What ya doing in Oxford..?

Europe, Uncategorized

Who knew over 80 of my Facebook friends gave a fudge that I was moving to Oxford?!

So yeah. On Sunday I moved to Oxford after 3 months in Welwyn (post Kenya.). I’m currently a very happy bunny because I somehow managed to land a 3 month job on the social media team with a pretty big UK charity. They work towards the issues that I’m most passionate about and operate on such a huge scale. It’s very easy to work out which charity it is but I won’t say it here cos I don’t need no drama.

It was a speedy transition from jobless, to application, to interview to starting out. Which means I had a day to rush around south Oxford viewing flats & houses that would take on little old me for just 3 months (this came after countless messages to landlords which is always super fun).

I decided on a cute house share in Cowley with 3 other guys. It’s in a residential area so not crazy lively but it’s spacious and clean and convenient so all round great. On Sunday Georgie, Chad and I went to Birmingham to see our cousins and family then drove to Oxford on the way back to drop me off.

I unpacked and prepared for the week ahead. I started the new job in Monday; the first days have been a bit of mix. Overwhelming at times, also pretty calm and chilled. I’ve sat in on a few exciting meetings (that sounds sarcastic but it’s actually not.), been given a few responsibilities and been up and down the 2 flights of stairs to my desk a million times. but yeah, so far, so good. The entry into the ‘world of work’ is a little different for me because I’ve spent so long either working to my own hours or just having such a relaxed schedule and tasks that very little could go wrong (African time is real). Now I’m on the opposite of the spectrum so woah, surprise surprise I’m not allowed to just jam outside with the kids, chill on the beach or wear shorts and t shirt because I’m profesh now hunnay.

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Yesterday Papa Mandefield happened to be working like 100 metres away from my office so we met in Costa and did a lil supermarket shop cos my fridge shelf was feeling empty and sad. I went for a run round Shotover Country Park because the weather was iiiite. I was surprised at how much open space there was, right next to the dual carriage way and there were so many monkjack deers!? Monkjacks are one of life’s greatest mysteries. They’re so bizzarre. Their faces are proper deer-like but the back half is like an overgrown rabbit.

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Tomorrow I’m going to play a casual game of Ultimate Frisbee with a bunch of people I’ve never met before (pray for me plz). I reckon I’ll come back to London on Friday night to see a certain Miss Gaynor but after that I’ll shimmy back to Cowley. SoooOooOOo0o if anyone fancies a day/weekend out HOLLA at me. I don’t have a working phone because I may or may not have smashed it on the morning of my first day… but message me on the old faceboookkksss.

That’s all for now chumps. Exciting shizz coming up next week (… did someone say speaking at parliament..?!)

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i wear work clothes cos i’m a proper office gal these days. 

Mary xoxox

Kenya photodiary – Ngare Ndare home life

Africa, photography

Jambo readers.

Part 2 of my Kenya photodiary series.

Let me share some snaps from my first placement and first Kenyan home in Ngare Ndare – or Ngazza Ndazza as I referred to it…

My first counterpart, Betty, and I travelled 2 hours out of Nanyuki to this tiny rural village surrounded by forests and giraffes and elephants and waterfalls. Sounds pretty blissful right? Well, I did love Ngare Ndare but the ‘ooooh rural Africa’ novelty wore off pretty quickly when the reality of living in the middle of bloody nowhere with zero work to do set in. Our work supervisor was crap so there was nothing to do. I really did try to be resourceful and upbeat and get on with something but it was near enough impossible. We were there with the UK’s biggest voluntary organisation and instead of having a clear work plan and contacts, we were told to wander round the village (which was an hour walk away btw) and look for women who looked like they were beaders. Seriously?!!?!?!? These women didn’t even speak English or Swahili so we were 100% stuck.

Aside from the failure of our placement I friggin loved my host home. I loved our little hamlet of Kianda and the kids and animals and all day sunny weather. I really thought of it as home and even went back to visit weeks after we’d left. So Betty and I called the little wooden cabin ‘home’ for a month before I relocated to Nanyuki town and Bettz headed to Ngobit.

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Our neighbours house

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We owned a few farms so would collect kales, onions or fruit before dinner.

Our Masai family consisted of our Mum, Joyce. In Kenya the mother is named after their last born child (or any other child) so sometimes she was Mama Joyce, other times Mama Makena and occasionally Mama Stella. Kinda confusing. Mama didn’t speak any English so that was a massive obstacle. She had her middle bottom tooth missing as part of Masai tradition and always dressed beautifully. Although we couldn’t verbally communicate, we always had a laugh together and she taught me loads. She exclaimed that she saw Betty and i as her real family which made my heart burst with all the feels. I was also mega lucky to have 2 gorgeous host sisters; Makena, 18 and Stella, 21 as well as a very cool and calm brother, Paul, 13. Our little family was completed by the 2 dogs; Scotty and Bob who were actually nameless when I arrived(?!). Oh and we had 2 cows, one was pregnant, both very cute.
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Look our cute little house! The walls were lined with newspaper and water would get in when it rained. Our bedroom was crawling with insects and the nights were so cold that four layers of clothes and 2 blankets weren’t enough. Our house didn’t have electricity or running water but that didn’t really bother me. We heated water on the stove and had a bucket shower in a little shed outside and went to the loo in a drop toilet (super smelly but healthier…)
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Untitled In the mornings we’d wash pots and pans (sufurias) outside. It was a nice time to chat and enjoy the morning sunshine. Untitled
My brother Paul. Arsenal for life. Surprisingly good Scrabble player. He walks 2 hours to and from school. He was in charge of collecting milk in the evening.
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Sister Stella
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Work sister Betty

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As you can see, my family are absolutely gorgeous – inside and out. I loved being part of the Masai culture for a few weeks and they taught me so much. I miss our evenings watching crappy telenova La Gata until the TV’s battery died and we’d sit in the dark playing Scrabble by torchlight. We cooked together and ate together every night and always had something to chat about; boys, politics, sport, funny village people.

Next post will be about my crazy niece Sharlene and the kids in the village.
Kwaheri (bye) bishes