Monday, September 20, 2010

Safari and more....

Our safari was delightful! We not only saw the wild life of Kenya, except for the lion, but we saw the beautiful landscape and breathed the clean, fresh air of Rift Valley. It was a much need reprieve from the work, but not without it's own challenges. We have yet to go on a safari without some sort of car trouble. We got stuck in a ditch which we were able to get out of with the help of everyone pushing and pulling. But then the gears wouldn’t shift properly. We found a spot to work on it and out of the van and under it went George. Within moments a guard with a gun, and a worker came to assist us. The guard kept us safe from lions while the worker helped George determine what was the problem. We were able to drive away but not without a lot of clanking noise. We decided to go out of the park and get it fixed, then come back to finish our safari. As we were leaving the attendant said we would have to stay and let George go out and come back. Our tickets were for 24 hours in the park. They were afraid he would go out and exchange us for other tourists and not pay the price. No problem, we just went to the cafĂ© to get some chai and wait. When George returned we were just finishing our tea and ready to continue our tour through the park. We went to the top of a cliff and had lunch. Of course there were armed guards to prevent us becoming lunch for the wildlife. We saw blue and orange lizards and had a clear view of the park and the town of Nakuru from our picnic pavilion. The day was absolutely beautiful and we had plenty of time to see all we wanted to see.  I am grateful to God for His creation speaks of His Glory!

Saturday we had a Kingdom Hikers meeting. Amy and Bob Miller led the meeting giving them some practical ways to begin working together and encouraging them to take care and watch over each other. Then we went to Helen’s house for dinner. Helen is a very humble servant. Her cooking is excellent. She is the clan leader and has demonstrated the life of God in such a way that her people love and respect her and follow her lead in taking care of each other and the neighbors. She has delightful children who are happy and secure and actively contributing to the formation of the Kingdom Hikers.

Sunday was our last gathering here in Nakuru. When we arrived the singing had already started and as we took our seats we all felt a spiritual battle coming on. We didn’t know what to do except pray and ask for God’s leading. Soon Noah was on his feet and giving an exhortation which chased away the enemy. It was a strong word and was received well by all. The young kids danced and sang for us. Then the Kingdom Hikers danced. We gave out baptism certificates, said our good byes, and then gave rice and beans to every household. We went from the church to Patrick and Christine’s while George had a meeting with the leaders. After that, Morelle invited us to dinner to meet her family. We are eating well, maybe a little too well. I’m feeling very stuffed.

Today, Monday, we visited 4 homes in the Lakeview clan. I really do love going to their homes. They are so amazed and grateful to us for visiting. One couple we visited have a business roasting and selling peanut, which they call ground nuts. We bought some and had a nice snack. We asked the husband why men don't come to church. He said they have to work. Noah encouraged him to come and ask God to make up for the time spent. He told about how Patrick did the same and has been doing well since he chose to trust God. He said he would be sure to come next Sunday and really seemed to mean it. I'm always amazed at how little it takes to encourage a Kenyan. All four of the ladies we visited said they like to sing. We encouraged them to start a choir. We said we would bring Kallah next time to help themJ

We went to see Mary our “priestess”. She took us to her land where she showed us how she is building a house out of bricks made with her own hands. As we stood in what will be the living room area I told her we would come back and sit here and have tea with her. She smiled really big and started pulling things out of her bag. She gave each of us a tea cup and poured us a cup of tea from her thermos. Then she gave us each a little plastic bag and served us meat cakes. The bags were to hold the meat cakes as we ate them. It was absolutely delightful to stand inside her mud walls with the sky above us, enjoying her hospitality! She says she will be done and moved in, in 3 months. The land was given to her because of her faithfulness in serving God. She says she will make new friends and bring them to church. She will!

We have 3 days left in Nakuru. Today we visited 4 homes; went to see Mary’s land. Later this evening we’ll visit Patrick and Christine to video tape their story. Tomorrow we’ll have lunch with Petranila; video tape Petranila, George and Nelly; go to Helen’s clan meeting. Wednesday we’ll stay home and pack; spend time with visitors who drop in and meet once more with the Kingdom Hikers. Thursday we’ll wait for George to go to his court date and pray they don’t put him in jailJ Then we’ll head for Nairobi. Our flight doesn’t leave until 9:55 pm so we’ll go to a reptile and aquarium zoo to see the rest of the wildlife in Kenya. Then we’ll fly 9 hours to Paris, but, we’ll only see the airport and hopefully the backside of our eyelids for a 4 hour layover, 9 hours to Newark, then Nashville, by then it’ll be Friday with a 3 hour drive to home sweet home! We should arrive at about 8:30 pm if all goes well.

As I reflect over the past 6 weeks I realize once again how quick I am to grumble and complain. I'm learning to be still and seek God's grace. Many times I need grace from God. He has always been faithful to pour out His grace for the mere asking. How quickly I forget! I’m assured that no matter what the circumstances His grace is sufficient for me. This is a reality I cannot live without. What a wonderful Savior we have in Christ! He turns all things to His purpose when I give all my anxious thoughts to Him. I feel more free to serve Him and follow His leading in all things. Then only do I see how much I have to be grateful for. What a privilege it is to serve the living God!

See you soon! Love to all!
(I have more pictures but I can't get them to upload so I'll try a web album)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Safari not!

Today we planned to go on Safari in the beautiful Rift Valley.  George says this is a good time to go because the animals will be moving around and visible.  I’ve been looking forward to this since the first time I came to Kenya. I am still looking forward to it because it’s 10am and we had to postpone the trip once again. Hopefully we’ll go tomorrow. 

The reason for the delay is that we have been having water problems since our first week here. It’s been working ok but not much pressure until Saturday when we got up in the morning and there was no running water at all. So for the last 5 days it has been on and off with Fred, George, Bob and the plumber in and out trying different solutions. It seemed yesterday we finally had it fixed with good water pressure. We went to town to get groceries for lunch and to the Safaricom store to fix Joy and Amy’s modem. Suddenly George gave abba the keys to the van and took off saying something vague about the water pump. So we waited for Amy to finish her business. A car pulled up behind us and blocked us in. About the same time the driver disappeared Amy walked out. No problem, this happens all the time. Abba went to find the driver of the car who had disappeared. He talked to the security guard who had no answers so we waited….. I thank God that I’m a midwife and have learned the valuable lesson of waitingJ Abba kept looking in nearby places but couldn’t find the man. Joy, Bob Miller, Amy and I waited in the van. After about 20 minutes we decided we might just as well have some ice cream while we wait. So Bob and Amy walked back to the store to get some. Now these ice cream bars are really good…chocolate covered vanilla ice cream on a stick … ummmm… They were only gone a minute or two when the dear driver showed up and apologetically moved his car. Abba got in the driver’s seat of our van and backed out. Now that may sound like a simple thing, backing a car out of a parking place, but it was not. With poor visibility Joy and I were trying to direct Abba – “Wait! There’s a pedestrian. Wait there’s a car, another pedestrian, a motorcycle, a bicycle, a pedestrian, more cars”. “Ok , Go NOW!” “What?” “Go NOW!” Whew! We made it. Now that we’re on the road abba noticed that Amy and Bob are gone. We told him to go back to Tusky’s (grocery store). As we turned the corner we saw them walking back towards the Safaricom. Joy and I yelled across the traffic of cars, motorcycles, bike and yes, of course, pedestrians, “Hey!! Hey!!” Everyone on the street turned and looked at us mzugus yelling out the window with a mzugu driver. Fortunately Amy and Bob looked too and crossed the street to board the van. We laughed and ate our expensive ice cream bars (295 shilllings each) while abba drove us home on the wrong side of the rode dodging cars, motorcycles, bicycles and, did I say PEDESTRIANS? When we got home there was no water again, Morelle was cooking dinner, so we got ready to go to a clan meeting.

The clan meeting was good. It was easy to find the little one room house because we heard the singing from a distance and were able to follow it to that house.This particular clan has been struggling with commitment to each other. Abba started by asking Joy, Amy, Bob and I to tell our story with God and why we were here in Africa. While they were speaking I was silently asking God what He would have me say to these precious ladies. I told them how God had brought me out of a horrible pit that I had dug for myself and that He had set my feet on a solid Rock, Himself, Jesus Christ. I told them that I am in Kenya to share the “abundant life” He has given and taught us to live.  Abba started by telling them that was exactly what he wanted to talk to them about, “abundant life”. Abundant life is not money, houses and cars but comes from giving to each other even the little we have, taking care of each other and living in each other’s hearts. He challenged them to take care of each other and to become the very best clan. That we would return and find them the most talked about clan because of their faithfulness to each other. They listened intently and agreed that they needed to do that. It amazes me that God has given us faces to express the life inside of us. When we entered that room the faces were sad and depressed. As we left they were full of light and life. The Word of the Lord had come through earthen vessels and filled their hearts and minds with His Love.
Back to the water story….. It wasn’t until breakfast this morning that we got the whole story. We really didn’t know what caused George to abandon us in town except that it had something to do with the water problem at home.  It seems while we were in town George got a frantic phone call from Beatty, the house girl, saying the plumber ran away and some men were there taking the water pump away. George went down to the agent and recovered our pump with a promise that it wouldn’t happen again. We have water again so I think I’ll close and go take a showerJ
Hopefully my next blog will be all about our Safari to the Rift Valley!

[I can't get pictures to upload so I'll have to try later.]

Friday, September 10, 2010

What a trip!

We have been given the privilege of working in the clinic in Migori with the Kenya Relief team. But before I tell you about our time there I must tell you about the trip to Migori. We got up at 3am and were on the road by 3:30am. We had packed food for the journey, boiled eggs, scones (later given a name change by Abba, “hockey pucks”, popcorn, and of course Chai. Beatty got up when we did to make the chai for our trip. We hadn’t gotten far when Joy realized the thermos had leaked. When she picked it up all but ½ a cup had disappeared into the side step of the van. We couldn’t even find the lid. So abba emptied the thermos since he was the only one that wanted any at that moment. We rode on for about an hour when George suddenly pulled onto the side of the road, leaned his seat back and closed his eyes. We couldn’t believe he got us up at 3am to drive for an hour and then sleep. We asked what he was doing and laughed so he decided to go a little further. It was a cold night we were shivering to try to get warm. Half hour later he stopped again so we let him doze for about 15 minutes. He said he didn’t know why he was so tired. I think taking care of mzungus for 3 weeks might have something to do with it. I pulled out my Withania (Medi Herb energy pill) and gave him 2 tabs. We drove on over very bumpy roads that rearrange your insides. We finally got to Kissi where we were promised a nice hot cup of chai to warm our chills. There we found a familiar Tea Hotel. The nice man at the gate let us in. George went in to find out when we could get some tea. He came back and said they don’t open until 7am, it was 5:50am. Now we have to decide whether to wait or go on. George assured us there were no other places to go between here and Migori. We waited a while. We voted George should go back in and talk the hotel man into making us some tea. He has Nathanael’s gift of talking people into things. Didn’t work this time though, but he did find out where we could go to get tea. We went a little farther into town to a little hole in the wall place and got some very hot tea. We were grateful and were ready to continue our trip, the Withania and 4 cups of tea got George going pretty well by now. The sun was rising and the scenery was beautiful! Tea plantations went on for miles.

We finally arrived at the Brittany Home of Grace without car problems or getting lost. We were ever so grateful to be there. We were greeted by Alice who manages Kenya Relief from this side. She is a very hospitable, stately lady given to take care of the needs of those who come to help her people. George and Abba left us in our cozy bunk room and headed back to Nakuru to meet Pastor Daniel from India.  We were there before the rest of the team so we took a tour made ourselves at home and rested a bit. Bryan (nurse anesthetist) and Emily (photographer, and friend of Steve James family)  arrived next and offered to take us across the street to see the clinic. K.R. has about 45 acres of land with a highway dividing the 5 acres where the orphanage is and the rest is for clinic, farming, and a future hospital. Little did we know we would be packaging pills. It was a good time to chat and get to know each other a bit. We later welcomed the rest of the team, Dr. John Roberts, (pediatrician), Dorothy, Emily, and Lauren (pharmacy students), and Josh (chemical engineer). This was a very diverse team and a small one compared to others. We went to church on Sunday and visited a widow with 6 kids K.R. supports. By this time I wasn’t feeling too good but I assumed I was just tired from the trip. I went to bed early every night and missed out on some of the evening social time. 
Monday morning was our first clinic day. We didn’t exactly know what to expect but felt comfortable. The team was very relaxed and created a non stress environment. We arrived to see hundreds of staring, pleading eyes that seemed to say, “can you, will you, help me?”  We greeted them with smiles and Jambo’s  (hello’s). Knowing some would be waiting all day to be seen. I was assigned to Gyn/adult assessment room with Beatrice, a Kenyan nurse. I really had no idea what I was doing. It’s been a long time since I’ve done any medical care and never in a foreign country. I said a little prayer and rested in knowing God would give me what I needed. Beatrice was very sweet and helpful. She had a cold and wasn’t feeling well and the colicky pains in my stomach interrupted my train of thought on more than one occasion. So we were the sick treating the sick. We worked together well. She deferred to me which was a humbling experience since I knew she was very capable of doing this without me. We saw a lot of infectious diseases – malaria, parasites, fungal, viral, bacterial – gave out a lot of meds, counseled and prayed with them. One particular woman came to us with a lower abdominal mass, nausea, fullness, backache. When I examined her it was obvious she was pregnant! We did a pregnancy test to confirm it. Now that was fun! This same scenario happened again the next day. I have stories to tell that wouldn’t be appropriate to put in a blog, so we will talk laterJ

 I took a break from my room and went to watch Caroline in the pediatric room. The timing was perfect. Her patient was a baby and nursing mom who had a serious case of thrush. Caroline looked to me so I suggested nystatin drops for the baby and mom and vinegar water to cleanse with and stop the passing of the thrush back and forth.
Back to my room. Another patient had all the symptoms of sciatica. I had her lie on her back and showed her exercises to relieve the pressure on the nerves. Beatrice thought I was crazy at first. It was hard for her to interpret so I just laid down on the table and showed her how to do the exercise. Now that was comical. But it helped. A little while later we had another patient with back pain and Beatrice started explaining to her the exercises. Many have back pain, hip pain and neck pain from the work they do bending and carrying water and things on their heads. But you can’t tell them to take a couple weeks off work. They would starve.
Overall I believe I got a better picture of what we want to do in Nakuru. The clinic was interesting. I gave out A LOT of antibiotics. These people have very bad infections and a real need for medication. There’s plenty of access to medical care in Nakuru but to educate and teach wellness is needed.  I want to do a wellness clinic to try and teach them how to stay healthy. Herbs have a bad reputation here because of all the abuse by shaman ‘witch doctors’ so I will just teach nutrition and vitamins, exercise and body mechanicsJ  A prenatal clinic would be good too because many of them don’t go until they’re almost due. Anyway it gave me a lot to think about.
After 2 twelve hour days I was exhausted and realized something was going on inside. I going to blame it on the boiled egg I ate on the way here. Being as careful as possible doesn’t guarantee you won’t get something. I got on some antibiotics to get rid of whatever the cause of my distress. Thank you for your prayers. I’m finally feeling normal again.
Love to all!