We are half way! Can you believe it? I’m not sure if we can. At one point it seemed like this day would never come!
Looking back over the time period of 50 clusters, we have an incredible team (Redempta, Faith, Kirui, Kimutai, Jedidah, Joel, Roselyne, Bryan, Keith, Hellen, Joab, Cosmas, Ann, Jerry, Divinah, Richard and Sam). The team and equipment have endured bumpy journey after bumpy journey (metaphorically and literally) the outcome of which is we have retraced half of the possible 5000 we set out to retrace so far, Over 250 have been diagnosed and have or will receive cataract treatment in the near future, nearly 1,000 have been given glasses and many more have received other types of treatment.
Every morning, Lucas proudly carries the wrapped up plate of the days bake to give to Daddy just before he leaves for the field. He looks out of the window and sees Cosmas and Redempta as they load the van, he knows that Sam the driver needs the keys and makes sure Daddy remembers both his rucksacs and likes to confirm that Daddy is wearing his “eye doctor t-shirt”, “Daddy makes peoples eyes better”. When we arrived he couldn’t talk, now he helps unpack the shopping and constantly asks “whats that?” pointing at the different foods. When I’m in the kitchen he confidently pulls a chair through from the sitting room, places it by the counter and reaches for the spices, “Whats that Mummy?” and he sniffs the coriander powder. His latest addition to his vocabulary, is “ooooo”, which he says when he’s impressed with something, genius!
We feel very thankful to be where we are now and for all the ongoing support and encouragement from our family and friends both new and old. Its a blessing to be on a journey and we hope we can share that with you guys…where ever it may lead!
There was a time when I never thought we would reach this point. If I’m being honest with you, there were times I was ready to pack up the whole thing in and leave. I’d written resignation letters in my head, told myself I tried hard but it was just not meant to be. That was over almost a year ago now when Kenya seemed like such a far away place in more ways than just geography. We had set back after set back, problems we never expected and it genuinely seemed we were trying to climb a mountain with no map, no gear and a one-year-old child…
Funny how things change. Piece by piece, things slowly fell in to place and the project started moving, Madeleine’s unwavering strength and determination to complete what we had set out to do has undoubtedly been the single most important reason we are still here. Madeleine loves life in England and the very strong protective instinct that comes with being a parent made us question what we were doing here on more than one occasion.
Although there have been dark times here, we have felt very looked after. Redempta has been such a bright light who has shown us the most beautiful aspects of the Kenyan spirit. She has supported and shared in all our challenges, dreams, ups and downs. We have a fantastic eye project team who are dedicated and gifted and have made friends that will be friends for the rest of our lives (wherever we are living). One very close friend who was giving us encouragement recently told us that a huge amount of resistance is needed before a plane can take off, and it is to be expected if you want to fly.
Kenya has unexpectedly become home. We are happy and enjoying the experience. Lucas is thriving and is at ease with his international lifestyle and odd parents.
We are now half way up that mountain, looking back at where we have come from, what has been achieved and baked so far. The top doesn’t look as far away and unreachable as it once did. We have already started planning the next climbs (the small matter of a bakery and Madeleine’s cook book comes to mind).
We feel truly blessed and thank ALL of you for sharing the journey with us so far.
To be continued….
For reaching the half way point the bake had to represent this somehow so this is what I came up with! Chocolate orange is also Andrews favourite chocolate so that’s where some of the inspiration came from!
Recipe – Half and Half cake
Makes two whole cakes. One to freeze, if it gets that close to a freezer!
Chocolate cake: please see recipe for Lucas’ Tractor in the mud birthday cake
Orange cake ingredients:
2 large eggs
160g castor sugar
100g ground almonds
200g grated carrot
200g white flour
2tsp baking powder
one whole orange boiled for 30mins
1tsp ground cinnamon
1tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp cardamom
Orange icing ingredients:
50g softened butter
200g icing sugar
squeeze fresh orange juice and finely grated peel of whole orange.
Method for the orange carrot cake
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C and line two 20cm circle tins with baking parchment.
2. Blend the whole boiled orange until slushy.
3. Whisk the eggs and sugar for 4 mins until light and fluffy. Whisk in the grated carrot and blended orange.
4. Beat in he remaining ingredients.
5. Separate into the two baking tins and place in the middle of the oven for 25-30mins, check with a knife whether cooked by sticking it into the sponge, if its clean its cooked.
6. Let the cakes cool a little then turn onto wire racks to completely cool.
7. Meanwhile bake the chocolate cake and let cool.
8. Whilst cakes cooling make the icings. To do this beat the butter and half the icing sugar until light and fluffly, then gradually beat in the remaining ingredients.
9. To make the compile the cakes spread icing on the orange carrot cake for the middle layer then place the choc cake on top and carefully ice half with the choc icing and half with the orange icing. For a straight line I used a piece of cardboard to follow for the choc icing then met the orange icing next to it. Sprinkle orange peel shavings on top for decoration.
Madeleine baking half with electricity, half without….
The team enjoying the half way point
The oldest man in Kenya, 100!