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Brooksie

So they can ❤️

KENYA | Tuesday, 23 May 2017 | Views [1349] | Comments [2]

I wasn't sure about writing a blog as it my true raw emotion about this next experience.  I have to lose nothing and hopefully I'll inspire one other person to come do this too. I can't express my thanks enough for everyone who has donated towards so they can also. 
 
For those who know me well I'm 100 miles an hour, high expectations of myself this will be life changing so firstly my 3 ground rules I have to ensure I make the most of this experience. 
 
1 - no expectations
2-  live in the moment to enjoy every minute
3 - open mindset and learn from others
 
Won't explain all the reasons which made me choose to do charity work. getting older you get you are more scared of what's in front of you and what was your purpose in life. You think more about the risk, opportunities and consequences. 
 
Ultimately Happiness is everything you need it's not about money or things. This is my next adventure and everything happens for a reason. 
 

Day 1 

 
Been a emotional roller coaster week moving out of apartment after 7 years and leaving my career at Pernod Ricard after 4 years. Next chapter starts here! started with breakfast with my brother and sister in law who next time I see them will be parents ! Thankfully Dad brought me to airport so having him by my side was good as I go to check my bag in ... It's 4 kgs over there is a lot of clothes I'm taking over for charity bless the lovely air NZ supervisor who Is so helpful and friendly. He let's me have the extra heavy bag. 
 
As I stepped on the escalator heading for departures i had a few tears as it finally feels real, it's the first time I am by myself said all my goodbyes and now I'm about the embark on this amazing journey. It's not till I sit down on the plane I'm truly excited I'm going to Kenya!! no job playing on my mine with absolutely clear head minus the slight hangover. Been able to fully amerce myself in the next 3 weeks and learn. 
 
Flight one down and 6 hours at Sydney airport... Then onto the long leg of 14 hours to Abu Daubi. Very tired now and way too many coffees trying to stay awake at airport. Sit next to lovely lady on way who is taking her son home to meet family. Always interesting meeting people from different walks of life. 
 
Day 2
 
Arrive in Abu Daubi not what I expected clearing security which is manic taking off bag and money belt into security box which I can't see too many people and been short doesn't help. A few deep breaths and finally on other side getting my things. Got 3 hour wait so do a few laps of airport and hope to find a shower but no luck so grab some food head down to gate. When i get to the gate culture shock one I'm about 1 of 5 white skinned people to the point a little kid points at me ! I can't help but laugh & smile as a kid you don't realise. Later I fine out mzungu is what you call a white skinned person however it's not offensive. 
 
Get onto the last flight after bus ride to the gate and glad to hear it's only a 4 hour flight. Friendly Kenyan people chat away to me on back of plane and maybe a little too friendly when they ask for my number. 
 
Look out window about to land mixed emotions excited I'm here but nervous about the airport. Get asked a few questions by customs about what I'm here to do but all is okay I get out to the cafe see my driver waiting. Meet Cibele and JD which are both absolutely lovely glad when we all in the van heading off for the 3 hour bus journey to Nakuru. It's amazing how much this reminds me of Cambodia and Vietnam... wild animals in middle of road .. People just sitting on side of the road while kids are running around all smiles... Not once have I heard anyone complain. It's crazy on side of the street are mansion and other side is the slums. Unreal pasted zebras 2 hours into the trip. Excited to meet my host mum Christine and meet Nick our onsite manager. 
 
After the journey it's now dark I fell asleep very close to so bit away with the fairies now, we arrive at my home stay first Christine her two girls and her husband greet me, feel so welcome and at home. They don't ask questions till they fed me its part of been a guest. We have a rice and delicious lentils followed by fresh fruit. I am so exhausted from the flight I feel bad going to bed not long after. Don't bother having a wash tonight I'm just happy to see a bed and my mossy net it's very warm.
 
Day 3 
 
Wake up roosters are full noise from about 3am, at 6am I'm so jet lagged I decide to get up and unpack my bags. Good night sleep and look forward to shower. Water is a luxury so I'm quick! Get ready for day ahead bit unsure on what to wear so I go with a super covered up! Lucil has made me a omelette for breakfast then walks me to school up the road. Nick is outside with the girls & we meet Rhonda with her two kids. What a incredible experience for the kids! 
 
Today is orientation day so head into the school first - aberdare primary School. overcome with emotion as they are signing and welcoming us. 1080 kids all standing and the smiles on there face ...words can't decide the feeling. There is about 15 performances from choir group, poems, signing, hip hop dance, gymnastics, national Anthem, and lastly a Haka! It's incredible feeling as kids are waving at you and never felt so welcome in my life. Me and JD are both trying to keep our emotion hidden. We are agree after its so wonderful but you actually feel like royalty. It's very traditional to introduce yourself and make people welcome. You spend a lot of time introducing yourself people are so happy to meet you. 
 
Next we have a meeting with the head teacher, sponsorship manager and village manager learn about the what so they can has done with them. Room is set up beautifully with flowers and fresh apple juice (everyone loves apple juice here too). We learn a lot about all parts and will tell you more when we go to each of them. Overall their main purpose is to educate and empower, everything they do is building foundation for longevity and sustainability. 
 
Learning about the school first walking around the classes and school grounds. They only take kids who are in need and we will may get a chance to see other schools. Here it's a privilege to go to school and they have been lucky enough to have 750 kids sponsored now. However they have a big waitlist for students but they only accept kids in need. Surprise they sit a exam to go to high school and first exam is this year. If you don't pass you go back 2 years and do again. It blows your mind how much is taken for granted back how especially by kids. In 2010 they had a vision for 1000 kids by 2017 and they have achieved this. You believe in your visions you can make it happen. They openly share the challenges they face. 
 
Walking on field at break and the more confident kids come running up to you to ask you questions before you know it you are circled. They speak to you in English and giggle when they can't answer. It's no long before bell goes and have this little hand locked in mine can you come to my class... So adorable. They love photos and ask you to take photos too. 
 
Spent time observing in class for a few hours then we serve lunch, rice & beans . The kitchen staff are amazing the volume of food they make for 1080 kids this is not only a huge amount to make but also serving this amount of people. No one kids complains they all say thanks as they come and collect a plate.. For some kids this is the only meal for rest of day. Some kids even come ask for seconds which they do if they have enough.  This is the most simple and fulfilling meal to help fuel them for the afternoon, they change the meal every day. I couldn't finish my it was huge! 
 
Spent rest of day in classes watching and head to library for reading. After reading Naomi and Margaret burst in my direction and excited to take me to there next class. She tells her friend that I'm her new friend but I didn't understand, when I asked her she was super shy then told me. I can't wipe the smile of my face it's been such a amazing day and it's only the first day at school ! We sing in class and we are teaching them a song on Wednesday. 
 
Last part of day we walk the 120 kids from miti mingi village back home. Under 100m up the road and I have two little hands walking me to them home. Unfortunately the circumstances of why they live in village are very sad, extremely fortunate for the sponsorships and loving house mums. They live with a house mother and 8 kids in each house. 13 houses in the village now, 3 cows and grow vegetable here too. All the kids have a good routine and we will join them most days after school and on weekend. 
 
Well as Zoey put it in the van on way home I'm not tired just pooped ! Very accurate from one very smart young lady she is 12. Looking forward to spending time with my host family tonight and a very early night again. 
 
Asanata sana (slowly learning Swahili) 
 
Day 4 
 
Last night we had Ugala .... It's pretty much like play dough bread very bland but it's the local food. Love trying all the new foods. Men would always ask wife's for it if missing from dinner. Except my house dad Charles doesn't. 
 
Today is day two orientation where we are heading to meet families at new canaan village. This isn't a village as you may think. It has 966 families after the government elections back in 2007 there were tribal clashes of serious violence, where thousands lost there homes. The government gave a family $100 to start again... $100 wouldn't get you a nights accommodation in NZ! So a group of proactive people formed a group of members and put together there money to buy a plot of land. Beginning they lived in tents.. No water, no electricity and very basics items. The village has come a very long way since then now have, mud houses, power and a health clinic on site. From photos you will see this is still extremely basics but these people are so happy. Some have shops to sell things and try gain contracts where they can supply products. 
 
We visited Margaret and her gorgeous boy max she is partially blind. She was lucky to get a start up loan from so they can to start her business, she has paid back four loans and now has two contracts one for milk supply and one for sweet potatos to a school. She is so thankful for what she has achieved and wouldn't have done it without the help she had. The best part is when they can move out of village they do. It's a privilege to meet her and hear her story it's shows how far you can come with nothing. Dreams are free and persevering you can achieve them. 
 
We visited the clinic on site which was helped with government support, patients are people from village and all over the town for basic health care. It cost 20 shillings for a child 30 for adult (about 35c nzd) This is a big cost for some families and would mean going without other things. What is a priority at time is what money is used for. They see 70-100 people a day. We meet the nurse/doctor which is one of three and he runs the clinic now 5 days a week. 
 
We visit Moses house who is the chairman of the community, he tells us how far they have come over the years and how happy they are now. His wife has a shop at front of their house. So nice to be invited into there home and gain understanding about history of the community.  Biggest challenge for community now is fresh water and getting a water hole drilled which is expensive. 
 
Next we go outside village to meet youth groups - one is a adult education group learning technology, sewing, electricians and most popular hair dressing. I would love a hair do from these girls. These are typically dropped out of school or haven't had money to attend school.  We meet woman groups one grandmas and young mums who make mats to sell. They also learn about parenting two days a week. 
 
After we do a city visit, a little excited heading into Nakuru town mainly as we all want to buy a pillow ! It's a short drive about 20 mins away, lunch first so we go Java coffee house where nearly everyone buys a burger... Average but I get a coffee too. First time in wifi so I call my mum knowing its 10pm and I'll be waking her up.... Good to hear her voice. I know how lucky I am to have camp mum Rhonda and of course my house mama Christine as I'll be cashing in my hugs over next few weeks too. 
 
We head into the shops to buy a few things we get biscuits for all the kids at village this weekend between JD and me its only $10. Small gesture. Pillows run out so we go to another shop to buy.. $6 I want this more than a SIM card or anything else. We get body scan when we go into shops... Checking us for guns after attack in Nairobi more cautions in place. We struggle to buy a SIM card after 5 shops we give up this is due to the scams and will try again on weekend as not worried. I would rather a hot long shower! Priorities change when you can't have things like a long shower. We walk past a milk ATM today where you fill up your own bottle! Haha
 
Home by 5pm which is nice unpack and spend time with host family. Yummy meal tonight fresh green beans with spaghetti. We talk a lot about comparison between home and here. Plus cost of things as trying to think of ideas to spend fundraising money on. I would like to do something which keeps on giving and helps empower kids. See what is possible once I speak with Nick. 
 
I had to beg to do the dishes as they have been such wonderful hosts I want to do something to help. No used to having dinner made for me. Maybe I could try to get used to that. Sleep! In bed early again. Jet lagggggggg 
 
Day 5 - 
 
My pillow was the best as had a better sleep! Been awake since 3.45am my mind won't stop it's pretty over whelming everything you see. Small things in life you take for granted back home. We speak about things at start of day and end of day with group which is good to discuss as a group.. You are taking in so much, learning, processing very different way of life and your own thoughts. 
 
It heart breaking when you see most the class have holes in their socks or some shoes falling apart but they don't ask for anything. What they have they accept and just so excited to talk to you. You feel guilty. You can't stop thinking how can I do more, what can I do while I'm here. You have to stop and accept your here now and spend time with kids helping teach them is the best start. 730 I'm off to school after making my own breakfast today (politely asked as I really just want toast) after whipping up my toast in the toasted sandwich maker, my host sister makes me a chai tea it's so yummy and comforting. 
 
We head to school and get our timetable after showing up at 730 find out that really means about 8am... Like island time. Find out we are taking classes so need to get some wifi to come up with ideas but won't have the chance for a few more days. Now we are off to watch 8 kids compete at interschool race near town. Jump into a mautua its like local mini van which has way too many of us ! Kids are shy at first but by the end of ride plaiting JDs and Zoey hair and laughing away at us learning local language.
 
When we arrive, people are shocked to see us not because we are there but because we are white. For most it's the first time they have seen white people. Our school kids sit so close to you practically on your knee they love to be close. Helen is the stand out in the group her English is incredible. Understands everything we say and she would be first one so far (she looks after us translates for us). It's the most un organised race you would ever go to starts about 1 hour after we arrive. By then we have a lot of people coming to shake your hand, high five and weirdly touch you skin. One person patted me like a cat haha. Most kids sit in the hot Kenyan sun and don't have water. After race one I see two girls collapse after coming 1st and 2nd. This means so much to them and to get into the Nationals for there school. Anne from our group comes in top group now going to next level. I take a photo so I can print for her in town this weekend as a little surprise.
 
After a few hours we try to get a mautua back to school.. Two of the boys walk us to town I buy them a drink each to say thanks they choose purple Fanta and Sprite. Then the fun pat starts trying to get a van we walk for about 45mins I'm thinking the boys are going to miss their race. We get to the markets area where now everyone trying to "help". My heart races when one guy grabs fynley arm... I grab him and pulled off the guys arm. He stays so calm but after find out he was as scared as me. Good poker face! Then tell him some people intentions aren't good and Rhonda been trying to explain this to kids also. We finally get a ride after just about connecting JD NZ number so we could call Nick... None of us have phone with sim. We will sort that tomorrow now. Lesson learnt! The ride back start to relax again but I do notice our van isn't very full compared to others either others aren't going our way or it's because we are in the van. We keep our bags close I lock mine around my leg as this isn't the safest way to travel but it's the cheapest. They bang on the roof every time we stop and we stop often plus petrol stops. 
 
Back at school we have a quick bite which is maze and beans. take our first class and teach the kids a game. It's great having Zoey and Fynley as they know lots! It's hard with language barrier but we get there in the end. I take a class on my own in the afternoon no idea what I'm doing so we sing songs for creative arts class. We play games in field a lot as this is what the kids love. 
 
After class Grace and Lisa the cutest two little girls I've seen hold my hand as we walk to field. We play games with the class I've just been teaching out on the field. I am practically sat on by 10 people after 2 mins, all want to take photos and play with my hair. One girl pushes Lisa (3yrs old) out of her way to hold my hand and she starts crying. Breaks your heart they fight for your attention. I say to the girl come sit down and we can all play together. Trying to teach them my name as not so keen on been called white person for next 3 weeks! 
 
Zoey and me walk the kids home to village today. I meet Abigail & Alice who want to take me to there house to meet mumma Beatrice at room 11. We pop in to say hi before heading back to our home stays, wonderful to hear one of her kids has been reunited with the family and recently left the village. Tomorrow we will stay and do homework together.  As we are walking home it's nice talking to Zoey she is only 12 but she tells me about if she millions of dollars what would she do ... Come live here and help or be a rich person instead. It's mind blowing how much she thinks about things. 
 
I help cook dinner tonight well they let me show them how to make sweet potato mash. Christines likes this which makes me happy! No one complains about food here. they want me to show them how to make pizza and Thai curry previous home stays have made before and forgotten.
 
I struggle to know what's right and wrong to ask kids so I ask a few questions tonight about what is okay and how to ask the right way. You don't want to create ideas in kids heads. I am going to buy a few things as its winter for them and some jumpers are so worn! Shoes are falling apart. A full uniforms cost $30-38 which is a big cost for families.
 
Washing clothes tonight it's a small hand wash for the essentials till I go town this weekend. This is how everyone washes. I'm so tired I'm struggling to type or make sense. Im so sunburnt this Kenyan sun got me bad today ! 
 
Day 6 - 
 
Mambo (what's news?) 
 
Sorry for the ramble last few days it's been a lot to take in and not sleeping as well as hoped. Today we are following the program we all feel like we need a little structure and want to catch up with Nick to check in on our queries. 
 
First class with edc kids my room this week is the flamingo. I get asked to take the class... Arghh ! On the spot quickly have a think then decide to write on chalk board - my name, my country, my brother, color, then just start putting up words! They write it down in books then we sound them out loud. These are 4 year olds so adorable when I put up heart they say love. So loud when they know the words then we show the teacher Jane our efforts when she comes back. 
 
Next we go to sew they can woman and help trim baskets... This is hard after an hour I still don't finish so I'll be back all week working on this... might even buy it after all my work on it! They are a group of woman who make uniforms, beads, blankets, baskets and sell to help fund program. It's located in the school and this is a great little operation with a wonderful purpose. 
 
Next up we serve the little kiddies porridge... Not porridge like you think it's flour mixture I could only have a mouthful it's ok but kids come back for seconds, some of the kids haven't had breakfast before coming. It's about $30 to feel 120 kids! We wash dishes for first time which is actually fun. JD and me in the kitchen and we are stoked to finish with a cup of chai well earned. 
 
We catch up with Nick today too. He tells us his background and how he got sponsored for football and that's how he got an education. Love learning about people's history and life story are so interesting. He takes the time with us to ensure we are okay and happy too. We are hoping to get on wifi today to get some program ideas then head into town this weekend to buy felts, paints, chalk and things to do. 
 
We serve up lunch kale, Ugala and meat this is the only meal in week which has meat. 1080 dishes up next ... After lunch it's dishes students run up to give there plate to you and wait for you to come outside. This is a mission I'm actually on my knees over a bucket in the kitchen I'm doing the pre wash. Takes about an hour I think the chef knows we are pole pole (slow) & are quietly laughing as he comes to show us how it's done. After this we have earned our Ugala! 
 
End of day, We head to the village walking the kids home and we get onto the wifi so we can do some planning as we have our project making a year book from Nick today. Once it connects I see messages coming in.. I burst into tears when I get a message from my brother. I hadn't thought too much about back home or old work since I got here. Been trying to just absorb everything here so when I get this message really hits me and i start thinking about home. I turn around and go see camp mum for a hug when I realise we are all having a few tears. 
 
We don't have long and we are assigned to room 6 aka fig tree room. Judith is the house mum we meet all the kids and learn about the daily routine up at 530am at school by 730 couldn't imagine kids in NZ doing what these kids do every day.. With no complaints.. Washing by hand, fetching water, scrubbing shoes, homework and more homework. I ask mama why she does this as she has two grown up kids, I love hearing about how this was her destiny, her life calling and she is so passionate about it. We do some home work until the best surprise shows up. New mossy nets! I am so excited I forget about everything I can't wait to put them up with the kids. Quiet excitement on kids faces while we do this, after we go into the lounge and kids want to show us how to dance. 
 
Tonight I'm so happy to get home and see my house mama I give her a big hug. The smell of her cooking fills the house so warm and comforting. After a emotional afternoon I'm so glad to be here. I'm so lucky to have them looking after me. It's been a eye opening few days which has been exhausting. I'm glad to jump into bed after some school prep for tomorrow.
 
Chapati make everything better my new favorite food here x
 
Day 7 
 
I am so dirty I don't know if it's the water or the dirt on me anymore after 3 days with no hair wash. I'm sucking it up for day 4 ! Who cares right. chapati for breakfast and a coffee :)  My stomach hurts so bad it's like permanent bloating. Just the difference in food it's all rice, bread, flour and body isn't used to this at all. 
 
Today starts with assembly which is bible lesson and followed by some discipline. Which is good to hear as important there are rules, like uniform is worn correctly and looking after your books. Don't do it and you get sent home pretty fair and simple. They have transition uniforms and Amie who makes them purchases local good quality fabrics and make them here. Only a few items are sourced where they can't make them but via other quality sources. 
 
Catch up with deputy head teacher George and Nick to go over year book and next week plan. A bit of collaborate planning and thought out structure to get the most out of time here for everyone. We make a list of things to get in town which I'm excited to get as few people gave me cash donations. We want to make new posters and crafts for ECD class next week. 
 
We are preparing a year book for graduation so we need to explain to the year 8 students what it is as they have no clue. Lucky we have a translator to help! These kids are so thirsty for education they start class at 8 and finish at 5.30 they don't play PE and have a very short lunch. This is the last year before getting into high school for those who don't get into national or local school that's it.. You need to work hard to go to high school it's about grades. The best is boarding school but expensive the very bright kids can get scholarships through grades or sports. It's sad to hear later about the number of students who go to high school aren't very high but they are working with a local school to help increase this. Another project so they can have started. 
 
Class today we teach 4 Zebra its a creative learning session so we start with a listening song, this is to try gain some rules and set the session for listening. We play some hangman which starts with names which is hilarious. We teach them to draw the house without lifting the pencil and not going over lines twice. (Another one we stole from Zoe and Flynley). It's an absolute hit! Kids are pulling me over to there seats to show me how they do it. Yesterday walking home we saw in the dusty road outside school kids had been practicing it on way home too! 
 
Amie is back today she is the brilliance behind sew woman can. It's so nice to meet her and talk about this project. She has been on for 4 years and it started with one room and one sewing machine now it's about to move to the old dorm at village. The main purpose was to do school uniforms and now they are producing products such an blankets, baskets, beaded bangles and aprons. Small wholesale with ambition to export into NZ and Australia at bigger scale eventually one day. Challenge is sourcing the materials and if they got a contract to get shared container to keep costs down. I am looking forward to learning more from Amie and hope to spend more time with her over next few weeks. I'm pretty passionate about this also very sustainable as its employment, income for projects and great products! Message me if you want something brought home too. 
 
Dinner time every night it gets better I'm not sure how she is going to top last night! Quiet Friday night in and at village tomorrow
 
Day 8 
 
Camera in one hand and chipati in other out the door early to get on wifi and call family. Great start to Saturday! I'm off to miti mingi village which is the old holding hands children's home which has been renamed. It's a short walk from home maybe 10mins. We are planting trees at village today I am with Room 6 and Room 11 mainly because these two rooms I have got to know mama Judith and Beatrice plus the kids are my new rafikis (friends). It's a ceremony and you watch every tree get planted plus you pick a name. My ones are called "furaha" which is happiness in Swahili and other named "tree of Aroha (love)".  I hope to return one day and see these are big pine trees.
 
After I head over to bunch of girls sitting outside the dorm, I meet Dorcas first she had an operation on her brain which sadly left her blind. she is very smart knows exactly where I am and we do a handshake which she teaches me. Feel special like I've been let in on a little secret village hand shake now. Then the youngest girl in village which they call angel. All the kids look after both these gorgeous girls it's beautiful to see the love they have for one another. They treat everyone here like brothers and sisters. Even mama calls the kids first born, last born etc. 
 
Every one has a story and in time I hope more kids share there stories. There past doesn't define them and they will be successful by working hard at school and with there loving house mamas. This is such a beautiful part of the so they can projects, Kids have come from nothing and can have a chance to succeed through education and a place to call home. 
 
We head to house 6 for some cooking, we have a Chipati party in the kitchen! Love learning how to make them, we have the music playing and kids singing. Most of them are coloring in mindfulness postcards I have brought them. Lucy has made the prettiest postcard and I get her to sign her name then I tell her who I am sending it to. It's frame worthy quality and maybe one day she will be an artist. 
 
After we head into town we have a quick lunch then head down to markets with Amie it's so much fun love a little bargaining! Such a sales person! We get a few tourist things I only get some painting and will go back to get rest with my host sister next weekend. If you pay half of what they offer you then it's a good deal. We go supermarket next I get supplies to make play dough for school Monday, pens and chalk for posters, plus a bunch of food for cooking with my host family. 
 
Tonight I'm making my host family dinner the girls are pretty excited as they have requested pizza. Little do they know I've never made a base from scratch and you can't buy them at supermarket here. We are all in kitchen learning together it's fun! they turn out pretty delicious crunchy base with golden cheese topping (nailed it!!) then do a little Nutella and banana baby scroll for dessert with left over. 
 
After dinner I have a shower with a bucket instead as we have run out of hot water it's like a ceremony washing my hair for first time in 5 days I feel so good it's the a fantastic feeling. I am so grateful for water 👌🏼
 
You just don't know what you got, until it's gone. Been thankful and grateful is free ❤️
 
Day 9 
 
It's our rest day Sunday, which is officially one week in Kenya! I start with going for a short walk as haven't been able to do all week - tired from school and jet lag. The days are full on from 730 till 530 at school or doing prep or at the village. You want to make the most of every minute here. 
 
Unfortunately I haven't slept much as didn't get to sleep till 2am. I thought someone was outside and got up many times... Looking out the window. The dogs were barking like crazy until 1am. I haven't talked much about the safety as didn't want to put anyone off coming to Kenya but it's like anywhere, you take caution. Here it's important you are home before dark every night, which is about 6pm. The house is surrounded by gates and high fences plus we have 3 dogs keeping us safe too. Early night tonight I reckon. 
 
Part of the experience is trying new things and learning, so my host family asks me if I would like to go church. Of course I would love to go and experience it. I invite the others as their families don't go on Sunday. It's the girls taking us as mama Christine is going to hospital with her community group to do gifts for the patients. It's such a beautiful loving community, this is just one part of what they do. Another is night watch security they do and take turns. 
 
Church is about two hours and I understand no words - only one! It's not as much dancing as I thought but lots of songs and kids come around the aisle. Two donations and one is for the New Canaan camp. Great to see a few kids and families from school here too. I meet one of Naomi friends Kate who wants to come over for pizza one night! 
 
Lucille and me head into town to grab a few things for Monday and dinner. It's a much better experience catching the motatu this time, having just the two of us is easier and quicker to get in and out of the stop. It's full on and this is one place I don't take pictures would be risky to take out camera or phone. Street kids, drugs and not somewhere you hang around in general. We can't get everything as lots of shops closed due to Sunday but I'm happy to grab things and have a good look around this time. We stop at Java for a smoothie with Amie she is so helpful with where to get everything! Then we head home before it gets dark. 
 
Find it weird people giving me praise for doing this. It's something I have always wanted to do at some point in my life and now felt like the right time. I honestly can't say enough times how far money goes here compared to home. If you donate $5 that's 70ish pencils, it's dinner for a whole week, it's a new sweater for school. Anyone can help make an impact on the community no matter where you are in the world. If you want to donate a uniform say - I can send you before and after pictures so you can see the smile on that face. It's an incredible experience spending time here but no everyone can. 
 
loves xx 
 
Day 10 
 
Sa sa (hello - just another way to say hi there are like 5 now!)  
 
Wake up and I'm so blocked up, my body has hit the wall, which I knew it would but was trying to avoid with probiotics, vitamins and lots of water. At least today it's not too hot. Walking-to-school chat about putting things into perspective, it's like first world problems when you are running out of clean washing or haven't washed your hair in 5 days. You live the way of life when you're here, like no long shower or like today with a bucket as running low on water. The kids ask for nothing here, they use their pencil till it can't be held anymore like 3cm small! I hope to make changes with way I live and way I spend money as really opened my eyes to wants vs needs. 
 
ECD class today unfortunately my class has been spilt into the other rooms due to teacher having operation so I joined giraffes class. Exciting! We are making posters for the classroom. JD has a great creative design style! My posters are below average 😂 at least we laugh about them! As a surprise at end of class I choose two little kids who worked hard and don't have much of a pencil left. What I love most is they have a full page of work and not much of a pencil - I am blown away. The reward of giving is the best feeling in the world and the most simple, cheap gift can change a life. I plan on doing this every morning to help encourage the young ones to work hard. 
 
After I catch up with Amie and talk about ideas on how I want to help the Sew Women project... Facebook post of all the goods you can buy seems like a logical first idea with my extra suitcase space... 
 
Yearbook time. Wow 40 kids per class and 3 classes. Firstly trying to read everyone names then get them outside for photos one-by-one. I tried explaining how your uniform should look and what you do but it's hilarious! Few posers and everyone wants to watch each other. Was lots of fun and we get all the photos done for two classes in 1 hour plus start checking the homework we gave them. Will get this in tomorrow afternoon
 
4pm back visiting the fig tree house after school and house 5 joins us also, plus a little girl who helped me carry the bags back from school. I have brought everything to make blue and orange playdough, they have never made it before! Gathered out the back on the floor we all take turns making the dough. I haven't done this in years, by the end I'm covered in it and have blue hands! I'm having as much fun as the kids. Making pots, names, flowers and words. I leave it with them to play with on the weekend as it's time for homework and for me to get home before dark. 
 
As I'm about to leave the shy little boy Anthony says bye then runs into his room and hides! Too cute, I have the biggest smile walking out today. 
 
Day 11 
 
Little did I know this would happen: 20 orders overnight so I get to school at 7am to write back to everyone and write it all down!! Elephants are a hit, which are the heaviest ones. Amie is arranging another suitcase for me this morning and we start packing up the order - so far 15kgs of orders... Wahooo! A few very kind donations for shoes, jumpers and uniforms also. Favourite part of being here is seeing a difference and making an extremely small impact but still feels good. Looking forward to sending the before and after photos to friends. 
 
Something funny... Get told to ask my mama about our eggs at home which I've been eating most days. So they are fertilized...I won't say anymore! Same day as yesterday aim for rest of week is slow down and enjoy being here. Want to spend some time out in the field tomorrow spotting the uniforms of kids who really need, plus have a look at list which school already has made too.  
 
At end of day I meet this gorgeous little boy Faizul, he was away yesterday at debate competition and came second ! He is one bright kid and holds a great conversation too. I meet him outside the uniform shop earlier and we were chatting about his fasting. Super confident he waits for me outside the office later and then walks with me. He is from the village and we talk about his story, which is really sad he has a older sister and mum who live in the camp. His dad is not around anymore but he still sees his mum, which is nice to hear. Chatting and he tells me he wants to be a speaker or president when he grow up. I love their goals and dreams. I asked him what he got for coming second yesterday and he tells me it was biscuits and food. This is what kids gets rewarded with here as its what they need. Then I asked did you eat them and he said he took them home to share with his house family and share. I am blown away by the generosity and sharing. 
 
Play games at the village today with the small under 10 students which is fun. Rhonda and her kids brought these arts & crafts - absolutely wonderful idea and takes up most the hour. We made paper fish and rods then we go fishing ! 
 
Lala salama (good night, sleep well) 
 
Day 12 
 
Clean clothes - wow my washing smells amazing ! You might think this is a small thing but some kids don't have the luxury of washing clothes every day or at all. One of the kids showed me her wardrobe at the village and it's less than 30 items. She wore her best dress when I came over one afternoon. We worry about what should I wear today or wear out tonight when, really, who actually cares and no one should judge people about their clothes. It's just things... Create moments, stories and memories. Spending time with friends and family is more important. 
 
This morning I had a Skype with Keri, one of the co-founders of So They Can, an incredible woman and I take my hat off to her for what she has done! She is based in Sydney with Cass the other founder. We are having a catch up regarding the donations from my family and friends. Putting things into perspective is really important - it's  millions of dollars to just keep maintaining the current work so it's important the donations go to the right causes and what's planned is in budget this year. Give a little donations were a total of approx $3500 which I have discussed with a few of the main people here about the best use of the money - Sew Women Can, school, village etc next step is to price everything up here in Kenya and find out what needs to be imported, like these water taps to reduce waste of water. Get approval from the Head Teacher Carol (principal in our schools) for the planting trees and water taps, then can start! Hoping to have as much done by next Friday as possible. Time is going waytoo  quickly! Sew Women Can is making a few things that Amie is getting the girls to start as it's important to keep the work within the projects so everything is sustainable. This is the best start to my day: I'm excited, motivated and energised!! 
 
After lunch we are preparing for the year book and I hear a little baby crying. This is the cleaner's baby in room next door, they carry them all day on their backs from 3months old so they can keep on working. I will post a picture ... I think sitting at a desk is hard at times, I couldn't imagine carrying a baby all day! I pop next door and pick her up (it's Precious Cassandra - named after one of the founders) she is so tiny and precious! Tears stop and this beautiful little smile looking back at me; absolutely makes my heart melt. I can't wait for my nephew to arrive in June but makes me incredible sad knowing I only have 3 weeks with him before I go. Plenty of trips home this year I imagine and lots of Skype calls. Now crying again writing this...way too emotional on this trip! 
 
This afternoon we finish off the year 8 photos which is a lot easier than first two classes then we collect up the homework. They had 4 questions: good memories at school, what do you want to do when you leave and why, favorite thing about school and what's your best achievement. Best achievement here is seen as marks so 250 is a pass and 500 is the best in K.C.P.E. 400 is about the level needed to get into National School. Most kids are getting 320-350 which is great I can't wait to hear how many year 8s go to high school. 
 
Some answers: the day I meet my sponsor from Australia, I would like to be a flying doctor to help people in remote places and help save lives, to overcome my problems, the day my friend helped me at school, if I didn't come to school I would be a village girl, the day I starting learning English, the food from kitchen staff, the teacher who exceeded my expectations & equipment we use (which is basic), big thanks to So They Can I am incredibly grateful for them to enable me this opportunity and I have been here since school opened. 
 
I meet Sammy who is incredibly humble, quiet and the smartest in school. He won a prize and they reward the kids to motivate them, he asked for bread and milk for his family. They all share and are never selfish it's rather beautiful. His sponsor would be so proud of him and he has big dreams. 
 
After school we went to the village this is the orphanage as I think I didn't explain early. This has 120 kids which are very very much in need. Faizul from yesterday blog came recently as his grandma who cared for him passed away and she was his world. They have a huge waitlist of kids and can only take the most needy cases.
 
Winged it today as only JD and me at the village, we decide to do drawing with the kids. They can choose to draw for mama, teacher or a friend. I am breathless when I get 3 pictures (only 40 kids drawing) feel pretty special I get a superman and flowers. Abigail is really sad when I go to leave today so I ask her to go for a walk upstairs to check if she is okay, hurts to see her upset and she doesn't say what's wrong but will write me a letter.  
 
Off home to make the family dinner tonight invite Amie from school and at the village I ask JD if she would like to come also. I make Thai chicken green curry and apple raisin cinnamon crumble... Couldn't buy butter so used margarine so wasn't the same as home but close enough. Such a nice social evening and love hearing stories from Amie and Christine. Then found out pants means undies here... Wonder why the kids laughed at me when I said my pants are so dirty when we were making play dough... I am hilarious to these kids and they copy my words, which cracks me up.
 
Day 13 
 
I did a Facebook post late last night about uniforms so it was 7.30 NZ time and this morning I have woken up to the most beautiful and generous messages. I think I have the most thoughtful people in my life and I am so incredibly grateful to have them. My friend brought me to tears after donating $500 from her work - I just can't explain how much that means here. To these kids it is like winning the lotto! 
 
I head off and do a few things on way to village. I decided I would go see how Abigail is plus drop off some gifts to the kids who made me pictures. Gifts here are mainly cakes, sweets and pencils. I bump into Suzanne from kitchen on way to the village. So lovely to see her and her girls, she is a wonderful friendly person who makes you feel so welcome. She has about 6 children and also looks after another 2 children. It's custom here to stop and talk to everyone you know; it's part of the culture that makes them so friendly. 
 
I Skype my family once at village with the kids, which is awesome to show them. It's so cute when they say hi and my name is, welcome to my home with such excitement. Then my phone goes from 20% to 5% ! Old so doesn't last long :( I pop into see Peter who was drawing a cartoon yesterday; if you gave him a picture he could draw it exactly the same! he is one talented young man. I gave him a pencil and some cakes to share with his house. I asked him if he could draw me a picture as I loved his mouse he drew. 
 
On way to lunch we go for a little drive: we see the Aberdare ranges, which the school is named after, we see a lot of Delamare land who was a lord who bought a lot of land here and we get to see zebras and giraffes on the roadside it's so incredible how beautiful this place is... Africa you are stealing my heart I don't want to leave!  
 
Splashed out today and a group of us went to Sunbird Lodge - it's beautiful looking over the lakes where the flamingoes are. We all get steak, such kiwis, and we get a lovely bottle of South African rose which is delicious. Rhonda is having her cane local rum and she has left the kids at home so they could go get Zoe's hair done in town and play with the kids. We get a photo with a maasai which is awesome and surprised we see him there. 
 
Learnt a lot about the culture today: about circumcision and how back in the day it used to happen out in the bush with you, your grandfather and an old knife. Then you fend for yourself in the bush for one month - this means missing education and is very unhygienic. Nowadays they are separated from women for a month, then live with a brother. They have a coming out party after the one month. 
 
After, I head into town with Amie as its about 25 mins from home It's getting late so will be a quick visit to grab some cash and water then head home. Unfortunately on way to city we pass a body on the road, he has been hit by a car and it's horrible how often this happens. Road laws are very different here and it's not safe to drive at night. Roads are dusty, lighting isn't great, people walk down highways with cyclist, motorbikes and trucks. 
 
This is before I'm about to go on a motorbike tour of city so I cut it short after what I have just seen. I just go up the hill to see the view of city, the cave and past the dump site we are going to see tomorrow. We are out a bit longer than expected just having a few yarns. Love our chat and he is so open about his life and I feel very privileged he shares with me; he takes me past the children's home he grew up in (orphanage). He is only 26 and his job is taxi by motorbike. He didn't finish high school, his dream is to go back and study. He is married with one gorgeous little baby girl now and also supports his younger sister. His outlook on life puts a smile back on my face just having a positive mind and being happy with what you have.... 
 
Grateful ❤️
 
Day 14 
 
I can't even remember this morning besides the FaceTime call with Mum and Steve. Today has been emotional, eye opening and heart breaking. I'm not sure where to start or how to make sense of what I saw today I'll try my best without writing a story! If you aren't good with graphic detail and emotions don't read this as it has broken my heart what I saw today. 
 
The dump site - this is a rubbish tip where people live, go to school and rubbish is taken. approx 600 families live here and where to start...  the rubbish so it's all sorts from scrap metals to food to needles to fetuses from backdoor abortions (abortion is illegal). As we pull up a truck has just been in & the youths are eating from the bags. It's literally a fight for the good stuff like metal and they know what truck is what - luckily we don't see anyone fighting. They stand on the high stacks to see when the trucks are coming. There are pigs and stray dogs that know the trucks too, and which ones are best for them to scavenge through! Lucy has been the driving motivation within this community to help improve it, from getting hospitals to drop in one location to help avoid the spread of HIV and she has started a little school here. 
 
The boys are better off as they can search for things, lift them and go sell them. When the rain starts they are the ones with shelter as they can build. For the girls you can imagine, without me saying, how they get by here. Unfortunately there are free sexual contraceptives but men don't believe in that. Girls have babies within the community due to this. They also get what they call combo'd, so sad and they don't even know different. 
 
There is a stigma if you are known to be from the dump site. People are branded and from the age of about 10 it's very hard in the outside world; a lot are unable to get jobs because of this branding. The work here is collecting metals to sell, rubbish sorting to get council to collect eg plastics. dinner is eating from the waste and I will never feel bad about throwing out food here again. 
 
Probably a good time to say people don't want to touch you because they know they are dirty and you are clean. Saying hi to people as you are in their home you see people sorting rubbish, fixing bikes, collecting food, carting goods down the hill - from the old to the young. 
 
We meet Lucy who runs the Hopelands Primary ECD, the objective is help the young children here who's parents work in the dump site and give them a place to go and a place to learn. There are two ECD classes in the tip, which she started 3 years ago. There is a lack of facilities or materials. The teachers are incredible volunteers. Kids have books if parents can afford one. Class 1 has 23 little ones, class 2 has 26. If a child is lucky enough they get sponsored and go to a boarding school, but you can imagine this is not a very common occurrence. 
 
A lot of not for profit organisations work with this community but it's extremely hard to leave and know what normal is. I see a sign with repent which is confessing your sins and being given a punishment so you are cleansed of your sins and start fresh & new. Basically to regret the bad stuff you have done. When I ask Nick tells me to start going to Church! Nick, if I didn't say earlier, is our all round guy while we are here from the minute we land to the minute we leave. He gives us the best source of local information and helps guide us in everything. 
 
In class one I meet this gorgeous little boy Teddy and these kids are okay with us. I ask to take pictures as this doesn't feel right and I am very concerned about being I guess paraded around town. People look at you like you have a lot of money and we do take gifts in which is fruit and food; just doesn't feel like much at all. I take a picture of Teddy and show him on my camera his smile shatters me and he holds my hand. I could stay here all day and I don't even care how dirty they are. I just want to make them smile. I'm not even sure what I would say or do. One little girl sits on my knee and I did what my grandad did with me when I was little. I sing a little song and her smile & laughter is just incredible. When Nick tells us we are going to class 2 I don't want to leave. We have hi 5s, then they start singing the alphabet. I have four little hands and kids holding onto me & I join in while we dance along to the alphabet and it's so hard to walk out. 
 
Class two are the slightly older kids and I meet Michael, Jeremiah, John and Onha. They are so proud to show me their school books and two boys English is absolutely amazing, better than some kids at school. So They Can have taken about 6 children so far to the village but the waitlist is so long only the worse cases go. Like one little angel her parents are both dieing and can't care for her. 
 
After we go to the slums and into a school I can't hold my emotion any longer to the point I don't go in at first. I stand outside till I can get a grip. My head is all over the place. I really can't tell you much about here other than a person cooks on a tiny stove which is a pot over charcoal and the toilets are long drops which are bad - but any kind of sanitation is in the slums. It's 167 students from babies to primary age where 20 shillings gets you education and food. They have books if the parents can afford them and the material to learn is minimal. Maize sacks written on and hung in wall with nails. 
 
My gratitude goes to all the women I meet today and Marcy who has taken us around and working with these incredible women to help make a difference in Nakuru. If it wasn't for these women and organizations working with them the world wouldn't be a changing place.
 
We head back after and sit outside one of the girls houses talking. We are all so drained from today. I feel guilty knowing I am staying in a hotel tomorrow and going on a safari. These kids don't even shower! I am going to go back to the dump site I decided now. I know I can't change the world and can only make a small impact. Honestly anything I can do is better than nothing. 
 
Unfortunately and sadly there is corruption, rich vs poor and bad things happen. I thought I had an eye opening experience in week one but this reality is overwhelming. 
 
Day 15 
 
Been awake since 3am hardly slept, bit of a mess after yesterday and can't control what's going on inside my head. I'm awake so after 20 mins I decide to call home, need to just hear a familiar voice. Get out of bed and make a cup of tea, start up the laptop to start typing yearbook notes to try distract myself plus get tired enough to fall asleep. Writing these makes me see the good again and positive change in the world. If it wasn't for Cass and Keri this wouldn't have been possible. Majority of these kids are so driven, passionate and have a chance to create a positive future. I finish and decide to go for a walk to friend's house and home. 
 
We are leaving in an hour to go on safari and I'm struggling - my house mama knows I've been awake most the night and I'm upset. Kenyans are so thoughtful, caring and friendly. She makes me a cup of hot chai and little snacks before I leave. She is a wonderful person and I love spending time with them all. They make you feel like family - if you ever come to Kenya do a homestay ! 
 
Get into the van and nice to see Hassan our driver plus the girls. It's takes me a good hour to get my head into a better space. Wish this wasn't the day of our safari but I need to try enjoy this best I can. I was looking forward to doing this so much before coming.
 
A bit of education on our way to the park - Nakuru means dust which is a Masai name, after 15 days can't believe I have only just learnt this! The park is 188 square Kms of government owned land and looked after by Kenya wildlife  services. We have 8 hours game drive ahead of us, which seems like a long time. Our driver is Vinny he's a young guy about 25 and awesome! Don't mess with a tour guide as they know where to hide you and no one will find you haha that's his shirt! Rhonda gives him her list of animals she would like to see today and he's up for a challenge. He has been doing this for 3 years mainly in other parks. My request is just a lion - that would rock my world, not a guarantee as during day they like the shade. Little did I know there are leopards and lucky find this out the next day! 

Most the tress are dead from the flooding which is the most incredible scenery. The old broken fallen trees make this place so natural and picturesque! We get out of the van - I didn't know this would be allowed - to take some pictures. Thinking I'm going to be a you tube video clip when we spot a hyena approx 200metres away by a building! I think they are a bit scared of us as it doesn't come toward us. Casually get back into van and off we go! Then we find the hyena not far away looking for his breakfast! The hyena is one of the top 5 ugliest animal, I don't think it's ugly though, more awesome because he's so quick! Only the first 10 mins into the drive... This is off to a great start!!

We see some flamingoes, which he wasn't sure there would be because of the flood. There are two types 'a greater' they are bigger with black & pink on the wings and 'a lesser' which is smaller with pink. Men make the nest and that how they attract the woman to mate. 45 days pregnant and if they lose their mate they don't replace them. How loyal is that! He tells us a lot of facts about the animals. 

Sitting in front now for a change and learning lots about giraffes. 
3 types of giraffes - Rothschild is only one in this park nickname is white stockings and none have the same pattern, has 5 horns, they are the tallest of the types, they take 5 mins nap for 30 mins every day. Vulnerable when they are young and when they spread their legs to drink water. When they do go to drink they 'test the water' when doing this they take their time and test to check for predators. Males eat higher leaves than females so you can spot the difference and males fight which makes there horns hairless. When they fight it's called necking where they swing neck at each other and can break the ribs. Pregnant from 14 to 16 months. 
 
Most common in the park are zebras, buffaloes and antelopes. Next we see buffalo there are two different types the cape (found in Africa) & water (in Asia) they use the mud as sunscreen! Smart and when you see them in the mud ponds rolling around it's like they are showing off! 
 
Zebras, believe it or not, their stripes are white. When they are small they are brown. None have the same stripes which makes every one unique! They lay down to sleep and look beautiful. Use the dust as sunscreen and also makes them look brown. 
 
Antelopes family - Eland is the biggest antelope, then there is the Waterbuck, Impala and Gazelle. We see loads of them! The males have the horns and even if one horn breaks they keep their herd - it shows strength. Small bachelor herds chase the young ones away as a threat because they grow up and steal the women. 
 
Was pretty spectacular as we drive down road we see rhinos in distance coming our way! Rhino is only animal tracked in this park due to it's rareness. The white rhinos are ones we have spotted and they are chasing the buffalo - they are just having fun! They are huge we get so close in the van and they stop ! Cross the road and we would be less than 100 metres away. It is just spectacular... I can't believe my eyes they are huge! The white rhino are more common which are incorrectly named as South Africans interpreted the Dutch incorrectly - it was meant to be wide. Their babies walk behind them, they are browsers and babies eat the poop for 6 months to build the intestine. We don't see any black ones but key difference is black rhinos live a solitary life.

Baboons: besides no one really wants to see them and they steal everything we learn it's a common Kenyan saying - 'laughing at each other's butt' it's like judging others but you can't see you just the same!  

We get a call from another driver as they work together to get you seeing the big park attractions! We are off so fast passing plenty of animals we seen and it's a lion! We are excited and you just don't know what's around the next corner! Quick facts on way as its Vinny's favourite due its to nature and behavior. So what makes them King of the jungle is because they mate for 14 days straight without water. Female have low fertility and when males are thirsty & hungry have higher and stronger sperm. They know when they are pregnant straight away. Other reason is kingdom and symbol of leadership and protectors. We get to see him sitting on tree in distance and even with my long camera lens on he's far away but unbelievable we are only about 300metres away! 
 
Big 5 are the African lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, African leopard and rhino. They are the top 5 due to difficulty of hunting them and danger. Not because of size. My first safari and we see 3/5 ! 
 
Day has gone so fast and feel like I've learnt a lot about these beautiful animals living in the park. We get back sit next to the pool to relax! Then a much needed gin (or two) it's even beefeater .. around the fire and then we hear the hyena calling. Rather surreal we are in Africa sitting in a game park and can see buffalo on the fence line !! Two strong gins, it's time for dinner and bed! 
 
Day 16
 
Wake up in this paradise, try and catch the sunrise but it's too dusky! Still not a great sleep but I shower for like 10mins it's MAGIC! Breakfast with a beautiful outlook with buffalo  and zebras in the distance. We need to be out in 24 hours so we are out by 7.30am.
 
Visit Ruth today everyone home is open and welcoming. They also also offer you food! I'll be returning 10kgs heavy after all this rice and bread 😂 Sit outside playing with her grandkids she looks after. Renee and me sit in the sun drawing pictures of butterflies, caterpillars and Mickey Mouse! So relaxing. 
 
Quiet day today so jump on a motatu to town, first time without a local's assistance! I end up been the conductor which was hilarious - a mzungu girl opening and closing the door for everyone. This van was full we had 18-20 people max is 13... Overloading is really common and doesn't take long to work out how they get away with it.... Just about ended up with a baby on my knee at one point they don't use baby seats here and hardly wear seat belts. This wouldn't be the safest way to travel but it's cheap, fun and feel like a local. You wouldn't do it on your first week without assistance but now I'm comfortable. 
 
Bump into Amie at Java and grab lunch - pretty excited about salad and coffee! Spent hours here as there ends up being 4 of us in town. Cruise round pricing up a few things for next week; everything takes ages here but when in Africa you run on Africa time haha. Grab food & water for the week then jump into a Tuk Tuk around 5pm - it's the first day of pouring rain and first Tuk Tuk ride in Africa! Crossing off my list of things to do now. Wahooooo! 
 
Day 17 
 
Awake early - nothing new, but first night I have slept well. Think it's because I have changed my flights home to stay another 10 days. I won't be back in next few years but was a hard decision to change. It isn't a cheap flight but it has been a life-changing experience, which is why I just need a little longer here. Still get 10 days at home before Melbourne to spend with family and friends. Plus going to book a extra trip home once I'm settled in Melbourne as will be missing everyone. 
 
Today we are trying to finish yearbook, which, trying to get 8 teachers together for a photo, is a mission, takes about 30 mins to get first photo done! I give up in the end and asked to do it when next staff meeting take place! We make a good indent on rest of photos while I look after most gorgeous little baby Precious for a bit! These woman carry a baby on their backs from 3 months old and clean! Could just take her home with me :) 
 
I catch one of my favourite woman's daughters in the uniform shop today buying a dress; I take the money back to her mum and tell her I'm going to pay for it. She is the most hardworking woman I have met here! She not only has her kids, she also has her granddaughter and foster kids. I tell her to send the twins to school to see me tomorrow as they have old uniform and can't attend today. I thought she was going to cry, so quickly said it's my pleasure to help her and that some friends have donated money. She is so grateful and happy. 
 
Sorting out donation money today and working through the list of special cases for uniforms. There are 57 students on this list who require full uniforms. I don't know any of their situations but sadly there are a lot of reasons - single mother, life of extreme poverty, dad abandoned family due to wife being unable to have son (they think) or alcoholic, lost both parents, orphan lives with grandparents and it goes on. Decision between food for a week or a new sweater is the decision they need to make every day. Some parents drop off money each week so once they have enough then they purchase. 
 
One boy has collected seeds on his way home everyday and planted them in old plastic bottles to sell plants to help his mum. The heart on some of these kids is just huge. He is the most humble and quiet person! Sadly some kids have to work after school for 10c to help their families get by. The stress of money would be huge for a lot of families, however everyday they are such happy and grateful people. No complaints and just happy for the life they have been given. 
 
My little friend made me a bracelet and wrote me a letter! So cute she comes to find me at school today. Really sweet she has written to her best friend! It's hard to tell them I leave school this week and you can send me letters but I have a family and job to go home too.
 
Day 18 
 
Sorry don't have any stories today. Tired and been trying to finish yearbook, sort out next week plans and project planning. Good news I have booked another safari for night ! Ekkkk :) 
 
After school we go village and make play-dough with the kids then home for a quiet night and my favourite dinner. 
 
Day 19
 
Early day at school I'm there at 630 to make a start on kids uniforms. Host Mama made me some chai in a hot thermo cup and a chapati ❤️ when I arrive at the gate and a few kids run up with there homework from yesterday so excited to show me. 
 
Now the kids know my name I hear serah serah (that's how they pronounce my name) and embarrassed I don't remember everyone's names... pretty hard to remember 1080! It's really adorable when kids just run up and grab you hand; They are so proud to walk with you and don't want to share you. Sometimes it's hard when you have 8 little hands trying to hold onto you... You just sit down then you are surrounded. One kids today just ran up to me while I was tying up my hair and just wrapped around me for a hug. It's pretty special all these moments and trying to remember them to write each night. 
 
Today we are working on 20 full uniforms! It's not a easy task - trying to find the kids, take before and after photos, fit them into new uniforms, keeping track of items and cost to keep within the budget. Then there is me trying to attempt to speak Swahili; learnt a few new words today though.... It's only basics and I just need to keep practicing. The more I use them the better I get but embarrassed sometimes as don't always say them right. 
 
Kuja - come 
Faraha- I'm happy 
Cheka - to laugh smile (my new favorite word) then Lala (sleep) 
 
Was a busy little day... The kids run out of the door with huge smile after; it's the best feeling to know your friends and family are helping them. They are so shy while you are doing the uniform also some embarrassed as socks are like leg warmers, but when they come back to pick up after school you can see how excited they are to go home! One lady was waiting outside her house on our way home tonight to thank Amie; her to twins got dress from JD today. The brother and sister who are also at school are so excited for them. It's refreshing to see they aren't selfish and share the joy. 
 
We head to town to grab cash and have lunch (3pm) haha then we go get tyre fixed on Amie car.. It's never a dull moment.. You get winks driving down the road and random people wave. As we are pretty rural it's 20min drive to the local town and 3 hours from Nairobi. 
 
In town brought a few gifts for the two very intelligent kids (Sammy & Sophia) to inspire them to work hard in exams. Gift was bread, orange juice, chocolate, pencil pack, pen pack, maths compass pack, new socks, two books, 2 bags, toothbrush, shoes shine, nail polish for the girl. It's a sensible but thoughtful gift total would be about $25 nzd for both! 
 
Can't express my gratitude enough to family and friends who have donated. You have helped these families in extreme poverty. Your support has made their lives much easier! 
 
Back writing my journey daily guys ! It's only 30 mins which is important to reflect, bit of self awareness and focus on things that truly count. I learnt a lot of lessons here so far and life is a journey. 
 
Day 20
 
Super early start to finish off the uniforms 3 last kids to go, to try find them before class as they were absent yesterday.. Unfortunately they are absent due to lunch money unpaid and I catch them been sent home - this is $4.70 USD per kid per term. It's helping parents to start budgeting and only a portion of total cost as so they can supplements it. My heart melts as 50 kids outside office and you can't help everyone. I take the 3 only the needy list and pay for them including the outstanding balance total is $25 USD. I feel better knowing they can come to school tomorrow and now have a new uniform. Every bit helped as only a small impact to benefit there education. Giving Sammy and Sophia there presents today feels so good both so humble and thankful! 
 
Been getting little pictures and letters last few days it's so cute! Little Faizul such a little dude he's been helping me find kids for uniform and I gave him some fruit to take home as he is fasting. He made me a picture and wrote me a little letter too. He is confident and helps me translate, one day he wants to the president! He is such a people person and will achieve a lot in life with his helpful nature. 
 
Today we are lucky to have been accepted to visit Play Kenya 'therapy in action' - we arrive at the boys home around midday. We meet Eric one of the 'uncles' who has been here 3 years; prior he was working in prison where he was inspired to come help the younger boys to avoid this later in life. He is one of 40 incredible staff members helping these boys to have a second chance. There are 3 homes and in this home is 13 boys (14 years and older - oldest 21), second home has 10-13 year olds only 5 months into the program and a girls home, all are in separate locations. It's a safe place for them all to call home, the boys attending school 3 days a week and play football once a week. Good news is majority are also sponsored to help with schooling. They do have a home schooling teacher on site and we get to see the extremely small classroom. 
 
So how it works and bit of background - 
 
Majority of kids have lived in the streets; they work with boys prior on the streets through a feeding program, this is where they reach out to them to help with washing clothes and food. When take in a group they work with police to let them know they are off the the street and become guardians (legally the way it works). When they turn 18 they can no longer stay unless supported by local arrangements. 
 
Sadly some are orphans, parents are in prison, addicted to drugs which is mainly glue, or had a life of violence. They don't mix new and old groups the group always starts together and is approx a 3 year program. They are free to leave at any time but it's a 3 chance policy; boys have the support to talk and have a understanding to speak up when there is a problem. His comment "It's about showing love and that's what the world needs". They have a outreach team working with parents to help re build relationships which isn't always possible but they do try mend the relationship. 
 
Dream is to build a school one day and in the near future all homes will all be together. We meet about 7 of the boys and it's so nice for them to welcome us into their home. I give them a small gift of bread, crayons and lollipops. I wasn't aware of ages before coming and it's a secret location so could only take things I had already. 
 
They call each other family and together they will step by step make changes they desire. No one can go back and make a new beginning but anyone can start today and make a new ending. Thanks to these amazing people these boys have a chance to do just that! 
 
Head into town after to sort out the donations for tomorrow. I need to pay donations from friends for uniforms, sew woman purchases and buy gifts for tomorrow. Carry $3k makes me a little more security conscious! Get asked a lot of questions when I buy 1200 pencils what school, where, how long am I here for.... Note you don't tell anyone anything much I am very polite and just turn into in a bit of a joke and smile. People want to talk to you and you will quickly get known if are spending a bit of money in town. 
 
We head off to grab rugs and mats for school this take a long time... I end up rolling the rugs and doing the work as most staff busy playing on phone. Frustrating and I have little patience in life so a few deeps breathes ! Finally we are out the door packing the truck which is hilarious not only because we are lifting and packing the truck... forget how much you stand out as it is. Then the fun part we need to decide how we are going to ride out of town with this all on the back. If it's wasn't for Amie I would have been a little lost and probably wouldn't get to school with anything on the back! (Her knowledge is always so helpful and appreciated)!!! 
 
She gives us a run down on options - Get the motorbike to follow us, get someone to sit on back or just risk it out! I pack it with carpet rug on top so its heavy... If anyone was to try take anything it would be hard. We decide to risk it... Mainly street boys and by the stage is the concern they will grab stuff out the tray on the truck but we manage to get out. We have all our code words ready incase! It's just fun been with JD and Amie... Lots of laughs! Always an adventure in Kenya and they are better together!  
 
Back at school doing prep for last day tomorrow so we can just enjoy. Home to pack ... As my homestay comes to an end on Saturday, so sad as loved been here and now I sometimes walk to school with neighbors. Can't believe I would have be going home tomorrow so glad I extended my trip worth every penny. I have a good feeling about the next week & hopefully will meet Cass the co-founder next weekend too as she is here from NZ! She is such a inspiration. 
 
Lala time it's midnight 🎃
 
Day 21
 
Time has gone so fast! It's our last day at school as a group ! I'm coming back to do a few days over next 10 days. Today is a fun day to spend time with kids! Assembly to start the last day and I get asked to speak in 5mins in front of 1080 people so I quickly scramble some notes down on behalf of the group. 
 
Excited to give out some gifts today on behalf of all the donations from family and friends. Still organizing a few things for next week as currently been made, start by giving out pencils to the whole school today ( approx $100 NZD ). I walk into one class and the kids just scream yay! The smiles and excitement is a great way to start the morning. The kids carry them around all day and keep showing me like I forgot. 
 
JD and me head to do porridge together then scrub the dishes; squatting with massive water buckets for one last time. We both actually enjoy this daily task. Sitting outside with kids after just absorbing the atmosphere. This is the ECD classes which are between 4-5 years old very cute. Notice one boy sits by himself with his legs crossed, happy as Larry and such a little cutie! 
 
Head off to finish the last photos for year book (120 year 8 students). Major the PE teacher organises them so we take some snaps of netball, football and maze sack races. As classroom work comes first during exams time which is now they are stoked to be enjoying an hour outside. They all love PE! 
 
Sitting at lunch around a tree singing songs they sing me a beautiful song in Swahili; most are religious songs then they start on nursery songs too. I record them singing happy and you know it then they all fall into the circle on top of me. 
 
I had a little boy Ian walking with me everywhere at lunch, won't leave my side and just wants to hold my hand. After lunch I head to kitchen for give them a small present. It's 6 new knives to replace the current ones. Kitchen tends to be forgotten about as there is so many areas you could help and I have tried to do a bit in each place with the give a little donations. They fed 1080 morning and lunch every day and for some this is the only meal each day. Its been a pleasure working in kitchen most days and can see they are happy to receive a gift. They are a little family and a great team! Very patience with us all to give us time to learn and serve food. Feeding 1080 take around 90 mins plus all the cooking, prep and cleaning. 
 
One boy Gift has written a song for the yearbook and comes to find us. He has the most beautiful voice. He is 14 years old and written a song absolutely amazing talent. When he starts singing my eyes water up and I have to hold in the tears. I should have recorded him I realise after! 
 
Quickly go see village with the group as they are saying goodbye. I'm spending a full day next Saturday yay! Can't wait to just spend a whole day here as always feels rushed. Seeing Zoe and Fynley crying when they leave is so sad and lucky they are so young they can come back again. Christian and Flynley are best buddies after 3 weeks and are going to be pen pals. 
 
Dinner in town with group, Nick and Amie join and it's out first night been out after dark! Head to midlands hotel which is a child friendly place. Kids are tired and bit emotional after goodbyes so they head home after dinner. A few of us head into moco loco for a cocktail which has a live band playing. Keen to see some African dancing and enjoy a drink.... yes ladies plenty of hotties! We don't get harassed much and don't stay late. Is funny when one girls touches my hair they are a little obsessed with my hair. 
 
Last Lala at my homestay as heading to Ol Pajeta tomorrow then back to Amie's apartment in town. 
 
Day 22 
 
Wake up early and spend time with host family before I leave. Christine and me spend time cooking breakfast while others are asleep. We make pancakes and it's so nice to spend time at home with the family.  We FaceTime with my family it's so nice to introduce them and I hope one day they come stay here too. 
 
All the group comes over before departing our separate ways. Saying bye to stint girls is hard as made long life friends, lucky it's really quick as driver is waiting. I think we get our first and last group photo with the crew. 
 
Saying bye to home stay was hard been such an enjoyable 3 weeks with them and feels like home. Finally into a routine and it's comfortable been here. I brought them a small gift from New Zealand a little heart with Aroha which they can hang on wall. My host mama brought me a beautiful leso which you wear and can tie in multiple ways.
 
Head off to Ol pajeta with Rhonda & kids. Absolutely living in the moment... happy I  extended my stay as I look out the window at beautiful Kenya countryside. I'm so thankful they have let me join there safari overnight. 
 
We stop the way to visit a place where you cross the equator, they demonstrate water turning clockwise and anti clockwise on each side. Not long after we see a car has gone off the cliff, the driving here is a little crazy and they all over take. Even our driver with kids in the car. Need to record this driving at some point on my phone. Stop to see Thompson falls which is about half way; nice to break up the journey as we have 2 more hours drive. 
 
Arrive late as driver got lost in park which we had allowed an extra hour for as you do in Africa. We head out on our Lion tracking adventure with our driver Simon and Nelson the tracker. About an hour into tracking we get a beeping signal which is within 1km; he gets out of car to get up higher for better signal. Only two lioness have tracking collars they are tracked because they do 85% of hunting and stay with the pride of lions. Takes 10 minutes before we find them which is the most incredible site it's not only the whole pride with Cubs they also have a kill. They can go 4 days without eating, it amazing to see them with a kill of this side its a massive buffalo. Probably safest time to visit as we aren't going to be dinner! When they work together they kill much bigger but normally would go for Impala or the babies. We get so close about 4 meters then we go around other side where they are feeding.
 
You don't move fast or make noise... When the driver is taking pictures you know you hit the jackpot! Fynley drops his camera... I freeze thinking we are about to be dessert! They all look up and one Cubs makes a growl. The adrenaline is pumping and 2 mins later we move, this time we are 2-3 meters away the Cubs are playing and cleaning each other. Most adorable picture and unbelievable moment I'm the wild.. I stop taking pictures and just watch them i may not ever see anything like this every again. 
 
Sitting to have a quick dinner before we head out for our night drive. Then about 50m away inside our electrical fence compound there is a hyena! They are scavenger when I ask the kitchen guy he says it's common and a blind elephant might come visit too. 
 
Night drive starts late and we are all pretty tired from the journey today. The park is 90,000 acres of pure wild and we are hoping to see some rare wild life and hopefully a cheetah or leopard. See the hyenas in the burrows and packs of them! We do see a rare Aardvark which is like a ugly hunched over kangaroo with a elephant trunk. Our driver has worked here 15 years and never seen one. Won't lie I wish it was a cheetah! 2 hours goes pretty quick and only a few parks in Kenya do night drives so was a great experience. Difference here it's a conservancy not a national park so rules are different where we go off track to get closer when you are with a guide. They know the animals and walk the park all day every day. They are there to protect animals and look for poacher foot prints too. 
 
On way home I get the best news ! I'm a Aunty this day couldn't get better and I can't wait to see little William. So exhausted hit the hay as another big day in morning and looking forward to a Skype with Amy and Steve. 
 
Day 23
 
Wake up early early today as baby is here and want to call home. It's bad reception... I can see my nephew quickly and i am happy to just been able to hear Amy & Steve's voices. So incredibly proud of them both and next chapter of their lives together has started. He is smitten and can hear how happy he is! He will make a great dad and can't wait to meet William when I get home. 
 
Nice to have a shower and not have to rush this morning, I enjoy the heat for a couple of minutes ... Drying off my face and pull back the towel to see a spider on it... Seems silly getting a fright from a spider when i was extremely close to lions yesterday! I look out the window and can see wild animals in the distance from the shower. 
 
Head out to this morning activities with our driver Simon 😍 haha!  Dog tracking for poachers, visit the last northern male white rhino and see a few animals on the way. One of which is the grevy zebra key difference to common is the white belly, big round ears and fine black strips (they also look bigger too). They can run up to 64km and powerful kick to escape predators. 
 
Off to Dog tracking I am so pumped ! We meet all the different types of dogs and their responsibilities - search, track and bite. Lux and Sarah are two of the leaders, we get Sarah out yay!! Then we hide a bullet up high in a fence (we got to decide where to hide it), once her harness is on she know it's work time and she is amped ready to go! They love to work and are bloody smart. We make track marks every where to see if she gets confused and only minutes before she find it and jumps up!
 
Next the kids get tracked and we go out into the national park ! This is so much fun maybe a bit more fun as it's dangerous (park ranger has a gun 'just for safety he tells me haha'.) We hide about 1km away in a bush and then the dog is brought out from kennel. They use the training dogs to find us, first up is 'scarf' who is finding Fynley he is a tracker dog so not biting his butt. When he finds him he gets a reward and Justus up on him as he's happy. 
 
The dogs are key to find the poachers and two weeks ago they caught a poacher who was killed on the spot. Sorry but bloody good job as humans are the main reason for the decline and purely human greed. In 2014 over 1000 were killed in Africa. Black rhino are critically endangered and northern white are extinct in the wild now. Population has declined by 97.6% from 1960 to 1990 and costs 1.3mil a year to keep their rhinos safe. Approx 1kg of ivory can fetch up to 1,000 USD! 
 
Next we go meet the world most eligible bachelor 'Sudan' he is the last northern white rhino male. Currently they are fundraising $9 million to help IVF to prevent from extinction. He is unable to do the deed anymore due to back legs from been in the zoo.  He's getting old and will be sad when he goes as the animals are like the Rangers family here. Go in and get photos with him, we see him lay down to sleep also. Then  go see the last two females northern white rhinos and these are the two girls they will be using to try IVF. We also feed the Blind black rhino before leaving. 
 
Pop into the Chimpanzees and you can adopt them but when they start throwing poo I'm done! They are waiting for the peanuts and these are incredible smart animals. They see colours the same way we do, however most mammals don't. This helps them find fruit and their vision helps jump from branch to branch. These are part of the great ape family and are critically endangered. 3000 great apes are lost every year to illegal trafficking.
 
Drive back is long as forgot to sort out separate driver to take me back to Nakuru and our driver is going there after he drops in Nairobi. All up its a 8 hour journey in traffic jams and one big triangle drive! Exhausted, home sick and had a cry .. So glad to arrive at Amie apartment. Tomorrow is a new day and just remembering why I came here.
 
Grateful for my family and friends 💐
 
Day 24
 
Wake up and glad to be with Amie feeling less home sick and looking forward to having a day and some life admin. 
 
We head out to Kenana knitters on a farm in Njoro and it's a beautiful drive about 30mins away. Excited to see another project which is now very large & exports overseas. Paddy was born in Kenya and is like going to visit someone you already know. Her welcome is so warm and makes us a cup of tea. She shows us around and shares so much information about the project. It's incredible she has 500 woman working for her and the mix of products there is something for everyone! Her farm is magic I could sit here all day. Throughly enjoy hearing about the work she has done and the next steps she is taking. She is the softly spoken and just in my short time of meeting her think she has a wonderful nature and so humble. Yes I end up buying lots of gifts and she is making me a beautiful hand made custom scarf I'm very lucky ! 
 
There mission below and was founded in 1998 - 
 
Kenana Knitters’ ethos is to make a significant social impact in rural Kenya by empowering women to take charge of their lives through dignified work. Kenana Knitters prides itself by operating within the cultural context of the daily demands of rural Kenyan women, including farming and tending their children, with respect to the environmental challenges. Knitting is ideal, as it requires minimal equipment and can be done in small amounts of time. Knitting can even be done on the long walks that are required in rural areas and in the dark, since most of the women live without electricity. 

Kenana Knitters believes that women are the heartbeat/central point of their communities. The primary purpose of Kenana Knitters is to provide a source of income that goes directly into the women’s hands, thus enabling them to improve the quality of life for themselves and their families. Kenana Knitters is dedicated to providing fair wages and flexible employment in a family-friendly environment, where knitters may bring their children, while they knit. Additionally, Kenana Knitter’s philosophy is to encourage skills development of all who are involved through IT courses and literacy classes.  
 
Head back into town for rest of day doing a few pick ups for project stuff and some admin. Decided to cancel my trip later this week and spend time here in Nakuru.
 
Time is gift and giving time to other people and sharing is important in life. It's your decision how you spend you time in life. Been a learning for me to slow down and spend time with people; you never know what you will learn and who you will meet. I feel lucky to have meet a lot of influential people here in Kenya.    
 
 
Day 25 
 
Life admin day and a bit of time at school ... Trying to cross of a few things on the list today which might sound easy but you probably get two things done per day. Just learning to spend the time on the things that matter most and let go of what you can't get done each day. Otherwise you will miss the moments that count. 
 
Head to library and set up to surprise for Joan when she comes back to school tomorrow. It looks great the cushion are bright and colorful! All the kids are excited when you walk past and try touch them. 
 
Get a motatu into town, we go shopping for trees for planting tomorrow and things for the sew workshop when they move. A local guy helps me translate as buying different types of fruit trees and good price for 30. Give him a few bob for helping too! People will try get away with charging you double. It's only about $100 NZD for all the trees! We get avocado, guava and banana trees which are already about knee height. 
 
At Java for 3 hours for a coffee and end up next to the Kenya up and coming governor just hanging with the who's who in Kenya 😂 ! Love a bit of free wifi and we end up having a early dinner there. 
 
Day 26
 
Off to pick up the trees and I call him first, I am surprised when I call he is there! Not many people are on time. We load the truck and head off to school about 20mins from town... The trees gets a little wind blown on the way and bonus we still have 30 when we arrive. 
 
Spend the day planting a tree with each class, these are sustainable and teaching kids another set of skills for the future. It important to do things which are long term, sustainable and don't require additional funds after. They have a gardening grounds men who will help kids look maintain them as kids will water every day also. 
 
Watching a little kid outside the office today he is making a maze in the sand, absolutely gorgeous and they have fun with the most simple things. He is so happy when I ask to take a photo of his maze and him. All the kids love photos and always want to see after. 
 
A few new students have started this week due to transfers to other schools. You will never know what some of these kids have been through and you dread to imagine what might have happened. Sadly a little girl came into the office with her grandad today to buy a uniform, her mum died and she has 11 in her family. She is one of the newbies starting at school and she glows when she tries on her uniform. I pull out a pencil and rubber from my bag and give it to her. Something extremely small but you know every bit helps. The smile she leaves with is just amazing. 
 
Once again I'm sick and coughing, it's really easy to pick up a cough and get sick. Majority of the little kids are sick this week. Hopefully get better before my flight home. 
 
Day 27 
 
Went to school today and Cassandra arrived with group from NZ. Was lovely to meet her. I sit in the office most the day as unwell so just finish loading photos for yearbook. Home by around 3pm grab lunch at Java then watch movies on iPad. Last day at school tomorrow which is sad... 
 
Day 28 
 
Friends kindergarten has kindly donated money this morning we are worked on 20 kids school shoes and then this afternoon getting jandles for 120 miti mingi kids. Looking forward to the surprise tomorrow ! 
 
After we go visit the year 8 class who want me to come in for some dancing. One boy Bonny is super talented no idea where they learn to dance but this boys has the moves. One girl is singing all the songs just incredible talent ! The confidence to stand up in front of your class and dance is impressive. 
 
Last few donations of uniforms were the best feeling, these are a couple of year 8 students who tend to be forgotten as have a year left. I picked a couple of kids who have brothers & sister so they can hand down the jumper and wear shoes to high school. The smiles light up my day as still feel crap. 
 
Leaving school and saying goodbye to people is the hardest part. Go into the sew woman workshop and I get a beautiful surprise from one of the girls. Faith comes up to say thanks on behalf of everyone for the work I did selling things back home and wishes me a safe journey. Can't cry on first goodbye! They have a little surprise when they move workshop and look forward to hearing about it from Amie to tell me when I'm back home. 
 
Go say bye to all the ECD classes made some cute little friends, say bye to the kitchen team which was hard then wish the year 8 classes good luck for exams. It's a pretty quiet drive back to town it doesn't feel real and so many of these kids have touched my heart. 
 
Drop off books, rubbers, pencils and learning posters at dump site after we leave school. JD and me put $50 together to do something small. It was so nice to see there bubbly faces and excitement to see visitors. Took a few photos I printed for two little boys who made a impact last time I visited. 
 
Hard day but friendly reminder it's all the little things which add up and been here is the most important part. Seeing the joy on the kids faces today when replacing some extremely worn shoes & clothes. Kids back home would expect a brand new uniform and majority get a hand me down or what parents can buy as they go. 
 
Day 29 
 
Blocked up and feeling average but I don't want to let the kids down today. Head off and spend the morning at Miti Mingi village. Sit on grass while kids teach me different rope games then we all paint our toe nails... Even the boys ! 
 
Sometimes you can't help but think what's their story, how did they end up here and you have to stop your mind. The stories I only know very little about just break my heart. Just sitting there watching them; seeing their smiles and laughing makes everything else in the world disappear. Moments when one of the kids tickles your toes or plays with your hair that makes you laugh too. They ask about my plane ride home and when I will come back. If I can say hi to my family from them. They can't believe how far away New Zealand is when I tell them it's 2 days traveling home! 
 
I notice Abigail has been missing all day and I ask Rose where she is as a few away on sports day. When she finally comes out and starts crying and then rose tells me it's because I am going home. I try so hard not to get upset and explain I can't stay. I ask her if we can go for a walk and I have a little present for her (pretty water bottle). I tell her she can write to me and I want today to be a happy last day with everyone. I can't imagine how it feels for her as she has comes to see me every day and made me a bracelet too. She is pretty special person I have meet and goodbyes are the worst! A local school has 20 students here today to visiting. They are dancing, singing and cooking with the kids which makes leaving easier. 
 
After we head to the camp to visit Susan, she is one of the most special people I have meet in my time here and makes the most delicious chai tea. I have brought her a little gift of flour, sugar, rice, oil and biscuits for her family. To be invited into her house is really lovely, she has 5 kids and 2 grandkids who live with her it's cosy. You don't look round anyone house here it's a bit of a no-no but it's a mud house with two rooms lounge and bedroom. She is one of the strongest, caring and giving people I have meet. One of the donations gave her 3 dresses - $60 NZD, she is so grateful as this is a big cost for her. I don't know how many times she has given me a hug and tells me not to leave. She is one of the hardest people to say bye to all over again. 
 
Walking around the camp today is different as last time we came it was a school day. I am surprised how many teachers, kids, people live here! This is how the school was established originally for the camp and was tents before the mud houses. Kids are running up and walking with us. Everyone knows Amie but so many of the kids know me after the 4 weeks and a lot are surprised to to see me as thought I had gone home already. One little boy and girl roll a old bike tyre down the road it's adorable. We see a little girl getting her hair braided and after Amie tells me it's one of the little girls we did a uniform for. We hear music coming from one of the houses...  we stop outside and we see Bonny from class 8 it's his family house by this stage we have about 20 kids with us, I try and get the kids to dance which they start but once they see me dancing it's just too funny! haha Long day and when it time to leave one of the kids Anne holding onto my arm tells me I'm really going to miss you. She tells me about ten times and thinks maybe she can get me to stay. It's so heartfelt and genuine, as we drive out of the camp and the tears just roll down my face knowing I won't see them again anytime soon. 
 
With Amie so I have someone to cheer me up and distract me. We stop for a local early dinner which is a great experience and the cheapest meal we have had here! Even ate 'local cuisine'... 
 
Been one of the best days here and grateful for time I had today. It hard not to think about leaving as only a few days away now.
 
Day 30
 
Sick been up vomiting all night and we are heading to Nairobi at 8am which is about 3 hour drive. We see zebras crossing the road on the way.... Real life zebra crossing haha. I manage to keep some food down but end up going down hill again. Sweating and temperature again, Amie and Fred take me to the hospital to get me some medicine. Hoping it's just a 24 hour vomiting bug on top of the flu. It's not hard to get sick and it's common here. I have even been taking all the probiotics, vitamins since I arrived to help.  
 
Few hours later, we arrive at our amazing accommodation wildebeest Eco camp which is incredible like glamping. So beautiful and I crash out for next 16 hours. Feel terrible as was hoping to have a fun night and a few ciders by the fire instead I'm fast asleep ! 
 
Day 31
 
Wake up and head to balcony just stunning looking out over these Eco tents. I manage to hold down some breakfast and feeling much better! Amie has taken amazing care of me last night. Digestive biscuits are the best ! 
 
Run a few errands around the city in the morning. She supports other local businesses when buying beads, getting leather stamped etc. Then we visit a few similar projects as good to see what others are doing and of course I buy more gifts. Been enjoying learning about the sew woman project and how she discovered the places when she first started. Her focus on supporting other business with similar values really stands out. She is very creative and look forward to seeing what they create in future with the new project funding. 
 
We visit the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust; It's the elephant orphanage where there have rescued 28 elephants. Amie has been before so we get a perfect spot for viewing and photos. Incredible watching them run in from a distance and get the milk from a bottle. They are extremely playful and young the first group. They introduce them all by name and where they are from. My ears are blocked so struggle to hear much. Second group is a bigger and they have other ideas for playing! Check out the website or come visit here if your ever in Nairobi it's only $5 USD and the hour goes so quick. 
 
Drive back to Nakuru to start the packing mission. I leave a lot of clothes and things behind. I know I can't take them to Australia and how valuable they would be to someone else here. I have 25kgs of just sew woman purchases to take back and then my bag of goodies. 
 
Sad it's my last night in apartment! It's been a good week here and so happy I extended my trip. I surprise Amie with a slice of cake as it was her 4 year anniversary when I was sick and we never made it out for dinner. 
 
Day 32
 
Heading home can't believe this journey has come to a end and bit of time on plane to reflect on the past 4 weeks. 
 
Best thing I heard when I was here "You have to become a bit numb to last or you get over whelmed and emotionally will break". I had plenty of emotional times and some things you have to turn a blind eye too. Unfortunately there is corruption, extreme poverty and people stories i could never write about in here. The difference between the countries are huge, we are lucky in New Zealand to have amazing education at our finger tips, communities where we don't live in compounds with high fences and deadbolts locks on doors with security gates, to earn good salaries and so many jobs available. The culture of Kenyans people is beautiful and I hope one person who reads this decides to come volunteer and have your very own experience. I would do this all over again in a heart beat. 
 
So to sum up my past 4 weeks ....
 
Kenya was the best personal adventure in my life. It's been incredible helping at primary school and children's orphanage in a beautiful country. It has been life changing, emotional and challenging. Emotionally I have never been faced with such challenges where you can't do anything. You can't even begun to imagine some of their circumstances, challenges and past. Sadly some children are 'sold' to be married in some areas of Africa at as young as 12 for example for a cow and that's just one example of a extremely sad situation. 
 
I can't thank everyone who donated enough! over all donations prior to coming, uniforms donations and the 25kgs of purchases from sew woman it was over 5,500 !! 
 
So they can have the most inspirational people making a difference everyday. They do outstanding work here in a variety of sustainable projects. I was lucky enough to meet & spend time staff involved plus one of the founders Cassandra. 
 
Two highlights - the smiles on the kids faces when we did uniforms I will never forget the moment you tell them your friends have donated a uniform for them. My last visit to the camp running with the kids, them laughing at me dancing and visiting a few houses. It's a community which has come a extremely long way and feel privileged they let spend time here.  The laughter of these kids is truly special and brightens you up too. 
 
Made life long friends during my stay especially Amie, JD and Rhonda the adventure was better together! I would do it all again with you ladies ! My beautiful host family been part of your family for 3 weeks and the lovely local food we shared. Look forward to having a Chapati party with my friends and family back home. 

Life is about people not money or things. Love and time are two of the most precious gifts. You will always wish you had more time! Spending time 
with different people here and learning to just slow down live in that moment has been important learning. I can truly say it has changed me in numerous ways and I am grateful for the opportunity to volunteer. The smiles, hugs and laughter will never be forgotten and people I meet have made a big impact on me. Bonus seeing 4 of the Big 5 and I'll back to see a leopard ! 
 
End of the adventure and one day I'll come back to Africa as you have a piece of my heart ❤️ 

Comments

1

Amazing Sarah, so inspiring!

  Jess May 28, 2017 6:11 PM

2

Sounds instantly life changing. For both you and those whom you have met!

  Dave May 30, 2017 9:35 AM

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