I slept the night in my little room at the flat at St John’s last night. I spend one or two nights a week over here when I’m working at St John’s and the rest of the time on the other side of town nearer to where I’m doing my internship.
So this morning I woke at St John’s and padded over to the office (all of a two minute walk) for about half 8. When I arrived, there were concerning conversations going on about the security in Pumwani. From what I gathered through the expressions on people’s faces, my limited knowledge of Kiswahili and the later translations, 3 people had been shot yesterday. One was a mum who was killed during a mugging at around 5pm – broad daylight. The other two, who got mixed up in a ‘shoot-out’ between gangs in Pumwani slums, were shot later at night. What people were most concerned about was that the gangs are getting braver. That someone was killed during daylight hours. I didn’t hear any gunshots last night, but, as I wrote in a previous blog post, it’s not an unusual sound around here.
For myself, I’m not too worried about my own security (although I’ll be a lot more careful in the coming days and weeks), but more concerned for my friends, for the families I know living in Pumwani, who cannot escape to the safety of a walled compound.
(I rather wondered about putting this part above into my blog post…I guess to my English mind it’s still quite shocking, despite being a concerningly frequent occurrence. I didn’t want to write about it flippantly. I don’t want you to think I’m writing about it casually or lightly. But equally, I want to show what a part of daily life it is here. Something that is a disturbingly ‘normal’ thing)
So, an unpleasant start to the day, and my mind’s been wandering back to it all day.
With those thoughts in my mind, I left with St John’s with my friend Tottie to get myself a new simcard and phone. Mine was nicked from my bag on a matatu on the way to work yesterday. Annoying? Yes. Do I feel frustrated with myself for ‘allowing’ it to happen? Yes. I knew as soon as the guys sitting next to me got off the matatu that something had gone. But I’m so grateful it was only my phone. Loosing my purse with my bank cards in would’ve been far more frustrating. So after a little trip to Eastleigh (to an airtel distribution shop that doesn’t, for some ridiculous reason that amused me and Tottie, sell airtel airtime!) Tottie’d sorted me out with a new phone, charger and registered simcard. Looking back at these blog posts, I realise how often Tottie has come to my rescue. A useful, and good friend!
Then back to the office, where I found this little man.
He’s about to enter the sponsorship programme and his mum had come for an initial meeting so we can assess their needs. This little guy has to be one of the craziest kids I’ve ever met! He was so hyper! It took a lot to stop him from literally bouncing off the walls! But a great kid. He couldn’t help but make me smile.
After they left, we resumed sorting clothes. Or rather, Staizy and Joyce did with a little bit of my unhelpful assistance… Child development office have been holding a forum for the parents of the sponsorship programme yesterday and today. We’ve been struggling with parents assuming that all responsibility for their kid is handed over to us when the kid enters the programme, which has been causing problems. So the forum was trying to guide parents on their responsibility in caring for their children. And a perfect opportunity to hand out some of the many clothes that have been kindly donated. But the clothes all had to be gone through and sorted according to the parent and how many children they have etc. A task I dipped in to a little, but shortly had to leave to get back across town to spend the afternoon working in the Turning Point office.
And yet again I found myself stuck in Nairobi jams. I’ve just about had enough of buses and matatus this week. What I find most frustrating is that it’s normally such a minor thing that causes the jam, but the ‘each man (or rather matatu) for his own’ attitude causes jams that can stretch for hours.
But I made it, eventually, and spent the afternoon – what was left of it – working on a fundraising proposal in the Turning Point office. Not a particularly enjoyable task – I’d much rather be out with the people than stuck in the office – but I’m certainly learning a lot, and it’s a useful skill to build upon.
Then finally, my Swahili lesson from 4:30 – 6pm. I’ve increased the amount of classes I’m taking, so hopefully I’ll gain more confidence in the language soon…I just find I’m nervous of speaking because people answer and I have no idea of what they’re saying! But I’m enjoying classes, and am determined to improve!
And that, and a relaxed evening in, has marked the end of a rather long day. And now a rather long blog post – sorry! Hope this has given you a little snapshot into my life over here and what I’m up to