I hear screaming and heavy breathing from the next room. “Daktari, daktari, come quickly!” A lady in her 60’s is struggling to breath. She is sat amongst other patients who are being registered. She looks panicked but is clearly not having a medical emergency. The nurse sits with her until she calms down. After she settles she explains that the mention of identity cards sent her in to a panic. We ask all patients to bring their identity cards with them so we can ensure they are the same person as 5 years ago. Very few people know their date of birth and the variations in name spelling mean we need some form of identification which is consistent.
It transpires this lady went through a traumatic ordeal 5 years ago pre- the last elections. Whilst on a matatu (minibus – much like the one that transports our team from site to site) they were pulled over by police and their identity cards checked. Those of the “wrong” tribe were assaulted or worse killed. Very sadly huge ethnic divides exist in Kenya and politicians use this to canvass support of their fellow tribesmen. The last set of elections in Kenya were marred by high levels of corruption, bribery and violence, in which 300,000 people were forced to flee their homes, many of them from the Rift Valley area in which we are living. Many of our current team suffered, including one member who had his home and possessions burnt to the ground one year before he was due to retire.
This largely explains our difficulty in tracing the numbers we had hoped for. Many who were examined before the elections in 2007 were forced to move away when the violence was at it’s peak. Those examined after the elections (the trouble forced an 8 month break in the project) were frequently people who had been displaced and therefore the place they were examined in 2008 was a temporary home for them and they have since moved back home.
The tensions are rising but thus far little violence has been evident. There is a feeling lessons have been learnt since the last elections but time will tell. We have been advised that as the elections are now getting close we should stop field work to ensure safety of the team and also many patients may be scared or unwilling to be examined through fear we represent a political party.
We therefore have made this last village, Wanyororo, our last before we have a break and head back to the UK. We plan to be back in Kenya in just over a month to continue where we have left off.
12 down, 88 to go…
The team have really worked hard these last few weeks and we have overcome some challenges, including money going missing, patients going missing and and at times my energy going missing. We promised the team that before we took a break we would treat them all to the local favourite, “Nyama Choma” – Roast Goat. The team all gathered and we enjoyed a goat together. Madeleine and I were surprised at how good it tasted. We avoided the soup (boiled goat’s head, hooves, organs etc). Followed by Madeleine’s Chocolate and Caramelised Orange peel Panettone we bid “Tutaonana” – See you later, to the team.
I ask one of the team members what their favourite food is, I hear the same reply I have heard many times before, ‘Nyama Choma’ literately roast meat or roast goat, as they reply their faces light up with so much excitment, their shoulders relax and they look content even at the thought of Nyoma choma! With such consistent reactions to even the thought of Nyama choma we decide its time for a team BBQ and Nyoma choma it is. Everyone is very excited. We sit down with our plates full and take a bite of the crispy meat hot from the charcoal, as I bite in, I feel as if I am sharing in the love this nation has for it’s Nyoma choma, it’s very tasty, a bit like lamb and I’m not a keen meat eater so this must be good! Andrew, Ailsa and I all tuck in whilst Lucas snuggles up in my arms smelling of mosquito repellent, fast asleep!
With 12 clusters complete, we are due to fly back for a visit to the UK. The past 4 and a half months has been a time getting to know the team. Most team members have enthusiastically taken hold of the vision for the project and given all their efforts. Each has a story to tell.
With Ailsa’s birthday and valentines day being a big deal here in Kenya, possibly more so than Christmas, there had to be a theme of chocolate for cluster 12 and to accompany the Nyama choma. Chocolate orange panettone is what came out of the kitchen, yummy! I actually used much less butter in the panettone than most recipes call for but it still tasted great! Great toasted when stale a few days later! Lucas had pure delight in watching and feeling the butter cubes melt in his hands. I was trying to teach him how to say “Mummy’s sous chef” and he says in his cute toddler way “Mum-mee, pause, soo-she!”, it’s so cute I keep asking him to say it cos it makes me giggle!
Ailsa’a birthday celebration, Kenyan style:
With aunty Ailsa around, Andrew and I are so excited we manage a rare bit of time for just the 2 of us, a valentine’s date, with other commitments in the evening we opt for a “date” earlier in the day. 6.15am we are up and out in the cool breeze, chatting a way to each other as we run through the dusty roads by our home, it’s the first run we have managed together since being here, a perfect valentine’s date!
For now our Kenyan family and friends we wish you tutaonana…
Our rough plans for the next month:
20th February – Bakery research in Nairobi
21st February – Fly to London via Dubai
22nd February – Arrive back in England
2 weeks at our respective parents with a blindfolded run sandwiched in the middle (3.3.13 in Goring)
2 weeks in the South so Andrew can get to London for work
End of March/beginning April (pending elections etc) – back to Kenya
Recipe – Chocolate orange panettone
7g dry yeast
420g white strong flour
50g granulated sugar
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp salt
70g unsalted butter cut into cubes at room temperature
150g dark chocolate, roughly chopped, I find it easier to cut chunky shavings off with a pair of scissors
150g cup diced glazed orange peel
1/2 tsp pure almond extract
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1. Put the yeast, milk, flour, sugar and eggs into a bowl, bring together and knead until you have a smooth dough or use a dough hook on a mixer.
2. Once a smooth dough mix in the butter until well incorporated into the dough, then fold in the remaining ingredients. Make into a round and place in a covered oiled bowl either put in the fridge overnight o leave to prove for 2-3 hours.
3. Line your tin with baking parchment, I used a small cake tin.
4. Gently spoon you ingredients into the cake tin or if you are able using floured hands make into a round and place in the tin, then gently smooth over the top. Leave to rise for 2 hours until well risen.
5. Glaze with egg wash and place in the oven for 45-50minutes at 180ºC.
6. Remove and eave to cool in the tin, eat with coffee or toasted, yummy!