them with lots of pretty fabrics which we've bought on the beach to make clothes out of! I've got a funky pair of trousers and shorts so far. All under 4gbp Mummy-don't worry!
Last week we taught in the primary school for an hour every afternoon. For the 1st lesson, I paired up with Hattie to teach Science to a class of 10-14 year olds. Due to the lack of space, and over subscription at the school, there were around 60 students of un-matched intelligence crowded into one room that we had to teach. Hattie and I were actually very surprised at how disruptive and loud some of the students were. We'd expected them to be really greatful, and respect our efforts in teaching them. Instead, some talked throughout, walked around and didn't do any work (YES, Mummy, just like me when I was younger...). The language barrier made it very difficult to have any authority over them, and Hattie and I were having to shout over them to have "Muzungo" (meaning white person) shouted back at us.. Some students were really nice to us, and did the work we set. It made me realise that teachers in school weren't just having a bad day when they got so easily frustrated in lessons-the class actually were causing it!!! I was getting frustrated, especially as the only Swahili words I know are "hello", "how are you" and "you're a gangsta"... Okay.. Well I do know a FEW more than that!
On the weekends (when I'm not saving the world), we're able to do what we want in and around Diani. Diani Beach has been voted as one of the TOP 10 most beautiful beaches in the world-not a bad place to spend my weekends eh?! We go to a part of the beach called "40 Thieves" which has a bar/restaurant/internet cafe, and of course, the most beautiful beach.. The bar serves a variety of food from salads to delicious french fries which yes, I do enjoy every Saturday for a mid swim break. My weekend schedule is: Check/reply to emails, eat, sunbathe, swim, walk down beach to dry off, then repeat.. 've just been snorkelling with 2 friends (Hattie and Fi) which was absolutely amazing. We saw lots of beautiful fish, including some Nemo's and Dory's, bright red star fish, and thousands of Sea Urchins-eugh! Oh it's a hard life.
Last weekend it was Tilly's 19t Birthday, so we spent the usual day on the beach, and then went out to 'Ali Barbour's Cave Restaraunt' for dinner. The restaraunt is built into a cave with candels hidden in every crevas of the wall, and the roof is removed at night to reveal the starry skies. I read on the menu that they had lobster and was excited for a week! Mummy originally thought that Lobyster only came from cold water like on the East Coast, so I nearly decided against having lobster that might have been imported from New Hampshire or the Gaspe! I was eventually told that warm water IS the home to many Lobbys, so I treated myself to one with a nice glass of house white. To my dissapointment, I was not able to play with it before-hand, and I was not given a novelty bib-it was girlled. Still absolutely delicious though... Thanks Babs n Jeff!
We spent the rest of the night dancing to cheesy tunes at '40s' with smelly locals (funny story for another day). After dancing, some craaaaaazy person (me..) posed the idea of skinny dipping to the group, and 1 minute later, 5 of us were on the sand stripping down! We swam (in the light of the full equatorial moon and beach lights) to a pontoon about 20meters out, then shamefully paddled back to shore. We got back to find that our clothes had started washing away, buit were saved by our friends at the last minute! Unfortunately, I lost one earing from a brand new pair I'd just bought, AND a pair of undies... Not fun-but worth it!
The internet is failing again, and the beach is calling to me, so I'll leave any more excitement till next time. I haven't been able to upload any pictures, so I'll probably have to wait till sunny Southwell to load them all up! So long for now,
bye bye! Xxxxxx