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4 travelers at this place
  • Day7

    School Day 2

    October 22, 2019 in Kenya ⋅ ☀️ 24 °C

    After a good nights rest we eventually got on our way to Light Spring Academy. When we arrived we went into their classes and taught them different things, Zach and Nathaniel taught them ‘Our God Is A Great Big God’ and the national anthem; Mum taught tenses in English, Zeph taught Maths and about clothes; Dad taught Maths and I taught some long division in maths to the older class. After that we played with the kids and then had a cup of tea with egg filled chipatis then we went into more classes and watched them do their graduation dances and songs, and even Nathaniel had a go at dancing, but lacked the African rhythm. We then played with them more and played some football. We met Sylvia’s grandmother and talked with her, after we had a very nice meal of chicken and ugali. We then went to Booker academy and taught cricket, outside unlike yesterday with only little rain, and did some games of cricket and catching practice. Then Zeph, Dad And I ran back to the guest house while Mum, Zach and Nathaniel took Jose’s van. When we were running back lots of children walking back from school joined in and started running with us.Read more

    Anna Burton

    That sounds like such a nice day and it was nice for all of you for each the kids something xxxx

    David Burton

    Really lovely hearing about you all teaching and seeing the enjoyment you are bringing playing cricket with all the children and how they love joining in. Super hearing about their practising their dancing too! Hopefully you have a video of it, so we can enjoy seeing it when you are home! SO lovely and special having your daily diary! Lots of love D M , G and G xxxx

  • Day413


    February 2 in Kenya ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

    Did some 2-hours-drive towards Uganda yesterday which will reduce stress today. I wanted to stay at a campsite in Kakamega forest but it was closed so I just parked my car on a flat grassy lawn next to a lodge, on the private grounds of an old lady. In the morning I give here some shillings for that and I buy 2 eggs from her. I think this is a fair deal :-) There are even toilets nearby from an old abandoned church. Opposite of my camp a narrow corridor of tea plants blends over into the pristine forest. I see monkeys in the distance and many birds, working hard on the ambient sound atmosphere. Hillery, a local dude usually working in Mombasa in a hotel, is here at his parents' place because due to the current situation there is no work in Mombasa. He invites me to his place in the morning and from him I also learn that a worker on these governmental tea fields earns around 200 KES (1.5 EUR) per day whereas people illegally harvesting dead wood (for charcoal) in the forest reserve manage to earn 700-1000 KES per day. There is of course some monitoring but due to high corruption nothing takes effect. A police officer or ranger earns just 30,000 KES (230 EUR) per month and everybody searches for secondary and tertiary income sources ;-)Read more

  • Day11

    Hearts of Hospitality

    October 26, 2019 in Kenya ⋅ ⛅ 26 °C

    We had a leisurely Saturday breakfast, not quite toasted sourdough, but the now familiar Spanish eggs (omelette with onions and peppers), warm weetabix, bananas and African mixed tea. We then headed to a nearby bar with a TV screen which had opened early so we were able to watch the rugby, along with Jose and a small table of Kenyans, one clearly a fervent England supporter!

    After the match, we drove up to Lubinu where the church were holding a School of Leadership training day, led by Joseph from Zambia, whom we had met last night. We arrived at around 2.30pm, at which point Mary said they were just ‘finishing up’ with the training... which actually did finish 3 hours later! We learned a new thing about African time from Zambia, that there is ‘normal time’ and ‘airport time’, as the only time you actually need to be on time is for a flight, otherwise any time is fine! Thankfully we fit quite naturally into African time, being rather good at being late, usually keeping Jose (who has adopted European style punctuality) patiently waiting for some time.

    In any case, whilst Hugh and Zach sat in on the ‘tail end’ of the training, Zeph, Caleb and Nathaniel spent time with some 20 or so village children, who were not particularly from the school or church, but just turned up when they saw the van arrive! The boys successfully encouraged them all to help pick up litter, which they very obligingly did (only for it all to be thrown back into a small ditch beside the church, clearly the normal rubbish disposal site). They then played volleyball (which is actually quite tricky with a cricket training ball!), but in true Kenyan style, they quickly picked up this new sport and amused themselves for hours.

    Meanwhile I enjoyed a Saturday trip to the salon.... or rather the salon came to me in the shape of 3 ladies braiding my hair as i sat just outside the church front door watching the children play and enjoying listening to ‘Bless the Lord, oh my soul’, on a speaker which a couple of lads were playing. The braids seemed a good idea earlier, although now as I turn in, my hair is aching somewhat and I’m not entirely sure how my head will hit the pillow. Zeph suggested I take a paracetamol and Hugh thinks it’s just like braces, sore for the first few days then it’ll settle down. Oh well, the boys will no doubt think it a great improvement that I can now keep them informed on braid woes instead of brace updates!

    It’s hard to believe we arrived in Mumias a week ago, and the boys are so sad to be saying goodbye to the children from Gospel Springs church and Light Spring Academy, especially a family of 3 little boys, Elohim, Emmanual and Levi (who can usually be found on Zach’s shoulders!). Nathaniel says he actually just wants to stay here, to live I think! It has been such a joy to see old friends again from last time, like dear Christine, who is an amazing interpreter in the services, switching effortlessly between English, Kiswahili and mother tongue, depending on who she’s translating for. She welcomed and fed 11 of us for dinner this evening as well as her own very extended family, with a delicious meal of rice, ugali, liver, chicken and mashed potatoes with banana. It has been so humbling to be welcomed so warmly and looked after so generously by people who genuinely have so little and yet give so much. And even more so as they feel the privilege is theirs in doing the hosting. We could learn much from their hearts of hospitality.
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    Louise Collins

    I think we should see the finished braids Em! Well done you, but I can see it must be hard to leave. Will be praying you safely on your way ♥️

    David Burton

    What a lovely weekend t o wind up your visit back to Mumias and so glad that you have reconnected with many folk that you first got to know 4 years ago. Hopefully it will not be so long before some at least of yo u mange another visit. We have much enjoyed your daily blogs and pray for safe journeys as you travel on again to Uganda tomorrow. Much love from us all here in Edinburgh

    Simon Burton

    Great to catch up with your news and all you’ve done. We’ll pray you have a good journey back. Lots of love from us both

    Debbie Messam

    I have been reading your interesting and you've obviously had an amazing visit. Sounds as if you may be homeward bound now so continuing to pray for you all and Zach as he stays on. What a big world we live in and so diverse and God knows each one of us personally. Xx

  • Day9

    Graduation Day

    October 24, 2019 in Kenya ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

    Today was the graduation of the children in PP2 at Light Springs Academy, so the 5/6 year olds were all wearing their graduation gowns and hats, which was very cute. We left earlier so we were there in time for the ceremony, which was starting around 10. We sat down in the church, with the parents and teachers, as the ‘distinguished guests’. It started with a song from the older children in which they gave ‘flowers’/tinsel to Mum and Dad, it then moved onto the scores that everyone had scored and put them in order of their scores at the front and the head teacher commented on the changes in position that each for each of the children, something that doesn’t happen in England! All the children had performed very well, with most getting over 50% in their exams. We moved onto speeches from Wycliffe, the head teacher and then parents were able to voice their opinion of the school, it was quite incredible what the school has provided these children with and the parents stories confirmed that, with one student not being able to speak before he went to the school. We handed out lunch to all the children and parents and then we ate lunch ourselves. There were then there was some more songs from the children, one which you have to give money to them as a reward for sing and dancing so well. Dad then presented the certificates to the PP2 students who were graduating, and every certificate that was given got a huge African cheer. We gave out balloons and biscuits to all the children at the end which they absolutely loved and we then went on a walk to Wycliffe’s mum’s house because Wycliffe said ‘if we stayed then the children would never leave!’ We walked down the road to where Wycliffe grew up which meant that he knew everyone! We met his mother and other members of his family, including his 102 year old relative!

    We walked back to the church and lots of the children were still there to welcome us back. We couldn’t stay there for long as we were going to visit Tom’s house and business, who is a member of the church we met last time. He lives in the most incredible place, with beautiful views of the hills, we went into his home and met his family- his wife, mother, 3 year old son and his 1 week old son- who were very welcoming and gave us tea. His older son, Hope, wasn’t too sure of the 6 muzungus! He runs a computer business in the town and we visited his business to see it. We went back to the hotel quickly before going to Wycliffe and Mary’s house to cut the cake for Jephtha’s graduation, who entertained us all by feeding us all cake off his fork and singing happy birthday! It was a very short drive to next door to Fred and Esther’s for dinner, which was lovely as always. Back to the hotel for a much needed sleep after a long and busy day!
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    Anna Burton

    I am liking the matching tops 😂xx

    David Burton

    What a fantastic photo of you all in your Kenyan dress and shirts!! You look marvellous and with your garlands too! What a wonderful time to be visiting them when it was their Graduation day and it all sounded so interesting and so glad they had all done well. It sounds like a very memorable day! Very humbling to see photo of the lady cooking in her home and how they wash up too. How kind they all are, looking after you so well. Lots of love and our prayers D, M, G and G xxxx

    Louise Collins

    Trust you’ll all be sporting these first Sunday back at Castlehold 😃 xx

    Aurélie Drogou

    Nathaniel you are always so good with the little one x

  • Day6

    Off to Schools

    October 21, 2019 in Kenya ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C

    As yesterday ‘Heros’ Day’ in Kenya today was a bank holiday - however Light Spring Academy was open although slightly depleted in numbers. Our arrival was greeted with African tea and ground nuts after which we went to meet the children who were asked to introduce themselves. As they quietly spoke, some afraid of the strangers in front of them we knew that this shyness would not last. It was about 5 minutes after they had gone back into their class to practise for their end of term celebration. Their singing and dancing is really amazing!

    Their home lives however are often far from happy. Some have HIV, one of the brightest 10 year old’s father has died from it it, her mother is infected and she was born with it. Others have very chaotic lives. While the children were playing we went for a walk in the village to see some of the homes the children come from. We visited one home where only the ‘wife’ was at home, although she was very young and had only come yesterday. Polygamy is common and some ‘marriages’ the wife will only stay a few days. Poverty often forces young girls into these situations. Another family we visited make a living by cutting rocks into smaller pieces, it is hard work and if they manage to sell them, a whole pile is worth £3.

    After lunch we went to Booker Academy - a good boarding school where we played some ‘cricket’, however by this time it had started raining so it was indoors with around 100 children, not ideal!

    Dinner at Fred and Esther’s then bed zzzzz
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  • Day8

    Teacher Teacher

    October 23, 2019 in Kenya ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

    The day started as usual, we went to Light Spring Academy and saw all the children. We again tried to teach them something but that was more successful for some more than others. Zeph was teaching the Grade 3s, who are older and understand English quite well. Whereas I (Zach) was teaching the PP2s, who are slightly younger and don’t understand us very well. This combination of the younger age and the lack of understanding meant they took full advantage of a Muzungu teaching them, stealing water and sunglasses from me and then snatching chalk off each other, and `I couldn’t do anything to stop it because they didn’t understand. Dad and Wycliffe went to the Mwale Medical and Technology City a supposedly $2 billion project nearby to the church. The bought some bricks from the church over 2 years ago and still haven’t paid - the amount outstanding is around $700. He went to the ‘mall’ where the office is located - this mall is a large business with large shelves mainly selling water as well as wellington boots and even hard hats, all very spread out on the vast shelves. After being told to wait for 30 minutes to see the manager, he then phoned to say he was very busy. Dad also spoke to him without too much success saying he’d pay by the end of November. The whole scheme seems a huge fraud with the mainly US investors unlikely to see any of their money, while the ‘chief investor’ and owner Julias Mwale seems to live in a luxury villa next to the complex (apparently in an office displaying photoshopped photos of himself with world leaders!)

    We then went to Booker and it didn’t rain that much! We had lots of children playing cricket on the field and (hopefully) they were all enjoying it. Some girls we had met earlier in the week tried to plait mum’s hair, using her brace elastic bands to tie the ends. We had to say goodbye to everyone at Booker as they were finishing school so we weren’t going back again. We had a photo and they all thought that Zeph’s hair was a wig so all started stroking our hair as ‘it’s so soft’! They then asked for our ‘autographs’ so we wrote a message on a paper and all signed it. We went back to the hotel and then went to Fred and Esther’s for a fish dinner.
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    Anna Burton

    Looks great and I am sure the children really appreciated you being there xx

    David Burton

    Sounds like you had fun teaching the children and as you said they took advantage of a Muzungu teaching them!! Sounded amusing them thinking Zeph's hair was a wig! It has obviously meant a lot to them having you with them and they have enjoyed it as much as you have. That's really great! Lots of love D, M, G and G xxxx

    Louise Collins

    What a beautiful picture!

  • Day10


    October 25, 2019 in Kenya ⋅ ☀️ 25 °C

    After a hectic few days and a proposed trip to Kakamega we decided to take it easier. After a leisurely breakfast we went down the road to a swimming pool. With only about 3 others in the pool we nearly had the pool to ourselves until 3 school bus loads of children turned up, about half of whom swam with the rest watching from the side! After a light lunch we went back to the hotel and took a walk through the back roads to Mumias to visit the market. A chilled day was finished with dinner at Wycliff and Mary’s with a pastor from Zambia.Read more

    David Burton

    How nice for you to have had a more leisurely day and enjoy seeing more of the local area. Seems also a day without any rains unlike for many back home! Thanks for all the lovely pictures which so helps us imagining all you are doing. Lots of love M and D/Gdad and Granny

  • Day5

    Sunday at Gospel Springs

    October 20, 2019 in Kenya ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

    A good night’s sleep was needed, and apart from interruptions from a Saturday night party, a call to prayer and hotel noise it was just about had by most.
    The day started with Breakfast outside and then a trip to the church - we arrived to be greeted by many children outside, the church is now in its new building and is quite unrecognisable from before. We were introduced when we got there - the church had probably started at 730 and we arrived at 10 - and then were asked to preach, with 10 minutes notice! The problem with speaking is that any examples are very far removed from the day to day life of the people at the church - their worries are for food, shelter and clothes, much different from the worries we have. ‘Walking by faith and not by sight’ was the passage used with examples of driving in the torrential rain from the night before not knowing where we were going, but having faith that by following the road ahead we would reach our destination despite the conditions around (not even sure that example worked as they are very used to electric storms and heavy rain!) It was great to see friends from before like Christine and Tom as well as the children like Sylvia and Jefftha.

    For lunch time we were invited to a family connected to the church - a lunch of chapati, chicken, rice, ugali after which we went back to the guest house for a rest, run and watch of the Liverpool - Man U game! Followed by dinner at Pastor Wycliff and Mary’s house with their family.
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    Anna Burton

    Sounds great xx Anna x

    Louise Collins

    Beautiful pictures! Enjoy every minute xx

    Richard Jelfs

    Heaps of love and prayers to and for you all. It looks so amazing - thanks for sharing! Xx

    2 more comments
  • Day63

    Made it! Sort of.

    March 4, 2016 in Kenya ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    We're settled in, bags dropped, and sitting in a park with a cold drink and it's not even 530pm! A bus scheduled to leave at 10am for an 8.5 hour ride to Lodwar... So how did we do it you ask? Simple! We're in Kakamega. Let's face it, it's much more fun to say out loud! Kakamega!

    Thanks to our preview from yesterday, we were expecting for the bus to leave later then 10am, but arrived on time just in case. Around 12pm we decided to have our packed lunch because we were getting hungry, still parked in front of the ticket office. By 120pm, Jack and I simultaneously hit a point where we were both tired of sitting on the bus, and we hadn't even left yet. 3.5 hours sitting on a parked bus is tiring, no distracting landscapes, nothing to change your mind from the obvious frustration. People on the bus were saying the bus can actually take up to 10 hours to arrive. Seeing that it's 130pm, we weren't arriving before at least 11pm, and without a map or guest house in mind, we both thought it was no longer worth it. Furthermore, this landscape is suppose to be absolutely beautiful as you arrive closer to Lake Turkana. It's this emerald lake, and you see volcano peaks around it, should be gorgeous. But we would have had the last 4 hours of our journey in complete darkness; it ruins the point. Plenty of other places to visit, no need to torture ourselves for another 10 hours.

    Jack had to argue quite a bit to get a refund, even if our ticket was written "no refund after departure", which clearly doesn't apply. Finally, someone came in just at the right time, wanting to buy tickets. So we sold ours. And by sold ours, I mean the guy working at the ticket office was holding our tickets, and gave them to this new customer. So as Jack was complaining that he wasn't being sympathic, she slowly grabbed the money and walked away. To which he responded he wanted a coca cola. Done.

    Walking off the bus felt wonderful. I'm so done with this town, I couldn't care less where we go, just somewhere. So the closest town of interest was Kakamega! There's a forest reserve with apparently great walking trails that we will attempt tomorrow. I assumed the town would be tiny since the lonely planet doesn't even mention the town... Boy was I wrong. FYI - lonely planet continues to fail us. We use it to know where we're going, and loosely follow the town maps, but that's it. We've found better and cheaper accommodation in every single town we've been in. Even transportation is still turning out cheaper in some cases then what's in the book. And since I highly doubt the prices were lowered in the last year, it still leads me to believe no one actually came to these countries to revise the information provided.

    Matatus here are confusing... 9 passenger seats, and 9 passengers... I actually had my own seat. So did Jack. And we only picked someone up along the way twice, that's after we let someone off of course, because again - we each had our own seats... Hm...

    And we've gotten fair pricing so far! Buses haven't overcharged, not even matatus. Same price as others. Local restaurants have been charging real prices. Street vendors, real prices. It's a nice change. I don't need to argue the price. I just bought a power bar and the guy selling said 300. I looked confused so he said 200. I didn't even have to say anything and he dropped 100. Just for the heck of it I said 150 and he said OK. Lol. The power bar is because the guest houses we're staying in tend to cut electricity during the day, which means we can only charge things at night. I have both our cellphones and Jack's tablet to charge, so we've been putting alarms throughout the night to switch what's charging. 150KSh (2$CAD) not to have to wake up at 1am and 4am, money well spent.

    I'm now sitting in a well maintained park, in the middle of Kamamenga, which turned out to be huge! And for it to have a park in the middle of downtown has been amazing since we haven't seen in city green spaces in a long time. I get to people watch while Jack reads. Perfect. That is of course if you ignore the time we had to change spots because the begging kids decided to sit next to us and mock us for the longest time. They seemed to be sniffing something out of a bottle. A bunch of what appeared to be homeless 8 year olds high as kites.

    Side note - Throughout this trip, I feel like we've had quite the ability to pick good accommodation. Even today, we visited a few different options which confirmed our first spot to be great! It's the cheapest we visited, yet it's the cleanest and the staff was so nice and attentive. When we said we were going to walk around and visit other options, she responded "no problem, but please come back, we would love to have you stay with us". Yes mam! Hot water, shared but squeaky clean bathroom, 500KSh. Score. Most guest houses are set around courtyards behind restaurant or store fronts. Our place yesterday had again, clean shared bathrooms, hot shower at night thanks to the fire they lit under the water tank, 450KSh. The lonely planet doesn't mention any places for under 1500KSh. Pft.

    Also a side note - I don't really mention boring daily routine stuff, but it is an important part of our day. As backpackers, you have a limited amount of clothing, and you don't always know what you're next place will look like. So you always do your laundry when you can. Always. Everyday when I'm showering, I wash my underwear. You do the classic sniff test for your shirt. Wash if needed. Also a daily must is water bottles. Obviously with the warmth, we always make sure to have water available, and that often means stopping to buy some in the evening on our way home. Our malaria pills in the morning, which we are surprisingly taking. Sunscreen used to be a daily thing, but I seem to have gotten used to the sun, because I no longer need it when in a city. Actually I think I only put some one maybe the first 2 weeks... You should see my farmers tan "spell whistling here*. Just simple daily things.
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    Good to hear you had a real bus, it must feel confortable... Et l'attitude de la population semble bien aussi. Tant mieux. D.L.

    Helene Drouin

    Tu devrait écrire à Lonely Planet pour leur dire q'ils sont complètement dépassé!! Vous etes rendu des pros du marchandage!!!!


You might also know this place by the following names:

Kakamega, Kakamega District