Thursday, 24 November 2011

A time of change

I am seriously getting bad at keeping a record of this!

Since it has been a while since I last wrote; many things have happened over the course of the weeks, looking back there seems to be a theme of change! 

At work many things change as my boss went on maternity leave, so there was lots of change and hand over’s to be done in how things will be run, and what will be happening during the time she has gone. This meant adapting to new ways, which has been good and allowed me to get more involved in things! Things are a little busy at the moment get ready for the new program and the changes that are being made for next year. My role is becoming more fixed with now being here for longer I have a more defined role within the business and my involvement is increasing, which is good and I am enjoying it, although sometimes will be slow with the key phrase TIK 'This is Kenya!' but I am used to and adjusted to such ways. My boss had her baby 2 weeks ago and he is adorable so cute!

One of my friends here was far from God; they were really living in a life of sin, and life full of brokenness and pain, which was leading them into many devastating circumstances all of which was having consequences. For some time I had been helping them; I was talking with them about Jesus, the gospel and really opening their eyes to the way they were living and how they could have a life of freedom, joy, happiness, peace, unconditional love and so much more if they choose to, if they choose Jesus. 3 weeks ago they made that choice and they committed where they fully accepted and asked Jesus into their lives. This was an incredible moment seeing them make this commitment, and how far they had come to reaching this point, which was a battle at times and wasn't always easy but just incredible. I could see God's hand on them from the beginning, and how God was clearly working things out in their life and beginning the transformation. Since they made that commitment I have seen God completely transform them, they are a completely new person, their heart and desire has changed. Yes they have things to work through and they are not suddenly perfect, but they are a working progress and God is doing such a quick transformation which is immense. Being a part of their life; being used by God in their life and their journey is such a privilege, words can not sum up this truly can't give enough credit! Is truly amazing how God can break into a situation and someone's life and saves you from the life of destruction and gives you a life of hope. There is more than hope now, God is amazing!

I have really seen God at work in people's lives and changes happening. Some of the boys here really struggle; they struggle with their relationship with God, whether they believe etc and what really understanding their purpose in life. I bought them the book purpose driven life and 2 of the boys have just completed it and it has just transformed their out look on life and their way of thinking, and they now really know what their purpose in life really is. Knowing that they were created by God; for God and that they have a great purpose in life, bigger than they can imagine. Incredible how it has completely changed their way of thinking and you can really see it from the way they talk, and the things they now do. Amazing yet again how God has really worked through this!

Along with seeing other people's relationships developing and changing through God, I have also been experiencing God in new ways. Where I have been learning more than I would back home in my normal setting, where I would class my self as 'too busy' to spend time with God etc. Here my lifestyle has completely changed meaning most of my time is not spent with God which is a complete transformation to before. Its such a great change; I have had to become dependent more and more on God, relying on him in ways I never imagined, fully trusting him, and just being with him. Now I can't imagine not spending the amount of time I do with him, now I know what I was really missing out on. God has really shown and changed my perspective in many areas. 
My lifestyle change was something I found hard to adapt to to begin with, used to being so constantly busy with no time to myself then going to non busyness and so much free time on my hands, became difficult and such a big change for me to get used to. The culture here is also very slow and does things in a very different way and a very different pace which is also a change that i had to adapt to, but it is now something that seems normal to me!

Going with the theme of change I also dyed my hair and I’m no longer blonde!

Despite all the changes and busyness at work what else have I been doing amongst it all. There was a a random bank holiday here so I took a long weekend in Mombasa where I got to spend time with the boys we even headed to the beach which was actually my first time going to the beach since I have been in Kenya! Shocking I know! But it was good fun messing around and playing games! This weekend just gone was my last weekend with them as they will all be sent off to their relatives place now they have closed school until the new year, also being the Christmas season. We went out for lunch, and saying goodbye was surely one of the hardest things to do. The words they spoke to me really touched me, and reflecting on our time together. As hard as it was to say goodbye and leave them, I know this is not goodbye for long.

I now have less than a month left in Kenya; whereby I would like to make the most of it not sure what I have planned just yet. Although one of my great backpacking friends has just got back from India so I am looking forward to catching up with him!!
Thinking of the time I have left really saddens me. I don’t know how I am going too take or adjust going back to England, things being different and so many things have changed. I guess only time will tell, sometimes we need change to learn and grow. As one season ends, a new one begins. Where I am sure I will adjust to more change and learn new things as I settle back into English life!

Monday, 10 October 2011

Growing in season

So it seems another month has nearly passed, I am really loosing sense of time here, and knowing that I have just over 2 months remaining before I will be returning to England is now a sad thought!
At the beginning I thought I would be ready to come home by the end of the 6 months, but the thought of going back home now is just a sad thought, as although I miss certain things from time to time I have not truly been missing it like I thought I would be. I have a really sense and feeling like I am at home here in Kenya, although there has and is times that I get upset with things here and just want to go back, I do really love it, but I guess what I really love most is the people.
The love I have been given for Kenyans, there is people in particular who have truly impacted me and changed my life since the moment I meet them, I now cant imagine my life without them. I have such a heart and passion to help them change their lives around through the love of Jesus Christ, knowing that I have also became a major part of their life cant be put into words. Being able to talk truth into their life and encourage them down the right route, the only route God's path. Being able to share a testimony of hope and love into them, plant seeding seeds that are building their faith and seeing the growth slowly start to take shape is just amazing. I am looking forward to seeing what God will do next......

Looking back at these past months I just see I have learnt so much in so many different areas. I have learnt so much about Kenya and Africa in general seeing the bigger picture, and the long term sustainable results that is needed in the development and help that is offered. Really seeing the damage that can be done through what people thinking is helping people but in fact it is actually causing more damage than good. Really learnt lots in this area and has really changed and impacted me through many first hand experiences I have faced, along with the knowledge I have been given.

There have been times over these last few months I have questioned God what are you doing?! And some of which I still don’t have the answer to, but I just know and see that through it my faith has grown stronger. I have had to seek God in new and bigger ways, and that I have truly just become so dependent on him alone. Learning more and more so that he is my helper the one who sustains me, the one that is always there, the one who is my strength, my encouragement, my everything he is indescribable his love is just so amazing! He has been my all in all I have had to face and pass through during this time. I have had so much time with God that I would not normally have at home or would not make for as I would be too 'busy' being here has given me unlimited time with God and its been amazing learning and growing in his word and seeing how much of a difference it makes, and I just realise what I was missing out on before!

As time passes I am really realising how much I have learnt and things that are changing within me. There is so much I could list and when I really think hard I am sure the list will become even longer! But I am sure its not the end of it either....

When God is all you have, you realise God is all you need. 

Highlights of the last month

 Thinking back as to what’s happened over the last month is hard so I will just talk of a few key things that come to mind and maybe the most recent.

At the end of September I went Tanzania with Toni (who I used to work with) and her family, who invited me along and truly blessed me. God really provided for me to go and was such a blessing and an amazing opportunity to see more of Africa and God's beauty.
Although as always and it being Africa it didn’t start with a smooth start! So we reached the border, first off we have to go through the Kenyan border to be able to leave where is where i faced the problem of not being able to leave! The guy was just trying to find a problem that was not there, questioning me and arguing with me which ended with him getting so mad that he refused to stamp my passport so I couldn’t leave. After a long while he unwilling did so. We were then forced to bribe our way out as they then were not letting us take the car across. To then enter the Tanzania border where we were then trying to be bribed again! It is such a common thing and seen as everyday life her so much corruption goes on! After 2 hours or so we finally were in Tanzania and begun our journey again!

Tanzania is very different to Kenya in terms of the cleanliness of the place, the people are really different and a really different atmosphere, so different! And these people are soooo lazy!!!
We wer first staying in a town called Moshi which is right by Kilimanjaro, although this time of the year its rare that you see it and is always covered by the clouds but one evening we were lucky to see the top of it, it just looked surreal like it was floating in the clouds, it was unreal! So beautiful!
The following day we went to the area of Kilimanjaro, well the foot of it where we see where the Masai's used to live being taught about their culture and traditions. We even went into under ground caves of where they would hide, we had to crawl along as it was so small and they were telling me cows used to fit in there! and oh my I screamed when it was filled with BATS flying around me!! Worst thing ever!! Finishing off by going to the waterfalls before we had to head off to a wedding!
African weddings are so different to weddings back home with so many processes and traditions that have to be followed! Although this wedding was even more different than a kenyan wedding with 3 people getting married at once which was just weird and the reception went on for numerous hours cake cutting first, roasted goat with chefs dancing all very weird!

We also went to Ngorongoro national park when we was there driving through the crater was just beautiful and getting to see a few animals along the way although the majority seem to have been hiding!

There was a lot of driving and travelling around highlights seeing more of this beautiful place, mountains, more of the rift valley too. We passed through many masai land there is this one masai who has 36 wives and over 300 children, that many children that he had to open his own school!
Crazy guys trying to marry you, telling you that they love you and so on many funny stories with this!

It was good to be there but i was feeling like I wanted to go home and it felt time, when I arrived back in Kenya I jsut felt like I had reached home and was just so happy to be back!

This weekend a couple I work with Maureen and Dan got married, was good to actually go to a wedding of the people I know.  The wedding starts at 10am and goes on all day, was a long but good day, was beautiful despite all the funny traditions they have to go through!

Work collegues

Still busy at work getting ready for next year, with opportunities opening up to me and getting involved in new ways so has been good. Will soon be involved more as my boss leaves to go on maternity leave in a week or so, so will be interesting to see what happens next! 

I have been facing many financial difficulties which has been a struggle for me so if you could please pray for me.

All in all despite everything, I love being here and learning and growing in all kinds of things.


Thursday, 15 September 2011


The last few weeks seem to have gone pretty fast, although at the same time they seem to have felt like they have lasted forever!
So what have I been doing over the last few weeks....

So since I last posted I have been to Mombasa twice more enjoying my time with the boys getting to know them more and our relationship growing, and really seeing depths of them they have never opened up to anyone. I feel so privileged to be apart of their life and thank God for bringing us together and for me to be able to help and encourage them through this time in their life. The staff and people have been telling me that they have really noticed a change in the boys since I have been coming, and that they really love and listen to me like no else. To see a change is massive! All praise to God!
I have also been building relationships with the staff and things have changed and really not being so much of a war anymore, although it’s still not easy. The directors have let me take the boys out for lunch one weekend before they all went back to school and clement was off to boarding. Was a really nice time and nice to be out of the home for once and was such a long time since they had done such a thing. That day I got to go to church with them and see some of them perform a dance on stage, I was so proud of them and they are such talented dancers!!
The day finished with giving them the football shirts I had got them, their faces were priceless their love for football is so different from the children back home and how they were so appreciative of it!

This weekend got to take the boys shopping to one of the biggest markets in Mombasa, and I have to say it wasn't the most pleasant experience having rained that morning. Wearing sandals in the mud and slipping everywhere is never the greatest experience! We then went to Wild Waters which is a really big water park the boys loves it and although the generator broke and there was no power for the slides to work they still had a blast!

So Mombasa is always a good time for me but the time is so short and the journeys are so long but it’s all worth it! I am now more used to travelling by myself nevertheless there has still been some stories!
One thing about Mombasa you have to be careful of is the street children they seem to be more forceful and aggressive and will just try and grab your bag or hit you. So you do have to been on your guard and really firm with them. The worst is when their parents stand there and just send them over. So there has been some issues, you really have to be careful and just keep your eyes open at all times and don’t be fooled to trust any random person.

I had my boss dogs for a long weekend and I have to say these dogs are mental! I have not known dogs like them they certainly have unique characters. They drive you mad, but they are so entertaining at the same time! So was a stressful and interesting few times with them escaping all the time chewing everything possible including a cooker!

At work we are busy making changes and adjustments for the new year so am involved in this right now, the company have taken a lot of my ideas on across the board was is really positive and encouraging and they all seem really pleased with my work which is great. I have also been involved in a lot of marketing and social media stuff, accommodation for volunteers, lots office based stuff been doing for project profiles, welcome, end packs etc. So has been keeping me busy. Has now become a way of life seeing so many volunteers coming and going always so different, and is interesting the diversity and impact each group brings. You can never predict how a volunteer is going to be and some really aren’t easy to get on with!!

Work can still be challenging sometimes but I am just so thankful for this opportunity and all that I am learning. 

In fact an opportunity was opened to me with a job offer in Zanzibar......

There are many things I am still struggling with and feel I am constantly being challenged here, a lot of the time I don’t know what it means or the purpose of it but I know something is happening. And I know it’s a real faith building time especially in the area of money. I just keep focused on the fact I am here for a reason and seeing the bigger picture in it all. I know I am learning and experiencing things I could not imagine but I'm looking forward to seeing the fruit that will come out of it.

When I went to the Power Women's group this week they really encouraged me, we were doing a bible study with them from 2 Corinthians 4:7-18 and just encouraged me that we go through all of this but God never leaves us and its a time where God is shaping and moulding us, it really made me think that this is a stage I am going through and really being encouraged by this as he never leaves me in such times but instead is shaping and perfecting me with the great craftsmen he is!

Tomorrow is the 3 month mark, knowing I have already passed through so much and learnt so much I am looking forward to seeing what the next 3 months have in store for me......

Tuesday, 23 August 2011


Last time I wrote I was really struggling and finding things difficult, although there is still challenges and things going on, I feel I have become stronger in persevering through the challenges I am facing. It can be difficult but being positive and having faith in the situations, and really pushing through is what I have had to do! It is a real faith building time and learning to not worry and carry the weight by myself.

So what have I been doing?...

2 weekends ago I went to Kitale to visit Toni (girl I was working with) and her family, Kitale is a western and very rural part of Kenya, which is so different from the rest of Kenya! This was the first time I was travelling alone so leading up to it I was a little worried about the journey being a femal mzungu. So I had to travel to Nairobi where I was then to catch a 10 hour night bus to Kitale and arrive the next morning. So I arrive at the bus station 3 hours before and had which felt like the longest wait ever have especially when everyone is staring at you! So I am waiting and the announcements begin; but they are then all in swahili and I have no idea what they are saying, slight problem! So I am asking so many people but they have no idea begin to worry I have missed my bus! After asking everyone possible and nearly thinking i had to go to Kampala in Uganda to reach there first I finally find the bus, was rather stressful! 10 hours later I arrive well after nearly getting off 2 hours earlier than needed.
Kitale is so different from Mombasa and Nairobi so quiet and clean in comparassion, and so much green land! Every town is like 2 hours apart! So we travel to Toni's village where she has a farm with every animal and vegetable possible!
We walked around her village and they had never seen a mzungu before so I had so many kids following me more adding on the whole way round. The news just travelled and people were racing out of their homes to come and see me! These woman were like wow this is actually a miracle! Some crazy lady trying to get me to buy an ostrich egg of all things, some people are so random!

Later in the day we went to this town where I was told 'its not far' in Kenya that is usually not the case! So we get on a matatu and it took us like 2 hours not far at all. When we were to leave we discovered there was actually no matatus at all so we had to go to the next town along and still none, we finally get one but this big storm begins so much thunder and lightening! The matatu is packed with like 30 people and sounds like its about to blow up any minute in this big storm, actually thinking I may die soon! The weather just gets worse and then begins to get foggy and cant see anything so the driver suddenly decides he is not going any further so we have to get out in the middle of nowhere and walk to this station for shelter. We are then luckily able to be picked up by Toni's dad or we would have been stranded! So just some of the events that weekend and sunday evening came and was time to begin the long journey back...

Last week ha there was many funny moments! So having your hair done in Kenya is probably not the wisest thing to do! So a volunteer decides to dye my hair for it then to have turned white and the roots of my hair have gone orange!! Worse case scenario ever! So there is no way of fixing it so I just ahd to try and cover mny hair up and deal with it! So the next day it was attempted again so it fixed some of my hair, but not all of it so it is now a worry as to whether my hair will be normal again!

The Tea Fields

Living in Limuru we are surrounded by the tea fields with it going on for endless miles! There is a couple nearby that have their own tea fields and host their home to you where they educate you about the tea making process and so much more information about tea that you would never know existed! For me not being a tea drinker was not as benefical.. But was interesting! Kenya's tea is a world export exporting its tea to many countries. All the tea will be sent to Mombasa to be auctioned before being realeased. Mombasa is the biggest tea auction in Africa.
We then were taken on how should we say a very interesting 'tour' of this forest where we were told the most random facts about these trees that I dont think could even be true!
We were then provided with lunch over many akward and strange stories from the couple who were a typical old couple full of stories! Was a very intersting experience.....

The weekend came and I was off to Mombasa second time I was travelling alone, but yet still did not manage to go smoothly! So I arrive in Nairobi and the man who calls the buses tells me to wait inside and that he will call me when my bus arrives. So I am waiting and waiting and he keeps telling me my bus is not there. He then tells me to come and after checking my ticket again for the third time its then that he tells me ''oh no, your bus has gone, I thought you was on this one! You will have to get a cab!'' Cab to Mombasa no way, it was his fault so luckily I was able to get the spare set on the last bus. So travelling and being alone is never easy as a mzungu! And I dont think some people will ever loose the mzungu matality sadly. The weekend allowed me to spend time with the boys and to meet up with a friend I meet in Mombasa last year. Lots of drama as always but is always good to be there! Before I knew it was time to travel back sadly, the long journey begins travelling to Nairobi then catching 2 Matatus and walking a 1km I finally arrive back and then have to go striaght to work no time to recover! And the week of work begins again!

Work is progressing and also challenges but also part of the learning experience. Being able to bring new ideas for the future direction and changes to take place is good, so will see how things progress with that!

It now begins to feel like England was a long and distant memory, and this is my life now and that I have been here forever so strange!

Tuesday, 9 August 2011


I havent written until now as the last couple of weeks have been challenging to me in many ways emotionally, physically and the sitautions I am currently being faced with. The biggest thing I have had to learn is persevearnce, and to contiune to have a great faith and hope in the challenges I have been faced with.

Just over 2 weeks ago I climbed Mt. Longonot which I have to say was one of the most challenging things I have done but I survived, and it all began to feel worth it when I reached the top and see the breath taing views of the rift valley. Being 2800 metres high and 20km metres of walking which was no easy walk, at the beginning it was really steep and I have still not adjusted or adapted to the altitude here and find it hard to breath so then climbing this mountain was really hard for me within minutes I would eb about of breath and couldnt breath but as hard as it was I fought through it and reached the first peak which was what seemed the hardest part. It did get harder getting to the tallest peak including lots of rock climbing and crazy things we had to do but we did it. 6 hours later we were back and collapsed on the floor, but was such a beautiful lanscape of Kenya I got to experience. I was sure paying for it the next day though!

I then became a bit of a tourist that weekend and went to visit some of Kenyans well known buildings including parliment and the ICC followed by going for a picnic in central of Nairobi, where I almost got mugged... I went to a concert here which was really Kenyan with lots of dancing and sining was great fun, more so when your a mzungu!

Lots has been happening so I wont write about all that I have been doing and so on, there has been some real special moments at some of the projects and just seeing growth and realtionships developing further. Also visiting new projects one was Cheshire girls school for the disabled which was so heart breaking but the girls were so lovely. 

I was off to Mombasa again to sort out some problems and resolve some things that have been occuring. My time in Mombasa is always the best time and where I feel at home, its always like I am counting down in my head till when I can next go there. This time I was there for 5 days which allowed me to do all I needed to get done, and to spend quality time with the boys. Its with the boys that I feel at home and connected to them in such a strong way that I can't begin to explain but being with them knowing them more and their life has been so special and so powerful and it has been so evident that because of it situations have occured and I am trying to be pulled down and things going against me but I am continuing to persevere, I will continue to fight for those boys and have faith. So we decided to through a party for the boys and with it being one of the boys birthdays it would be a joint celebration. Cooking them meals, lots of dancing, cake, icing fighting and just lots of fun was such a great day finished with a bible study was one of the greatest days, seeing the boys so happy was the greatest thing of all! My last day in Mombasa with them was also so special sharing life experiences, testimonies and what our relationships meant to one another. For them to say and know that I dont just come from a good background and make out I know how they feel,  but I know as I have lived it and for them to say I know have showed them a hope they never had before, and that I will be an idol to them in terms of knowing they can do it as well. It was so powerful one of the most special times I cant even express or explain it. I love those boys so much and although things have been hard I would do it all again for them, and will continue to fight through and battle for things as moments like that shared with them are really worth it.
I had also been taking my friend Toni from work with me, it was actually my last time with her as she has gone back to her rural home. I had grown such a close friendship with her so I will really find it difficult now in many ways. But she said to me before you I didnt know how to love and it was just about you but you have showed me how to love and the meaning of love especially with those boys.

On a down note I had a large sum of money stolen from me during my time in Mombasa, so I am now worrying how I am going to survive having now lost that money. So I have to trust that I will be provided with it. 

I am now back in Limuru where its cold and rather miserable and to be honest feeling rather isolated where I am living. I am struggling being alone and the things I am facing, but I know I am here for a reason and being taught so much and I knew it wasnt going to be easy. That in these times I need to rely and trust in God and that he never leaves me and he is my strength. Which is not the easiest of things but I need to continue to go to him, and I think this is the time where I am really going to learn through the challneges I face.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

The Kenyan way!

 Just a quick update...

So thinking that I have now been here for 5 weeks is crazy but at the same time it feels like I have truly been here forever! The last few weeks has become more focused and getting to know what role I will have amongst the companies and within the projects that they run. I have still been going along to the projects but not as often and now in a different aspect to when I first came. Getting to know the project and the people involved in the project, with what the project has achieved and what it aims to achieve in the future. It has been my role to identify what a project is doing and what it can be doing in the future to become more sustainable, along with identifying and focusing on how the volunteer and project work together and what their role is. I am also going to be involved the running of new projects and how they are to raise the funds, how they will operate etc.

There has been some challenging issues with volunteers on project and their attitude to things with the tendency of a lot of volunteers simply coming to see what they can get out of a project rather than what they have come to give, which is the centre of the problem a lot of the time. Leaving in a house of 30 volunteers is also a little crazy but I will be hopefully moving out of the madness for a while soon as well as staying at my boss house to look after her puppies! (which look cute but are actual terrors!)

I have been learning a lot and my role is always changing and involved in different things, although sometimes when needing someone else to play their part so you can do yours can be difficult if they take so long to do it or forget which can be frustrating but it is the Kenyan way!

I have been to Mombasa twice which I loved being back and going to see everyone I have so missed. Surprising them all and seeing their faces was priceless soooo so great to be with them again despite all the travelling that was involved in such a short space of time and lack of sleep! Lots of interesting things happened along the way including running through the streets of Nairobi at night which is not advised in the daytime let alone at nightime no ‘mzungu’ should be there! So lots of stares and people shouting but finally managed to reach the bus. Staying in random places, experiencing interesting people including marriage proposals all rather fascinating, riding on motorbikes, lots random things! 

All I keep hearing from people is you are not a ‘normal mzungu’ your different to the rest!