Thursday, May 31, 2007

Busy, busy, busy

Wow, a lot has happened since last week! Our team (or members thereof) conducted a workshop at a church, visited an animal orphanage and giraffe preserve, went on safari, attended an international conference, and walked through mud to make evangelistic visits in the slums nearby. The photo is Cat with a little girl in a Christian day care center in the slums. Some of the kids were abandoned and living on the street when the center started caring for them. They get two meals a day, education, games, and love in a one-room facility (there are separate buildings for kitchen, storage, etc.)

Here is an example of a visit that Cat and I made in the slums with our fellow Christian and interpreter Peninah. We simply opened the gate to the yard and walked up to the closest house. A grandmother was washing some clothes, but she immediately stopped and invited us in. We sat on a wee bench and a stool. This woman loved Jesus and would start singing about how faithful God has been to her. We talked about children and about physical ailments (her eyes are burning and she has not been able to go to a doctor). We prayed together. She insisted on giving us a gift, so we took the two sweet potatoes she offered. When I said I would like to take her picture, she disappeared for a minute and came back wearing her black and white hat. Here is Cat, Mama Jane, and Peninah. Peninah told us that we were doing good with our visits because we were showing concern for people without being condescending. We listened to their stories and told them ours. When we could give them something we would (Cat gave her Bible to at 19-year-old named Lillian, I gave a packet of Kleenex to Mama Jane). The people have been warm and welcoming and mystified by white people. (Peninah could not believe that in the US, if you knocked of the door of a stranger, they would likely send you away without even asking your name, much less inviting you in.) It is humbling to get to know another culture.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Nest--it's the best!

Kenyan women are traditionally dependent on men. When a husband abandons his family, the woman may try to gain income from selling vegetables (without a license), stealing, or even prostitution. There is an orphanage in Limuru which specializes in children of imprisoned women. It is named The Nest. The children in this orphanage recieve excellent care and the program is wholistic. It involves counseling for the family. These babies sleep in a huge bed secure in the protective environment. Visiting here, feeding infants, playing with the older children, and hearing their stories was a wonderful experience.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Has it been a week yet?

It is the fifth day of our Kenya trip and we just completed the first full day of work. And I do mean full. For this first week, we are partnering with members of the Banana Hill Baptist Church. It is located in a town with high unemployment and political unrest. There are many single mothers. Here I am in the home of one of those mothers. She is on the left; I have her son on my lap. We visited with her because the gate to her yard was unlocked. She was washing clothes when we walked up and she invited us into her home. It is one room with a bed, two couches, a cabinet, and clothes hanging from clothesline stretched over the walls. A cooking pot with ugali sat on the floor. She was raised as a Catholic but rarely goes to church. Her two friends (pictured) go to other churches and they said that they all pray together. Her boy had to stay home because he was sick; the little girl was in school. When I asked her how to pray for her family she said that money for medicine (and food) was lacking. She also asked that we pray for peace in Banana Hill. Two factions in the town have become violent towards each other and mutilated bodies have turned up. One faction is characterized by drug use (marijuana).

If you pray, please remember these people.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Now coming to you from Africa

I have not taken any photos yet; the camera has been buried in my take-on luggage. But I have had plenty of thoughts over the last 48 hours (38 of which have been spent wearing the same clothes I put on to start this trip. Weather was not problematic, all our luggage arrived at the Nairobi airport the same time we did, and there were people at the airport to meet us when we arrived. Now our team is dog-tired, but enjoying the sunshine, flowers, and cool mountain air.

I am composing this post on a computer in the lab in the library basement. The electricity has shut down twice while I have been working on this; but we have a large bank of batteries for backup, so the only thing hindering me is that I keep dozing off while typing. It makes for a lot of editing.

Promise, I will take some photos and come back when my sentences don't end witg worfffffffffffff

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mothers' Day

Here we are at the end of Mothers' Day, and despite the fact that both our mothers are gone, we had quite a busy day. The peony in the photo came from a bush we transplanted from my mom's house before she died. This year our peonies are just performing marvelously. We cut this stem and put it on the table for Mothers' Day lunch. "If your mothers are dead and your kids live far away, who came to this event?" you might ask.

Well, Cat's sister decided she had better see us before we left for Kenya so she came up. And my sister had to make a business trip to the Route 66 town north of us, so she came down. My cousin, her husband, and their daughter had already planned to come into town to see her mom, my mother's sister, and her husband, so they all came over. For orphans, we had a pretty fair sampling of family around us. They all enjoyed the food and talked way into the afternoon.

I'm glad they all came to be with us. But I still miss Mom.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Bullied into posting

OK, so Phyllis saw me in church and asked why I had not yet posted photos of the living room floor. So I snapped some shots and here they are. One is of the floor and two are of the walls that I repainted. Do you like the art? Most of it came from my family. My mom was a painter. Most of the pastels and watercolors are hers. I did the wood assemblies a long time ago.