The journey to Nairobi from Heathrow was probably the best I have had for some time. The gremlins must have been ironed out at Heathrow terminal 5 as checking in was very straightforward. British Airways have a generous hand baggage allowance so I was a bit slow through security. I have an annoying tendency to over-pack my hand luggage, (with books, laptops and a fleece on this occasion). As I stuffed the fleece, (which I had considered leaving behind), into a back pack it occurred to me that I could probably make money, (or at least get free samples), testing backpacks for capacity and zip strength.
Having regretted packing the fleece in London I was grateful for it in Nairobi. The world's climate is becoming increasingly erratic – floods in England as I was leaving and cold, wet weather in Kenya. What have we done? Whichever model of global climate control you subscribe to it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that something will have to change very soon or we are all in for a really tough time.
Traveling back to our home in Kosele this morning I was able to catch up with the latest developments from Duncan, (our farm manager), who came to meet me. The last thirty minutes of our journey, following the rough road to Kosele, was more challenging than usual thanks to an excessive amount of rain in the last few days. The “road” becomes more of a 4x4 work out each time we use it. The most recently added features include a small stream by the side of the road, (occasionally meandering across to the other side via deep ruts), and extra mud.
I am very impressed by the progress that has been made on the farm during my absence. When I left at the beginning of April the maize shoots were just about peeping through the mulch on the field. Now the cobs of maize are bursting with potential and mostly huge. The farm has been transformed into a “land of milk and honey”! In addition to the maize, sweet potatoes, cassava, mung beans, millet, banana trees and Mango trees that have been planted and lovingly tended we have a very impressive greenhouse housing 579 extremely healthy looking tomato plants. Mary, (our manager), Duncan, and the Agriculture college teachers Mr Isaiah and Mr Harrison have worked very hard and have encouraged the young people in the college on to a very high level of commitment. Our farm team are, as ever, modest about their achievements but I am very proud of all of them.
Progress is also being made preparing our oldest primary school pupils for their end of year Kenyan Certificate of Primary Education exam. Our new headteacher, Madam Nyangwe, has upped the pace in the homework and revision stakes. I spent a very enjoyable, (if somewhat challenging), couple of hours this evening helping out with maths revision. Fortunately some of the young people who are visiting us this summer are good mathematicians so our students won't have to depend on my somewhat rusty maths skills.
As I type the temperature has fallen a bit – we've had a good drop of rain this evening which has had a decidedly cooling effect. I can't remember the last time I actually felt in need of warmer clothing in Kosele........ where did I put that fleece?