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2008-07-11 a message from James

The Magpie is alive!

Well, I got your attention everyone?

For the last two days I have heard terrible scratching in my chimney in my sitting room, and wasn't really sure what it was... a piece of wood had blocked off half of my chimney, and a magpie had fallen from the chimney pot, down onto the board and got lodged... I heard its familiar call today. So a chimney sweep had to come to dislodge Mr Magpie and then he cleaned my chimney anyway when he was here...Panic over...Magpie is a bit dazed looking but sitting on the hedge outside still...He lives!

This was going to be a brief hello, but now I am telling you about magpies...no its not the malaria tablets, honest!

Kenya was INCREDIBLE. Each trip is more memorable than the last. Kibera was as awful as before. Cheryl's bus is transporting kids to and from secondary school every day and collecting and dropping off day-pupils to and from Kibera daily and many other chores also. It is by no means a brand-new bus but ought to last a few years, even on those RIDICULOUS Kenyan roads - I will never complain about Irish roads again!

Cheryl's is almost unrecognisable since the first day I was there...and once the boys are in their new lodgings in a few weeks, it will be luxurious by previous standards! At the moment 27 boys are in a room which is 14ft X 14ft... 2 in most beds, 3 in some! Not good, not healthy, but thankfully not for long.

The day-trip to Lake Nakuru was wonderful, we saw so much and had a great time.

The concert was a great experience for the children, never having seen a Grand Piano, stage-lights etc etc, and performing to an audience, though sadly a very small audience. It was an experiment, and it is hard to publicise a concert from a distance. I ended up playing the piano for most of the concert, which was kinda mad, including accompanying myself singing "Nessun Dorma" (Is that a first?). It was far from perfect as a concert, but as I say, a great experience for the children.

Leaving becomes worse and harder every time, because of course we have got to know these kids so well. At the start they call us "Teacher!", and then during the week I become "James" and to one... I am "Dad"!

Yes, I have already signed up for next year, and I believe the list for next year is pretty much complete already!! Basil is starting a website soon. 58 of Cheryl's Children now have Sponsor-parents - isn't that wonderful?

St Paul's was good too, and Basil has done an incredible job there over the years. But it is in a good state now. And little Hope is doing GREAT!

SO MUCH to tell...but I can leave it to the next time...like the fact that I had no dodgy tummy this time...yippee!

Thank you ALL for your lovely kind messages of support and love!
Love to each and every single one of you!
James.