Thursday, July 1, 2010

Giraffes and Football!!

It finally stopped raining at the end of May in Nairobi and it has since turned cooler(11- 22 degrees)for the months of June and July which is a nice relief from the downpours! Last week my flatmate and I visited Giraffe manor for an "Afternoon Tea" treat and had a great time. One cheeky Giraffe kept on coming back up on the lawn where our afternoon tea was being served looking for us to feed her treats. At that point we were all advised to run back into the “manor” to avoid the risk of being kicked as the managers waved umbrellas in her direction to get her to move away and of course distract her from our scrummy cakes and cucumber sandwiches!!!! Check it out

World Cup fever has gripped Kenya and the bars are full of supporters especially for the Black Stars “Ghana” who are still in the tournament and everyone is cheering them on. The vuvuzelas continue to be a great hit with everyone and are especially effective (annoying) when blown directly into your ear!!! :-( Go Ghana!!!!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Rain, Rain Go Away!!!

One of the advantages I thought about living in Kenya is the good “weather”!! However for the last 2 months it has been raining practically everyday and it is actually getting a bit annoying now….. and Feeling a lot like Ireland!! The up side is that everything is growing fast… the down side is that there is major flooding in Nairobi and around the country. In Nairobi, that translates into dodging car and matatu spray walking to and from work… not easy when matatus go out of their way to ensure that you get a good coverage!! So the culmination of my rant about the rain was that last Friday 14th May I had organized the 2010 Kenya Society for the Blind Fundraising Golf tournament again in Muthaiga Golf Club. Ahhhh… one word for how it went… DISASTER!!! How could i have predicted that the weather would be the ruination of the event… it rained all day before and all morning of the event… So after taking several phone calls from golfers cancelling… we were considering postponing the event until later in the year but eventually we took the decision to go ahead… and it did clear up for the afternoon!!!
This year surprise, surprise we actually got there on time and set up the registration table in the post drizzle…. and waited eagerly for participants… … we got the sum total of 30 players!!! Wonderful!! So the net effect was that we didn’t loose any money but it was the same as if our major sponsor for the event just handed us the cheque for 3000 euro without us going to further effort… DISASTER!! Trying to stay positive.. there is always next year.. Oh yeah but it actually wont be my gig then will it!!!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

All things Oirish and Good times over Easter….

The lack of updates means I have been busy….busy… busy!! Somehow the last year since I arrived in March 2009 has just flown by and now and I am now well and truly into my 2nd year of the 2 year VSO placement. It has been a year of ups and downs but on reflection I have had no regrets so far!! I just hope I can make it through to 2011 but time will tell!! In March, we celebrated St. Patrick’s Day by getting all dressed up to go to the Irish Ball on the 13th March in the Hilton Hotel. We then headed to Kengles “pseudo” Oirish pub on the 17th March with our Paddy plastic paraphernalia to reminisce about the old sod and have the odd drink or two or three!?

For Easter weekend we headed down to Diani Beach for Easter with some fellow VSO’ers and other friends. Good times were had by all… whiskey boy George, Boy band shenanigans from Alan, Bag Stealing Maasai guards facing the wrath of Raffaella, chilling out at Blankets and wine, G & T camp fire sessions, swimming in the warm Indian Ocean and sunning ourselves on the beach!!! Also in the last 2 months I have been back to Hells Gate National Park and got ass rash from those terribly uncomfortable saddles on the bikes they hire and I have hiked Mount Longonot twice. I still managed to get so sun that my forehead swelled up so much and smoothed out all the wrinkles for a day that I looked like I just had Botox job done…… I WISH!!!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Back up and Running!!!

Ok... so my blog has been out of action for the last mmmm 3 months.... (can i use the excuse that I have just been too busy to update it or just pure lazy!!)... But its back up now and running now with a quick update and mainly some pics from Christmas, New Years and my birtday!! I had a fantastic Christmas in Zanzibar with other volunteers then on to Diani Beach for New Years, followed by a 3 day Safari in Tsavo National Park with Grainne and Kate and then finally to Watamu with my Dad to recover!! Pictures speak volumes so here is a selection from the hols!!!!!....

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!!!!

Thought I would get a quick very short post in before the month of October is gone....
I have just spent the past week with very good friends of mine Karen and Brendan from home. They flew into Nairobi on Sunday last and we headed out to the Karen Blixen Museum and coffee gardens for lunch and a wander. Then on Monday we flew down to Diani Beach where they had rented a lovely villa near the beach with a pool ... it has been pure paradise here and a welcome relief from noisy Nairobi!!!! We have had a great week catching up and relaxing, eating lots of fresh fish, beach walks, snorkelling and swimming in the warm Indian Ocean.
We spent a great morning today in Sand Island off Tiwi beach looking for starfish which was a real highlight. It was such a surprise to see how many different colours there are.... check out the pics of them... they are the real and not fake I promise.....Back to Nairobi tomorrow so heading out to a Halloween party now...
Said it would be a short post and it is..... Happy Halloween everyone!!!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Blue Mountain..........

Forgive me folks but it has been 1 month since my last confession ... I mean update!!!!
It has been a busy few weeks leading up to the Annual Mount Longonot Schools Climb which is a big fundraising event for the Kenya Society for the Blind each year. So last Saturday it eventually happened with a lot of the usual last minute PANIC which I have become accustomed to here!!! Preparations were still going on the Friday evening in work... counting out all the T-shirts for the schools ... what is it about charity events revolving around T-shirts..... ????Been there done that and GOT THE T-SHIRT craze!!!!

But.... I have to say the day actually went off pretty well and we had about 500 students, parents, teachers and individuals taking part in the climb (including some VSO ers supporting a fellow volunteer and their fundraising attempts which was great).
Early start on Saturday when we met at 7am for the convoy of coaches to the Park about 1.5 hours north of Nairobi. Mount Longonot is an extinct volcano which makes it a tough, steep and dusty climb to the top but the views of the Rift Valley from the top are just amazing.
I had Henry Wanyoike on board as our guest of honour to flag off the event. Henry is a blind Kenyan marathon runner who runs mainly abroad with his co-runner guide Joseph in competitive events and he is the ambassador for the Standard Chartered Bank “Seeing is Believing” international campaign. He was a great guy to have at the event as all the kids wanted his autograph as he is very well known here and he is willing to work with us again to promote our organisation.... So I must be doing something right!!!
By 9.30am all the climbers were lined up and rearing to go but the speeches dragged on and on and on.... again what is it with speeches here.... everyone needs to say more than their fair share.... they certainly deviated from the speeches that I wrote out for them... (I know ME a speech writer.. what next!!)... So eventually the event had a green light and this mass of blue ascended on Mt Longonot..... snaking up to the top.
Needless to say a few well deserved Cosmos were consumed on Saturday night afterwards with the girls to de-stress from an eventful but succesful day...!!!!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Holiday Highlights!

l just had a great 2 week holiday with my sister Sarah taking in some of the sights of Kenya.... Not to bore everyone with every detail… BUT…
Here are some of the Highlights……
1. Viewing 5 Lion Cubs playing with lioness in Masai Mara Park.
2. Watching a Lion pride defend their Zebra kill from the hyenas and jackals.

3. Getting up close to the White Rhinos in the Rhino Sanctuary in Masai Mara
4. Chuckling at our fellow Safari camper German family man “Wolfgang” who headed out on the 6am game drives in his leather shorts and bow and arrow… (Mmm.. maybe not a highlight but certainly gave us a laugh)…

5. Travelling on the rickety slow 14 hour Train Ride to Mombasa from Nairobi and enjoying dinner and breakfast in the dining car.
6. Going on a Dhow Boat Trip with Sarah, Kelly and Colm around Lamu Island and fishing for our lunch
and then eating our white snapper catch with Chapattis and salad on Mandera Island....!!!

7. Walking along the white sandy beach of Shela Beach and trying to fly Sarah’s foil kite.
8. Cycling around Hells Gate National Park in Naivasha and walking the Gorges there...!

Not so good but….
1. Missing the Wilder beast Migration by 1 week.... those stupid animals decided not to cross the river for us en masse… (Due to low rainfall in Masai Mara, deforestation of the Mau Forest... and the falling river levels of Mara River which is even killing off the crocs that used to devour them!!)
2. Unfortunately not being able to dive or snorkel in Lamu Island as the water is too murky this time of year.. .!
3. Stepping in lots of donkey S**t in the tiny Lamu streets… flip flops not advisable!
4. Getting a very sore arse from a days cycling in Hells Gate and severe case of lobsteritis from taking Doxycycline and also having the skin that simply does not tan.. (think that answers a couple of questions from people about whether I have a tan yet??)

Did I hear right ...??
1. Been asked in Lamu Island by a waiter in an empty restaurant “would we like to wait 30 mins or 40 mins for our food to be cooked”.... ??!!!
2. On the train to Mombasa... the waiter asked for us to pay for our drinks again after we had already paid... when we clarified this... he responded... “well all you foreigners look the same!!”
3. Trying to negotiate a good price for belts in Masai Market in Nairobi... The vendor told us that “I will give you a good discount if you buy more than One.. 400 Shillings for one.....and 800 shillings for 2”...... ??!!!