Explosion at Gikomba market, Nairobi

A few hours ago there was a blast in a busy market area of Nairobi. So far 10 deaths reported and many casualties. The incident has attracted large crowds to the scene. This was after this mornings warnings from the FCO about an imminent attack in Mombasa and evacuation of tourists from the coastal holiday destination. We have some family holidaying near there at the moment and hope that they are safe. We are safe and planning a weekend camping outside of Nairobi.

US Embassy staff were sent home this morning and there are rumours that the market blast might be a decoy for something bigger. Please pray for calm and safety for the people of Kenya. Image

Pink prints

A friend of mine has just returned from West Africa with a stash of lovely material. I have a whole box of fabric for projects that I want to do but does that stop me wanting more?! Erm, no! She had a lovely pink one that caught my eye. I know that some prints are not going to work back home but out here bright is good so its been added to my collection!

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There’s a favourite dress of mine that Ive been wanted to get copied for a while. There are many tailors out here who will copy stuff but you have to take your time to find a good one. Often when they take European measurements they cant quite believe that they are correct so end up adding a few inches to the boobs and the butt and taking a few off the waistline. So you end up with an interestingly proportioned garment, more suited to Jessica Rabbit. So Ive decided to have a go myself at making a dress. Will let you know how it goes.

Last week on our Bank Holiday we went back to one of my favourite places. Browns cheese farm. As well as tasting their yummy artisan cheese and eating their delicious lunch, I got to milk a cow and make friends with a new born calf – only 3 days old. It wanted to lick me which made me smile. Maybe it knew I was a vegetarian :)

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Fennel and orange salad, homemade guacamole, roasted vegetables, pineapple and mint salsa and wild rocket salad.

ImageFreshly brewed coffee, homemade icecream. I had all four flavours- salted caramel, honeycomb and lavender, strawberries and cream and chocolate chip.

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Dealing with the “little friends”

Back in Juba and after my failed attempt to extract a jigger (I count 5) I decide to go to a clinic. Im a bit worried as Ive described what I have to the driver and he has a look of bemused confusion. “You have chickens?” Me, “No, jiggers”.  Him, “Chickens”….”No, little worms, jiggers”. Him, “Worms from chickens?” Oh dear this is going to be a long morning. And he is my translator at the clinic!

There are no obvious staff when we reach the hospital just rows of rows of people holding medical forms and what look like x-ray envelopes. I whisper to the driver, “I don’t think they can help me here”. He replies, “Yes, yes very good doctors. International. They do surgery”. Im thinking, “Surgery? Before I know it they will have chopped my toe off.” He adds, “You go pay”. I question the logic of this. “Pay? They haven’t done anything yet! Do you pay for fuel before they fill up the car?” He has that bemused smile on his face again as if to say, “You crazy white person have it your way …….. Finally someone who might be a receptionist arrives and the driver explains why Im there. She looks over at me with raised eyebrows. Goodness knows what he has said to her!  She calls me over and says, “You need to see the doctor for some medicine”. I try and explain again, “I don’t need medicine. I just need someone to remove the jiggers.” Judging from the blank expression I don’t fit into her normal category of patient. With the whole clinic now listening into our conversation I decide Ive had enough public embarrassment and politely excuse myself. Looks like me and my jiggers will need to find another strategy. 

Gruesome “little friends”

Health warning – do not read if you are squeamish

A few small “friends” have decided to join me on my travels round South Sudan. These friends are in the form of small worms that have decided to burrow into my foot looking for a warm place to lay their eggs. Not sure where I picked them up but recognised it from the last time I had the same unwelcome guest in Madagascar. Jiggers!!  That time I managed to turf it out myself.

My foot

I took a photo and sent it off to the tropical medicine experts Interhealth for a second opinion. The famous (in health circles) Dr Ted Lankester replied to confirm that my suspicions were probably right and I should go to a clinic to get them removed. The only trouble was there are no clinics around here so I scoured the web looking for home remedies. There were a few gruesome videos of removal (one sent by my boss) and other home remedies. Common advice is to soak your feet in hydrogen peroxide and then apply Vaseline which apparently suffocates them. I improvised with some detol and strawberry lipbalm.

How long before I succumb and have a go at removal? I was a bit put off when Ted said if you don’t get them out completely they “seed”. I don’t know what that means exactly but it doesn’t sound good. So maybe me and my “friends” will be sticking around for a bit longer.

South Sudan

Yesterday I asked if you could guess where I am. Its South Sudan – somewhere near the Sudan border and in the midst of where the IDPs (internally displaced people) have come to seek safety from the on-going conflict.

This is how we traveled. Image

I was hosted by ACF and there to support emergency WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) coordination in the camps. We visited a few during my stay. Here are a few photos so that you can see the conditions that they are living in.

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Basic sanitation

Bathing facilitites

Bathing facilitites

Water supply

Water supply

Camp

Camp

Clinic facilities

Clinic facilities

Kids playing

Kids playing

Collectiong water

Collecting water

The facilities are quite basic as they were put up in a rush. Its hard to tell how long people will stay here and there are signs that the displaces are already on the move again. This camp is in a government area. The agencies cant even gain access into the rebel held areas so facilities will be much, much worse. The heat is enervating and there is hardly any shade to escape it.