Tania Payne's Blog (25)

Climbing Mount Kenya

An eight year old can climb Mount Kenya is what they say. No eight year old that I ever want to babysit. 



First, we acclimatised at Mountain Rock's Bantu Lodge which reminded me of Picnic On Hanging Rock with it's sprawling gardens dappled by the shade of tall trees, beneath which a party of boarding school girls made merry at the end of a school trip. When we wandered a little too far round the back of the lodge, things turned just a teensy bit Texas Chainsaw… Continue

Added by Tania Payne on July 6, 2011 at 10:44am — 4 Comments

There's Something Wrong With My Face - Update

For all these years, it seems I was wasting my money on Neutragena, Clearsasil and all those other spot treatments and anti-bacterial washes. Apparently, what I should have been using all along is TCP antiseptic cream. Not only has my skin calmed down a lot, I smell fabulous.

Added by Tania Payne on July 6, 2011 at 6:38am — No Comments

Pamoja Trust Farewell

March 29th 2009, 15:38

How much help we could really be would always be in question. They certainly didn’t learn as much from me as I did from them, although Alex had a queue of people wanting him to do to their computer what he’d done for others. But that was not reflected in their send off for us, which was more appreciative than I’ve ever experienced in my entire working life. We even featured in one of the songs they sang and danced…

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Added by Tania Payne on June 30, 2011 at 3:14pm — No Comments

Pamoja Trust, Nairobi

Kids living in one of Nairobi's 183 slums

 

February 27th 2009, 12:30

The next Monday, just like the rest of you, we were at work for 9am. And, as working weeks do all over the world, they have flown by. As I type, we…

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Added by Tania Payne on June 30, 2011 at 11:38am — No Comments

Whistling Thorns

February 27th 2009, 12:00

My face wasn’t much better when I woke up the next morning. What wasn’t peeling off was red and raw and I was in a bad mood so I didn’t say much as Francis drove us out of Nairobi towards the Ngong hills, past the towns of Kiserian and Rongai Ongata, to the small holiday resort that is Whistling Thorns. It’s named after the acacia trees that populate the surrounding landscape. Ants make holes in the seeds and,…

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Added by Tania Payne on June 30, 2011 at 9:27am — No Comments

Nairobi: Circumcision

February 25th 2009, 18:00

Back at Jane’s, we sat down for a soda and a chat with Bill (but not before I’d gone to the bathroom and doused my face liberally with Dettol, there not being enough ice cream). When, in his first email to me back in London, Bill had said, “My culture is circumcision and I hope you will enjoy it,” we’d assumed there had been some sort of communication breakdown. But as we sat with him in the sitting room while…

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Added by Tania Payne on June 29, 2011 at 10:03am — No Comments

Nairobi: There's Something Wrong With My Face

February 25th 2009, 17:30

The following day was our last day with Jane before we left for the weekend to Whistling Thorns, and then on to begin another of the arrangements we’d made before we left, a monthlong internship at Pamoja Trust. It was to be a day of pottering about, writing emails, uploading photos and just not much. I was really looking forward to it.

 

Up until around 2pm, everything went according to (no)…

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Added by Tania Payne on June 28, 2011 at 7:39am — 2 Comments

Day 4: Open Hand Orphanage, Nairobi

February 25th 2009, 17:00

Jane, who runs our guesthouse, is one of four directors of an orphanage in Githurai, one of the few stone buildings on the edge of one of Nairobi’s 183 slums. Thursday was her visiting day and she was happy to take us along. We arrived just in time for a bible reading, which was weird because only the previous day, I’d told Alex I’d like to go to one. I’m not religious, and don’t believe in God, which is not…

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Added by Tania Payne on June 27, 2011 at 9:57am — No Comments

Day 3: Kibera, Africa's Biggest Slum

February 6th 2009, 15:38

The words ‘slum’ and ‘poverty’ are well used. Maybe you’ve read Shantaram, which some say romanticises these terms. Trying to tread the line between, on the one hand, outright horror and on the other, sheer awe at the spirit of human nature to exist, it’s impossible to say that, up close, it isn’t everything you’d expect, and worse, without also saying how much more to it there is than just squalor and…

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Added by Tania Payne on June 25, 2011 at 10:30am — 2 Comments

Day 3: Nairobi National Park

February 6th 2009, 10:09

Being at the park in time for sunrise was my bright idea, but I was alright once I was in the shower. It was still dark when we arrived at the park, and Francis was annoyed that by the time the gates were open to let us in, the sun had risen well into the sky. But in fact, the timing was perfect. There was enough light for photos, and everything was bathed in a warm, golden glow and a silky cloak of early…

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Added by Tania Payne on June 24, 2011 at 10:38am — 2 Comments

Day 2: Nairobi

February 6th 2009, 10:08

Today was all about the animals, the Giraffe Centre and Crocodile Village, and Francis was our driver and companion. Mum has a diary at home featuring pictures of Africa. The one that had caught my eye was of a stately looking home with a real life giraffe poking its head through the window. So it was exciting when that’s exactly where we ended up today, that home had belonged to the founder of the Giraffe…

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Added by Tania Payne on June 23, 2011 at 2:56pm — No Comments

Open Hand Orphanage, Nairobi - The Sequel

March 29th 2009, 15:30

When we arrived at the orphanage to stay for the weekend (which was our second weekend during our internship at Pamoja), the staff were embarrassed because the water had been cut off. “We haven’t done any washing since yesterday!” they said apologetically, and it meant we had nothing else to do than play!



I don’t know what came over me, but I did a very unusual thing: I let someone else use my camera. In…

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Added by Tania Payne on June 23, 2011 at 11:24am — No Comments

Amboseli, Kenya

February 28th 2009, 01:00

Everyone says that, if what you want is safari, then Masai Mara is the best. It has the most game, apparently. More lions than you can shake a stick at (definitely don’t shake a stick at one). That may be the case. But what you won’t get at Mara is a bloody great volcano in the background. For that reason and that reason alone, if you’re only doing safari once, do it at Amboseli.



The landscape is…

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Added by Tania Payne on June 23, 2011 at 11:21am — 2 Comments

Day 1: Nairobi

6th February 2009, 10:00

As I mentioned earlier, in preparation for our grand tour, we had contacted a number of Dad’s friends and colleagues. A result of these communications was that a driver was holding a board with our names on it as we walked through Arrivals at Jomo Kenyatta International. His name was Francis, and he knew how to spell my name. He chatted as he drove us for an hour and a half to our guesthouse, but you’ll have to…

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Added by Tania Payne on June 23, 2011 at 9:23am — No Comments

Zero Hour

6th February 2009, 9:50

By the time we got on the plane from Heathrow to Nairobi, I’d had 4 hours sleep in 3 days. When the cat sniffed my rucksack and finally clocked what was going on, I burst into hysterical tears that lasted from closing the door on him to the tube, along the Piccadilly line and all the way to Heathrow. Alex was very good about it, he must have been utterly horrified. I passed out within minutes of having fastened…

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Added by Tania Payne on June 21, 2011 at 12:47pm — No Comments

T minus 5 hours

February 1st 2009, 13:47

Time to shut down, take the bags down, wait for Alex and cry on the cat. See you soon, folks.

Yikes!!

Added by Tania Payne on June 21, 2011 at 12:46pm — No Comments

slightly less than T minus 6 hours

February 1st 2009, 12:29

The blizzard seems to have stopped...

There's a cracking tennis match going on. Can't really watch it, of course.

Added by Tania Payne on June 21, 2011 at 12:46pm — No Comments

T minus 6 hours

February 1st 2009, 12:24

Here comes the blizzard...

Added by Tania Payne on June 21, 2011 at 12:45pm — No Comments

T minus 14 hours

February 1st 2009, 04:28

I don't want to go anymore. I want to go to bed. I want a lie in. I want to eat pizza. I want round the clock access to mayonnaise. I feel a bit sick. I just brushed my teeth and tongue a little too vigourously and nearly was. I've just said goodbye to Mum, also on her way to Africa, off to meet Dad. They'll both be so near yet so far. Her stiff upper lip was a bit more wobbly than Dad's, in fact she didn't…

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Added by Tania Payne on June 20, 2011 at 7:53pm — No Comments

T minus 5 days

January 27th 2009, 13:45

I think I've had my first lariam dream. Having had only one proper nightmare ever, I was curious about this possible side effect, and almost looking forward to it. It sounded like a challenge. Well, last night, I was being chased up a flight of stairs by two axe murderers. Fortunately, they ended up murdering each other and by the end, I was fishing for trout in our garden pond. So, I reckon I can handle…

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Added by Tania Payne on June 20, 2011 at 5:03pm — No Comments

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