Care Packages

From our room we get to see people exercising, food dropoffs and a business centre. Sometimes people chat with relatives through the fences – there’s 2 layers of them to keep people separated.

Of course the main activity is people dropping off food parcels. Why, you may ask – the food is absolutely horrendous in MIQ. It’s pretty much always cold or lukewarm. Imagine having scrambled eggs that are only just warm? We aren’t allowed microwaves, toastie machines or toasters in our rooms in case they start a fire. The staff here spend a lot of time making sure everyone is separated so a fire drill is out of the question.

I am really glad we don’t have small kids in MIQ. Not only would they have lots of energy, they would hate the food.

We’ve done several Countdown orders but we were super blessed when my cousin Jeanette and her husband Jeff organised a care package for us. She baked us a lovely loaf and somehow smuggled in a huge knife. Check out the video below.

Exercising in MIQ

When you’re in MIQ (Managed isolation & Quarantine) the plan is to stay in your room as much as possible. Facilities have different rules, for some you can be out for only 30 minutes a day, for others, an hour.

At the Ibis Ellerslie, we can be out for an hour but you have to book it in. You can’t just wander out of your room whenever you want. If another bus from the airport is coming in, there will be an announcement over the PA saying when there’s a total lockdown of the exercise area.

Only one ‘bubble’ is permitted in the elevator at a time. You then walk on the lefthand side of the yellow dotted line at the entrance (don’t dare walk on the right). A member of the Defense Force checks you have the blue wristband on (says you don’t have Covid) and records your room number.

This is where you join a number of people at 2 metres apart walking around a specific carpark. There’s security guards onsite to make sure your mask is up and you keep separated. They take their job very seriously. It does get very monotonous going around and around the same circuit. The first day we went it was raining so that meant foggy glasses and it just wasn’t fun.

I’ve got into the habit of listening to podcasts. Pete’s given up going outside because he kept getting told to put his mask over his nose. He almost had a stand up argument with a police officer about it.

Instead he does a few exercises in our room (see video). I do a bit of exercise in our room but I do like getting out in the fresh air every couple of days.

MIQ Adventures – The Food

My cousin Cath was in MIQ a while back and posted lots of photos of her day-to-day adventures. She had the most amazing gluten-free meals and it gave me confidence that I wouldn’t starve when we were in there.

I was SO wrong. We’re at a different hotel than Cath (you don’t get a choice) was and the meals are very different too.

When you arrive at MIQ you’re given a whole lot of paperwork, including a meal choice for the next 2 weeks. Later in the day we were phoned up and had to choose every meal, right there and then – so great after flying for about 36 hours. Breakfast was either scrambled eggs, waffles or porridge. We chose the scrambled eggs.

What we didn’t know is that all of the meals would come lukewarm or cold. There’s no microwave to reheat anything so you have to eat it really fast.

Basically, the food is horrible. There’s been many a time that Pete has refused to eat it. His ‘toast’ at breakfast is this limpy thing that doesn’t have one bit of brown on it, and it goes straight into the bin.

Thankfully there’s online orders but no use ordering meals like pizza as they’ll be cold by the time it arrives. We’ve resorted to ordering from Countdown to help us have snacks on the days when it’s really bad.

Check out this video of our latest order.

MIQ Adventures

It’s been a long time since I’ve blogged but since we’re in MIQ (Managed Isolation and Quarantine) for 2 week in NZ (New Zealand), it’s a good opportunity to get writing again.

Each year we try to get to New Zealand, Aussie and/or the US on a speaking tour. We try to mix it in with conference and family events (like grand baby arrivals). In 2020 we got stuck in NZ for 10 months which was great because we got to hang out with our 3 grandkids but it was about 6 months longer than intended.

We headed back to Nairobi in January and had to take a good guess on when we should come back to NZ. The decision was made for us when Hannah, our youngest announce that she was pregnant with their fourth child, another girl, due in August. We know we couldn’t be in NZ for Christmas but needed enough time to speak to schools, community groups and churches about our work to raise more funds, to do more projects.

With the effects of Covid still happening there’s a lot of uncertainty of where and when we could travel. We knew that flying with Emirates was a sure deal because of the meat exports between NZ and the UAE. What we’re not sure is if we can get to Aussie and not be locked in, and the same with the US. Even though we are still fighting with Oman Air to give us credit back on our flight with them from last year, we used some of our house investment money to get back to our other home (NZ).

We’re really fortunate because we have a very small apartment, office and car in Nairobi. We also have a great team there that can keep things going while we’re away. We also have a little granny flat area at Hannah and Lukes place in Auckland, plus Bessie, our faithful old car. A lot of people who got stuck with not being able to get back were not in such a good place.

To get into NZ though we have to spend two weeks in a hotel room. Even as we got on the bus at the airport, we didn’t know where we were going to end up. As the navy officer in charge told us all ‘this is not a hotel, it’s a quarantine facility’. You can’t go out of your room. The meals are delivered to your door (half cold) and you have to get permission to go out to the exercise yard at a certain time. You get your temperature checked every day and three Covid tests during your stay.

I’ll be sharing about some of the unique adventures here and post some videos as well. Happy reading!