On one of the weekend days we try to get to Nairobi. We get money for our weeks expenses and do the shopping that can’t be done here in our own town, although the shopping in Nairobi is getting smaller and smaller as we learn to navigate and shop for things at our local market.

For several weeks, on our way to one of the large shopping centers, the kids have pointed out a play area on the way and have begged to eat there. It has never been the best time to stop…either too early for lunch or we are too stressed out about getting in to Nairobi early so we can make it home before the traffic piles out of Nairobi onto Thika Road. Because we got a late start today and our trip into Nairobi was spontaneous, we passed by the play area just at lunch time. Imagine the indoor play area at the Murray Rd or Cornell McDonalds, and you’ll know what we found. Plastic playground galore! The kids were so excited and happy to play on some equipment. I heard them pretend playing astronaut and monsters, and well, prettty much just monsters. Monsters consists of Eli yelling, “Watch out, there’s a monster down there!” Followed by pretend screams from Lucy who then quickly jumps and climbs up the plastic corkscrew slide.

Slides rule...

Slides rule...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For lunch, our choices were:

Pizza. Pretty hard to mess up

Chicken tenders with rice

Frozen yogurt concoctions

I went for the pizza. Ian went for the chiken tenders. The pizza won by a mile. It was a margarita pizza, and pretty darn close to what you might find in the states. It cost 440 shillings with unlimited refillable coca-cola products.

I know, I know. There is always a segway into a tangent, and today is no different.

Coca-cola products. Or any soft drink for that matter have been strictly off limits for our kids. We even went so far as to give them some La Croix water (If you haven’t tried it yet you should), knowing they would hate it, and then we fibbed a little and said, “See, that’s soda!” So, they have rarely begged for a sip when we tell them soda is being served etc.

Last week, while I was doing something around the house I let Eli play outside and he went over to the neighbors househelp who was preparing greens out back and hung out by here. No harm. Then I peeked out to check on him and there he was, happily sipping “Ginger Ale mom!” out of a straw. His joy was like a cat that has tried cat nip for the first time. Pure pleasure.

I had been so vigilent about letting family and others know that the kids don’t drink soda and then it didn’t even occur to me here that I would need to pass the message on. Perhaps it was the whole moving to a foreign country and getting ones bearings thing that distracted me.

Needless to say (back to the playground/pizza adventure), Eli was THRILLED that the drink was unlimited refills. I think between the 4 of us we had 4 small soda cups full of Orange Fanta. There’s a lot of Orange Fanta around here. There’s a lot of soda around here actually. A Kenyan teacher at the kids school informed me at the birthday party that soda is “good” for kids and that the pediatrician recommended it. HUH???? Is it just me or does that seem backwards? I said, “Oh, we would go for juice over soda.” He said, “Juice???” Like he thought I was wild to even consider that. I think we’ll stick to the irradiated milk and filtered water. And the hundred packets of KoolAid sent along with us by Angie Battle. Thank you very much. (I’m being sincere, here, really).

Oh, by the way, Lucy has found soda too. She only made it 2 years, 8 months before her taste of the nectar. At this rate, when we have another chid (no, this is in no way an announcement), he/she will be drinking soda by around 16 months. And a fourth child (not that we’re planning on 4, but for the sake of the story) they’ll just take it intravenously.

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Guess what Ian's watching....

Guess what Ian's watching....

 
Eli's on the edge of he seat for... Eli’s on the edge of he seat for…
...for moderately inappropriate adult humor clown guy at Eli's first Kenyan kiddie birthday party.

...for moderately inappropriate adult humor clown guy at Eli's first Kenyan kiddie birthday party.

Tired out from a great party....loving the paper car mask.

Tired out from a great party....loving the paper car mask.

Oh yeah..our other child..shee hada great time too.

Oh yeah..our other child..shee had a great time too.

So exciting, last week we were invited to our first child birthday party.  It was on Wed evening here in Thika for a boy, Jay, in the kid’s class.  It took us over an hour to find the place, it’s less than 10km from our house.  The directions were less  than detailed and we asked about 10 people for directions each of them pointing us in another direction. 
It was at 1 of the 2 athletic / social clubs  in town so you’d think it would be an easy place to find.  Well you, along with us would be wrong.  When we finally found the place it was down this tiny, dirt alley that you could never guess led anywhere.   Well it did, and we arrived about an hour and 15min late.  Didn’t seem to be a problem though.  We were warmly welcomed.   It looked like most of the people at the party were children, family or staff of the Imani School. 
The fesivities started with a magic show by a clown who at one point used some really inappropriate adult humor…but only Ian and I seemed to catch it thank goodness.   No Copperfield, but the kids enjoyed the show.  Then there was cake, a full meal, and some fun kid games.  We made lots of freinds and Eli got another invite to come to another boys house on Friday.  His new buddy Maanav.  By the end of the party, the kids were very tired, overstimulated, and just plain done.  We went home and put them right to bed, clothes, masks, candystains and all.  It was a great evening for them.  A tiring but good evening for us.  It was great to meet some friendly adults in our community who are well established and welcoming.  Most of these families are from India, but have been established in Kenya for at least 3 generations.  They are generally business people of some variety or another.
On Friday we had a playdate with Maanav at his house..it went great.  His mother Poonam was so welcoming, they have a beautiful home that you would never guess could exist here in Thika.  Huge back yard with regular cut grass, a swing, slide, teeter totter.  Very nice, and very refreshing to be welcomed to their home.  They live there with 11 family members total, so you can imagine that it  is a pretty large house.  Two brothers, their wives, 5 children and the grandmother and grandfather.  The grandfather designed the home…which would fit right in at Forest Heights there in Portland.  Travertine floors, granite counters, multiple stoves, fancy furniture/decor.  They have the most lovely garden with manicured flower beds that were done all up in different geometric patterns.  You name it.  And everything spotless and clean.  I know that we have the rich and the poor there at home, but the contrast here is so incredibly drastic, and it feels like we are attempting to straddle both worlds.  It is good though to have connections throughout the community to draw on.
Just for a little contrast to the party pics...here's a lone Maasai watching the traffic jam at the roundabout. Just for a little contrast to the party pics…here’s a lone Maasai watching the traffic jam at the roundabout.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Growing up

Today was day 3 of the kids riding the “bus” or rather “school van” to school. School starts at 8am and the bus beeps at our door (literally) at 6:45am, or 6:30am if the driver has had a good road rally day on our road and makes good time. I was not appreciative of his “good time” on the first day that he showed up 15 minutes early, because, as those of you with kids know, you can get a lot accomplished in 15 minutes (if everyone is cooperating). Anyhow, we are much better with the time, because now I just plan on the bus arriving at 6:30 am. Does anyone else think that that time is insanely early for these 2 sweet adorable little ones? I do.

Anyhow, I was woken from my blissful sleep this morning at 5:44am with an Eli asking if he could get up because, “I’ve had a lot of good sleep mom.” I said ok and told him to go potty. What do you know it, but in less than a minute he pops up on my side of the  bed net  and is peeking in a me through the netting saying, “Look mom, I put my uniform on all by myself!” What happened to my child? Putting his clothes on himself has always been a major struggle and to imagine that he saw them laid out by his bed and chose to put them on? It was amazing. Right down to the shirt tucked in, which he informed me is part of the “uniform”. This is such a change for Eli. I’m not saying that he doesn’t know how to put his clothes on, but it’s definitely not something he would willingly choose to go do on his own!

He truly is changing into a little boy before my eyes and I want to grab on tight and bring that baby/toddler back to me. Don’t you all remember those sausage legs and arms that begged to be squeezed? Now he’s just a bundle of lean muscle with hardly a trace of baby fat, although I still catch glimpses of it on his hands and feet. I thought I had another 2 years before this (bus, school, packing lunches) would happen! I am comforted by the fact that he is thrilled by school and questions of “How do you like school?” are replied to with an earnest “Great!”

Such is the road of a parent.

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OK, so Kenyans as a whole (at least the ones we’ve met) do not really eat raw vegetables like we do.  They eat tons of greens that have have been boiled or fried, very tasty, but far from the fresh salads we’re used to.   Oh Sweet Tomatoes, I was sick of you two months ago and now I would do almost anything for a trip down your buffet line.  Yesterday Anne out did herself and made a great salad with spinach, hard boiled egg, tomato, cucumber, and “bacon” made from fried prosciutto.  It was amazing.  Esther, the wonderful woman who’s helping us figure out how to survive here,  was eating lunch with us.  when she saw the salad was for lunch she flinched a little.  It was really a hilarious culture clash moment.  She went home very hungry..she took a tiny portion and was not able to gag it down.  She could not believe we were eating those greens raw.  The only vegetable she’s ever eaten uncooked is cabbage and carrotts in a  cole slaw type stuff they make here.   
Ian's salad..MMM'MMM!

Ian's salad..MMM'MMM!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Esther's Salad...before trying to eat it.

Esther's Salad...before trying to eat it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now on to some interesting pictures.  I wish I could bring you all here to experience the vibrance and activity of our market in Macongeni.  Anne and I have been getting lessons from Esther on how to navagate the market and it has been quite an adventure.  This place is huge..probably the size of 10 football fields with huge quantities of all things edible and everything else you can imagine.  It is a labrinth of tiny alley ways and huge open areas jam packed with people and stuff.  Tuesdays and Fridays fresh produce arrives from all over the country by car, truck, mule cart, rickshaw, and on people’s heads.  In Thika there is one main store called Tusky’s that has the most modern products, it is also very  expensive.  We can buy produce and consumables for about 1/3 the price at the Macongeni market…it’s just not something you can walk in and do though without some guidance from a local.  Today we went with Esther again, Anne bought some fabric and we got about 50lbs of produce and food.  I snapped some pictures to hopefully give some idea of what it’s like in there.   The closest thing to it would be Saturday market if it was a permanent market with about 5 times more people there and way dirtier.   It is so crouded and busy you are literally stepping over people and produce to make your way.  So here, have a look, don’t get lost.

Fabric store alley...note the open fire...i never said the market was safe.

Fabric store alley...note the open fire...i never said the market was safe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anne getting her shop on, , she scored some nice fabric for curtains and decorating.

Anne getting her shop on, , she scored some nice fabric for curtains and decorating.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Typical market street.

Typical market street.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We made the mistake of driving to the fabric shop...had to back all the way out when this lorry came through. We made the mistake of driving to the fabric shop…had to back all the way out when this lorry came through.

 

That's about a foot deep in old corn husks.

That's about a foot deep in old corn husks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

05-26-2009 017 (2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where's waldo?  10 bob to the  first one who can spot Anne in this chaos.  Where’s waldo? 10 bob to the first one who can spot Anne in this chaos.
This guy gave us a special deal on his hand ground wheat flower so we can learn to make chapai...a very common food...like a thick wheat tortilla eaten with everything.  Second only to Ugali. as a staple food here.

This guy gave us a special deal on his hand ground wheat flower so we can learn to make chapai...a very common food...like a thick wheat tortilla eaten with everything. Second only to Ugali. as a staple food here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shopping cart = plastic bags strung on a big piece of sugar cane.

Shopping cart = plastic bags strung on a big piece of sugar cane.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dropping Esther off at home after our trip to the market.

Dropping Esther off at home after our trip to the market.

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Eli trying to win a toy motorcycle.

Eli trying to win a toy motorcycle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NO luck...instead he won....Mastermind.

NO luck...instead he won....Mastermind.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not too excited about his "win" we were able to exchange it for the motorcycle afterall.

Not too excited about his "win" we were able to exchange it for the motorcycle after all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Getting his face painted, everyone else asked for a ball or butterfly...

Getting his face painted, everyone else asked for a ball or butterfly...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eli asked for Spidermaan and here's what he got.  He was really happy about it even though this picture doesn't show it.

Eli asked for Spiderman and here's what he got. He was really happy about it even though this picture doesn't show it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meanwhile.....the girls were at the fingernail painting booth. Meanwhile…..the girls were at the fingernail painting booth.

 

There were hosres to ride...that scared Eli to death.  He did pet one though.

There were horses to ride...that scared Eli to death. He did pet one though.

Saw lots of this.

Saw lots of countryside like this.

Saw lots markets like this.

Saw lots of markets like this.

Wow and way out here in the country.  Amazing. Wow and way out here in the country. Amazing.

 

Our rustic patio set.

Our rustic patio set.

They were serious about the "door - to - door" service.  We thought they pick up at the gate.
They were serious about the “door – to – door” service. We thought they picked up at the gate.

 

 

First van ride to school..Eli is so excited, Lucy is a little nervous.

First van ride to school..Eli is so excited, Lucy is a little nervous.

So we had what resembled a fairly “normal” weekend here in Kenya.  We went to the kids’ school bazaar, which was as typical as you can get.  Booths, games, wares for sale, exchanging money for “tickets” to turn in to participate in the activities at the booths etc.  It was nice to arrive and have people greet the kids by name. 
Although there was one mishap and one “Captain Obvious” moment at the bazaar.  The mishap occurred as I stood in line to buy some tickets for the family.  The woman behind the table greeted Eli by name, and, since Eli had only been in school 3 days, and it wasn’t his teacher, I assumed that the person greeting must have been either his swimming teacher or the horse trainer.  I said as much, to which the woman replied, “No, actually, I’m the headmistress!”  Not the first impression I was hoping to make.  Then I followed it up with my “Captain Obvious” statement.  
A sidebar on “Captain Obvious” statements.  If you can’t figure it out, it is when you say something that is completely obvious to everyone else, and should be to you as well.  We learned this coined phrase from my brother, who may have learned if from his now wife or perhaps some of her college friends?
Anyhow, my “Captain Obvious” statement was this to the headmistress:  “Oh, I’m Eli’s mom” to which she replied, “I figured.”  Duh!  Not only did I walk in with him….but in the hundred or so people at the bazaar, Ian and Lucy were the only other possibilities for family, and what do you know! 
I’m going to have to work a little harder to make a better impression with the headmistress.  Although, in my defense, and Kori take no offense, she DID so look like a p.e. teacher!  You all know what I am talking about.
After the bazaar we just drove out of town and kept going.  Without a map, we just headed towards Mt. Kenya, which is north of where we live.  We enjoyed simply taking in the sights and sounds of something other than Thika and Nairobi.  We drove through farm land and more mountainous areas…all very reminiscent of what it looks like on the island of Kauai.  We stopped at an “Out of Africa Curio Shop” and were greeted by the VERY tourist prices.  We made our way out of there with just our very favorite items.  The shop keeper made sure to let us know multiple times that he was giving us his “resident price”.  We are sure it was a Wazungu “resident price”.  On our way out, he showed me to his disabled 8 year old son.  He sends him into a special school here in Thika.  He said that the boy had severe meningitis as a baby.  He said he “wasn’t right in the head”.  I met the boy…he appeared to have expressive language difficulties (although I am not a speech and language pathologist to formally diagnosis him).   I asked his father if the boy followed directions ok, he replied yes.  Such a different world.  I imagine this child would be in a regular 2nd grade class in the states with some speech and language support from special education.
Anyhow, with that, we made our way home with my moaning and groaning about being horribly carsick until I took a motion sickness pill, that just didn’t seem to work.  I crashed when we got home while Ian brought the kids in a mixed up some dinner.
On Sunday, we ventured again into Nairobi in an attempt to further furnish the house with necessities andin hopes of scoping out possible churches to visit.  We didn’t find a church, but the mall is filled with nonstop Christian music all day on Sunday.  I’m not sure if this is an everyday kind of thing or just a Sunday thing.  We’ll see this Wednesday when we go in for work and for a town hall meeting held by the US Ambassador at his home.   We scored some fun chairs from a roadside dealer for our patio, and I learned that my motion sickness pills are chewables….so they worked much better this time around.
We were back to work today….meeting  much of the morning to figure out next steps and to divy up the tasks needed to get this place really hopping.  Besides all of the regular tasks that are involved in running a program there are processes unique to Kenya and a new organization to learn.  Anyone got a guess about what “Impress” is?   Rather than making a good impression??  Also, decisions to be made about whether to have a “cooker” or a “jiko”.  What do you all think?
  
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On Thursday I spent the afternoon walking around the local community here with our gate man Titus (Tito) Kibiego.  He’s been living here for about 8 years and is well known in the area.  I don’t know WWF but around here the kids call him Big Show (after some wrestler), he’s about 6 foot 2 and 250lbs.  He’s also become my Mwalimu, teacher, and has taken it upon himself to teach me Swahili and all things Kenyan.    So back to our little walking tour: our goal was to take me through the two slums on either side of our campus and to meet the local elders and the area chief.  
First we headed to Umoja slum which has thousands of people living in very cramped quarters.  We drive through there every day on our way to take the kids to school so it was good to meet some of the people we see by the road.  I visited with many people but the elder was not in.   I went into another NGO program there that does a feeding program and a small school.  There were over 30 small children packed into tiny shack made of what looked like scavenged stones, mud, and scraps of old metal.  It was 12’x25’ at most.  All the kids were sitting on tiny wooden benches and working on learning their letters.  I met Mumo, a man Tito has known since grade school who runs a little fruit stand by the road.  They tried to teach me all the name of the fruits, Tito’s a patient teacher. 
We wove in and out of the tiny alleys and shacks meeting and greeting the amazingly resilient people of Umoja.  BTW, Umoja means one people, as in we are all one.  Next we headed back past Karibu Center to Kishagi, a larger slum that is just on the other side of the campus. 

 
This is the place where most of the kids have been coming to Karibu Center from.  Many of them know me by name now; they are the ones who stop at our fence in the afternoon.  We headed right to the elder’s place but he was not home either.  Instead, we met a 100+ year-old woman who really reminded me of my ailing grandma in some way.  Maybe just because I miss her, maybe because this woman had some of the same spunk as my grandma.  She had huge stretched out earlobes and insisted that Tito and I sit and stay a while.  So, in her little dirt courtyard surrounded by 5 slum shacks, we both sat together on a little bench that was about 6” high and 2’ long.  From that low perspective the small courtyard seemed more safe and homey somehow.  We sat and Tito explained who I was to the old woman, the elder’s wife, and three small children.  When we stood up I could look right over the roof of their homes, we continued the tour and then the kids spotted me.
For the next hour I had 30-50 kids hanging on me, following us, and asking to come to Karibu Center.  No matter how many times “Big Show” told them to go home they would just keep swarming us.  We had to tell them that today we were just walking around and we’d let them know when they could come next.  We met a woman who was holding a small girl with a wrap on her head.  She told me the child had been bitten in the head by a snake and it wasn’t healing.  She pulled of fthe wrapping and showed me the infected wound, then asked me what I would do to help.  Tito told her to take the kid to the doctor and that today we were just walking and greeting people.

  
We walked and he talked, explaining life in the slum.  Tito lives in Kishagi, he has one room in a secure building that he rents out.  It is a square structure with about 10 rooms around the outside that open into a common courtyard (that’s approximately 20’x30’) full of hung laundry.   There are two water spigots, two toilet stalls, and two cold shower stalls that the 40+ people who live there share.  We stopped by his place and looked through some pictures he has of family and friends.  I sat on his couch, feet up on the coffee table between me and the bed where he sat.

 
Then we headed back to Karibu Center together.  We happened to meet the elder and the local chief on the road.  Tito introduced me and we talked about the program and our plans.   They were very supportive and will come by later for a more thorough explanation so they can help us identify the people in the community who need our help most and who fit best with the population we came to serve.   Funny thing…the chief has a young son named Ian, go figure.  I met a boy in Kishagi named Ian too.  It’s more common here than back home.

 
So, that was my Thursday afternoon, just thought I’d share.  Ian

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So, I’ve been asked how we ended up here in Thika.  I forget that some of you haven’t been on this journey with us from the start!

So for Donna, and perhaps others of you who haven’t been on this rollercoaster ride with us, I pulled a note that I wrote in early September reflecting on the journey that was leading us to come to Thika, Kenya.

It was a bit difficult re-reading and visiting again the emotions I felt the day I wrote this, but so it is.  This is the “note” as I posted it to facebook…where you can also find us!  For more info about Orphans Overseas and their work, you can check them out under the tab “our cool hookup” on the main blog page.

As I write this, I am listening to:  Who Am I  by Casting Crowns.  A very appropriate song!

I truly do believe that we only see a small fraction of the total plan for our life at any given moment.

Case in point. In April, our next door neighbor offered us first dibs on her house that she was selling. This is the house that I covet (and yes, I know I should not covet anything, but this is my dream home). It is the storybook house in which I envision huge & noisy family gatherings at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Course it doesn’t have a great yard like our current tiny house, but that can always be fixed right? Anyhow, after agreeing that if the door remained open for us to purchase this house, we would, the door was slammed shut by the neighbor deciding she didn’t want to sell.

In June, I send an email out inquiring more of this Kenya project that keeps being brought up to Ian and I. Yet, in the back of my mind I remember the conversations I have been having with God over this huge life change. Since March I had prayed this sort of prayer…. “Ok God, so if you let me get pregnant, then no Kenya. If I don’t get pregnant, then perhaps Kenya.” We agree to talk with the organization more about the position in Kenya at the end of summer when things have slowed down….

In July, we find out we are pregnant, and I clearly remember thinking, “Ok, God, then no Kenya.”

In August, on Ian’s birthday, I am scheduled for my 10 week ultrasound. No heartbeat, no baby to be seen. Just an empty womb. I am by myself, left to absorb this heartwrenching news. On my drive home, I am sitting at a light signal and am struck by 2 birds (they look like eagles, but probably aren’t) soaring overhead and the phrase, “they will soar like eagles” and am put at peace because I am assured that my baby is safe and secure soaring with God, soaring like an eagle.

When I arrive home, a get a phone call asking for a time when Ian and I can come in to talk about Kenya. I hung up the phone, cried a lot, was generally pissy, stomped my feet in anger, and said out loud to God, “God, that was rude!” And thought about the cruel injustice of it all.

Later that day, the neonatal dude confirms that the pregnancy has a 90% chance of not being viable.

We accept the Kenya job on a Sunday, and I miscarry a few days later.

Wouldn’t have taken the job had they called even a day earlier, because I would have thought we were pregnant. It isn’t advised that pregnant women or newborns travel to areas that have yellow fever (Kenya). In what seemed like 1 day our lives changed dramatically….but we were allowed to see small parts of the plan that God has been working on for years.

It seems like only the start to an amazing journey for our entire family, and I am assured that there will be more babies/kids in our house…one way or another!

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We are enjoying the freedom our new car brings. There have been a couple cases though in this last week were we have had opportunity to need the owner’s manual…..and to our disappointment…no owner’s manual in the car.

 

Our first opportunity came while I (Anne) was on my first driving outing in Thika. I only wanted to drive the dirt road from the kids school to the highway into Thika, but Ian insisted that he wouldn’t switch seats with me and that there was no time like the present time to learn how to drive in a foreign place. I eased onto the highway, and managed to get through town with little problems except that Ian kept complaining that I was drifting off his side of the road…to which I replied that I was still getting used to being the driver and being on the right side of the car. Other things to get used to besides where “center” is in the car are the turn signals (I hit the wiper switch a lot by mistake) and looking for the rearview mirror to my left.

Anyhow, I’m driving down the highway and a bright yellow “HOLD” light comes on the dash. “Hold, what does Hold mean” we both say to each other. At least the light is in yellow and not red, but we decide to stop at the gas station by our place to inquire of the attendants. They are as stumped as we are….even after having me lift the hood…for gosh knows what. What do they think they’re going to see? Anyhow, after turning the car back on..the light is gone, so we figure we are ok.

Then, yesterday, as Ian is driving down the same highway, another warning light comes on! This time in RED! It looked like an oval with an exclamation point inside, and a parantheses on each side of the oval. Turning the car off didn’t seem to help (yes we pulled to the side of the road and stopped as we have been advised to NEVER do…but it was the middle of the day, and we were outside of town.) and we decided to pass on stopping at the service station again as they didn’t seem that handy with car warning lights.

We got home fine…and Ian unsuccessfully tried to download an owners manual. But, thanks to the beauty of SKYPE (you all really should have it or at least check it out), we were able to have our wonderful friend Eve Stoughton research for us the red light problem. She determined that it could be a problem with the braking system (the car has antilock brakes). That’s what we were afraid of! OR, it could just be the emergency brake. Ian ran out to the car…it was the emergency brake on a tad. Those sneaky little kids! When did they have an opportunity to do that! We haven’t left them alone in the car. Really. Despite Eli’s insistance that there is a table (read fold-down armrest) in the back seat perfect for them to eat lunch at.

Anyhow, Skype was dropped before we could have Eve find out what the HOLD light meant…so if any of you are bored at work today…or your kids are in bed and you need something to google. It’s a ’02 Mazda Protege.

Ian here on  completely unrelated topic.  Anne found a funny one page flyer in the paper yesterday for bug kiiller…a big issue around here.  Looked like this:

Here's the instructions.

Here's the instructions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I'm pretty sire this flimsy paper thing won't do much, I'll try anything though.

I'm pretty sire this flimsy paper thing won't do much, I'll try anything though.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Speaking of bugs...any guesses on what these guys are?   Found them behind our door when shutting up this evening.

Speaking of bugs...any guesses on what these guys are? Found them behind our door when shutting up this evening.

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Like so many other things in life, we only get out of things what we put into them.  I may have the most chicken proof door possible, but if I leave it wide open….it doesn’t do much good.   I’ll let the pictures do the talking. 
Eli screamed here use my water bottle daddy.  Get it.  Cook it, Cook it.  How about we pet it and let ig back out side instead?

Eli screamed here use my water bottle daddy. Get it. Cook it, Cook it. How about we pet it and let it back out side instead?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Out you go.

Out you go.

Nothing to be scared of here.

Nothing to be scared of here.

Everyone like a friendly chicken right?

Everyone likes a friendly chicken right?

On a completely unrelated note….the kids finished their first few days of school and they seem to be really liking it so far.  As promised, here’s their sports day uniforms.  Looking smart, as everyone says around here.
Ready to rumble.  On their first sports day they got to go swimming.  Pretty good start, they had a great time.

Ready to rumble. On their first sports day they got to go swimming. Pretty good start, they had a great time. Ian, out.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Here’s some thoughts from Anne today:Somewhere along the line when Eli was a baby I found a great little journal book that helps you record the funny things kids say as they grow up. It’s a great little book with pockets and great suggestions on where to keep paper and a pen so you can avoid missing the best comments.It seems that Lucy has far fewer funny grammatical error comments than Eli did at this age. She is a very verbal kid who can already express things like, “I feel fus-tated” “E-yi hurt my feelings” “E-yi call me bay-bee. I not baybee!” “E-yi I don’ like you touching me!” All said in a very husky and LOUD voice. Generally followed by screams.The liitle journal book advises that some of the best comments from kids can be collected in the car. This is true. We’ve had most of our philosophical and deep conversations in the car.Yesterday Eli asked how God created the world. Followed by: “What are we made of?” I replied with a straight, “The dust of the earth which God blew in to” rather than snipes and snails and puppydog tails….In the car on the way to school today Ian told Eli he wanted him to learn the name of one kid at school so he could tell daddy it when he came home. True to the task, Eli learned a name.Pole. Pole? We finally figured out that he was trying to say “Paul”. Imagine his British teacher saying, “Paul” and you can see how it ends up “Pole”. Eli has already named him, “The naughtiest boy”. That is funny with a british accent too. I asked, “Why is he naughty” to which Eli matter of factly replied, “God just made him naughty”. I asked if he had to go sit in the naughty chair. Eli shrugged no…..which was followed by the following whispered comment, “I was a little naughty too.” He wouldn’t elaborate on what being “a little naughty” was.Guess that will give me something to chit chat with the teacher about this weekend at the school bazaar. I’m quite interested to see what a school bazaar looks like in Kenya. I’m hoping for cute crafty African type things…but we’ll see.  Anne
 

 

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We love reading books in the May house.  We brought a few of our favorites along with us with the thought that books were heavy and might be hard to come by here, or that they might be expensive.  They’re not too expensive, about what it would cost in the States.

When we were last in Nairobi, we went  to a good bookstore at the suggestion of Roy and Jackie and we found our “new favorite”.

It’s called Tricky Tortoise by Mwenye Hadithi and Adrienne Kennaway.

It has the best double spread watercolor pictures…it has animals, a moral lesson and great writing.  They have also written:

Handsome Hog, Lazy Lion, Greedy Zebra, Enormous Elephant and more.  We’ll slowly work to build these into our collection as well.

We had been enjoying reading Tricky Tortoise, and on our first day at school when I was looking at the classroom library, there it was!  Yea!

If you want to check it out, go to:  www.hodderchildrens.co.uk

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