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…
In April 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! 🙂
Below you’ll find some pictures of the property as it looked when we started, and some building pictures showing the progress.
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.
Half the 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 for nature.
The old “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.
This 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).
The middle 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).
The right 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!
Girls’ 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 picture above.
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 property.
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 seen at 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. 🙂