Part 2 of my Kenya photodiary series.
Let me share some snaps from my first placement and first Kenyan home in Ngare Ndare – or Ngazza Ndazza as I referred to it…
My first counterpart, Betty, and I travelled 2 hours out of Nanyuki to this tiny rural village surrounded by forests and giraffes and elephants and waterfalls. Sounds pretty blissful right? Well, I did love Ngare Ndare but the ‘ooooh rural Africa’ novelty wore off pretty quickly when the reality of living in the middle of bloody nowhere with zero work to do set in. Our work supervisor was crap so there was nothing to do. I really did try to be resourceful and upbeat and get on with something but it was near enough impossible. We were there with the UK’s biggest voluntary organisation and instead of having a clear work plan and contacts, we were told to wander round the village (which was an hour walk away btw) and look for women who looked like they were beaders. Seriously?!!?!?!? These women didn’t even speak English or Swahili so we were 100% stuck.
Aside from the failure of our placement I friggin loved my host home. I loved our little hamlet of Kianda and the kids and animals and all day sunny weather. I really thought of it as home and even went back to visit weeks after we’d left. So Betty and I called the little wooden cabin ‘home’ for a month before I relocated to Nanyuki town and Bettz headed to Ngobit.
Our neighbours house
We owned a few farms so would collect kales, onions or fruit before dinner.
Our Masai family consisted of our Mum, Joyce. In Kenya the mother is named after their last born child (or any other child) so sometimes she was Mama Joyce, other times Mama Makena and occasionally Mama Stella. Kinda confusing. Mama didn’t speak any English so that was a massive obstacle. She had her middle bottom tooth missing as part of Masai tradition and always dressed beautifully. Although we couldn’t verbally communicate, we always had a laugh together and she taught me loads. She exclaimed that she saw Betty and i as her real family which made my heart burst with all the feels. I was also mega lucky to have 2 gorgeous host sisters; Makena, 18 and Stella, 21 as well as a very cool and calm brother, Paul, 13. Our little family was completed by the 2 dogs; Scotty and Bob who were actually nameless when I arrived(?!). Oh and we had 2 cows, one was pregnant, both very cute.
Look our cute little house! The walls were lined with newspaper and water would get in when it rained. Our bedroom was crawling with insects and the nights were so cold that four layers of clothes and 2 blankets weren’t enough. Our house didn’t have electricity or running water but that didn’t really bother me. We heated water on the stove and had a bucket shower in a little shed outside and went to the loo in a drop toilet (super smelly but healthier…)
In the mornings we’d wash pots and pans (sufurias) outside. It was a nice time to chat and enjoy the morning sunshine.
My brother Paul. Arsenal for life. Surprisingly good Scrabble player. He walks 2 hours to and from school. He was in charge of collecting milk in the evening.
Mama and Paul
Work sister Betty
As you can see, my family are absolutely gorgeous – inside and out. I loved being part of the Masai culture for a few weeks and they taught me so much. I miss our evenings watching crappy telenova La Gata until the TV’s battery died and we’d sit in the dark playing Scrabble by torchlight. We cooked together and ate together every night and always had something to chat about; boys, politics, sport, funny village people.
Next post will be about my crazy niece Sharlene and the kids in the village.
Kwaheri (bye) bishes