Sunday, 4 February 2018

Final day

After probably the best sleep we've all had and the best shower EVER we were up before dawn to have a quick breakfast before our morning safari to try and catch a glimpse of lions and rhinos...it didn't disappoint seeing 3 of the big 5, seeing a beautiful lioness and a mum and baby rhino before we had to leave the park for our final safari destination

We were in the safari jeep for 2.5 hours before we arrived at lake naivasha for our boat safari. To get to the boat we had to walk through the hotel gardens filled with water buck and zebras which was amazing! 

We all clambered onto the boat after being strapped into some life jackets where we then hit the high seas, we saw 3 different schools of hippos, pelicans and an array of birds, the funniest of which was called the black African umbrella bird...google it! We managed to tick off everything on our watch list by spotting the fish eagle just before we had to head back to land.

We had another slap up lunch in the sopa lodge before hitting the road again en route to Nairobi. After a standard hair raising journey along the dusty Kenyan roads we stopped at the great Rift Valley view point, which runs all the way from Israel to Mozambique. The view was spectacular, we had a mooch around the gift shop before we needed to set off again.

As we get closer to Nairobi it is clear to see the difference in the landscapes and building qualities. A very stark contrast between Kimilili, the mud huts have turned to concrete and steel buildings and the dusty roads have turned to tarmac. 

We did however pass the kabera slums which runs along the eastern outskirts of the city, half a million people living under rusting tin shacks, really makes us appreciate our houses and communities back home.

Speaking of home, we have now arrived at the hotel within the airport boundaries where we have been able to have a dip in the roof top pool under the evening sun before dinner we will then be catching our transfer the to the airport terminal.

We shall update you all once we have safely checked in!

The Dream Team











Saturday, 3 February 2018

Goodbyes and Safari


Today we were up and ready, bright and early as we said our final farewells to the guesthouse and all the amazing staff that work there. 

While there was sadness for leaving we were all still full of excitement from the party last night and the honour of being invited over to Ruth and Solomons house to hear the Dreamland story over a bowl of ice cream.

Ruth, Becky and Ben came to wave us off and we hit the road, heading to Nakuru to begin the next stage of the adventure. We'd only been on the road for around 45 minutes when we had a slight run in with one of the local traffic officers. After an hour of confusion down at the local police station we were on our way again, excited to get there and see all the animals.

5 hours later and after a brief stop along the roadside to try some sugar canes, we finally arrived at the safari and it was well worth the wait.

To get to the lodge where we're staying we had to drive through the park and were able to see a variety of animals before we'd even got to the official safari. We saw some water bucks, baboons, zebras, warthogs, gazelles, giraffes and a tawny eagle.

As soon as we pulled up to the lodge we were all taken aback by the luxury of the place. It's fair to say we have seen a very different side of Kenya today. 

After a quick lunch we set off on safari and were able to see all of the animals we'd seen earlier in more detail as well as some buffalo, silver backed jackal and rhinos. Ishmael our trusty driver had a vat of knowledge about every animal and kept us well informed the whole way.

The 3 hour safari flew by and we were soon back in our rooms getting ready for dinner. 
As we piled our plates high and dug in we were all feeling very reflective about the past week and wondered what all our friends back in Kimilili were up to. I think this week will be something we will all be thinking about for a very long time.

Rose and the Dreamteam.























Friday, 2 February 2018

Last Day

Our last day in Dreamland.


An emotional roller-coaster…. Fasten your Seatbelts for the ride.


A relaxed start with instructions to ‘not arrive before 8am’ apparently means arrive at 8am sharp (relatively… this is Africa!) so there is a last-minute rush to arrive at Devotions on time.


We do and Wow. 


The hall has been set up and decorated for a party. We sing hymns and pray and are danced for and presented with tinsel Lei! 


We reciprocate, but the spiritual sincerity and gratitude of the IcFem staff is truly humbling. We all feel it. Nevertheless, Marc our elected champion rises to the occasion (quite literally) and takes on both Kiprop and Ben (Welsh by birth) in a three-way Massai jumping competition to end the service. We think he won, but it was a close thing!


Then off to join Solomon to press on with the painting in the new Doctor – Bungalow. By lunch we have the whole building primed and undercoated… it is amazing what 34 degrees does to overcoating times!  - they are almost non-existent! 


We are elated at our progress; even more so when our seamstress arrives with the 11 shirts and skirts she has hand stitched in 2 ½ days flat. What speed and dexterity; and they look awesome. Now we have our glam-rags for the evening.


Lunch is a short affair as we are desperate to try and get as much painting completed as we can. The team is determined not to be beaten by the clock. However, we are under orders to leave at 3.30pm as we have to be back at the lodgings as guests of honour at the party being hosted by Ruth and Solomon and the board of IcFem. 


Our final walk along Kenyan unmade roads is tinged with elation and sadness as we take in the sights of the countryside and dust of the road and cheerfully respond to the many children who callout to us asking how we are. Nzuri (fine!) 


We make it back, shower and dress in our finery in the nick of time. It is a fantastic spread – they have really pushed the boat out for us. We all try a new dish Ugali a Kenyan/African staple made of millet. Not too much taste, but convincingly filling and sustaining. Great for mopping up the gravy.


After dinner we have hymns, prayers and speeches. Again we are virtually speechless. It is absolutely incredible how these people commit themselves to God in everything they do. The humility and strength is both immensely humbling and truly uplifting. We are all grappling with maelstroms of emotion… we are invited to speak and I do my best to convey something of the gratitude the team feels for the unbelievable kindness and spiritual empowerment we have been treated to over the past 5 days. 


Others are invited to speak, but Kayleigh summed it up afterwards… ‘I am a total mental mess – and they want me to speak’. We all feel the same.


After the last thank you’s and farewells are uttered we collapse to regroup. What a day – these words cannot describe the turmoil of emotion we all feel. This needs some thinking through.

 

Neal and the team




















Photos from Thursday










Thursday, 1 February 2018

School visits

Today we were up and ready for breakfast at 7am. It was the usual hearty affair of cereal, fresh fruit, eggs and sausage on toast. With full bellies and some weary eyes we plodded onwards to the local market. 

Mornings here are beautiful the freshness of the morning provides some respite from the dry hot days (imagine a hair dryer is blowing in your face). We are joined by the locals going about their daily rituals. Walking the cows, moving the goats on to graze and children off to school wearing their individual school uniforms…. So cute!

At the market we saw cattle being brought and sold. Various stalls selling all varieties of fruits and vegetables their aromas are incredible.  However, I’d recommend giving the dried fish stalls a miss. After a brief visit to the IcFem gift shop that sold all wonders of handmade crafts it was off the hospital to start our day of work.

We started work on the bungalows today. These will provide the amazing doctors here some comfort while they perform life changing work on the patients. We had the opportunity to sit in on the masterful work of Kiprop the eye surgeon. There is no one quite like Kiprop - a true kind spirit who takes each day as a blessing. You wouldn’t believe someone so energetic could perform such precision work. 

The patients can travel for miles to come to the hospital, some by foot in order to have these life altering procedures. Often there is much stigma attached to the work carried out by the hospital so time spent is often with counsellors in order to educate.

With Brewers balloons we set off to the children’s ward to hopefully spread a bit of joy to the little patients and maybe see some of the children we saw previously being operated on. 

Unlike our first visit with some very scared faces we are welcomed with smiles. The joy on the kids faces I think touched us all, amazing how so something so small to us can bring a little happiness to someone going through a traumatic time. Tony and Kayleigh were able to meet the patient they had seen in theatre we all hoped him a good recovery. One of the mothers surprised us with a thankyou speech to show appreciation for our work and the visit.

Last on our rollercoaster of a day was our visit to the local school for the second time. Or as I apparently well phrased “prepare for battle”. Soon as we set ourselves through the gate we are greeted by many very excited running children. With much confusion at first, but actually reasonably well organised we played a game of “Over, Under” with four teams using the balls we took with us. Tony’s brainwave of a game was a complete success. We all expect it to be a main event at next years Olympics. 

The children treated us to a beautiful song. Kensa was told she looks like a movie star and I apparently bare a likeness to Vin Diesel. Time flew and sadly it was time for goodbyes (and a few cheeky selfies) the bus arrived and chugged off down the dirt road with many waving kids hanging out the windows. We then walked back from the hospital giving us all time to reflect and talk over the day’s events.

Our journey here so far has been moving. The kindness and compassion Kenyans have shown us is truly inspiring. Truthfully at first I felt wary but as days go by I have learnt to open up my heart and spread the warmth that they have shown us. We all have done our best to do you all proud and are currently ahead of schedule. Bring on tomorrow!

Marc and team












Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Chicken dinner?!

Early start today. Breakfast at 6.30 as we have to walk to Dreamland Hospital for morning devotions at 7.45.

It’s much cooler in the mornings and the walk is along the dirt road with all the school kids and Pickie Pickies (motor bike taxi’s) We get there just as devotions start. There are two songs before I volunteer to go up and read a passage from the bible and give a small prayer. It’s then off to get changed into our bib and brace and back to painting and decorating. 

We are now into our fourth room, which is the laboratory room (incidentally we saw a malaria parasite under the microscope yesterday) We work through to lunch and then off to one of the hospital community projects (medical outreach) which is about twenty minutes away.

We were greeted with everyone in their best outfits and there was plenty of hand shaking. We were made to feel very welcome. The community had never had a visit from a group before. We were placed at the head of the table and the head of each fellowship (community) was present. 

They then sang us two songs in Swahili and prayed. They told us all about the work they are doing and showed us around the plantations etc. They then laid on a table full of food. After being there for three hours it was time to go home. I was asked to pray us out. The generosity didn’t stop there as we were given a LIVE chicken, loads of banana’s, Paw paw, eggs, sweet potatoes, peanuts and a kitten!!!! (myself, Kayleigh and Rose wanted to take him home but we didn’t take it)

It was a humbling experience. They have so little but give so much. We could all take a leaf out their book!!!

On the way back Marc & Simon looked after Crystal Mable Kimilili (the chicken) in the back seat (with a seat belt on of course) Sooooooo funny.

Back home for Dinner. Loads of dinner!!! We never go hungry. We didn’t eat Crystal and released her singing born free and she is now enjoying a free range life in our garden.  

by Tony




















Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Brewer’s Dream Team

Here we are back on the Internet.

A lot has happened since yesterday lunch time…..


There was a Powercut during an operation, which just seemed bizzare! It happens so often out here that they have a generator on standby which kicks in when this happens so the operation can continue. We asked if this was a worry for them and the surgeon said only if after 20mins the power doesn’t come back on as they would need to manually keep the patient breathing.


The team at the hospital are amazing, and have such challenging conditions to work in, in the middle of rural Africa carrying out these truly life changing operations potentially without electricity.


We carried on with the decorating while Marc and Neal had a chance to see a club foot operation on a 5-year-old girl.


We learnt more about club foot and how it carries a stigma and superstition in some households which can endanger the lives of some young children, so these sorts of operations are so important to their quality of life, and the younger the patient the better their recovery.


Back to the project….By the end of a long day the Brewer’s Dream team had completed one and a half rooms!


On the way back to the guest house we then did a little local shopping and purchased materials to make, shirts or dresses.  The team made the shop keepers year with how much we spent a total of £70 which is over a months worth of takings for some people in Kenya.


Then back to the Guest House for a well-earned Dinner. It turned out that Kensa had kept a little secret from the group… it was in fact her birthday! So we celebrated with a slap up meal consisting of Beef or vegetable stew, cabbage and chapatis – which went down a treat! For dessert we had brownies, ice cream (which is a 2hour round trip to get hold of here!) and birthday cake! 


We had a visit from Soloman and Ruth who are the founding people of Dreamland, They had never before tasted chocolate brownies, so It was nice to share an English desert with them. 


After dinner, and the standard 20min faff with the mozzie nets…we all went to bed!


TUESDAY MORNING

Up early… we need to be at the hospital for 7:30am for morning devotions. I don’t know how to descript it… the word ‘amazing’ doesn’t cover it. The passion and energy they start every day with is inspiring. After some prayers, songs and a work update every one was motivated to get to work. 


Imagine if we spent 10mins every morning in every Brewer branch with a song and dance to get everyone going! Neal is very keen on introducing :)


Now to continue where we left off yesterday, during the course of the morning the tailor arrived at the hospital and we all went to be measured for our authentic African clothing.

Rose and I then went to watch a club foot operation which was on a 15month old little girl which went well and was again amazing to witness.


After the operation I had opportunity to work with David the carpenter on the staff bungalow making some built in wardrobes. No MFD here! All proper wood.


By the end of the day we managed to finish off 3 of the 4 rooms, which Soloman the painter was chuffed with as it meant that lab equipment could start to be moved into the new rooms.


At 3.30 we went to the school next door to visit the children… they were so welcoming and frantic with excitement. They were fascinated with Marc’s & Kensa’s tattoos and the girls hair. We played a few games then the boys split off to play football while the girls underwent some rather drastic re-styling in the ‘salon’! We waved them off after an hour and went back to the guest house for dinner.

 

Kwa Heri

(we are locals now J)

Simon and the Dream Team