Thursday – work and play

Washing kenya style

Due to all the problems with Ben I wasn’t able to give you an update yesterday.

We are starting to get into a routine (after only a couple of days!!). We tend to get up between 7 and 8am. We take it in turns to wash in a bowl of water (One of the family brings us buckets of hot and cold water).

Breakfast is usually toast and eggs and cups of tea and coffee. We tend to leave at about 9 – 9.30 for what we are doing.

So, yesterday.

Harvey, Rosie, Sally and Joel went off to Kakamega rainforest and had a great time going on walks, seeing Colobus monkeys, birds and butterflies. Hoping that they will blog this evening on it!

Ben was obviously back at the house as was Paul who was working on mending the broken windows and working on the vehicles. One of the young men that is just part of the family, Ken, really helped and Paul showed him how to fix windows. Paul was saying that he has picked it up so well he does it better than Paul!

The rest of us went to work at the RUSH Academy. It was lovely to see the school working in its normal mode (rather than the previous day when they were welcoming us). It was a real joy to see the school hard at work. It was a real privilege to see the things that Springfield had provided hard at work.

Water Pump at RUSH, Kakamega

Children using the Water Pump

The water pump was continuously at work – often small children would be gathered around the pump helping one another have a drink. It was lovely to see it being used so freely. Whenever anyone was thirsty they would run over to it. It was rare not to see it being used!

Caryl teaching

There was a slight change of plan when we got there. Caryl and Maggie went off to observe the nursery class as they were planning to do some lessons later in the week. In fact the opportunity came earlier than they thought! At lunchtime we found that Sally who works in the nursery (who lives at Andrew and Lucy’s house – not Sally who is part of our party!) was ill with malaria and had to go to the hospital. So, the great opportunity came early! Caryl and Maggie took over the class! And from all accounts did a great job.

Joan, Jacqueline and I were put on the painting drill. We stopped in town on the way to RUSH Academy to pick up the large pots of paint and then started our task of painting the outside of the classrooms. Jacqueline and Joan painted the brick work. My role was up the ladder painting the white sections. The ladder was very interesting. We started off in the shade but it got hotter as the day wore on. The weather is warm – about 30-31 deg C. some enjoy it more than others!

It was wonderful to be painting outside whilst the classes were being taught. Sometimes after a lesson the children would have a time of singing or have a 5 minute break and they would race outside to play – on the swings and the slide or just aroud the central “playground” area.

Joan watched by children


Will up an African ladderJacqueline and Joan painting

Lunch at RUSH Academy

Lunch is a joyous time. Food is made on site for all the children – for some this is their only proper meal of the day. They queue up, wash their hands in the pump provided water and then tak their food back the classrooms. Once they have eaten they virtually always run back to bring their plates to be cleaned.

Bus full of chldren

The nursery finishes about 3pm and the main school about 4pm. Many are then taken home in one of the school buses through the local villages. The school provides not only good education but also the cheapest in the area (£70 per term). They are known as a school that helps those that are in need. They used to have 3 fee payers to 1 non-payer. That ratio has reversed.This has had an obvious impact on their finances. This year they sit the Kenya Certificate Primary Examination for the first time as their first class reaches the age to sit it. The year 7 exams have shown that they should do very very well. The exam is sat this November and if they come top in the division then many more fee-paying parents will want to send their children to the school.

Kenyan Sunset

After our time at RUSH we tend to get dropped off in kakamega to go to the internet cafe or shopping for materials for clothes or to the supermarket. We are then tending to go to the Golf hotel for a beer or other drink to cool down and have a bit of space. Its very relaxing and helps us wind down.

Maggie with an ice pack

Maggie had a bit of an accident there last night. We sit in a round hut and get served drinks. Unfortunately, Maggie didn’t duck enough and hit her head quite hard and fell backward. She is fine now and Dorcas (so mnany biblical names around) our hotel waitress brought some ice for her.

We have started to take a taxi home from the hotel (5 crammed into a small car) and arrive back about 7pm as it gets dark.

last night we got back to the news about Ben. We also experienced power cuts (someone counted that it went on and off about 9 times last night), and an amazing lightning storm and very heavy overnight rain.

But today the sun is shining again and people are off painting, teaching or fixing thngs around the house.

One thing to say is that it has been very encouraging to see so many of you viewing the blog and commenting. It raises our spirits and helps us feel remembered!


5 comments on “Thursday – work and play

  1. Angie Cookson
    February 18, 2011 at 10:20 am #

    Wow ! It sounds like you are all so busy and having a fulfilling time ! The picture of the sunset looks amazing !!!!
    I really enjoy reading the blog each day – it helps to get a much better idea of what you are all experiencing.
    I am praying hard for Ben to have a full recovery and also now for poor Maggie’s head.
    Keep teaching, painting and fixing things knowing that we are all behind you in prayer and wish we could be there with you !
    Blessings to you all
    Love Angie x

  2. Brian Hodge
    February 18, 2011 at 10:47 am #

    I am being really blessed by your blog as it really makes me feel back in Western Province. Our Academy managed to re-open in January in Matayos (about 2 hours from you). In January 2008 our school was in a slum in Nairobi but the post election violence caused us to flee with nothing up to Western Province. I shared your visit with our Mission Team at our meeting yesterday and we prayed for you all especially Ben.
    I don’t know whether our group made contact with Sister Lucy yesterday. Hopefully I will hear later.

    • Will Cookson
      February 18, 2011 at 10:51 am #


      Believe that they made contact and everything sorted!

  3. Margaret Boardman
    February 18, 2011 at 12:39 pm #

    Wow .What an amazing experience. We could do with a bit of your sinshine. It looks as though you are being kept busy although not out of mischief! I do hope Maggie is feeling ok. The photo was delightful.
    We are praying for Ben and hope he is feeling better soon .Such a shame he is missing all the fun. God bless.

  4. Harvey
    February 18, 2011 at 1:55 pm #

    Finally made it to Kakamega Cybercafe but without your blog login details so will just leave a comment for now! It’s pouring with rain outside and the smell of the wet red Kenyan dust is drifting in with the noises of the town. Just saw 40-50 hawks (or eagles!) circling over the petrol station, presumably having spotted a carcass.

    Today we’ve been at RUSH Academy – some of us painting the exterior bricks and door/window-frames of the classrooms, others teaching or joining in with lessons. It was fascinating eavesdropping on the Kenyan lessons as we painted. The children worked in absolute silence for the most part, except when answering questions, singing or reciting in unison (“male, female; man, woman; master, mistress…”, or points of the compass, or adjectives and adverbs, or types of habitat…). Meanwhile the huge black ants are scuttling busily about at my feet, the chickens are pecking in the dust and the school cows are mooing in the background, while the Kenyan flag flutters proudly over all and white paint splatters onto my shorts, t-shirt and watch.

    Looking forward to more tomorrow!

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