We have been living in Old
Doonholm in the Eastern part of Nairobi for the last 12
years. It was not meant to be that long, but we
have been fighting unscrupulous people in court who
tried to steal the land we originally intended to build
the Children's Home upon. Some 2 years ago we
began looking around for a new property for the
Children's Home, as the 2 acres we had in Umoja was
starting to look increasingly small...
2011, Marianne located a property in Tigoni outside
Nairobi which she really fell for, and when Jonny came
back from Norway late May and saw it, he also fell for
it. So we bought the place, and renovations and
rebuilding began immediately.
Let us add,
that we are two parties who bought the place, so that
Maisha Mema owns 5/8 - that is 5 acres, and Marianne
and Jonny 3/8.
We managed to keep the schedule,
and moved into the property just before Christmas 2011.
The children, Marianne and Jonny have come home! :-)
find some pictures of the property as it looked when we
started, and some building pictures showing the
Topographical map showing how the property is narrow at
the entrance in south and widens as we go north.
The Western side is about 350 meters long. The red
square about in the middle on the Western side is the
wood shed seen at the next picture.
property is in fact forest! The land slopes down
from the tree line, and the field here is halfway from
the gate in south to the small stream in north that
marks the property boundary. It is very fertile as
it rains a lot, and we will have a big shamba
(garden) where we will grow vegetables. We will
also have at least one cow, hens and other animals.
The kids will thus also get a chance to get familiar
with their Kenyan heritage of farming, and get respect
"servant's quarters" were rather old and
dilapidated. We renovate
them completely, and make one of the houses into a flat
of around 38 square meters for one of the house mothers,
also adding a room there. The other house has two
rooms, bathroom facilities and a kitchen, and will be
for male workers.
picture shows the main buildings on the property (in
addition to Marianne and the real estate agent).
The house to the left will be the boys' house (around
100 square meters) with bathroom and a small living room,
while the middle one at the far end will be living room
for the kids (around 56 square meters) and a flat (around
54 square meters, situated in the extension of the house
behind the right hall).
house also stretches further to the left behind boys'
house, and this will be Marianne and Jonny's house (from
the door, which will be moved a bit to the right, and in
a l-shape to the left).
house will be the girl's house, dining hall for
everybody, a study room (around 42 square meters) and a
flat for one of the house mothers (also around 42 square
meters). The two houses - boys' and girls' - were
originally industrial halls - mainly warehouses, boys'
around 100 square meters and girls' around 210 square
meters. In girls' house, we have put in a floor,
so that the girls have their bedrooms, bathrooms and a
small living room upstairs, and also the house mother
her flat. The 1st floor occupies around 168 square
meters, so that the total floor space of girls' house is
nearly 380 square meters!
house on the back side; the two first windows downstairs
being in the kitchen. The upper windows will be
changed to fit the girls' bedrooms.
Welding of the
staircase up to girls' bedrooms, which is being
partitioned as this picture is taken. The two
windows to the left are the same windows as on the
Boys' house interior
starting to take shape; taken from opposite sides.
The right picture shows the corridor down to the
bathroom section with bedrooms to the left. The
left picture is taken a bit earlier, seen from the
bathroom side towards the entrance.
A big population also
requires enough water and sewage facilities. We
are therefore building a big septic tank, dimensioned
for around 50 people. We will also construct a big water storage tank
(230.000 litres!), where water from
the roofs runs via the gutters and pipes into the tank.
We thereby save a lot of water!
Marianne and Jonny's
house is also a dream come through. After
respectively 14 and 12 years in Kenya, THIS is when we
settle! And a wonderful house it is - with a big
garden! Just look at the pictures, and imagine
lunch in the garden, looking at flowers and trees and
enjoying life :-)
View from Marianne and
Jonny's house looking southwards towards the entrance to
The boundary on this
picture looking east is about where the
tree is in the middle of the picture. As the
neighbour property is sloping down from us, the view is good :-)
Going into the forest...
At the far end of the
property with the boundary being a bit to the right of the wooden fence
left. A small, seasonal stream runs along the
northern boundary on the right side of the path here.
We will make a nice recreational area out of the forest,
with paths in between the tress, some benches and maybe
some educational plaques about the different trees etc.