Imagine, we almost died !

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Howdy?

If you are reading this blog post, you must thank God for my life and that of my housemates 🙏🏾! Imagine, we almost died last week. I am serious! This is not a false alarm. Don’t judge me yet. I am about to explain 🤭

According to an article courtesy of; The Independent Thursday, February 22, 2018, a study showed that at least 3,000 Britons die each year because they cannot heat their homes. It indicates 168,000 excess winter deaths have been recorded in the UK over the last five years and almost 17,000 of those deaths are attributable to fuel poverty. A further 36,000 deaths were attributable to conditions relating to living in a cold home. The number dying through cold each year is similar to the number of people who die from prostate or breast cancer 💥!

Oxfordshire, Oxford

Heating system goes off.

With that as a background context, allow me to tell you what happened. I hate cold water 😰😰. I think I have an allergy, almost an automatic reaction when I shower using cold water. I am the kind of a human being who showers using hot water even when the temperatures are above 40 degrees celsius 🤓🤓! Two, I love to take my time during shower. It is time I get to sing or listen to music without any interruption. So, picture me in the shower. It’s 7am on a Saturday. Ideally, I would be asleep at such a time on Saturdays. The water is warm enough, so I am enjoying my shower time, ready to go to Oxfordshire, Oxford. I have shower gel all over my body. Then, in a minute, the water starts to get cold 😟. I imagine the tap knob needs some adjusting, then I will have warm water again. So, I waste some minutes as I find my bearings. Before I realize what has happened, the water is extremely cold. I can’t stand it anymore. I take my towel and decide to end it right there. I kiff up!😣😣

Oxfordshire, Oxford

I quickly raise the alarm with my housemates. We are convinced it is a temporary default so we anticipate normalcy. Dr. Pamela and I prepare ourselves and join other international students for our day tour. We agree that we must alert the landlord about the failure of our heating system. Our housemates Sidney and Ronald agree to take it up. 

Pamela and I spend the day in Oxford where it rained throughout. At at the end of the day, we just wanted to get home, take a hot shower and lock ourselves in our bedrooms as we call it a day. 😥This dream died the very moment we opened the door to our house. 

Oxfordshire, Oxford

Please understand that with the faulty boiler, several things are affected in the house 😤😤 All the heating in the house goes off. Therefore, there is no hot water in either the showers or sinks. The heaters in our bedrooms have gone off. The house is cold. Damn cold 🥶! Picture yourself opening a fridge that is at 8°C or below. The moment the door is open, you feel a burst of cold air hit you. Now, imagine yourself in such an environment.

Our kitchen sink full of dirty dishes.

48 hours in the cold.

You see, when Sidney and Ronald engaged the landlord earlier on, unfortunately, he had indicated he was not in a position to get a technician to fix the boiler until the following Monday. So, 48 hours in the cold. We would have died long time ago. I am serious 🤫🤫

The messy site after removal of the faulty boiler.

We were mad. Infuriated 😡😡😡We quickly started our research on what the law in the UK says about faulty heating systems, looking at the landlord’s responsibility, vis a vis tenant’s rights. We picked our tenancy agreement and re-read it, carefully not to cause any drama. As time went by, we became colder and our anger levels progressively rose. 

One hour later, we realized we were cheating death while we watched. By this time, we had worn many layers of clothing, but it wasn’t helping. We noticed that the law provides for an alternative heating option, but our tenancy agreement was silent on the same. Was this intentional 🤷🏾‍♀️? We called our lawyer friends around. We have several Kenyans pursuing law in the UK and we have also made friends within the Kenyan Community living in Cardiff. Others had never experienced such an incident, so they were unable to help. Our learned friends would offer opinions but with caution; we needed to act as per our tenancy agreement.

Two of the four new heaters we bought from Asda.

We needed an urgent solution. We went online to find shops that were still open where we could quickly buy heaters so that we could prevent a situation of having to transport three dead bodies back to Kenya and one to Uganda. I have my graduation dress already; God knows how expensive it was! I am looking forward to being alive on my graduation day, so it cannot come to an end before it has started. No, I refuse. Riswa 🙅🏻‍♀️🙅🏻‍♀️!

One week later.

I kid you not, our heating system became operational last Saturday. One week later. My patience hasn’t been tested like this in the recent past. Its been a while since I last restrained my mouth like I have done in the past one week. It’s been a while since I felt this neglected. I negotiated with the idea of whether to write about this incident or not. I realize silence is a language for cowards but, I am not one 🤦🏼‍♀️

With the new boiler in place, one week later.

With all due honesty, I believe the landlord did us a great disservice by taking a whole week in dealing with the mess. Does anyone know how we should handle this matter? We have every plan to call him for a meeting so that we can explain our frustration and the expenses we have had to incur due to this. Should we transfer the same to him? One, we had to buy four new heaters. They cost us approximately 100 pounds. Obviously, our electricity bill is going to be incredibly high by the end of the month. We have had to buy buckets for our bathing, in the first world! Imagine that. It’s boring and frustrating having to use buckets for big bodies like ours 😫😫. I don’t like it. I don’t mind doing it in my village in Kenya, but I had no plans of doing it after eight-plus hours of flight to the UK. We have had to eat out all week long and I can assure you it is very expensive🙁🙁. All our dishes were dirty. There was absolutely no space left in the sink. We tried cleaning our dishes, but every time we did it, our hands’ froze 😣😣

Our bedroom heaters now working again.

I guess by sharing our experience, other students planning to come over or those who are already here will have a reason to relook at their tenancy agreement and demand for an alternative heating system at the landlord’s cost. It is too costly an omission. 

Relooking our tenancy agreements.

I hope by sharing our experience, other landlords with have a look at their agreements and have it included. When I lived in Norway, I was in a fully furnished house and yes, there was a portable heater that I found in the house. I don’t remember using it, but it was there. I think it is just inhumane for a landlord not to provide an alternative heating option when he/she knows too well that people die because of faulty heating systems. Imagine if the heating system went off around 11 pm when all the shops were closed or if we had no money to cater for all the expenses we have had the last one week. Well, think about that for a minute.

Christmas mood setting in, in Cardiff City

When we have signed a one-year tenancy agreement, can we amend it midway? I feel like we need to have an alternative or option B for everything. For example, should the cooker get faulty, we should feel free to go to a restaurant of our choice and send the receipts to the landlord 😎😎Should the door refuse to open, spend the night at a hotel of our choice, all costs on the landlord 😅😅 Should the washing machine refuse to work, take our dirty clothes to the laundry and transfer the cost to him? Lol 😊

Christmas mood setting in, in Cardiff City

I am not angry anymore. I am just lucky to be alive and so are my housemates. Next week, lets talk about survival tips and tactics during the winter season. See you then 🙂

Enjoy a great week ahead.

#IAmChevening  #MyCheveningJourney

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Patience Nyange

I believe in a just society and I am a strong believer in Ralph Waldo Emerson words: “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate and to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”

22 thoughts on “Imagine, we almost died !

  • 18th November 2019 at 9:14 am
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    Thank goodness you guys survived. I honestly don’t think I would have it in me to……I think your cold week will go down as the worst week of your UK experience!!!Wishing you a beautiful warm one this time

    Reply
    • 18th November 2019 at 4:55 pm
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      Mliponea chupuchupu… Thank God you guys survived

      Reply
      • 18th November 2019 at 5:27 pm
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        Kabisaaa!

        Tunashukuru sana.

        Reply
  • 18th November 2019 at 10:44 am
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    Thanks to God you guys are alright.

    I expect more eye opening articles from you.

    Finally, thank God for our weather-in Kenya and Africa.

    God knows we wouldn’t survive. Hatuwesi!!

    Reply
    • 18th November 2019 at 10:48 am
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      Hahhahaha! Hamuwezi survive bila mimi? I can imagine that 🙂

      Anyway, we are grateful that we are alive. It was a passing wave.
      Every Monday’s you can expect a new blog post from me.

      Enjoy your week ahead.

      Reply
  • 18th November 2019 at 10:56 am
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    Good to hear you are safe and sound. For a minute the topic of the article had me shocked. Message home. Confirm the content before signing the dotted lines.

    Reply
    • 18th November 2019 at 1:29 pm
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      Thank you Sophia,
      Yes, message home. Confirm the content before signing on the dotted lines.

      Thank you for reading my blog post and leaving your comment. Greatly appreciated.

      Reply
  • 18th November 2019 at 11:43 am
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    I am sorry for your ordeal Patience, we thank God that you guys are fine. Today’s article is an eye opener on the things one should know while staying in a foreign country ,more so your rights and those of the others around you. I wish you well in the quest to find out your tenancy rights and have a good and pleasant stay.

    Reply
    • 18th November 2019 at 1:24 pm
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      Thank you David. I shall keep you updated when we finally have a meeting with our landlord.
      Once again, thank you for stopping by to read my blog post.

      Asante.

      Reply
  • 18th November 2019 at 12:02 pm
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    Poleni Sana. We thank God your blood and those of your housemates did not freeze.
    May God protect you in this seasonal situation.
    May you achieve the desires of your heart.

    Reply
    • 18th November 2019 at 1:22 pm
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      Dear Mary,

      Thank you. We are glad that we are alive. We learn each passing day. All is well.

      Reply
  • 18th November 2019 at 12:21 pm
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    That was a nasty experience. Poleni sana dada. Hope you get your tenancy agreement reviewed.

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    • 18th November 2019 at 1:10 pm
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      Hi Roseleen, I hope so too. We will have a meeting with him. I will keep you updated.
      Thank you for stopping by. See you again next week, Inshallah.

      Reply
  • 18th November 2019 at 1:11 pm
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    Sorry Patience and housemates. I’m just wondering wether it was possible to be housed be fellow African students as you seek audience with the landlord

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    • 18th November 2019 at 1:38 pm
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      Dear Evelyn,

      That is wise an idea but I also don’t like the idea of spending the night out of my bedroom. I feel very disoriented the following day. Then, the whole idea of having to pack our clothes. Nope. Buying new heaters was the most ideal thing to do, we have them, they might be of help in the future.

      Reply
  • 18th November 2019 at 2:16 pm
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    Poleni sana P.
    A good read at the same time informative. Reading and rereading our agreements is key, a subject we don’t pay attention to a times.

    Reply
    • 18th November 2019 at 2:23 pm
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      Hey Regina,
      Yes, we learn every day. Most of us rush to click signed. But sometimes, it is important to stop and visit each clause one by one. Thank you for passing by.

      Reply
  • 18th November 2019 at 7:14 pm
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    Oh no, what have you done to my heater. I am used to it making noise but as soon as I started reading your article especially the word “heating system goes off”, hii yangu ikawa na some silence….nimeturn on pressure valve nkabuild 30psi (hapo ndo landlord alisema ni maximum, normally huwa ni 15-20), sahizi inapiga kelele ya engine ya ndege.

    Pole

    Reply
    • 18th November 2019 at 7:29 pm
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      Hahhahahaaa! I get the drift.

      Thank you for passing by. I hope you are well thus far.

      Reply
  • 19th November 2019 at 8:19 am
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    weuh!!! my friend!!!

    Thank God you did not die and your roommates too (read sidney) ningefanya nini jameni…. hahahaha

    anyway, i see i have had an influence on you till you know some luhya words like ” Riswa”

    stay safe and keep warm!

    Reply
    • 20th November 2019 at 12:17 am
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      Brenda!
      When I publish my blog posts, I wait to read your comment just like you wait to read my blog posts. I was wondering, where could you be? Anyway, we are alive and grateful that we survived the ordeal. Thank you once more.

      See you again next Monday, Inshallah.

      Reply
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