We slow down rapidly on a main road through Nakuru, oh no, it looks like the guys in front have a problem with the car, then I realise they are indicating to turn off the road. From behind our tinted windows I couldn’t see a turning off the road, just piles and piles of rubbish. Smoke seeps through the endless plastic scraps, the stench is unbearable and already flies are gathering all around. We follow our friends in the pick up off the road into the repetitive expanse of rubbish, two young faces bob up to welcome us and point down the path lined by waste. The car is never going to make it down there and the thought of breaking down leads us to turn around and find a different route.
We arrive at the dumpsite having only just managed to get the car over the barely existing road. The pickup is parked up just ahead of us with 14 of 90 bags full of food. George goes ahead in to the dumpsite where many families live in the midst of Nakuru’s waste. We’ve been to similar places in Egypt and Peru, the stench is unbelievable (we were far enough away not to get the full sensory impact). The horizon is covered in rubbish with a few homes scattered amongst the continual burning waste. The smell of burning plastic has become familiar to us.
As we get out of the car I’m on full alert, Lucas is in my arms and my back pocket is loaded with antibacterial wipes, my maternal instinct screams at me to get out of here. We are here now and can’t go back, not yet. We overlook the ‘dump site’ where a few hundred Kenyans live and work, we have come to help a friend who has organised for 90 bags of donated food, each to feed a large family for Christmas, to be distributed. My instinct wants to hold on to Lucas to keep him clean, he wriggles and struggles to run free like the other children who are observing us from behind a parked car. I can’t restrain him any longer and he starts to wander around saying hello, I watch him like a hawk!
George returns with four Mamas from the community, several young guys and kids are in tow, they wait to see what this group of Mzungos (foreigners) have come for. We hand over their Christmas hampers and they look delighted. For today at least they will eat well. They laugh and giggle amongst themselves then come forward to greet and thank us. Lucas high-fives them all, he sees no difference between himself and the guys stood in front of us. We follow his lead and shake hands and hug, Lucas is picked up and hugged by all of them. In that moment the thoughts running around my head, the fear of disease, illness and injury dissolve away, these are our friends and we are privileged to be in their community and humbled by their gratitude.
Lucas being Father Christmas and giving out some gifts to our security guards
A last it feels like Christmas! Christmas eve was spent with Kate, Jonny and their big family sharing a whole range of American, English and Kenyan food by candlelight (power cut) followed by a bonfire and carol singing, it was just so lovely!
*The slit lamp apparently was on a Christmas Eve flight to Nairobi, maybe Father Christmas was delivering it on his sleigh? If it has actually arrived then hopefully we will have it between Christmas and New Year – let the fun begin!*
We want to say a big happy Christmas to family and friends, you have all been such a support to us and so we made you a few mini films to say thank you! Which we hope you enjoy them as much as we enjoyed making them. Heri Ya Krismasi/Merry Christmas!!
Lots of love to you all beautiful people,
Madeleine, Andrew & Lucas xx
Here is one we made earlier…
If the videos don’t appear here then you can copy and paste the URLs/web links