Today we went to Lizpal School, the latest Porridge and Rice school. As we came into the school courtyard, nearly the whole school had come out to greet us and cheered loudly. They then all lined up to get a sweet… and were incredibly well behaved about it.
Next we handed out bags which have been donated by The Royal Society of Surgeons for GB & Ireland (conference left-overs – if anyone knows someone who has over-ordered on any kind of bags – do get in touch!) for years 7 & 8 (ages from 12 to 19, depending on how many years the parents could afford school). They are so grateful for these bags – they are super-simple, but Mary, the deputy at Excel, says that these are really good bags – they hold a lot and are strong. They have been super well received.
In the picture below, the lady in the photo is Grace, the deputy head at Lizpal school. I’m really pleased that we got a picture of her smiling, as in all of the other photos, she looks very serious.
After this, Jake, Ken and I went to Glad Kids, which is essentially just over the road/dirk/track/sewer-lined footpath, to hand out sweets there. We interrupted lunch, and it was good to see the children enjoying their food.
All I can say is, there’s always one… I asked the children to do their “special pose” (one of them was boxing at me) and Jake felt compelled to join in.
This is Evelyne, the cook at Glad Kids, doing the washing up in what passes for a kitchen just now. The plan for Monday is to at least kick off the process of building them a covered kitchen area so that when it rains, they aren’t getting watered-down stew.
In the afternoon, we split groups further and Jake and I went with Mary and Beth and David to buy pots and giko (charcoal burner) for Lizpal. David drove us to a market/extended fabrication works near the centre of Nairobi. I was instructed to leave my bag with the others, and keep a tight hold on our valuables.
It’s possible this may come under the heading of “places where Steve would prefer I didn’t go”. But don’t worry, we were quite safe – I just didn’t want negotiations to go “28,000 …and your camera”.
What is the place like? They make all kinds of stuff out of metal. So, think of a metal fabrication works that you’ve either driven past, or been in, and then think of something 10x10metres with the same equipment and people and no health and safety laws, and then think of something less civilised. And then pack 20 of these into an area the size of the centre circle of a football pitch. It wouldn’t be out of place in a Lord Of The Rings movie… And I don’t mean the bits involving elves.
The first conversation happened within 2 metres of 6 people banging metal with hammers, in a basically dark room, with Mary translating initial “‘OWMUCH?” between Jake and the chap. After we walked away the first time, negotiations moved out onto the street, which was cooler and had the advantage that you could at least hear what was going on.
There was much bargaining, including a brief visit to a second outlet round the corner, where they would do us the deal we wanted, but not the size of giko we needed. Also, we said a number, then he said “make that be the price”, he went away & came back asserting a price 2,000 higher. Deep sigh. I slightly felt we were taking the piss asking for a spoon to be included, but we ploughed on.
We’d realised quite early on that Ken had pulled another “wise” move on us in that the budget he had given us (and thus the cash) was 10,000 less than what had been paid last time. This means that we got the best deal yet – 27500 shillings for 3 pots, 1 lid and 1 big Giko. Go us. I like to think it was a team effort. Ken maintains he could have got lower, but then he would. Of course, once the deal was done, we were their new best friends – much hand shaking and waving.
After this, we made our way back to the camp, stopping briefly on the way to pick up a snack at the frozen yoghurt shop. I include this picture mainly to make Joel jealous, Emma’s hand is included for reference and, as a nearly-qualified nurse, she would like you all to know her hands are usually much cleaner than this.