Greetings from Kilifi, Coastal Kenya! I'm here ready to work with a group of primary teachers on the learning and teaching of mathematics - hurrah! So that's starting tomorrow. Travelled on Friday - always such a joy, I think the airport at Dar es Salaam must rank as one of my very least favourite places on earth - and then yesterday was spent working with my co-facilitator, a former student on the masters programme.
A map of Kiifi helps to explain the pictures, I'm staying at Mnarani Club towards the bottom right of the screen just close to the bridge, then the inlet to the right goes to the Indian Ocean very shortly afterwards:
Views across the creek and back to the Ocean are pretty amazing:
Went to church this morning, was aiming for the Redeemer Church and ended up at New LIfe Church. In my defence, I did ask as I was entering whether it was the Redemeer and was assured the answer was yes! Chalked up another first: first time I was security checked on entering the grounds of a church:
On the way back felt inspired to take the following picture which is replicated many many times in this part of the world, Jamaica, and I'm sure many other places too, 'Leo' means 'Today':
This gives me a seamless segue to my Uganda trip a couple of weeks ago, which involved on the way back a lengthy wait at Entebbe Airport. Spent part of that time in the non-airside canteen in which a football match between Arsenal and Crystal Palace was being shown on TV. The place was packed including many airport staff on a break. Now, I have lived close to both of these teams' home grounds, yet I was the one reading a book only occasionally to look up when there was a huge roar of delight or disappointment.
I have heard it said that, depending on how 'support' is defined exactly, 10% of the entire world's population supports Manchester United. Have to say, find this both highly believable and also a bit sad. If people here like football so much, why on earth can't local teams be formed which can be followed, rather than going half way round the world to follow foreign teams? Possibly there's a blindingly obvious answer to this question which is currently alluding me, always willing to learn...
The Uganda trip a couple of weeks ago was to Arua, North West Uganda, close to the border both with Southern Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Once there many of the homes look like the following which was actually taken at the Dar es Salaam Village Museum:
And this in a model village in Lesotho:
All of these are bigger than those I was seeing in Uganda, including right outside the hotel we were staying in, and also tend to be made, I think, of mud bricks. Of course, it would be possible to take photographs directly, but I really don't feel comfortable to do so, these are people's homes, taking photographs without explicit permission seems somewhat voyeuristic. Very open to advice on this point!
Purpose for the visit was to interview candidates, with the process involving a face to face interview and also a total of 3.5 hours worth of written tests. Though I say so myself, the whole thing was terribly well organised. The stated arrival time was 9am., I anticipated - correclty - that some people would arrive early, some on time, and some late. So, as soon as half the candidates had arrived - which on the Friday was at 8.30am., we asked them to start the tests, then if people arrived late they were able to slot into the morining interview schedule. People sometimes say - or imply - that I don't understand African time, but I would like to think that this bit of organisation indicates, at least to a limited extent, that I do.
On the way we travelled by road, not fantastic pictures of elephants but not quite as bad as my lion:
We crossed the Nile twice and had the most magnificent views, alas, there are police stationed on the bridges preventing vehicles from stopping to take pictures - I asked several times why taking pictures of the Nile represents a security risk but got no clear answer. Quite common to see baboons unconcernedly grooming each other on the roadside, was not amused when sombody in the vehicle in front of us threw a banana which one of the baboons ran after with no thought for road safety.
Think that's it for now, except to say that I'm just about to do some more work on the Joshua Appeal part of the website, I now have an appeal flyer to upload. Next weekend I expect to be sending the flyer out to friends, colleagues, former colleagues, former students, etc. etc. Meanwhile, the appeal has its first donation! MR, you know who you are, many thanks for your generosity, I very much hope that this is the first of many.