Coming to an end

Today and yesterday Isaac and I have been up at the orphanage trying to get things finished in preparation for school opening on Monday. On arriving on Wednesday the first thing I noticed  was that the old wall had been removed and the foundations for replacing it were underway. It really is starting to take shape and look good now. 

I noticed that one of the teachers there was wearing a Liverpool shirt and I said to him that i supported  Liverpool too. On closer inspection I saw that it was in fact MY shirt that i had donated 5 or so weeks previously  to the orphans. It seems he fancied it for himself. I made a comment to Isaac and I think the guy cottoned on  and soon removed it. This kind of pissed me off, considering every  teacher at the school who is volunteering along with Isaac and I have been asking for pay, uniforms and anything else. If he had wanted clothes himself he only need ask. I’d of been happy to give him the shirt of my back. The manner in which he went about the whole thing was completely wrong and he then has  the audacity to ask me for  more stuff an hour later!!! The guys at  the school don’t realise that we do not have an endless supply of money. The majority of work left to finish is now being funded by Isaac and I personally. We therefore want to get the essentials done e.g. the walls, rather than waste money on lab coats for the staff to “put their chalk so they don’t get dirty”. We worked until around 4 and then I spent most of the night online pleading for more donations.

At around 11pm I received a text from another of the teachers there which read.

“Hi Joel, the teachers told me to remind you white jackets for teachers you promise. gd night.”

Grammar aside, I was horrified. After saying to them that day it wasn’t going to happen as we can barely afford the wall the guy went above me to get someone else to try their luck! I understand that they want the best, but Rome wasn’t built in a day. Once I leave I expect the subsequent group of students to continue the work and eventually the whole  building will be refurbished.

I didn’t sleep particularly well last night and woke up already stressed about budgeting for today’s work. I got there around 10 and spoke to all the teachers telling them what was going to happen. They said they were very thankful of all we had done so far and that they understand where i’m coming from. No longer than 30 minutes later and one of them was complaining that the paint we bought, that they picked out for us, was not right. I decided to leave early to prevent killing someone. I think people are loosing sight of why we started this project in the first place. The children at the school (As gay as that sounds).

I’m going to just power through for the next few days in order to get it complete. I can’t wait for the children to see it completed and eagerly anticipate the show they have set up for us. 

Before

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Where we are currently. The flash is broken on my camera.

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“Table for one sir?”

So Sunday I caught up on admin, washing and sleep after the guys had left on Saturday. The compound is like a ghost town. A lonely one at that too! After doing my washing Homyan and I went to Cafes Serie to get some free internet,lunch and hopefully find a place that shows the football. We  found a restaurant upstairs which showed the football but had no commentary. Not so bad I guess and I actually quite enjoyed the soothing sounds of Ethopian flutes and drums to Martin Skrtel fucking up our first win of the season.

Today I woke up to blistering sun, as per, and spent most of the morning talking to Isaac about the plan for this week at the orphanage. The budget is going to be tight but I think it’ll work. I’ve resided myself to the fact that i’m not going to be able to get my money back from the initial start up of work and paying builders. To be honest i’m not bothered, i’d of just spent it on booze at uni. I’ll just go mine sweeping in Jesters. 

When we arrived at the orphanage some of the children were practicing dancing and singing for a goodbye ceremony. I had to quickly run out and hide as  “I was not allowed to see the dress rehearsal!!!”. How  stupid of me, sorry guys! The kids all said thank you in one big bubbly chorus and I felt very touched. That alone has made the stress of budgeting, haggling and working on the orphanage all worth while. 

After that exceedingly tough day  *Pinocchio nose gesture* it was time to unwind in the pool with a Jack Daniels and the guitar. 1 turned into a few and before you know it i’m loving life playing and singing Let it Be in the pool. Normal…

I’m currently at Cafe Mocha… ALONE!!!!! The title of my blog entry speaks for itself. Thanks you South Dakota FUCKERS!!! And you Homyan! May need another bottle…

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“I guess this is it you crazy fucking Brit!”

On Thursday morning I went into the hospital very briefly and switched between major and minor theatre. After about 2 hours Jeff and I went to the orphanage to put in a good shift of painting and general manly hard work. We retired to the compound after and the plan for the next 24 hours was to just get pretty fucked up on the concoction of poison we had bought earlier from the Naakumat. It was everyones last nigh, bar me, so after numerous pool side drinks we headed to our favourite watering hole,IL Covo. I don’t remember having a single drink there, but my wallet says otherwise. I also dont remember trying to take an inflatable boat from the bar down stairs and leaving the owners 1000 shillings for their inconvienience. Laura informed me that we didnt even take the boat in the end. FYA.

After we got back a few of us went to the beach with the intention to watch the sun come up. Inevitably we ended up in the ocean and inevitably Chris and I ended up wrestling in the sea.The ladies loved it, obviously. It’s boring but, it’s our life. We got back at around 4am and after Chels and I unssuccesfully searched for peanut butter for a pre bed snack, we all called it a night.
The next morning I awoke feeling fairly chipper considering the exploits from the previous night. The handsome 5 went to Karibu for lunch where we experienced top class service as always… After the harrowing ordeal of eating there we sat by the pool for the rest of the day. Not long after getting out there, Lee and Chris rolled out with a Tusker each. Game time. The next few hours flew by and after no time at we were pretty hammered and ready for dinner. We went toTamarind, oneofthe best seafood restaruants in East Africa, over looking the water we’ve crossed every morning for the last 3 weeks on our way to the hospital. Everything about it was incredible. We sat by the pool for the rest of the night and talked the usual smut.

Today was a pretty tough day. It was time for everyone to depart home to South Dakoooooooooooooota (the messed up way they say it) and get back to Uni. The boys all chipped in and gotme a bottle of Jack Daniels and some Marlboro gold to keep the American spirit going. If you’re reading this now lads,thank you so much. Not just for the presents and letters but the whole 3 weeks as well as the offer of coming to see you in the states. I have spent most of today pricing up the cheapest and quickest flights. I will definitely be coming to see you all for a few nights at skinners (See I pay attention). The safari weekend was phenomenal too guys!

Thank you as well to all of you girls too for constantly taking the piss out of my accent and putting up with my excessive use of the C-word. Thank you too for the letters you wrote me. They really mean a lot to me and are some of the nicest things people have ever said about me. You must have been hammered whilst writing them.

I feel the next few days may be incredibly slow, but i’ll try and keep myself occupied with the orphanage.

I’ve definitely made some friends for life on this trip.

See you all in March you fuckers!!!!

Soldiers, sorrow and sandpaper

So the last 2 days have been pretty easy going after safari but nonetheless good fun. On Tuesday I went into the hospital, as per, and went to minor, as per. Mia, the non-scorpion woman nurse, was in so the day naturally progressed alot smoother than usual. It consisted mainly of dressings, draining abscess’ and removing sutures. Chelsea and Alexa removed about 30 sutures from one rather hairy individual, who claimed he was a soldier in the holy war and his name was Mohammed. That was about all the English he spoke, although that did not stop him using those phrases repeatedly.After they were finished he produced a piece of paper that turned out to be a police report. Omar,one of the medical students here, explained that he wanted to kill the man who did it rather than file the report. I looked at the guy and said

“No revenge!”

To which he responded.

“REVENGE!”

Wearing a smile from ear-to-ear and nodding vigorously. Not sure he quite got the point…

Shrotly after a short white middle agedlady came in, followed by an entourage of people frantically playing with their mobiles and looking quite stressed. The lady herself was not best pleased and was demanding to speak to someone. I took her outside of minor,found out hername, that she was from Italy and calmed her down. It transpired that her friend had been in a car accident and she was looking for him. She was quite clearly appauled by the state of Coast general, as any normal person would be and couldn’t grasp the fact that it is an ‘open air hospital’. We eventually found her friend and she was very thankful. Another of her friends then suddenly collapsed and started fitting. I put her in the recovery position and triedto supress her convulsions. Once she was more stable we took her to emergency and asked for her to be refered for a head CT. According to the Italian lady this happens regularly and she wanted to have her referred to the private hospital along with her friend. I convinced her to wait for an X-ray and then she could decied what she wanted to do.

I returned to minor and i’m not really sure what I did for the next few hours while there. On regular occurences though, the Italian lady returned upseet and annoyed at the quality of care. Although a stressful time for her, she was begining to test mypatience. Her friend was not going to die from a broken leg and the lady who fainted was fully concious and walking around. She continued to demand to be seen, which she is entitled to, but that’s not the case in coast general. Why should she be seen first? Because she is white? And therefore is assumed to have more money? Even if she does, Why should class come into the scenario? All the while she was talking to me I found myself getting increasingly annoyed at her and finally askedif a doctor could discharge her twofriends and refer them to the private hospital.
After that we went home and just spent most of the day at the beach.

Today I was only in the hospital for a short while, as I got a text from one of the coordinators saying there was an issue at the orphanage with paying the workers. They were already a day late in finishing the work so this just fuckedmeoff even more. A few of us went there and saw that it was coming along better than expected. Sylvanus,the caretaker here, was now in charge of the whole job and he grabbed things by the scruff of the neck. We therefore went to buy paint and started applying the undercoat today. Over the next few days we plan to do some pictures and an alphabet for the kids there. If you’re reading this and would like to get involved donations are still needed… DESPERATELY!!! Money is very tight and i’ve found myself paying for alot of stuff out of my student loan so far. So no matter how much, please do help… prefereablly a PayPal donation too.

We spent some time at the beach again today and I got treated tosomelovely stories from Chelsea, which weren’t graphic or horrible at all. The quote “Like sand paper” comes to mind…On the way home I recieved a call from a man called Eric who I met on the night shift I talked about a few posts back. His father was very sick with heaptocellualr carcinoma and he called to let me know that he had passed away. He sounded very positive and was interested in coming in to have a talk. I told him i’d be more than happy to do so and he may come in tomorrow. I hope he does.

We’re having a big going away party tomorrow, which will be unbelievable!!! I’m dreading the days that these guys go, although I joke and say Ican’twait. Will be very slow for a few days after but hopefully i’ll fall into some form of routine. If all fails i’ll just hit the bottle…

“Steak or vagina?”

So the last 4 days have consisted of hideous amounts of day time drinking, gazing at incredible animals on safari and a bus that was fueled entirely by testosterone and sexual suppression. 

We departed from Mombasa on Thursday morning at around 8 to get to our first stop of before safari in Nairobi. At around 1 Chris and Lee turned around and smiled at Trey and I. Either they were hinting at some kind of 4 may male love fest on the bus or it was time to break out Mr James Beam. We had a drink or two on the bus and at around 5 we arrived at our hotel/hostel/rape cavern. It was actually pretty good. Isaac, one of the coordinators on the  programme, booked my room last minute so unfortunately I had to deal with having a double bed and room all to myself. Really testing times. We went out for a pretty high end dinner and then spent most of the  night getting hammered on cheap liquor. After having a great night I think we finally turned in at around 3, although this is hazy. 

We awoke the next morning at 7. I do not need to elaborate on how I felt. You will be able to deduce that for yourselves. We had another 6 hour drive to the Masai Maraa safari village where we would be staying, but this time in our safari vans. In our van was Lee, Chris, Trisha, Trey, Allison, Jeff and myself. The last hour and a half of the drive were on a ‘road’ that was as shaky as an epileptic in a pile of leaves. After it being quite fun bouncing  around for 15 minutes, it soon got old and we were ready for some normality. We eventually got to the camp,  which was actually really good considering we were in themiddle of nowhere. We headed out for a quick evening safari and saw a few animals like zebras and impalas, but afetr a knackering few days we turned in at a realtively early time.

The next morning we woke at 7 for a 7.30 safari and as soon as we got out there we were not dissapointed. There was a hyeina feasting on the remains of a  wilder-beast killed earlier by alion.There were vultures  circling too and zebras about  100maway looking rather anxious. We  saw pretty much every  animal you’d expect to see and the highlight was seeing a lion and lioness together. All of a sudden Chris shouts “Yes! YES!!!! FUCK!!!!”. This is kind of the tone for the whole trip. After a few afternoon G  and T’s, with Big Poppa blaring out of the stereo as we cruise around  the park have out of thefanthe conversation descends to smut. I shall name no names but a few of my personal favourite quotes are.

“I could  drown a small animal”

“It really is a catch 22,as the  amount of alcohol I would have to consume to sleep with you would physically kill me.”

” I want to see one kill another  one. Eat it. Then rape it!”

And  who could forget…

“Ok boys.If  you could have one or the other. Steak or Vagina?” “Why should the two be mutually exclusive?”

Later that evening we went to the Masaivillage. The Masai are one of,if not the oldest, tribe in Kenya. They arenomadic and tend  to move fromplot toplot every 9 years once their houses start  to fall apart.They showed us some of there welcome dances, which we joined in with and i’m sure wooed the onlooking girls. As well as showing us how they made their firesand after how they use  the hot end of the rod to markon each other as a sign of respect  and honour (I think). As I am the most honourable and respected person I know, I went ahead and got one on my upper arm (Sorry Mum) as did some of the others. It’s honestly no bigger than a 5p. Be mad once I get home. We also had alook in their houses which consisted of 4 rooms that are no bigger than my living roomcombined and 2  of them were for animals. Everyone there was so welcoming and it really wasahumbling experience. After  that we just headed back to camp and went to bed again fairly early.

The next morning we went on a short 2 hour safari from 6.30 to 8.30 before we headed back to Nairobi for a night. The first thingwe saw was a lion who had just killed a wilderbeast and was going to town onhim. Mainly focusingon eating the arse, which seemed wierdand was refered to as “anallingus” by someone in our van, who shall remain nameless. You know who you are!!! After that we heded back fro some breakfast and  then set off back to Nairobi for the  night. After we finallygot off the road from hell we celebrated with a nice  luke warm Tusker at about 11in the morning.The next few hours descended into chaoson the bus. We finished about 2 bottles of hard liquour between 7 of us and  spent the whole journey singing with our driver Felix. He also decided it was a goodidea not to pay the fine we encountered on the safari for driving off road and instead thought  it better to speed off at 100mph.Top lad.

That night we went to carnivore,  a restaraunt  where they serve you all you can eat meat from a  wide aray of exotic animals until you hold up a white flag in surrender. They honestly give  you white flag. It was incredible and after we went back to our hotel for more  gin at the bar. A few of us stayed up until the early hours talking  and after I had removed all the Tusker label from my beer and face, thanks to Chelsea for that  one,  I called it a night.

The  drive home today was fine, apart from the  2 hours  of diabolic  Kenyan stand up that was on the TV of  the bus.  It was  painful. Tonight  we just went  to the Cafe  to chill and the  rest of the week is going to be spent at the hospital followed by one last blow  out on Thursday  before everyone leaves. It will be sad but we’re already planning a reunion in March to all meet up in South Dakota and get silly. 

 

Me putting my own YMCA spin on the Masai dance.

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Scorpion woman

This morning I went into the hospital a bit tired after watching batman for the second time last night, but nonetheless ready for a day of saving lives. It’s boring but, it’s my life. So a few of us headed to minor while the rest went to major. In minor we have 2 nurses who work with us. 1 is called Mia, who is lovely and can always be won over with a little smile to hunt down some gauze. The other is an incompitant joke, who’s day-to-day activities consist of sitting, texting and sitting. occasionally she will summon the effort to scowl at us, but that’s about it. I shall simply refer to her as ‘Scorpion woman’. 

As we begin to take the dressing of the guy who we debrided the previous week, scorpion woman comes in hollaring how i’m  using the wrongbin for waste. Fair enough, however wastegoing into the incorrect binhappens on several occasions throughout the day and it is the least of the hospitals problems. As we begin toclean she keeps ranting so Ijust ignore her. Meanwhile, the matron comes in and begins to join in the tirade of awful medical advice. I apologies to the patient and say i’ll be back in a minute. So me, the  matron and scorpion woman go outside to talk.

I say in no uncertain terms how i’ve seen nurses and doctors a like sit and do nothing while the students are expectedto do everything. Yes, things like suturing, dressings and abscess can in theory be done by us provided there are no issues prior to doing so. But it does not grant the nurses a bit of down  to catch up with their mates for an hour or so. The lack of urgency shown by 99% is sicking. Afterarguing back and fourth I get a bit fed up of repeating myself and try to end the ‘discussion’ by shaking scorpion woman’s hand accompanied with a very sincere “Let’s try and work together while we’re here. No hard feelings?”. Lucky for me she is feeling a bit more energentic today and musters up one of her trademark scowles. My heart swells with warmth…

The matron has  a point about sterlie conditions and that yes in an ideal world I should have been using the appropriate bin. The only issue I have with this is the inconcistency of rules when itcomes tobeing sterille. Some people  who need a dressing changed get a fortress of sterility, while others must simply suffer with nothing. I’ve let Isaac know our thoughts and he’s going to see what he can do.

We’re planning to have a few drinks by the pool tonight and prepare for safari. I’m absolutely buzzing for it!!! I did my shopping for it today but I fear it may be a little light…

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Frustrating

Yesterday Isaac and I spent the day in town buying stuff for the orphanage and we have the builders coming today. Things are finally starting to take shape and I can’t wait until we can start building. Everyone is very appreciative of the work we’re doing, which is great, and I hope we get enough done for them before we leave.

Later that night we went to the hospital for a short shift in emergency. Although there was lots to doI felt I didnt really do anything at all. I spoke to a lady about her absuive husband and that she had suffered an incomplete abortion… which is always a fun filled topic. I tried to place some IV’s but kept narrowly missing and then when I was suturing a mans finger Icouldn’t really get it , as the angle was so tough. All in allit wasn’t a great night but the other students showed some promise and kept on going and helping out. That said, I’m going to head back tonight and try again.  Looking forward to safari this weekend with them all and copious amounts of hard liqour.