Tuesday, 21 August 2012

One step forward, two steps back

The House!

With all the plans, aims and objectives in order it was time to put things in to action, first on the list was to find a house!

When we first begun looking for houses in March time we begun looking in the area of Ukunda which is on the South Coast of Mombasa, we set out with a budget and the criteria that we had to meet for the children's department.

As we begun looking for houses in Ukunda we begun to see a repeating pattern of not being able to find a house with all the requirements that we needed to meet, with no communal area, no flowing water, electricity, not a good location etc. Most of the time this was because they were Swahili houses and its hard to find communal areas in such houses, and the owner wants to charge you by the room which works out to be more expensive. You also face the problem where the houses are currently occupied with tenants so you have to wait up to 3 months if the landlord would want to rent to you he would have to give the tenants notice to move out, waiting for 3 months was really not an option for us. After looking at many houses for a few weeks we kept finding the reoccurring problem of such houses we were coming across, and many houses that required a lot of renovation work, or were very expensive so after much searching we decided to widen our options and look into other options of looking for houses on the North coast of Mombasa.

Could this be the one?

After looking at many houses in all parts of Mombasa covering many parts of Mombasa we still found the same problems we found with houses in Ukunda. After meeting a friend who also runs a children's home; he happened to direct us to a house he knew was available in Bombolulu and was once used as a children's home, with that in mind he then contacted the agent who let us go and view the house the house was the best one we had found so far it was very large and spacious with many rooms, and good facilities, it was a private self contained house with 3 floors it was not what we were first looking for but it was in very good condition and seemed to have everything we were looking for. The  landlord then told us of the asking fee which was very expensive, and he wasnt willing to go down in price that much that would help us. so at that point the house didn't become a possibility with being so expensive for us, so we decided to leave it. A week passed and the house stuck on my mind and with not finding anything else we decided to go for the house even though it was more than double our budget but at the time we see it as our best option!
So we decided to get in touch with the landlord and talk about the house, the possibility of lowering the rent, logistics of the house etc we then arranged another meeting where we were given the opportunity to view the house again seeing the maintenance work and renovations that would need doing, deposit required and all the other information we would need.
The landlord told us they would do the renovations and all the painting work that would need doing, he was then saying they would like the rent to be paid yearly! Which was not even possible, so he then requested the rent to be paid quarterly with a 6 month deposit! He basically wanted 300,000 ksh deposit which was not even reasonable! I explained that as we are starting out its not possible to pay all those funds in one go but he continued to be persistent with the agreement until we negotiated that it would be a 2 month deposit and then we pay the months rent upon moving in! The landlord was then claiming he would need the 300,000 ksh to do the painting! I just laughed and told him painting didn't cost such an amount so I would paint it myself for 10% of the cost!
The landlord told us we would need to meet with his brother to go through the contract and details, and to move forward with the deposit, so a week later we meet with the brother who was the director of a tea company, it turned out that they wern't brothers and this man was not the landlord but the agent, and that the the man we were meeting with was the real landlord! In this meeting the landlord and agent was just disagreeing on everything; the landlord wanted the renovations to be done before we moved in and then we pay the very high costing deposit in cash to him, but the agent wanted us to pay the money first the set up, they kept arguing about the way forward. The agent became very annoyed about the situation; the set up all seemed a little odd to be honest.
That week the agent kept calling asking about the deposit, he was then beginning to claim he was doing the renovations, being a little suspicious of his actions I sent my colleague to pass by the house to see if the renovations were taking place, when reaching the house he discovered the renovations were taking place but there was a Masai guy there who informed us that he was the new security guard and a family was moving in that day, yet the agent was still telling us to pay the fees that day! We discovered the agent was playing us to make money out of us and we were never going to have the house. In all it seemed to be such a blessing that we discovered it when we did before it was too late, or handing over a very large amount of cash, but it all seemed a little discouraging. We now didn't have long to find a house before I was heading back to the UK, it just felt like things were against us but i just felt a real peace that we never got the house. Through the process I didn't feel at peace like it was the right house so I was praying about it, and that God would guide me and show me the right house, and close the door to this house if it wasn't the right one. I just felt such a relief when I knew we were not having the house and I believe it was the right things, as after all the house was expensive and just felt we were settling it for convenience, I had hope we would find the right house, that there is still time and it will work out in time, knowing God has it in hand, and its not my timing but his timing.

Finding the one...

The search begun again looking for houses, after knowing the location of the other house was not where I wanted to be and that I wanted to be in a quieter more rural area, or an area close to the beach further from town and where these street children grew up we headed back to South Coast looking for houses in Ukunda again and around the Likioni, Shelley area.
After many weeks of searching; traveling back and forth from Limuru to Mombasa we were coming to many dead ends and not much hope of finding a house that holds potential. Then one week looking in the Shelley area; with a friend of my colleagues who begun helping us to find houses was when a friend of his living in the area told us he knew of some houses, and he especially knew of one house that was currently an orphanage could be a possibility for us, we would just have to persuade them to move out, my instant reaction was it not being a possibility at all I didn't children to move out of what was there home for my sake as it defeats the object of what we are trying to do. A week later I meet with the guy again to look for houses and he lead me back to this guy again who came with his friend working at the local shop, to go and look at the house where the orphanage was to see what I thought. We went to see the house which was in a good location, it was a good sized house it had a real family feel to it which is what we wanted to make the home like, it had good facilities, a compound with a brick wall built all the way around for good security and privacy and had a lot of potential, although I still wasn't too sure.
I then spoke to the lady running the home who was the current tenant running the house and she actually informed me that she has found land where she has built the new home for the children and is planning on moving out anytime it could be anytime from a week to 2 months, more like 2 months though so it seemed like it wasn't going to be a possibility with the time frame that she had given, so we decided to leave. The guys then tried to persuade me to pressure the people and see if they would move out earlier then it could work, it just didn't seem possible at the current time. The situation then seemed hopeless like we now wouldn't find a house, as we weren't left with much other option.

A couple of days later I decided to go and find the guys to see if they could get me in touch with the landlord to see if things could move forward and it would be a possibility, the guy at the shop was the one I found so he told me he knew the agent and that he would call him to come so we could discuss the way forward. When he arrived we spoke of the way forward, so we went to the house again as I wanted to see the house again before making any decisions. Once seeing the house again I saw a lot of potential and felt it could really be the right place for setting up a home especially seeing the children in the current orphanage living there. We spoke with the lady again (current tenant) and she said she is willing to move out but we need to give her time, the agent said to give him a week and that he would be in contact. A week passed and he never initiated contact so my colleague went to find the agent to see what was going on! He told us to wait and give them a week and they would let us know what was going on, to give them time, again another week passed and nothing so we chased them up again informing them we needed an answer as we had many people also waiting on us, but still no answer. The next day the agent called asking me to go for a meeting to talk on the way forward so we went that today, when we reached the current tenant running the home and her partner was there, the guy from the shop and the agent. We negotiated; talked on the terms and conditions of changing over the lease to my name, the way it would work etc and that by the next week she would move out, we would go to the landlord to change things over officially and then the house would be ours. The agent and the other guy then spoke up saying they were to be paid agent fees of which I refused knowing they were trying to get money out of me! They wanted 20,000 ksh! It was laughable to be honest, they were arguing their case, I was arguing back also that I was not paying such agent fees as I was no informed, I never signed up to a service or asked them for their services of finding me a house they were brought in through a friend and was doing of good will and that I knew of the house before them, and if they are the agent then the landlord would pay them. They started pushing on the factor that is a culture thing and I dont know! When there is no such thing, I'm not that easily fooled, but instead they just want money! When we meet with the landlord he doesn't even know of them, they are not hired by him and says there is no agent fees so they are just trying to con me out of money!!
Over the next few days we went back and forth meeting with the landlord to sign over the lease, on the Saturday it was finally sorted, the house was now in our hands! On the Monday they moved out and we were handed over the house and also finally moved in! On Monday 13th August 2012 is when we officially owned the house, we now have a house, its becoming real and the plans are taking shape!!

After months of trying to find a house, we finally had one it was just days before I was leaving to go back to the UK but it was all in good timing! God is good! This house really has a good feel about it, and I know its the right house that God has intended for us! Now we have so much work to do!

When we arrived on the Monday the house was in such a mess; I was really unhappy with how they had left the house so dirty, they had really left it in such a mess. Now they had moved was when we begun seeing the problems in the house. The whole house needed such a thorougher deep clean throughout, painting, so many repairs, attention to rusting, broken things, the compound also needs a lot of work and attention it has been left in such a huge mess! So much work to do, best get to it!

The New House

The house is located In Majengo Mapya, Likoni area and just some metres from Shelley beach!

Living area/office area
Front of the House




One of the bathrooms - ensuite bathroom to master bedroom

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