Good byes aren’t fun, especially when very good friends come for a visit and are getting ready to leave.  We had a fabulous time with Rhett & Erika Lee, close friends of ours from Portland, Oregon. 

Rhett and Erika in front of Chania Falls in Thika


Erika and Rhett both grew up in Hawaii, so much of what we see everyday in Kenya that is foreign to me was familiar to them.  Trees, fruits, flowers.  It was wonderful to have someone knowledgable to educate me!  Did you know that the lychee fruit looks like this and has to have the skin peeled off it? 

Lychee fruit


Erika also got me to do things that I haven’t so far here in Kenya, like have fresh flowers in my home.  This bunch of about 40 roses ended up costing Erika about $4 US.  Not bad.  I probably wouldn’t have purchased them myself, but I am happy that Erika did and left them for me!  What a wonderful reminder of the Lee visit. 

Fresh roses from Peponi Street in Nairobi


 Here is Erika at the actual flower market: 


And they got me to go to the Triangle Shops in Nairobi AGAIN.  My first visit was by myself when I first arrived in Nairobi, naïve about how to barter for goods, and unable to speak Swahili.  We went this time with some specific souvenir items in mind and all had a fun time.  I guess there is power when you go in multiple: 




Rhett and Erika did a fantastic job of taking Kenya in stride and experiencing some crazy things!  We had a wonderful time with you personally and as “fill in” for our Portland Care Group and can’t wait to hang out again!

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We have some random moments here, things can get interesting when you have to get creative for entertainment.  Today Eli found a sweet kimono like outfit among some donated clothes and wore it all afternoon.  Tonight in honor of uncle Andy, Eli showed us some of his sweet “Krairate” moves.  Here’s a few pics, enjoy….we did. 

Check out Lucy in the background. Who’s watching thise kids?
Wax on!
Double Eagle Claw!
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Kid fun

Eli and Lucy had a wonderful time while our friends the Lees visited.  Here is a picture tour of their time:

Lucy enjoying ChaiLucy enjoying sausage and chips

a 2nd visit to the airport to pick up Rhett and Erika’s bags that finally arrived!

Lucy hiding like a silenced parrot under Rhetts shirt in the car

Eli posed for Erika in his school uniform. So serious.

working on computers for the Centre

Lucy helping with laundry

Packed up to go to the playground with Rhett....staying long?

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Tea Time

I’ve been hearing about the Kiambethu Farm for quite some time.   I have never really known what to expect, but I knew the minute that our friends Rhett and Erika confirmed that they were coming to Kenya, that we would have to go.

A kid free, adult outing.  Exciting.

Kiambethu Farm is located in Limuru, Kenya.  A gorgeous place to be.

tea fields on our way into Kiambethu Farm

Upon arrival to the farm we walked the English Gardens on the property

After walking the gardens, we were invited inside for a cup of Kenyan tea

Kenyans, with the British influence, take tea with milk. It's pretty tasty actually.

After grabbing a cup of tea and a few tea biscuits, we all grabbed a seat and prepared for our tea lesson from Fiona, 3rd generation owner of the farm.

Fiona describing the different varieties of tea that can come from one stem

We each had our own tea sprig to look at during Fiona's talk

After our tea lesson, we went for a walk through a section of a 6 acre native Kenyan forest. 

Our guide, Kiamani, is a 3rd generation Kenyan to have lived and worked at Kiambethu Farm.  He pointed out many native trees important to the culture of the Kikuyu tribe, of which he is from.

Kiamani at the start of our forest walk

walking through the forest, of course, the stragglers in the back goofing offTea has been grown in this area since 1922 when the forest was cleared by the British Farming companies. The last leopard was seen there by Kiamani in 1968.


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can easily be turned upside down in Kenya.

Take Day 4 of the Tour.  This was supposed to be our agenda:  Giraffe Park & Amani Ya Juu.

Our agenda changed into:  Airport, Salvation Army Headquarters to take care of business & Amani Ya Juu.

Erika and Rhett got a call that 3 of their 4 bags had arrived & we could pick them up.  The airport is easily an hour out of the way of anything, without traffic.  But, since they were on day 4 of wearing their clothes, we decided it would be a nice host thing to do and take them to hopefully retrieve the bag with their clothes in it.

We were successful.  Erika even managed to get our gas reimbursed.  She’s the best at handling airport types!  **Insert big smile here**

Rhett and Erika were really good sports about having to ditch the idea of getting to the giraffe park.  There’s just only so much you can squeeze into a Nairobi day what with hours of sitting in traffic.

We had a wonderful time eating and shopping though at Amani Ya Juu.  Erika purchased some wonderful African batiked green napkins and hotpads with serving spoons (I threw in the matching cloth trivet).  I found a few pieces for the baby that I have been eyeing since before finding out that it was a girl.  It was a successful shopping trip for all!

Dad and Lucy hanging out

Lucy hanging out at Amani ya Juu, with her baby, Kenyan style

Yummy lunch




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What happened?  Didn’t day 2 and 3 happen a while ago?  Yes.

Mmmm, I’m lazy. Day 2 happened. We (Ian, I, Rhett, Erika and Lucy) went to Nairobi, had pizza at the french restaurant, went to Spinners’ Web ( a great place to get Kenyan souvenirs that are nice), got stuck in horrid traffic (what’s new??), missed Eli’s pickup time from school so asked if he could go home with an Indian friend (yes), picked up Eli from his friends house (they got in a bit of a brawl), and came home.

Day 3 happened too. Lots of exploring of Thika. Makongeni Market with Rhett and Erika where they both tested out the effects of their doxycycline (Erika has more sensitivity and sunburned herself in a great tilted pattern on her neck) and their bargaining skills. Erika did pretty well…..she was able to get 3 mangoes for 60 bob, which is about 80 cents. We got some fun pictures from the market. The smell there was the worst I have ever experienced. It was amazing also that we were able to make it out of there as clean as we did.

3 days after rain...the market was pretty "ripe"


Man in the market as we were browsing kangas...but this is not a kanga he's holding

the walk home from the market through Madaraka


A few weeks ago, I asked Esther to make some traditional African food for our dinner while she was at our house today. On the menu was:  Chapati, and stew (they usually do beef, but I had her put in some pork tenderloin).   Here’s what it looked like: 

Esther really is a great cook!

We are having a great time hanging out with the Lees:   Lucy hanging with Rhett:

Having some hang time with Rhett

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I’ve always appreciated how well Erika plans out activities for the friends and family she has that visit town.

So, in an attempt to allow her and Rhett  to experience the fun of an itinerary planned just for them, I have written up a 5 day list of activities and meals in the hopes of enabling them to have the FULL Kenyan experience.

Megan, our volunteer coordinator here at Karibu has developed a great circle of young, mostly unmarried American friends here in Kenyan….that by extension we have gotten to know through her and church.  She helped arrange for them to have Eli and Lucy this last night for a sleep-over, which was PERFECT for allowing us to go together to airport to pick up Rhett and Erika and then spend some nice quality time with them yesterday late evening and all morning today.

On the agenda:  Nairobi National Park.  The web advertises that you can see all of the big 5 except for the elephant:   leopard, lion, buffalo and rhino.  We didn’t know what to expect for our self-serve driving safari within the city limits, but we were excited!

What we did know to expect:  lots of mud.  Constant rain all day and night since Friday evening.

Here is what we found:

Not even on zoom...that close, but Erika takes the prize for closest in the wild

Not wildlife, but yummy chocolate muffins as snacks for our safari

He finally agreed to cover up with his leg so I could post an appropriate g-rated picture


 On our self-driving safari, we also saw in the distance where  pictures would not do them justice:  African buffalo, elands, waterbuck, vultures, grey crowned cranes, egrets, and a coucal.

And then our mud bogging adventure began, which I hope that Erika takes the time to describe in much better detail on her blog.  While the men were off helping someone much MORE stuck than we ever were, Erika and I decided to make ourselves useful by scraping the mud off our vehicles’ tires:

She's such a giver.......


And then the boys returned from their unsuccessful attempt to free the vehicle ahead of us from the mud.   On the bright side, Rhett and Ian both obtained free mud wraps for their feet:

Rhett's foot....despite having shoes on during his rescue attempt


All in all, we decided that we more than got our money’s worth out of this self-service safari.

Wait  until they see what I have planned for tomorrow……Diamond Plaza!

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Our good friends Rhett and Erika Lee are on their way right now to visit us!

They are somewhere between DC and Amsterdam, having scored some sweet first class seats!  Yeah for them!

Here’s a picture of them with Rhetts mom, and their kids Caity and Jackson who will be staying in Portland while they come on their great adventure.   Pray for a safe trip and a wonderful time together!

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I bet it’s hard to imagine living somewhere where it is pretty much the same kind of weather year round.  I had a hard time imagining it when I lived in Portland.

Because it is  generally between 70-80 degrees year round here in Kenya give or take 10 degrees in their summer and winter, we encourage the kids to be outside…..when there is something safe for them to do.

We miss our lovely Portland park system.

In an attempt to have more fun time outside, I asked Ian to put up a rope swing out behind our house for the kids.  He, as usual, was happy to oblige and work on the project.

Here is the result, a few weeks before Christmas:

Even baby gets to try out the swing

Beautiful Kenyan summer evening

Eli decided it was more fun to try and knock Lucy's baby off the swing as it came by. Here, he is finally caught by Megan after dodging back and forth behind the tree

Even Megan had to take a turn on the swing

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Did you know?

That there could be a show made just for me called, “So You Just Can’t Dance?”

I gave up in college, after trying country swing dancing.  In high school, I had to be the dance team manager.  I couldn’t count time.  Still really can’t.   I have trouble finding the beat.  It really is a sad state.  Sorry to all of you wonderful music types, of which I seem to be surrounded by many.

Now my dancing is just brought out on rare occasions….like when family is sick and needs a pick me up, or when Eli is grumpy, or when Erin from across the street tries to make me do a Billy somebody hip hop workout video.

Anyhow, all of this to say, No I don’t have a video of my most recent dancing attempt on New Years with our pregnant girls, not even a picture.  Thank God!

But, I do think I have found someone about as equally as bad at dancing as me.

I am no longer alone.  Naomi, the house mother of the pregnant girls here easily trumps my lack of skill and rhythm.  And she’s Kenyan.  Shouldn’t she be born with some moves or something???

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