The Uuuhs and Aaarghs of my life

Posts tagged ‘Fun’

Healthy Mind, Healthy Child

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Today, I had so much fun teaching the kids at the Kenyatta National Hospital Paediatric Learning Centre.
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The children were energetic and excited to learn. Some coloured some drawings, others wrote stories, others played with word blocks and others followed the teachers with books in their hands saying, “Teacher! Teacher! Please give me some homework…”
Now, how often do we hear children ask teachers for homework?
These kids love learning despite their state of physical health.
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The smiles on the faces of the little ones was like sunshine. They would like to stay engaged at the learning center but there aren’t enough volunteer teachers.
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Guess what? There is hope! This Friday, 23rd 2014 there will be a training session for volunteer teachers. This will be from 2:00 to 3:30pm at the Kenyatta National Hospital Paediatric Learning Centre (3rd floor). You are most welcome to join the team of volunteers!
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Volunteering at KNH Paediatric Learning Centre

Young people are encouraged to volunteer at the learning center.
Volunteering hours are usually from 11am – 3pm and from Monday to Thursday. Every volunteer will be part of any of the teams which work in two-day intervals. E.g. Team 1: Mondays and Wednesdays.
Kindly forward your name to Liz (below) for security clearance at the Paediatric Ward.
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Cancer Survivor Party!
You are invited to a great party at the KNH Paediatric Ward on June 2nd, 2014. Join the kids for a fun day of Arts & Crafts, Puzzle games and other fun activities.
Kindly confirm attendance by 30th, May 2014.

Sponsorship for this event is welcomed and will be much appreciated.

Paediatric Learning Centre Wish List

Priority
Toilet paper, toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap (washing & bathing), petroleum jelly, baby diapers (Huggies diapers, 0-3months), face towels, sanitary pads.

Classroom
Exercise books, pencils, colour pencils, crayons, erasers, rulers, ink pens, writing ink.
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Contact person:
Liz
Programme Director
Colour My World Kenya
(Partners with Kenyatta National Hospital Paediatric Learning Center)
Mobile: +254714481371

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New Menu at Nairobi Java House!

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A new menu is out with exciting new things!

1. The Chili Con Carne: Spicy bean with minced beef stew with cheese, tomato and onion. Price: Ksh. 400
*It is also served with chips as the Chili Con Carne and Cheese Chips for Ksh. 420.
*Moreover, it also features on the burger section as the Chili Cheese Burger (Chili Con Carne and Cheese) for Ksh. 800

2. Salads
*Spicy Vegetable and Halloumi salad for Ksh. 560
*Oriental Chicken salad for Ksh. 580

3. Sandwiches
* Classic: Avocado, cheese and tomato salad for Ksh. 400 where avocado slices now replace the guacamole
* Signature: Grilled steak and cheese with pickled onion for Ksh. 660

4. Chicken wings served with chips and a side of salsa
* 5pieces for Ksh. 450
* 10pieces for Ksh. 850

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5. Desserts
* NEW JAVA ICECREAM: Java now makes their own gourmet all-natural ice cream
* Coffee cake for Ksh. 180

6. Lemonade
*NEW Strawberry lemonade for Ksh. 190 (small) and Ksh. 260 (large)

7. Sides
*Steamed vegetables

These and other new elements on the new Nairobi Java House menu.

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PS: You might notice that some things have also been removed from the menu such as the Apple Cinnamon cake.

Also, the prices are a bit higher than those on the previous menu. But hey, when it comes to good quality food… It is worth it!

Turkey Funeral by @ayumyum

Turkey Funeral

Turkey Funeral

COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO! The farm’s cockerel stirred up life in the farm. Mama walked into my room and found me staring at the ceiling. The carroty rays of the morning sun had pierced through the old curtains creating lovely patterns of light. One pattern looked like a peacock’s tail. Mama thought so too when I pointed it out on my bedroom wall. She then told me to go take the warm bath she had prepared for me and later on head to the hut where Nyanya, my grandmother, was. I sprung out of my mattress and left my little sister Dory* tucked into her bedspread. Mama didn’t bother waking her up. The poor girl was exhausted! She had spent her entire afternoon running around the farm on the previous day when we had arrived at our rural home.

My older cousins had already started doing their chores in preparation for the great family feast in the evening. The boys helped my uncles to choose the best cow for the banquet. The girls accompanied my aunts to the market to buy kitchen supplies and grind sun-dried maize at the millers.

Papa was a busy man. His quick and long strides told it all. He walked from one side of the farm to the other making sure that everything was in order. The cattle had been released. The cows had been milked. The poultry in the farm had been freed from their pens. The guard dogs had been fed. Money had been given to purchase supplies for the feast. A true Kenyan man he was, attested by his special request for a generous order for beer – Tusker to be specific! I never understood why Papa and my uncles liked the soda they called Tusker. I had tasted it once from Papa’s glass but it did not taste nice. It gave people a funny smell in the mouth!

Omwitsukhulu (grandchild) let’s go!” Nyanya called out to me. It was time for our walk. She liked morning walks in the forest. It was the only time she got to take-in fresh whiffs from the Kakamega forest, before the farm filled with activity. I liked accompanying Nyanya. She was the tallest old woman I knew. No one really knew how old she was apart from Kuka, my grandfather.  Whenever she sang, I hummed silently to her tune as we picked fresh wild mushrooms amid the jamboree of trees. She sang in a language that mother had been trying to teach me. Her voice blended well with the choirs of forest birds and the chattering of monkeys. At times I just stopped and stared at her as she slowly knelt to pick mushrooms. The gingery sunrise waves settled on her so gracefully, covering her with a golden coat of light. I followed her closely behind as I picked the mushrooms she uprooted and stored them in a small sisal basket. From a distance, a group of women gathered firewood for their households. They all waved at Nyanya who was quite popular with women from the local church. Every harvest season she gathered women from the fellowship to harvest crop at our farm and go home with a sack full of produce as a token of appreciation.

As soon as we arrived back at the farm, it’s as if we had returned during resurgence.  There was clamour from every corner. People hurried from one point to another. The look on some animals confirmed that I was not the only one in shock. And so I let go of Nyanya’s hand and run towards Dory who was playing with some ducks. Kuka sat nearby on an old tree stump to ensure that Dory finished her breakfast which he held in his hands. The two were inseparable – wherever Kuka was, Dory was just a stone’s throw away. Nyanya said hello to her old love then headed for the kitchen where my aunts and mother were.

As Dory and I played with the birds, groups of men started approaching my grandfather for greetings. It was tradition to do so as a sign of respect. Whenever Kuka wasn’t around, Papa took his place as the eldest son to receive guests at the compound. I couldn’t help but feel so proud of Kuka. He was a short old man but very active in the community’s welfare. After Dory finished her breakfast, he stood up to put the bowl on the stump. Kuka grabbed his brown walking stick and went for a walk near a stream that flowed near his old hut. He did this whenever he wanted to pray. Perhaps he wanted to pray for a good feast and that Nyanya grants his request to make his favourite stew. Or perhaps he wanted to pray that Nyanya doesn’t cook his favourite rooster, she never liked his rooster. “It makes too much noise,” she used to say. Kuka always claimed that the rooster always woke him up in good time. Nyanya often disagreed and took the credit saying that she’s the one who woke it up before other farm animals. I loved how my grandparents got lost in their arguments and then laughed it off in the end.

Dory noticed that Kuka’s turkeys had fed well and gathered under Nyanya’s avocado tree to laze around for a while. The birds were so huge that I thought they would burst if pricked by a sharp object. There was a funny noise they made which I confused for one of Dory’s loud farts. For some reason, she quickly picked up a stone and threw it towards the group of turkeys. The impact it had was unexpected. Suddenly we were scampering from an angry mob of turkeys. The giant ones scared me the most. I thought that I was going to die if even one caught my toe.  “Would it swallow me whole?” But I feared most for Dory and wasn’t sure if a bird had grabbed her already. I cried out loud wondering what I would say if Kuka asked me about Dory. How could I tell him that one of his turkeys had swallowed his best friend?

Luckily, I spotted a clear path that led to the main kitchen at the farm. I could see Mama cleaning some utensils. I thought she was my best chance to prick the turkeys that were chasing me. I hid behind her and watched her scare away the fat birds like a superhero. I clung onto Mama’s colourful khanga tied round her waist and started crying. When she told me to calm down, I let out the secret. “I’m so sorry Mama! Dory threw a stone and the turkeys ate her,” I confessed. “What do you mean?” Mama asked. “Mama, what will I tell Kuka? His turkeys ate Dory!” What I expected to be a loud cry came out as a loud laugh by Mama. I was confused by her reaction then she reassured me that turkeys don’t eat children. I dried off tears from my eyes and jelly from my nose with the hem of Mama’s khanga.

The relief was short-lived as I heard the sound of Dory wailing nearby. Mama and I quickly ran towards the loud cry hoping that she’s alright. I had prepared to see the worst – Dory screaming from the inside of a giant turkey. My heart pounded hard in fright only to find Dory curled up at the foot of the avocado tree. She was crying as she held something in her hands. When she saw us, she uncovered her little hands to show us a young turkey struggling for breath. She asked Mama to rescue it since she was a nurse. Before Mama gave her an unfortunate response, the little bird stopped breathing. I knelt down next to Dory and cried with her. We had never seen anything literally die before our eyes. Mama told us to calm down but Dory shouted, “I killed him mum! I chased his family then his father stepped on him.” We broke into loud cries leading to quizzical reactions from relatives within the compound. To avoid attracting attention, Mama told us to stand up and give turkey to one of the farmers who stood nearby. She said that he would know what to do with turkey. She did not like that Dory held onto a dead bird in her hands. The look on the farmer’s face was so scary that it made Dory immediately surrender turkey to him.

Mama told us to cheer up and go to Kuka’s house to keep him company. She rushed back to the kitchen. Luckily, as soon as our mother disappeared into the kitchen Kuka found us with the farmer. He had heard Dory’s cry which made him worry.

With Kuka by our side, we requested the farmer to let us bury turkey. Kuka told him to let us do what we had asked. He put the bird in an empty packet of wheat flour that had been swept by the wind from the kitchen bin. Kuka walked into his hut and warned us not to get into trouble especially with Nyanya. I think he feared her tempers more than a lion’s roar. The farmer said that we could throw it into the farthest latrine in the farm. Silently, we walked to the latrine as we stared at the packet. The latrine greeted us with a slightly pungent breeze. Luckily, lots of hot ash had been poured into it to mask the full force of a reeking latrine.

A toilet fly kept us company as it buzzed inside the latrine which was made of stone. Dory said that we should pray first before burying turkey, “God please forgive me for throwing a stone at turkey’s family.” I nodded in agreement. “Dear God, please forgive turkey’s father who stepped on him,” she pleaded as she cried. I held her shoulder and helped her complete the prayer by asking God to save some food in heaven for turkey since he would miss food from the feast. “Amen,” we ended the prayer. Dory let go of the packet which landed inside the latrine with a punching plop.

We walked out of the latrine feeling sad that we had lost turkey. But then again we were so glad that he would be in heaven with God who loves turkeys.

Storymoja Hay Festival September 19th -22nd 2013

Storymoja Hay Festival September 19th -22nd 2013

The Storymoja Hay Festival is on September 19 – 22, 2013. Mark the Date. You will definitely leave the festival thinking in a whole new way! Imagine the World
Follow Storymoja Hay Festival on Facebook and on @SMHayFest on Twitter for updates on tickets, travel & accomodation, guest authors, pre-fest events and event programming. see also our official website.

Amazing Zanzibar!

Have you ever longed for a holiday for quite some time only for reality to constantly strike you with demands, demands and more demands? Well, that was me for quite a number of years but little did I know that one awaited my indulgence in April 2013. I recently found out that I had been booked for a flight to Zanzibar for a business trip. You can only imagine how my eyes welled, for I never thought that the day would come this soon. I could finally accomplish my dream travels to Zanzibar! Why the emotion? Well, let’s just say that I had been longing for a Zanzibar holiday since high-school. It may seem fairly naïve but I guess once a girl, always a girl!

 

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Sea Cliff Resort & Spa

The best thing about this trip is that it barely hit me that I was working during my stay at Sea Cliff Resort & Spa added to the importance of pursuing a job that I love. I had a great time bonding with my colleagues and discovering their great sense of humour. I got the chance to build friendships with some of the other hotel guests which was amazing as we still communicate. The staff members were polite, the themed dinners at Mangapwani Restaurant absolutely scrumptious.

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Mwangapwani Restaurant Poolside – Sea Cliff Resort & Spa

 

The venue was breath-taking with scenetic traditional Swahili architecture, tropical plants gracing the landscape, the Jetty Bar that literally floats atop the Indian Ocean, a lovely beach by day and crushing waves by the ocean cliff by evening.

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Jetty Bar at Sea Cliff Resort & Spa

 

There’s also a mini-beach within the hotel compound, bicycles available for cycling and even a gym that I escaped visiting out of laziness…Haha! I had the chance to enjoy a Jacuzzi in my room and this added to my indulgence.

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Jacuzzi in Executive Room – Sea Cliff Resort & Spa

 

The conference facilities were excellent and perhaps this explained why there were so many international guests flocking in for business conferences! Other guests incuded families from all around the world enjoying a summer holiday and even some couples possessed with love on their honeymoon. There was enough for everyone to feast on at the great location!

 

Meeting the Locals

I learned so much from the locals in Zanzibar during a tour to some of the CARE International humanitarian projects. It was clear that I came out as a city girl since my Nairobi Kiswahili called for assistance with translation into the heavily Arabic Swahili spoken in Zanzibar. I got empowered by the strength and resilience of the ladies who fought tradition to pursue a wholesome life for their families and protecting the dignity of their daughters by daily breaking sweat to educate them. Early marriages are often the trend on the island and due to lack of proper girl-child education; homes are often dependent on men as bread-winners. The main project feature tree farming, jiko (ceramic stove) making and butterfly farming. We had a great chat with the project beneficiaries and even managed to receive great shopping tips from the ladies. We women and shopping!

 

Shopping Experience

Oftentimes, many go to StoneTown to shop where prices are hiked due to its popularity as a tourist centre. Instead we went with our driver to do some shopping and it was funny how he got into the shopping fever to a point of recommending which dress I should buy for my mother and the Swahili make-up that would best suit my yellow-skinned little sister. A funny guy he was, but he was really helpful in the bargaining process at the Daraja Market where locals do their shopping at friendly prices. We had to make sure that we had Tanzanian currency to access goods or services and we had done this as soon as we arrived at Kisauni Airport. Also, we were advised to keep watch of our money as the market is busy with activity, hence easy location for pick-pockets; merchants following potential buyers in the streets, motorbikes hooting for way, vendors unpacking fresh catch from the sea, children running around and the jobless corner with individuals offering shopping-errand services in exchange for money. It seems crazy but funny at the same time for I thought that I had transposed to a typical Indian market. Luckily, we had a great shopping experience with great buys at awesome bargains. My family members now have something cool from Zanzibar and I was lucky enough to actually find a lovely dress that touches my toes, which is often a shopping challenge for me in Nairobi!

 

Hard to Say Goodbye

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Sea Cliff Resort & Spa in Zanzibar

As I sat down on the terrace, enjoying my last moments at the hotel, I decided to post a Trip Advisor travel review about my amazing Zanzibar experience. Whether they approve it or not, all I know is that one has to experience it personally to understand the emotional attachment triggered by this little island of mine – my island of escape to great adventure. You bet I’ll be back!

PS: This post had to come early, I couldn’t wait 🙂

Yours Truly,

Ayuma.

Ciao Bella 2012!

Dear readers,

As the year 2012 comes to an end, I celebrate those who took a chance to put a smile on someone’s face. Those who dared to make everyday richer with love.

I believe that the road wasn’t easy all-year-round, but we should count ourselves champions for we have made it to the end. Many started the road with us this year but they didn’t make it this far.

So I pray that your heart will remain youthful and full of cheer all through the new year.

Thank you all for taking the time to read my blog and beautify it with your thoughts. Let’s talk some more in 2013!

Love and sunshine…

Yours Truly,

Ayuma.

To put a smile on your face as we countdown to the new year, here’s a lovely tale about my favourite day in December this year. Photographs are courtesy of Paras Gudka of Westlands Chess Club (WECC) and Kirsty McLullich of Vision Africa.

Enjoy the read!

My little friends at Kandara Children's Home

My little friends at Kandara Children’s Home

Oh December! What a lovely ring this month adds to the conclusion of a lovely, yet monstrous yet again a typical other year – 2012.

Let us do a little math, shall we?

Q: What is the result of a public transport strike, plus a car full of visitors, plus road directions, minus following road directions, multiplied by hours in a day to spend?

A: Easy, a Fun Day at Kandara Children’s Home in Murang’a!

Ok fine, not an easy challenge or even math for that matter, but this sure was the plot of the story that led me to the most amazing place to have spent a fun day in December this year.

Swaleh, a trusted taxi driver chatted with my good friend Esther Neema and me as we headed to the Nairobi City Centre to meet up with Paras Gudka, the founder of the Westlands Chess Club (WECC).

Esther Neema and her new baby buddy

Esther Neema and her new baby buddy

Paras Gudka; WECC founder

Paras Gudka; WECC founder

To our surprise, the matatu strike was still on and Swaleh swore that it had reached a point where the public transport operators were charging as much as KSH 400 for what would normally cost KSH 50 for bus fare.

GULP…

Paras gladly came with his team from the WECC to join us for a day of fun and games at the Children’s home. I was super confident that the directions that Kirsty McLullich (a full-time volunteer with Vision Africa) had given me will make me look good as a navigator.

GULP…

The WECC crew; Shammah, Gweyani and George

The WECC crew; Shammah, Gweyani and George

Being the social being that I am, I coloured the atmosphere with my warm personality through a story or two…or three… Ok, I might have talked quite a lot but I promise that I gave everyone else a chance to tell an anecdote or two…Hehe!

All this got me to a point where I forgot to check my phone for directions and we used a route to Thika that seemed familiar yet unfamiliar. What gave me confidence was the fact that the other passengers were on Google Maps, confirming if we are on the right path. Technology!!!

Unfortunately, we confidently made a turn that took us to a town that seemed familiar, yet unfamiliar. When we stopped to ask for directions… Typical Kenyan “asking for directions” Drama happened! There was a gent who went on with stories about how we are so lost and that he doubts if we’ll find our way to Kandara. Talk about a prophet of doom!

Seconds after what we seemed to have been an understanding of the directions the gent gave us, we were lost again.

We took on a challenge and asked a matatu driver for directions and his directions sounded like, “You see that road… Drive down till you reach a junction, ignore the junction and drive on, you’ll see another road but ignore it, then you take a left, then go, then take a right and if you even ask a small child for directions, you will find your way to Kandara.”

[Trust me, this English translation sounds nothing as hilarious as the original Kiswahili one with a local accent.]

As we got lost some more on our way to Kandara, we at least took the chance to sample the lovely green countryside. It was a farming community judging from the patterned strips of crop against recurring steep slopes.

Aha! An old wise man of the land who probably knew the paths more than anyone we had met already. Luckily we had a “translator” amongst us who could communicate with the old “guardian of the land”.

We were directed to a road though a steep slope even though we all doubted it. And soon our doubts were confirmed “doubtworthy” as several little boys directed us back to the right path to the Kandara Children’s Home.

Finally, we arrived after hairpin bends and as soon as we saw the writings on the entrance of the Orphanage’s gate – Kandara Children’s Home – we took a deep breath.

As soon as we arrived, we introduced ourselves to each other as Kirsty made her way to the parking area to welcome us. Yes, we forgot that tiny detail of introductions. Haha!

Kirsty McLullich of Vision Africa and Mary Mwangi of Kandara Children's Home

Kirsty McLullich of Vision Africa and Mary Mwangi of Kandara Children’s Home

The day ripened with richness as soon as the kids came running to hold our hands and welcomed us. The atmosphere was filled with a great anticipation for a great happening judging from the preparations in the kitchen and the farm.

A goat had been slaughtered for a great feast! YUMMY…Mbuzi (Swahili for goat)

After a short tour by Kirsty round the orphanage, we were led to the baby unit. I actually got to learn how to hold a baby, play with one and feed one too. That beat my fear of dropping a baby just because of my skinny hands…Haha!

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Later on the WECC set up a table for a good game of chess starting with some quick lessons for beginners. The magic began! Esther and I got our girl-power kit and secured a spot for the girls on a green yard. Manicures and pedicures, hand massages, make-up and dress-up glam time and not forgetting the girly chat to complete this female bonding session.

There was also some face-painting in the dining hall and the little ones got creative with how they wanted their faces to look with face paint masks.

A lovely game of chess with WECC and the Kandara kids

A lovely game of chess with WECC and the Kandara kids

Pampering the Kandara girls

Pampering the Kandara girls

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Some football for the Kandara boys and friends before lunchtime

We girls and make-up. Can't get enough of it...

We girls and make-up. Can’t get enough of it…

Face-painting at Kandara Children's Home

Face-painting at Kandara Children’s Home

The kids who worked really hard this year got their gifts

The kids who worked really hard this year got their gifts

All smiles

All smiles

Goat stew... Yummy!

Goat stew… Yummy!

Fooooooood at Kandara

Fooooooood and cute face

Tasty Mbizu Choma (roasted goat meat)

Tasty Mbuzi Choma (roasted goat meat)

Lunchtime was absolutely heartwarming as all the kids sat together and ate as one big family. As soon as I saw chapattis, my search was over. I love chapattis!

The Kubamba Crew had a great Dj entertaining the crowd as we all gathered for a little booggie woogie outside. As I danced with Teresia, one of the little ones, I realized that the joy I felt inside was more than what I expected from the visit.

There’s something about a child’s smile that somehow makes everything seem alright. It was most definitely hard to say goodbye as well.

Tasty mbuzi for the boy

Tasty mbuzi for the boy

With love, from Kenya

With love, from Kenya

When I say chow-time, I mean chow-time

When I say chow-time, I mean chow-time

The smile of an angel

The smile of an angel

Jolly good times at Kandara

Jolly good times at Kandara

On our way back, we almost got lost again, but we somehow found our way to Nairobi.

A Fun Day?

This was more than just a fun day. It was a great day to get lost, LITERALLY, in fun adventure!

Have a fun-filled 2013!!!

Happy 2013!!! Kandara Children's Home

Happy 2013!!!
Kandara Children’s Home

Say CHEESE...

Say CHEESE…

More about Westlands Chess Club (WECC)

More about Vision Africa and Kandara Children’s Home

More photographs on Kandara Fun Day

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