Sue & Richard update 24th October 2017

Posted by on Oct 24, 2017 in News, Stannard | No Comments

These are strange times here in Kenya. The weather is odd for a start: the locals are saying it’s quite unpredictable these days. Not as hot as it has been on previous visits, though still shirtsleeves weather – but plenty of thunderstorms and rain. Heavy rain here also means that the previously dusty ground rapidly transforms into horrible sticky mud that clings to everything: our wellies doubled in weight when we walked from our tin house to the Care Centre the other evening.

Then there is the politics….We are two days away from the re-run of the presidential election…or are we? As things stand at present, it is going ahead but with the main opposition party saying they will not take part because they claim the Supreme Court identified ‘illegalities and irregularities’ in the poll that was annulled and these issues have not been resolved. Today the Supreme Court dismissed a case that would have forced the opposition to take part. Tomorrow, they are hearing a case to halt the election. No one here has any idea what will happen. While we feel relatively safe here in ‘the rural’ we are intending to keep our heads down for the next few days, certainly not venturing into the nearby city of Kisumu which is an opposition stronghold and where there have been many demonstrations. The Daily Nation, the newspaper/website which we have long regarded as a source of entertainment as well as information reported a few days ago that ‘there will be demons all over Kenya’. A Freudian typo? Please pray for the peace of Kenya in these uncertain times.

In the meantime, Millicent is leaving for India tonight for her heart operation. It is planned for just a day or two after she arrives. Please pray for her and for those who will be operating on her and caring for her. Please also pray for Eric, who is understandably concerned with his wife so far away and seriously ill. He is also bearing the whole burden of responsibility that he usually shares with Millicent – and the day-to-day problems just keep coming as normal.

What have we been doing? At this stage in our visit we can’t point to a huge number of tasks that have been accomplished, though we did spend today at the school, taking up-to-date photos of the sponsored children and organising them to write letters to their sponsors. It doesn’t sound like much, but it is a long process, with the children writing draft letters first, having them checked, then doing good copies. All this is being done in their third language, of course, quite a feat for young children, and something to bear in mind if you are a sponsor. We have also had a couple of sessions singing with the children at school. We also did some outside games: rounders, which they enjoyed with a loose interpretation of rules and teams: we have no idea who won; and parachute games which were even more chaotic with about 50 children taking part. Tomorrow is their closing ceremony day: everything here is finishing early because of the election, with only the Standard 8 (equivalent to our Year 9) pupils coming back from 1st November to take their final exams.

We have been to the Care Centre a few times, with the usual mix of talking, singing and playing games. Musical chairs was a highlight: just like with the games as school, rules here are not always strictly applied which leads to plenty of happy chaos! We have also given out clothes we brought from the UK to each of the children, which are much appreciated. An indoor game with balloons literally went with a bang the other evening. After much fun with squeaky noises, letting them go and chasing after them, the children were hitting them from one side of the room to the other with others catching them in the middle of the room, when a balloon hit the only light bulb in the room which promptly exploded, leaving us in total darkness! We were thankful that no one was hurt, and that we had already asked an electrician to come to install fluorescent tubes into the room (we had noticed on an earlier visit that the room was very dimly lit).

There are five new (since our last visit) children at the Centre: they seem to have settled in really well. Most of them are still in need of personal sponsors, so if you know anyone who would like to sponsor (or partially sponsor) a child, please ask them to follow the links on the ‘How to Give’ section of our website. We also had a film night, and plan another one or two while we are here.

We’ve identified one or two projects to keep us busy over the next few days. We are hoping to transform a currently underused building( this was the original ‘mzungu house’ so called as Europeans helped build it at the Care Centre into a quiet area/library for the children….once we have got rid of the 11 wasps nests! African wasps are larger and more vicious than UK ones. Joyce the cook/helper got stung yesterday and her hand was very swollen. This small house is about 12’x10’ and appears to be a dumping ground at present. Clear out the rubbish, clean and paint and set up with new curtains and some locally made sofas—and it could be great. Well that’s the plan at present…

Otherwise we are doing okay. Not a great place if you like green food –unless it is sukomu wiki- a strong green. In fact too bad if you like fresh salads, vegetables or fruit. I brought with me lots of dried food like cous cous and packet soup, for which I am very thankful. Also the small slow cooker has come in helpful for a rice pudding, and carrot soup.

We cooked ’English’ pancakes the other day (two of us on two gaz stoves) for all the care centre children: they loved them. I haven’t cooked for 26 recently! I am going to try Welsh cakes sometime soon. As we only have our two gaz cylinders to cook on so you need to be quite creative. Food is especially difficult this trip as big supermarket in local city has shut down and in any case Kisumu (30 mins away) is too risky to visit. However I am sure we won’t starve…any suggestions anyone out there…and we will keep taking the vitamins.

This is definitely the year of the crickets… they seem to be nocturnal and very jumpy…and noisy and unfortunately seem to like our house very much…Fly swat comes in handy..

Well must go as need to cook supper of cous cous and cheese and broccoli pasta sauce…weird.

Still we pray that we are encouraging a few folks here and there so we take a day at a time…

With our love to you all family and friends. UK seems a long way away sometimes. Not sure how missionaries used to feel when they came for years at a time and there was little if any communication. Even I can remember in 60’s in Zambia that air mail letters took a week or more to arrive and phone calls were £1 a minute…

Thank you for reading thus far…you are very dedicated friends!