Friday, 14 March 2014

Multiply Zambia/Kenya 2014 Day Sixteen - Thursday

The cockerel in the maize plot right outside my window wins.  The shower's nice and warm, and I salvage a teabag from my case and fathom how to boil a pan of water on the stove.   I'm ready when Gregory arrives: he's slithered along the road, which by now has the consistency of chocolate puddle pudding.  He suggests we check the Methodist Guest House further into town, as more rain is forecast.

Meanwhile we head for breakfast at 'JBM's Restaurant', and Bishop Joseph joins us.   We go round the corner to his Four Square Mission church.   He's added a couple of corrugated iron huts and his wife is now running a school of 50 children with three teachers. 

The mid-morning sun has dried out the rally circuit.  Back at Sundowner, I hastily throw stuff into my cases in anticipation that one way or another I'll be sleeping somewhere else tonight.  I pay the lady KS2,000 (£15) which is a bargain, really.

We head to the Methodist Guest House in the well-heeled suburbs.  Since 2011 they've built a whole posh new second facility next door.  Last time I stayed here a single room was KS3,600.  Now the price is KS5,900.  Gregory's upset at this.  We intend to head further in to town, where there are other Christian-based Guest facilities.  Gregory's also keen to get me to a bookshop so I can pick up a field-guide that will tell me what at least a few of the trees and birds are named.

We pass the Central Baptist Church, and head round the back to the African Inland Mission centre.  They only do full board.  Next door is Daystar University, where Gregory lectures, so we go for a wander round.  Mainly, the students are girls.  Gregory settles that he and I will travel on from here by bus, while Joseph takes his car back home and checks out a couple of other possibilities for a room. 

We rattle and bang along - knees jammed behind the seats, music blaring, until we reach the city centre.  It's marginally more civilised travel than a mutatu.  We pass a small promotional marquee offering sterile male circumcision - reducing the risk of HIV by 70%.  Gregory steers me to the main bookshop, but it's closed 1.00pm - 2.00pm for lunch.  We seek out a place for a bite ourselves at 'Papaya', until the shop reopens.

Mick rings, having missed my earlier call.  There's a good case for me to call in at Central Offices on Monday instead of heading straight from Heathrow to Sheffield.  Viv's down in Northampton on the day and confirms that he can run me home.  I just have to work out how to cancel my existing ticket and book another online, and explain things to Mary.

We head back to Uthiru by bus, KS40 (about 28 pence) each.  On the right is Westlands Mall.  Joseph has had a little success with other accommodation options.   He loves the book on birds, and swiftly identifies species that - as a child - he used to snare and cook in a stew.

George, another guy in Gregory's leadership team, is going to drive us.  The CHAK (Christian Health Association of Kenya) hostel and conference centre has good office facilities, but it is fully booked.  We've come full circle.   Gregory and I go supermarket shopping so I don't starve.  There are large tubs of whole-milk fruit yogurt for little more than 50 pence (KS75); we get a dozen eggs for £1 and eight bananas for KS40, too.

Back at Sundowner, room 'Kigali', I make a drink.  Then we notice it's 5.30pm.  Gregory has his home group tonight - all in Swahili, and I'm fretting to get on the laptop.  In the lounge, I get in a full four-hour session, punctuated only by boiling a couple of eggs.  Then I settle into the bedroom to square with another night of unequal unarmed combat with any mozzis that wriggle round the curtains or emerge from under the bed or other hiding places.  Mary texts to say, "It's house family meal tonight - we'll miss you."  Meanwhile, in Kiambu County, Nairobi, we have another overnight thunderstorm.

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