Running with the Kenyans, B&B Jamii opens and Nakuru Sourdough

Madeleine: I look up, he is tall, slender and looks VERY fast! Andrew is chatting with him, his name is Bernard. I am waiting for the starters call spotting tuk tuks with Lucas, Bernard is expecting to do the 10km in 30mins, he is not alone, everyone around me looks as fast as him. Having decided to take the plunge and do the Nakuru (Menengai 10km) I am feeling nerves in the pit of my stomach and have that sinking feeling. In  my back pocket is my mobile and 500 shillings, in my mind I see these tremendous effortless runners disappearing into the distance, the traffic surrounding me and finding myself lost somewhere in the town.  Andrew is still chatting with Bernard and jokes that he is friends with Mo Farah… Bernard has trained with him!!

Thankfully Kate arrives and translates and says its time for me to go to the start line, although very nervous I’m excited to,o 10km is a comfortable distance for me, just not at Kenyan speed and particularly when I haven’t been training for a race and at 2000m altitude with equatorial heat! I look around at the start, it is getting busy, warm ups are happening and I listen, I relax there are people who haven’t run 10km before and some school kids taking part also, I feel so happy that hopefully I wont get left behind! Lucas carried by Daddy comes over and kisses me on the lips to wish me luck…so cute!

I am running in trainers, the teenage boy in front has bare feet -respect! The girls around me are in sandles, I can’t see the pro runners as they are off in front.  I hear laughing and children shouting “mzungo”, I am the only white girl in the race! They are sweet, offering hi fives just like half marathons back home, however that is usually because I am in fancy dress! We turn corners with music loud and joyful, not the bands like in the great north run but all the different churches.

I am happy with my pace, a couple of young men offer to be my pacer, one of whom I had actually over taken and then been passed by a few times. I think he has  the “I don’t want to be beaten by a girl” syndrome! He is friendly… a little too friendly, he stick too close to me and I don’t have my space…there is only one option, I’m going to have to outrun a Kenyan! I increased my pace until he dropped back, I had my space again

As the morning progresses I heat up, the sun bearing down strongly, we pass through Nakuru city centre dodging the fumes and traffic to come onto the main road and take a left turn, 100m to go and I see those beautiful faces, Lucas on Andrew’s shoulders… I’ve finished! They hand me a piece of paper, I’m not sure of the scribble at first, then realise it says 34th (I don’t think there was that many women!!) 48mins I think is a respectable time for no training and I just feel so relieved I didn’t get left behind!!  I see Bernard, he finished as he predicted in 30mins and he came 35th in the men’s race!!!

Andrew: On our first day in Nakuru, Madeleine saw a sign for an upcoming half marathon and decided she would enter. 3 weeks later I’m stood with her, Lucas clutched in my arms, at the start line. Madeleine debates going home,  worried that not only does she stand out from the crowd but that she also could be left behind in the middle of nowhere. I am confident she will do well and come back buzzing. The race is started and we are almost flattened by the runners as they fly over the start line as though they were in a 100m sprint. Madeleine gets in to her stride and Lucas calls “Mama, Mama!” as she disappears in to the distance.

48 minutes later she reappears, safely in the middle of the pack, she looks like she’s barely broken a sweat and and very very relieved. We are so proud of her. 


The word Jamii originates in Swahili. It signifies the collective noun for the English equivalent of community, society or family

This week we officially opened our doors to Bed and Breakfast (B&B) Jamii, we hope to be able to extend the warm Kenyan welcome we have received here to our visiting guests.

Currently we have staying with us, Stewart Jordan, the fantastic app designer who has been working with Andrew since March to make the EYE-Phone dream a reality – for FREE! He has come out to stay and help ensure the app is improved and refined as field testing starts next week. Stew has quickly settled in to Kenyan life having spent 7 years living in Cambodia our surrounding are not too unfamiliar to him. He’s become part of the family and gets bonus points as he enjoys all forms of exercise and appreciates my baking. He is fantastic with Lucas who has decided that Stew has come to Kenya to play Lego with him!

Our second arrival is Hillary Rono – an Ophthalmologist who works in a neighbouring rural county (where all the amazing runners come from). Dr Rono was doing an MSc at the Tropical School of Medicine last year whilst Andrew was preparing for the project. He is bright, enthusiastic and very able and Andrew always speaks very highly of him. Andrew sees him as someone who, if the EYE-Phone is successful, will be able to lead the use of it in the future   when we leave. Dr Rono was recently voted as an “Eye Health Hero” at the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness Assembly in India that Andrew attended in September shortly before we came out.

Next week we will reach full occupancy (4 rooms when Lucas is in with us and we use the 2 office bedrooms) as two friends of friends arrive from South Sudan who work for Medair, a Non-governmental Organisation (NGO).

Since arriving I have been working on the equivalent ‘white cottage loaf’.  I’ve been developing my sourdough with a mix of flours and this is what we are eating for breakfast toasted with butter and jam and also for some lunches and dinners!

Recipe: Nakuru Sourdough

Ingredients for the starter:  This is from Andrew Whitley’s “Bread Matters”

Day 1

40g stoneground wholemeal wheat flour

40g water

Mix up in a plastic container and keep at near 28°C

Day 2

Add same as day 1 and mix into day 1 mixture and keep near 28°C

Day 3

160g  starter from day 1+2

40g stoneground wholemeal wheat flour

20g water

Day 4

220g starter from day 3

120g strong white flour

100g water

By now you should see a mixture that has risen and probably collapsed with air pockets in.

Ingredients and method for the loaf part 1

160g starter

100g wholemeal flour (stoneground organic if possible)

100g strong white flour

120g water

Mix all the above together in to a firm dough and leave in a bowl covered with cling film for 3-5 hours in a warm place.

Ingredients and method for the loaf part 2

100g stone-ground wholemeal flour

150g stone-ground strong white flour

150g chapati mix flour (this is the closest I’ve found in Kenya to any rye flour as it is a mix of flours with some rye flour in it, but you could use any mix of flour you feel like).

300g water

7g sea salt

300g of part 1 mix

Mix the flours, salt and water together into a dough and knead for 8-10mins until a smooth dough, add in 300g of part 1 mix and knead another few minutes, if too wet you can add a little more flour if needed. Smear water over the work top and place the dough on top with a bowl lined with water over the top and leave for 1 hour.  This lets the gluten relax and soften, and the yeasts will begin to aerate the dough.

Then with wet hands and a dough scraper, if you have one, stretch and fold the dough into a round shape, cover the smooth side with a sprinkling of wholemeal flour and place smooth side down into a proving basket, sprinkle wholemeal flour on the top and cover with cling film. If you don’t have a proving basket it can be placed direct into a floured loaf tin .  Leave to prove for 3 -5 hours, it is ready when an indentation of your finger disappears fairly slowly, turn out onto a floured baking tray (carefully), make a cut in the top with a sharp knife and bake at 220°C for 35mins turning the heat down to 200°C after 10mins.

Eat with everybody at any time with anything from passion fruit jam to guacomole or bruchetta… Delicious!

It may seem like a lot of work initially but if you keep the leftover dough from part 1 and start from that point again you can have a continual production line with fresh bread on a daily basis. The preparation time and extra steps may seem to much but the added depth of flavour this gives the bread makes it well worth it.

5 thoughts on “Running with the Kenyans, B&B Jamii opens and Nakuru Sourdough

  1. ah, delicious! We love reading your blog guys! Mads, Chris wants to run with you when we get over to Nakuru – you’ll have to go easy on him though as he’s not been able to do much running here 🙂 Me & Estie might stick with walking; we’re pretty starved of anywhere to go here (plus the high temperatures & 90% humidity are insane right now). Yesterday we went for a walk before the sun came up (Estie still gets up at 5am every day) and ended up getting swarmed by a pack of street dogs (!!), luckily they were trying to kill each other so ignored us. We miss you 3! much love from us xx

  2. We also love reading your blog! Wish we could come and visit you also..maybe you find the place so lovable and want to stay there a bit longer, so we could come and take the baby with…:) Lots of hugs and love from Finland guys!

  3. Hi guys
    Just wanted to say hi, sounds like you’re settling in very nicely and enjoying your new home!
    Well done Madeleine on your time, very impressed!
    Stay safe and ill keep checking up on your adventures!
    Amelia, Erin and Sab
    P.s. Amelia is walking!!!!!

  4. Now Mad, just because you spend lots of time with men in white coats, does not mean you have to go insane 😀 When I used to run 10km I couldn’t go that fast even at the lowly altitude of Thames+2metres. Amazing!! I know what you mean about the altitude though, I ran a 5km cross-country race when I stayed in a school at Nakuru … I came 3rd, was beaten by 8 year olds & worried I might never get my breath back!!!! Fortunately, we flew back the next day so I didn’t get the opportunity to compete again!!
    Not sure about the first of the pictures showing the sour dough process – it looks like a bucket of …….! Glad the bread tastes nice though 🙂 Loads of love xxxx

  5. Fantastic to read your blog and see how you are all doing. Its making me want to come out and see you. I cant believe how much you’ve done and its only November! My fellowship write up deadline is in a week so I’ll get back in touch afterwards and we must Skype so the boys can see each other xxx

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