After almost five hours we arrive in Kitale, overlooking Mount Elgon which straddles Kenya and the eastern border of Uganda. Matthew (my supervisor) and I are visiting Kitale District Hospital Eye Unit, the proposed site for two future projects for Peek. We meet a good friend and brilliant Ophthalmologist, Dr Hillary Rono who has transformed the department in recent years to be one of the very best in Kenya. The hospital serves a wide geographical area and is the only eye unit for several million people. The area north is known for being very arid and one of the most difficult places in Kenya to live.
With 70 clusters complete and only 30 to go, it feels like the end is in sight and so we have started to think about the future a little more. The future of the eye project, the future of the bakery, the future of the team and what is next for ourselves.
This study in Nakuru is providing several areas of key data for eye care. It is the first of its kind in Africa where such a large number of people have been followed up and assessed for eye disease in great detail. This will mean we can estimate at what rate new people are becoming blind and why. The work with Peek alongside it will allow us to show primarily that it works and is comparable to standard hospital equipment. This leads us to what next for Peek. In Kitale we will run two trails. One will be in the community looking at if we can increase access to care by deploying health workers with Peek in to their own communities and go door to door testing people. The second question is, can we increase the quality of those accessing care at the hospital level by supplying eye health workers with Peek.
The day was a success and after a lengthy journey back to Nakuru which included a good hour off the main road avoiding an accident and squeezing between trucks and lorries we eventually made it home. Thankfully we had been sent off with Madeleine’s ciabatta and chocolate cake to make the journey more bearable.
Lucas and I have been enjoying being back in our kitchen! Whilst Daddy was out for a long day we decided it was time to fill his advent calendar. A little late, but better late than never. I made a material one this time last year when we were feeling really homesick and thought it would be fun for Andrew to collect some vouchers like a “Guilt free lie in” or a “watch the football token”. I recently realised all these vouchers from last year had accidentally been left in and he is insisting they are valid again! Lucas had lots of fun in the kitchen making little tractor wheel lemon biscuits to wrap and put in the advent calendar with the accidental vouchers. As we put the drop of icing on the biscuit followed by the pumpkin seeds and dried mango he kept dabbing his little finger in the icing, licking it and proudly proclaiming, “I’m a cheeky monkey!” Beautiful times!
Whilst we were back in the UK last month, I really missed Kate (The one with 14 children). I don’t know if I will ever fully understand how she does what she does. She is an endless source of creativity, is as passionate as I am about home cooked food and even loves baking bread. There is always something on the go in the kitchen whether it be homemade mozzarella, mayonnaise or bread and always in vast quantities! Kate home-schools 5 of her children and seems to have time for everyone whilst building their new home on land they recently purchased – literally! She built the roof herself on their cob hut and used old car windscreens for windows). We are just very thankful to have met the Brooks family and such an inspiring friend.
Kate stood by the new cob house
Recipe – Lucas Lemon wholemeal tractor wheel biscuits
100g castor sugar or dark unrefined sugar
100g plain flour
100g wholemeal flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
Zest two lemons
1. Combine the flour baking powder and salt into a bowl. Add the cubed butter an rub in with finger tips.
2. Turn the oven on to 180°C.
3. Add the sugar and lemon zest then stir in.
4.Add the egg a little at a time and use the blade of a knife to cut into the mixture until a stiff non-sticky dough forms.
5. Make into a ball, wrap in cling film then flatten into a disc and place in the fridge for 30mins to 1 hour.
6. Remove from the fridge, place onto a lightly floured surface, roll to about 2-3mm thick and begin using which ever cutters you feel like. Kat had given Lucas a whole tractor set to cut out a tractor engine, cab and wheel etc so we decided to fill Daddys advent calendar with lits of the smaller tractor wheels!
7. Bake on non-stick baking parchment for 5-10mins, keep an eye and the time depends on the size of biscuit, ideally you should take them out when they just begin to brown and cool on a wire rack.
8. Let them cool then the decorating begins stick topping on with a little water icing (icing sugar and water).