Shaun's Kenya Blog

Exams over

March 31, 2010

Hi Everyone,

Yesterday we gave the children their end of terms exams in English, Maths, Science and Swahili. Results varied wildly, but they all put the effort in and we rewarded them with some sweets. My conscience took a jolt today – the mother of one girl, whom I had told off for not bringing her exercise books, came to me to apologise that her daughter didn’t have any books, but she couldn’t afford to buy them all. The books cost 20 cents each. Emily and I went to buy them new books today. It is hard to keep in mind just how poor these families are. Still, they are enjoying school and I am so happy to be able to make a contribution to their education.

On a lighter note, Easter weekend is approaching, and it promises to be very busy, including my first experience of a Kenyan disco. Should be fun!




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Exam time!

March 29, 2010
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Hi everyone,

Tomorrow our class have their first exams. I definitely see getting them to stay quiet for the whole time as the biggest problem, they are an energetic bunch, although some of them are very keen to learn, even asking for extra work. Their favourite activity is playing “Simon Says”, which we have renamed to “Teacher Says” to avoid any confusion over who Simon is. This keeps them entertained for ages, and is a nice way to finish the day! I had to thank one girl in the class today; while we were playing, she spotted an enormous beetle which was about to crawl into my bag. That would not have been a nice surprise!

The weekend was divided between the beach with other volunteers and a local bar (watching football again) with my Kenyan friends. I feel very lucky to have met these guys, it is so much easier getting around if you are with locals!

Time to grab a (hopefully very cold) drink.

Bye for now.

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March 27, 2010
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Here I am, now hopefully malaria-free. Good riddance to a nasty illness.

I feel I should say a bit about Mombasa. I like the place a lot so far – it is Kenya’s second city, with a population of around 8OO,OOO I think. The people are welcoming and friendly,  and everything is generally relaxed and laid back. It is extraordinarily hot and humid, and if you swim in the ocean, the temperature of the water is very high. I live in a part of town with no tourists, which means  I am very conspicuous as a white person, but it means I am getting to experience the “real” Mombasa.

The town has everything you need, and stuff is generally very cheap by our standards. Transport is by means of the famous Matatus – little minibuses that speed all over the town, honking their horns and playing reggae at full volume.

I hope to post pics soon  – still no sign of my suitcase!


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Breaking news: mosquito overtakes wasp in ‘most annoying animal’ race.

March 24, 2010
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Hi everyone, as you now know, I have experienced another Kenyan tradition: Malaria. I went to school yesterday morning, but soon began to feel feverish and dizzy. I went home, but it got worse, so Mama Wangeshi (the mother of my host family) took me to the hospital. The doctor quickly diagnosed Malaria, but thankfully a mild case. He then introduced me to another new experience – injections in the a**e. Very painful indeed, not to mention embarrassing as I failed miserably to hide how painful it was. Still, I can’t complain as they clearly did the trick.

Today, it rained for the first time since I have been here, which has made everything a bit fresher. I can’t describe how hot it has been – I love the sun and cope with it well, but it has been tough going. Still, it makes swimming in the ocean even nicer!

I am going to lie down and take the weight of my injections.



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Tiring Teaching

March 22, 2010
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Jambo everyone,

Since I last wrote, I have started my teaching placement. We helped the  founder of the school to set up a timetable for the lessons, and then launched in with feet first. The biggest challenge is getting the kids to settle down, because they are so excited to have us there and they jump all over us at any opportunity! There are some really bright kids in the class, and it is strange to think that if it wasn’t for Emily (the school’s founder) making the effort to set up the school, these smart and eager children would not have the money to go to school at all.

The weekend was great; on Saturday, me, Sarah (the other volunteer) and Maggie (our guide) went to the beach. This was a different beach than last time, it was the one where the locals go and as such we were the only white people there. This drew a lot of attention, especially for Sarah!

Yesterday, my Kenyan friends Peter, Simon and Eva took us to a bar in town where we could watch English football. Finding somewhere to watch the games is a weight off my mind! We then took Maggie to the bus as she had to go back to Nairobi (come back Maggie!!!!)

All in all, despite the energy/draining kids, relentless sun and the fact that my suitcase still hasn’t turned up, things are going really great.

Until next time,


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Here in Mombasa

March 18, 2010
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Hi Everyone,

Here I am in Mombasa, Kenya’s second largest city.  We had an overnight journey on a very cramped bus  with the greatest hits of Celine Dion for company. The journey went quickly, mainly thanks to the company of my wonderful guide Maggie, who works for Fadhili, the organisation here in Kenya. Sarah (the other volunteer) and I were taken to our host family in Likoni, a district of Mombasa. They have been very welcoming and the house is comfortable. There is thankfully a bar nearby that shows football 🙂

Yesterday morning, we were taken to Hope School, where we will be teaching, and I immediately saw how important it is that volunteers come to places like this. Sarah and I were immediately swarmed by excited kids who couldn”t wait to meet us, I had to shake about 40 little hands, and then the kids sang us some songs  to welcome us. The school is filled by the absolute  poorest kids in Mombasa, it is just four or five stone rooms on some wasteground, but the kids are so happy to be there  it both warms your heart and makes you a little angry when you think of the spoilt kids (I wanted to use aother word there) we encounter at home.  I can’t wait to get started with the teaching tomorrow.

I hope you are all well, I am slightly  sunburnt from the beach and missing my suitcase, but otherwise great!

Ahsante  sana,


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Crazy, crazy place

March 16, 2010
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So here I am, and so far it has been an absolutely crazy experience – I arrived at Nairobi airport and one bag did not arrive. I am still waiting for it. That bag contained nearly all mt clothes, some medicine and most importantly of all, my teabags. I am leaving for Mombasa tonight, so hopefully they will send it there soon!

For the last two days I have been living in an apartment of about 55 sqm with a Kenyan family of four and eight volunteers. Space is cramped to say the least and their is not hot water, but the other volunteers are great, the family is really welcoming and their two daughters (aged 3 and 6) are non-stop balls of energy, but very cute. I am looking forward though to getting to Mombasa (and the coast) to start my teaching placement.

I would like to write more but my food is here, I hope to be on the net again soon.

Talk to you soon!


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March 13, 2010
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So, today is the day. I will be leaving for the airport in about an hour. If I am honest, the nerves have kicked in today, although I am still very excited and can’t wait to get out there.

Wish me bon voyage, stay tuned for my next post, when no doubt I will report on the important things I forgot to put in my suitcase.

Up, up and away!


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Two days to go….

March 11, 2010
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Hi everyone! Over the course of the next three months or so, I will be keeping a blog on my experiences while volunteering as a teacher for underprivileged kids in Kenya. I leave in two days, and am feeling extremely excited, as well as a little nervous. I am also very relieved that all the beaurocracy, vaccinations and financial arrangements are finally over and done with, and the only thing left to do is pack! I will try to keep the blog updated as much as I can, I hope you enjoy it, or at least pretend to so that I can feel special 😉



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About author

I am going to Kenya for nearly three months to volunteer as a teacher for underprivileged children. This blog will be about my experiences and thoughts while I am there. Happy reading!