A Travellerspoint blog

January 2011

Final days in Kenya

Am writing this from a rainy Nairobi to prepare us for the UK with a few hours left in this country… we’ve had a busy week in Nairobi after catching the train here last week...Our house from the train

Our house from the train

Enjoying the carriage

Enjoying the carriage

Enjoying the view

Enjoying the view

Goodbye Kisumu!

Goodbye Kisumu!

train final

train final

arriving in Nairobi

arriving in Nairobi

The past few weeks have felt like a rollercoaster of things to do, packing, repacking, unpacking, and goodbyes, which leaves us feeling tired and a bit weary.
Baby swap

Baby swap

orongo classroom

orongo classroom

mama orongo

mama orongo

mama jos2

mama jos2

I would love to be writing this with a clear plan and time scale of our next steps, with our year in Kenya nicely wrapped up with a bow, and an impressive Powerpoint presentation of ‘what we’ve learnt’ ready to go… but I guess life’s sometimes not as clear as that, and amidst a general feeling that we can return to Africa, there are still so many question marks hovering nearby. Probably more question marks than this time a year ago, and amongst all the goodbyes and busyness, it’s hard to find the time & space to seek the next step or 2.

Thinking back over our time in Kisumu, there is a mixture of things we will and won’t miss when we are back in the UK…
We will miss:
The sunshine, our garden, the slower pace of life, our neighbourhood, our friends, our cats,naughty kitty

naughty kitty

the worship at church, the ladies bible study group, the nursery school, orongo classroom

orongo classroom

the hustle and bustlekisumu 4

kisumu 4

kisumu 3

kisumu 3

kisumu 1

kisumu 1

kisumu2

kisumu2

We will not miss…
The constant attention, the constant strong advice on parenting, the neighbour’s barking dog, the faff of filtering water to avoid cholera or typhoid, the sermons which require earplugs, people pushing in queues, climbing in and out of a mosquito net to feed Amelie, the heat and hassle...

So, that is that. A year of new experiences and new ideas. A year of difficulties and frustrations. A year of fun and new friends. We are so thankful to God for keeping us safe especially while giving us a beautiful gift of a daughter. Thanks to all of you who have travelled with us in our Kenyan journey...
smiley fish

smiley fish

smiley baba

smiley baba

Posted by africraigs 02:54 Comments (0)

Happy X-mas from Kisumu

And a braw 2011 tae yin an’ aw

sunny 30 °C

For me, 30 degrees and hot sunny weather never makes me feel Christmassy. The cold, dark, dreich nights in Edinburgh where the windows are filled with Christmas trees and bright coloured lights makes me feel much more festive. Dropping into a cosy, warm café for a seasonal hot chocolate is one of my favourite things (especially since it feels like your body must have worked off plenty of calories keeping itself warm, so there is very little guilt). Although the iconic image of waking up to a crisp, snowy Christmas day has never yet occurred for me in Scotland, yet, it’s still a romantic notion that is a distinct possibility in Edinburgh, unlike here, of course…To be honest, I kept forgetting that Christmas was almost upon me here in Kisumu, something I don’t think I could ever do back in the UK, where I was always bombarded by reminders of how many shopping days I still have left till Christmas day.

Actually, the lack of reminders that Christmas day was nearing was one of the best things about being in this tropical town on Lake Vic. I didn’t feel any sense of panic that the big day was around the corner. There was no sense of pressure or depression contemplating the awful truth that I still hadn’t bought a present for my Uncle Donald (who has everything anyway). Jostling about with the focussed, determined crowd along Princes Street realising that your feet are gradually getting more damp is an event that I’m happy to have missed in 2010. A quieter Christmas-time also gives your head a bit of space to reflect on why the 25th of December is a day of celebration in the first place.
Amelie's Christmas meal

Amelie's Christmas meal


There are some quirky sides to celebrating Christmas here, however. One of the things that surprised me, was the way a few people asked about my ‘X-mas’, including my motorbike boy who asked if we celebrate X-mas in my country. It was very strange to hear Christmas being referred to as X-mas, in fact many people I know would say that it should never be called that, as Christ has been missed out of Christmas. I tend to think that mainly X-mas is just a lazier way to write a longish word, but I have no idea why people would call it that here.

Another X-mas tradition here, seemingly, is to wander around the centre of town aimlessly with your family. While driving in a taxi through Kisumu on Christmas, Em and I were astonished to see herds of people walking about around the malls. We have never seen so many people gathered in Kisumu, looking like crowds leaving a football match. Supposedly, it is the one time in the year that some children from outside of town get to come into town with their parents to look around (and do nothing, apparently). I guess those children are the lucky ones, though. Another interesting story we were told was that children are expected to come back to their parents on Christmas bearing gifts. Some kids not lucky enough to have a gift to bring, so end up not going home at all. What a special Christmas cheer that would be for the kids...

While there is definitely not the same amount of glitz and Christmas theatre that there is back in the UK, the little there is seems a bit out of place. At the malls in town, 2 Santa Claus’ dolls stood at the entrance playing American country music, for some unknown reason. At the same mall, some young people from a local church were dressed up as Santa and his elf doing face-painting and handing out sweets. It is a bit weird to see an African Santa Claus and I have never seen a Santa with such good dance moves as this one had. Also, hearing ‘I’m dreaming of a white Christmas’ doesn’t seem as fitting here in Kenya as it does back in Scotland.
Santa and AZ

Santa and AZ


Well, at least the neighbours knew how to celebrate, serving us fried cow stomach when we passed by to share Christmas cheer. Maybe it’s the local substitute for mulled wine and mince pies.
Sharing sodas and bread with the guards at our estate on Christmas

Sharing sodas and bread with the guards at our estate on Christmas


New Years eve found us at our mission organisation’s retreat somewhere around Nairobi, in a coffee-growing region called Ruiru. One of the many good things about the conference was that a ceilidh had been organised for everyone despite there being only 3 Scots. One of the Scots ladies who lives in Khartoum called the dances, while myself and Gran Pat frae Ayr demonstrated.
Dancing with GranPat

Dancing with GranPat


Most folks were from the States or Oz, so hadn’t ever done a ceilidh before, but everyone was up for it. As part of the evening’s entertainment, we explained to people what type of animal a haggis was and how it was hunted. The kids then went on their own haggis hunt capturing haggis out around the grounds. As weel, the evening was a chance to educate the ignorant masses in the guid Scots tongue, wurds like ‘glaikit’, ‘midden’, ‘girnin’, ‘dreich’ and ‘besom’. Before the end of the night, we all sang Auld Lang Syne drawing 2010 to a close while thinking what 2011 might bring.
Hogmanay revellers

Hogmanay revellers


Happy New Year from David, Em and Am!

Posted by africraigs 00:21 Archived in Kenya Comments (0)

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