County Times in Mombasa

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I am writing to tell you about the exploits of my uncle in Billingshurst, who may well have made me your farthest-flung reader!

I am from Littlehampton, but as a former pupil of Christ’s Hospital I spent a great deal of my childhood in the Horsham area.

I now live and work in Mombasa, Kenya, where I have worked as a teacher of History and Music in a local school since last August.

As you might understand, at first this was big deal for me moving here; all of my family still live in the UK and I am trying to forge a living on the other side of the world!

Nevertheless, my uncle from Billingshurst has inadvertantly softened the blow a bit.

Since December of last year, he has sent me weekly copies of the West Sussex County Times through the post, often accompanied by a letter of his own.

Although I am always very glad to hear from him, his persistence in sending weekly newspapers was completely uninitiated by me and I even suggested that he stop at one point, given the postal costs.

However, he has happily carried on sending your newspaper, so I now have... copies of the West Sussex County Times sitting in my apartment in Mombasa!

Every week, therefore, I see a little brown package in the staffroom and smile.

In spite of the tropical heat here, reading your stories from print almost makes me feel as if I’m back in West Sussex (albeit one with palm trees and coconuts).

I now leave each copy on a table in the staffroom, next to the Kenyan daily national, and the Kenyan teachers have enjoyed reading about West Sussex news too!

It has also been worthwhile to see some of the complaints that your readers have about various things at home.

For example, I recently read a letter complaining about the absence of public toilets in Storrington - while this may well be an important local grievance, it pales in comparison to some of the social and economic ills on my doorstep here in Kenya.

Just a thought for those who forget that life in the UK isn’t all that bad!

I attach a picture of myself with a copy of the West Sussex County Times.

If you’re able to print my letter, I’d like to at least thank my uncle for his weekly trip to the postbox that has come to mean a lot to me!

On another note, I’ve recently made an album here in Kenya, mixing my violin-playing with traditional Swahili and Luo music in Kisumu (the western part of the country).

It’s called ‘Music of Manyatta’ and features the congregation of a small church from the Manyatta township in Kisumu. I’m using the album to raise money for a family I’ve come to know there who have taken 11 orphans into their home - the parents are not there for numerous reasons, including AIDS, the post-election violence and natural death.

I’ll be selling the album from my home church in Rustington when I return home, and will soon make it available to download online. Price should be around £5.

If you’re able to help me advertise in any capacity that would also be greatly appreciated!

JACOB KEET

Teaching Fellow (Humanities and Music), The Aga Khan Academy, Mbuyuni Road, Kizingo, Mombasa, Kenya