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Published: April 22nd 2012
Easter weekend we decided to visit the Guppies up at Eldama Ravine. Having family close by is not something we are used to, so having family in the same country is very special for us. They live 3-4hrs away, north west of Nairobi. It was our nieces 11th birthday, and she had a safari party, which was lots of fun.
It was nice to walk around the farm they are living on, and breathe fresh air, and for the kids to see farm animals again. After a false start on a safari to Baringo, we towed one car back and half of the group went on. On their boat trip they saw crocs and fish eagles going for the same fish, apparently very cool. They had a good day. Meanwhile Max was hanging about waiting for the car to get fixed, while Sarah, Emma and I cared for a feverish Hayley. Many settlers games were played, lots of cups of tea drunk, and all round a great weekend.
For us this weekend was especially important as we visited Florah’s village. I am struggling to write this as I don’t feel I will do it justice.
So I will start with how important Florah is to us. She has worked for us for 3 years, since Hayley was a small baby. Before that Florah worked for very dear friends of ours. She knew our family well before she came to work for us. All I knew was, she was quiet, GREAT with kids, a committed Christian and could cook!! Hayley was a difficult baby and Florah could always calm her. When Murray is travelling and I feel overwhelmed with living in Kenya, away from home, away from family and friends who have known me for more than 4 years, Florah is the person who looks after my kids if I need to get out of the house. She is the one that tells me to go sleep when it is obvious I haven’t had a good night sleep. Florah is also the one who fills my freezer when she knows I will be alone for the weekend. Recently her son broke his arm in the middle of the night. She rang me, to ask for advice and to check that if it got beyond her means to pay would I be willingly to help or not.
Florah is aunty, friend, and employee. It’s hard to explain. My kids miss her when they are away as they really love her. She is part of our family.
So, all around, Florah is very very important to us. Her younger sister, Mildred, has been helping us out part time for a year now. I know their other 2 sisters well, but haven’t met her brothers or mother. This trip was about meeting her mother and seeing their “up country” home.
We were met in town by one of Florahs sisters, Lilian, who works for a friend of ours. She took us from the main road and showed us their Salvation Army Church on the way to their house. We arrived and through a narrow driveway entered into an area with 3 houses. The kids see Florah and Mildred and jump out of the car, wildly excited. I am pretty sure I didn’t see Charlotte for most of the visit, as our peach, white, blond curly haired daughter feels more Kenyan than we will ever understand. She runs off and is shown the farm animals, and to her delight there are pigs and piglets.
Charlotte quickly made friends with Florah’s boys and their cousins. It always amazes me how much Kiswahili she actually knows. Hayley stuck a little closer to Florah and Mildred, but warmed up and by the end was interacting with the kids as well, which for our little introvert was huge. Emma stuck close to mum, then recognised Florah with her wig on and clung to her. Florah’s kids had met our kids before and were very proud of our girls, telling their cousins “this is baby Emma”.
We met Florah’s mum, who looks like Florah. She is a small, quiet lady, who seemed to feel as overwhelmed as I did. We greeted everyone, and had the sisters all around eager to translate what we were saying. We were then shown around the farm, a big plot with veges recently planted as the rain had just come. We saw some more houses; Florah’s grandparents, and her brother’s new western style house he had just finished. We then had the nicest nyama choma I have ever had, (roasted beef, very nice).
After that we went for a walk around the village, seeing where
they had gone to school, their church, the shops, and a new polytec that had recently opened. While walking around with everyone, Florah and I hung back and took it all in, a very emotional trip for both of us, I felt overwhelmed by the warmth we were greeted with. What an amazing experience. After 4 years and 3 months in Kenya, this was the first African village experience for this city girl. I honestly don’t feel I’ve done the trip justice, but the photos show some of the joy felt by all. Everyone couldn’t stop smiling.
After last month’s Little Miss birthday party, Charlotte & Hayley have celebrated their birth “days” with skyping grandparents, a few pressies and decorating cupcakes. Charlotte is now 5 years old and about to start her 3rd
and final term of her 1st
year at Primary School. Hayley is now 3 years old and becoming more delightful every day. Emma is 15 months old now, dancing, eating and chatting her way through life at the moment. Murray will be heading to Myanmar for his last field visit, and Aunty Sarah will leave us next week for UK 😞
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