Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Summary of our first (of six) months in Kenya...

Today marks 4 weeks since we left our homebase in Tennessee to be at home away from home in Nakuru, Kenya, Africa. It’s winter here with temperatures in the high 50’s to low and mid 70’s. We’ve had frequent rain and a couple of storms with strong winds, raining ‘cats and dogs’ with ‘poodles’ everywhere. But it’s absolutely beautiful with green mountains and blue skies with puffy white clouds  at most other times.

Noah has become quite the Kenyan driver. We get around pretty well in our little Toyota. There are so many pedestrians, bicycles, motorbikes, cars, matatus (15 passenger transit vans), tuktuks (little golf cart like transports), - oh yeah, cows, goats, sheep, etc. -  and you have to stay on the wrong side of the road; unless of course you want to pass. Then you play ‘chicken’ with the oncoming traffic. It’s really a cooperative effort to get from one place to another. Speed bumps keep everyone from going too fast as there are no traffic lights or stop signs. I will NEVER drive in KenyaJ

Cows in the alley way we go through to get to the road.

Close enough!

Don't worry, that truck didn't fall over.

Rapid transit system..... boda boda bicycle rides to town.

Our house is being improved each trip. This time we are getting the shower to work in the second bathroom. That will be nice because the shower is divided from the rest of the bathroom and the entire floor won’t be wet when you are ready to dress. We also won’t have to stand in a bucket to shower. These are minor inconveniences but will improve our disposition in the morning.
Saturday we had a kingdom hiker meeting. We’re working to get more interaction from the young people so we decided to break up into girl/boy groups. Lisa, who teaches the choir, said it’s hard to open up because of being afraid of being talked about. She said that is African culture. Yes, sadly gossip is a big problem -  here and all over the world. We’ll talk about general issues that affect most teens. We want to make a place for them to come one on one if they need personal help.

Noah and Johnny.

Kate's kitchen - homemade sausage.

The family table - lunch time!

Emma and Aowen do art.

That evening we went to Johnny and Kate’s for pizza, yeah real pizza. We really enjoyed our time with them and our friendship is growing. They’re a young couple with 5 kids of their own and 7 adopted Kenyan girls. I don’t think any of them are legally adopted but they have them as family members. Kate has frustrations because they are very withdrawn and don’t quite know how to fit in. They also have a boys home in another house run by a Kenyan couple, kinda like a mercy home. We haven’t met them yet but will soon. Their hearts are simply to help people. I’ll be going with Kate next weekend to help with a women’s health clinic.

Our Sunday gatherings are good. The Youth choir start by leading us in songs of praise and worship. I love to watch them. They sing with their whole heart! It’s evident that they are saved and love God. Our future depends on them and they know it. They are determined to make their corner of the world a better place to live. Noah preaches with and interpreter. That can be a challenge, more so to the interpreter than to Noah. Some of the concepts are difficult to convey in this culture, but the listening people always help with a good word when the interpreter gets stuck. George follow up with a supporting message and explains things thoroughly. We have a time of offering when the children come and sing, recite verses and do little skits for our intertainment. Their leader always starts by saying, “Sit back, Relax, and enjoy!” We certainly do. It’s delightful!  These children are on a path following close behind the young people. Janet, 17 years old, is their teacher.

That's Janet in the blue dress. She's Mary's daughter. Lynn in the pink shirt is Patrick and Christine's daughter.

We went to Mary's farm. Mary became a widow last year when her husband was killed in a motorcycle accident. She has 3 children at home and works hard to feed her family. All the food she grows goes to feed the family including helping her older children who don't live at home. Millie, her son's wife, helps her a lot at home. They are a precious family and we always are encouraged by every one of them.

Mary with Millie in the background.

Elkana holding Leon, Millie's son, Mary's grandson.

Untangling the cow. 

The two children who gave their lunch money for the building.
After the gathering there are usually meetings for men/women every other week. This week we had a fundraiser to buy building materials for a meeting place. It’s called a “harambi” – that means a gathering of people to share their possessions for a common purpose. It’s a lot of fun. What impressed me the most was the two children who gave up their lunch money to donate to the building fund.  Mr. Moniki has given of his time and money to supervise and work on the construction. He’s done a mighty good job. We all appreciate him. They auctioned off boiled eggs, green onions, cups of porridge for the kids. These items went fast because everyone was getting hungry. At last there wasn’t anything left to auction so Simon and Kenford went around collecting ladies handbags and Noah’s bag. George bought Noah’s bag so Noah insisted on buying Georges van keys. Everyone got a good laugh. The items were returned to the proper owners after the money was collected.

I think she's desperate:) 

Monday is grocery shopping day. We go to a newer supermarket. You never know who you’ll meet there. Nikki found a friend. He’s kinda boring though. Doesn’t talk and he works all the time. Then we go to Tusky’s for really good whole wheat, fresh baked bread. All in all we usually end up at 3-4 different stores to find the things we need. Nellie goes to the open market to get most of our produce.

We’re taking lessons in Kiswahili from Christine. After the lessons we talked to her about ways to reach out. She has a lot of experience with social working in the community. Classes in nutrition and hygiene, parenting and marriage, are some ideas we had. We’re hoping to be able to implement the I-SEE program – (helps provide eye glasses to needy people for less than $5 a pair). Our hope is to get the building done so we can have a place to meet.

That's Simon's sister Grace and me. 

In the evenings we chat in the living room, read books, email and wind down from the day. It’s especially fun to sit and make jokes when the electricity is off. Candle light conversations are a good way to stop and reflect on the day. Thank you for all your comments. I love to read them.

May God keep us together by His Great Love!


  1. It's great to read about all your comings and goings, Amma. We continue to pray for you all and send all of our love to beloved Africa!

  2. Hey Mom,
    Great post! :) You have such a good way of making us feel like we are there with you. ;)
    Miss you guys like crazy! xoxox! Give our love to all and we are keeping you in our prayers.
    all my love,
    P.s give dad a big hug for me and tell him he looks really handsome with his hair cut. ;)
    P.s.s I have my lap top sitting on top of my belly and your little grandaughter to be is kicking it like crazy!! wish i had a video, I think she is trying to say hi to her Gema. :) lol.

  3. Dear Sweet Amma,

    Thank you so much for all the updates and pictures! Love you and miss you :-)
    Please pass on my love to everyone there!

    Can't wait to see your smiling face again!

    Chasah Copenhaver

  4. Hi Amma,
    I loved reading your blog. It made me miss you and everyone there more then ever. Your blog made me smile and laugh...especially at the "poodles" of rain and Niki's new "friend". Thanks for keeping us posted and please give my love to all there. That is neat that you are getting close to Johnny and Kate and their family. Please tell Kate I said hello. Love you lots and miss you too!