Wednesday, March 21, 2012

St Patrick's Day in Nairobi - Part 1

Anyone who knows me will know that I am a massive fan of St Patrick's Day - and not just because it's the day you're allowed to break Lent. I love the parades, the funfairs, the dressing up in green, all of it. Even the profile picture for this blog was taken on Paddy's Day. From 2006 to 2010 I was to be found every St Patrick's Day roaming the streets of Dublin with a pot of green facepaint in one hand, a paintbrush in the other, and a Suas fundraising bucket slung over my arm.

Green skirt, white tights and (out of shot) orange shoes.
Photo credit: Derek Dunne
Even Molly Malone can't escape the shamrock treatment
Photo Credit: Derek Dunne

This and last year I have found myself away from Ireland for St Patrick's Day; last year in London, this year in Nairobi. But both times I have brought my enthusiasm for all things green and shamrock-shaped with me. This year, I was delighted to round up a crowd of Irish and international alike to watch the Ireland-England rugby match, put on a bit of green and have a bit of craic. I also got an excuse to unleash the - barely suppressed - playschool teacher in me and indulge in some TLM making (Teaching and Learning Materials for the non-Suas readers) with Laura Bennison. Between us we made this banner for display in Kengele's (the closest thing Nairobi has to an Irish bar)

It's lucky I have a massive living room for
such big art and craft activities!

Sadly, I could not find green facepaint anywhere in Nairobi but thanks to Mammy Wickham, and the surprisingly efficient Kenyan postal service, I was able to brand friends, bar staff and strangers alike with temporary Paddy's Day tattoos/transfers. Armed with a water bottle and a sponge I went around the bar dabbing and peeling, dabbing and peeling... It turns out that sponges are not as effective as j-cloths for the application of the transfers (I carried a j-cloth in a ziploc bag for tattoo application at the parade in London last year, I told you I love this festival!) and there was water on people's faces and necks, in a puddle around their feet, on me.... But as the night went on this seemed to matter less and less.

The beautiful Helen and Nicole model the
latest in temporary tattoo glamour!

Now despite the disappointing result in the rugby for us Irish, a great night was had. The band were brilliant and even played a couple of Irish songs, including Wild Rover and the Fields of Athenry (twice, within a half hour!)

Good band, great banner.

Laura and I pose in front of our handiwork

Now, as the title of the blog suggests this is not the end of my St Patrick's Day adventures. Next time I'll update you on my adventures at the St Patrick's Day Ball at the Hilton (swish, I know!).

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