Fran’s Kenya Diary – Saturday 7th January 2017
We pack and make sure everyone is OK. I have written instructions for Grandma on getting the kids to school in the morning and feeding them, the cat and the chameleon. The kids have got into a pattern of expecting lifts in the morning to school, which I find ridiculous considering it is less than a mile away. The school is mega strict about lateness and gives everyone who is even slightly late detention. Joel was getting so many we took pity on him and now we have got stuck. Grandma can’t give them lifts, so I am hoping this will break the cycle.
I write a long email to Ruby Cup, only for it to mysteriously delete itself just before I am ready to send it in the rush to leave. I have to give up as taxi arrives to take us to the bus station. The taxi driver is a Pakistani Kashmiri who has just spent 3 months in his family village in Kashmir, so understands very well about the difference in the ways of life between Bristol and a third world rural area.
We get the National Express bus to Heathrow. It’s still hard to believe there isn’t a train service to our main airport, but there you go. It’s a long time since I’ve been to Heathrow, you forget quite how sprawling it is as the bus trudges all the way around the perimeter road to get to Terminal 4.
I booked an early coach in case the online check in didn’t work and we needed the full 3 hours, but it worked fine, so we have quite a while at the airport to chill and get some presents for Peter’s children. We find a Lego police car for Baraka and a girly Lego house for Joy, along with a Concorde model for the family. We also get a Paddington bear for Abby and look around the other shops for a Paddington book to explain who he is. One shop has a nice kiddy version of Paddington. We are wondering how much English Abby might understand. The shop assistant asks us where we were going, and when we say Nairobi, she tells us she is from Tanzania. We explain our question and she replies that, in her opinion, Kenya are much more advanced than Tanzania as they now teach in English at all levels of school, whereas Tanzania still use Swahili in primary school, as Kenya were doing last time we went, 10 years ago. So we decide Abby will probably be OK with the book, especially with someone reading it to her to explain it, and buy it.
Then I frantically try to email as many people as I can on Heathrow wifi. I manage to mostly rewrite my long message to Ruby Cup and another to Golden Girls Foundation, listed on Ruby Cup website as a partner based in Kisumu and one to The Cup Foundation, another Ruby Cup partner who work in Kibera.
We take off at 5.25pm on Kenya Airlines 101 – 8 hours to Africa. Nice airline, I enjoy the food and the fact that the veggie meal is a standard option, then follow the map as we leave Europe. I put Brian Eno’s new ambient album on to try to induce a decent state of doziness, which works reasonably well.