Kenya photodiary – Tuko nyumbani

Africa, photography

Part 6.

Tuko nyumbani – we are at home.

I arrived at my second Kenyan host home about a month into the placement. Late to the party as ever. My mum, Peris is the househelp which means she cooks and cleans and generally is a great mother figure. My host dad, Stanley is a retired beekeeper and now an advocate for people with disabilities as well as helping the community access clean drinking water. They are both some of the greatest people I’ve ever met, let alone live with.

It’s not until I really think about it that I realise how many crazy good people there are in my life. Success is measured in different ways and I would class both Peris and Stanley as extremely successful people. They took me in as a ‘volunteer refugee’ and made me feel like I’d always been in their little family unit.

We had bees that lived in the walls of the house because Stanley ‘liked having them around’ and he’d happily let them sting him because apparently it helped with his arthritis. When the honey was processed, towards the end of the program, we helped to heat it, separate it from the cone then Jonathon would assist with the packaging. This meant a house full of honey and happy Mary and Sophie in the mornings when we could just help ourselves to as much as possible. Peris would sometimes just scrape the bottom of the barrel and feed us with a spoon like a bird feeding her chicks. GOOD TIMES.

I didn’t get any photos of Stanley with my film camera because he was always busy with the bees or community projects. But this is Peris.
Untitled Check her out, separating the maize she’s picked from the shamba (farm) Untitled

This is the fire room where we’d heat water for our morning showers. We did have a fully functioning normal shower connected to the main water supply but it was broken half of the time. So not really functioning then. Andrew and I both loved this room; it was so dark, dingy and cold but the perfect place to sit and chat when there was a power cut. It’s also where we sat and stirred honey in the evening.

If you hadn’t guessed yet, I’m a dog lover. My best mate in Makutano was Shifter.Untitled When I arrived, his paw was split in half because he’d got it caught on barbed wire so Andrew and I bandaged it up using our first aid kit supplies. Unsurprisingly the dressing was gone by the next morning but luckily it all healed up well. Dogs are not domesticated in Kenya and the idea of your dog sleeping in your bed or even coming in your house is a bizarre thought to most Kenyans. Untitled
Shifter’s mum. Nameless
Shifter’s little sister. She was underfed so resulted in eating 7 baby chicks. Her owners were not happy
Say Jambo to a few of our friendly cows.
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Post run death. Running in Kenya was like a rite of passage for me. I knew the altitude would be a problem (1905m by the way compared to a modest 122m in Hertfordshire) but I didn’t realise what a massive problem it would be. I planned to attempt 10Kms a few times a week. I managed about 2Kms at a time. Oh well, at least I didn’t pass out or anything.

That’s all for Makutano home life. It’s a beautiful thing that we can be so adaptable to move countries, houses and families and feel so at home so quickly. That’s one of my favourite things about Kenyans, is how hospitable and welcoming they are.
2 more posts to come; Ol Jogi safari and Nanyuki town