I watch from three stories up as the Slit lamp in a tattered brown box is unloaded below our flat window. Finally it has arrived and all the hard work getting the various items of diagnostic kit here has come, the project can begin!
Lucas is far more interested in the tuk tuk that has just arrived with it’s engine spluttering and shiny red chassis, he has no idea how important this delivery is. Andrew helps unload and carry the slit lamp up to the office flat. I am chasing Lucas around our flat to change his poo filled nappy. Andrew returns from the office looking gutted. After eventually finding a customs clearing agent through a friend (we are assured this is normal practice here) we were hopeful this saga would be over. The initial cost for the clearing service was £450 but Andrew negotiated it to £300. This included DHL charging for “storage” even though they’s lost it in Uganda for some time?! Andrew opened the box to find a much older version of the slit lamp than expected, which if not damaged with important bits missing would still not have been suitable for the project. After a month waiting with a fully trained team ready to to start on the 100 villages we are back to square one… no slit lamp, no project. Some of the project team have given up jobs (which are hard enough to get here as it is) and two others have taken time out of their studies to be involved. There is no budget currently for a £12,000 slit lamp and how we get one here is another issue, however the challenge is under way and to be continued……..
Although feeling gutted and let down with the slit lamp and some other issues (for another blog) there have been a few proud and great moments, including my first attempt at the national Kenyan bread, Chapati accompanied with “green gram”…which is basically mung bean stew. This is actually very easy to make, tastes great and is healthy! I did feel proud when I served up a plate of chapatis and green gram for the boys! I hope it softened the blow a little.
I’m still getting my endorphin hit in the freezing pool, you’d think I’d be used to it by now but every time I come out Andrew thinks I am going to pass out. We put the heart ache of last week behind us and enjoyed the weekend together. We had a nice long walk in the sunshine, Lucas admiring passing tuk tuks and animals and found a good place to watch England destroy New Zealand in the rugby whilst enjoying a fish masala and turbo naan (naan bread covered in green chillies). It doesn’t feel like Christmas here but I am doing my bit and have made an advent calendar full of surprises including some home made chocolate coated almonds and coffee beans (no longer a surprise). We have a small rosemary bush growing on the roof in a water bottle, this may be our Christmas tree. We’ve just made an angel to go on top of it out of a toilet roll and Lucas has managed to get glue in his hair!
Andrew and Stew have made some great progress on the EYE-Phone app and it has highlighted how important a cheap, portable solution to diagnosing eye disease could be when just getting the usual equipment in to the country is so difficult.
Next weekend we have some great friends (Lucas’ godparents and their daughter) joining us for 10 days following a 4 month spell teaching in South Sudan, we are really looking forward to having them stay with us. Sounds like they need a break – we hope the toilet works now.
If you would like to try real Kenyan food, this is so easy to make and yummy! I’ve got to confess the chapatis do taste good but they are coated in oil and I much prefer to dry fry them, however when dry fried I think then they are actually called tortillas!
Recipe – Chapatis and Mung Bean Stew
Ingredients – Chapati
4 cups (340g) chapati flour (this is a mix of rye, amaranthus, millet and wholegrain wheat) – you can just use wholemeal flour and should get the same result
2 cups (280g/ml) warm water
Half tsp salt
Ingredients – Mung bean stew
1tsp olive oil
Finely chopped onion
2 cooking tomatoes (large)
Approx 300g Mung beans