baby visit

So my wonderful doctor that I have been seeing at Aga Khan hospital hails from Goa, India. This explains why upon first meeting her I thought she might be Spanish (she is actually of Portuguese heritage)

She took leave from her practice a bit over a month ago to go help her mother who broke her hip in Goa.

So, consequently I went for about 5 weeks without a check up.

I went this last week for my 37 week appt. I was SOOO hoping that there would be news like, “Wow! You’re almost there, this baby is coming any time!”

Nope. Just confirmation that the baby had indeed dropped.

Weight looks good. Measurements look good. This doctor is guessing that baby May will come in around 7 pounds. My last midwife guessed about 6 1/2 pounds for my 8 pounder Lucy. I love the suspense of it all! I LOVE making all of these predictions and seeing who comes closest!

Anyhow, she made an appt. for me in 10 days (this Friday) assuring me she was positive she wouldn’t see me before then.

Bummer for me. Can’t one baby come early????

Anyhow, she then proceeded to ask how much medical knowledge my husband had. “How come?” I replied.

My awesome doctor went on to prep me on all the basics of a car delivery, especially considering that she thought the drive in might take 30 minutes and I let her know that it usually takes 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours to get into Nairobi from Thika, depending on whatever randomness has occurred on the road that day. Who knew that we should just leave the umbilical cord uncut until arriving at the hospital?? I didn’t. The mental picture is a bit much.

So, we’ll go in this Friday, at right about 39 weeks and see how this little missy is cooking up. I’m praying for a smooth, easy start to labor that allows us plenty of time to get into the hospital…..I don’t need any more crazy than living here brings!

We also have a volunteer team coming from the States next Sunday evening. Pray that everything for the team and for our new arrival goes smoothly and coordinates well together!

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Ian here.  I’m not into Taoism at all, but I do read a lot of different stuff and I know wisdom when I read it.  Lao-Tzu, considered the father of Taoist philosophy said “He who knows he has enough is rich”.  That quote inspired to go outside the other day, sit alone, and think.  After a couple hours I wrote the following thoughts which I decided to share here.  I’m a little nervous about this because I did not write thinking other people would read it,  I was just thinking through stuff to myself.   Sorry I’m disorganized and random, it’s just how I think.

Right now I’m sitting barefoot on a manhole cover on an elevated drainage culvert at the Umoja end of our compound.  I’m surrounded by tall grass and various low bushes but am high enough to see all around.  I look down the valley to wards Landless Estate, behind me I hear lorries on Garissa road.  Below me I hear the sewage flowing.  To my left I hear the Centre children now at home playing, crying, and yelling in Umoja Slum.  I can see a few from here and every once in a while one spots me and yells my name in a high pitched shriek.  I can smell the grass and also burning trash.  Last night one of our centre girls, an 18 year old orphan named Rose, had a baby boy.  At right about the same time a man was killed at the BAT (British American tobacco company) just over the field from here.  It’s been raining so much we are mostly stranded because of the deep mud and standing water covering our roads out.  The slums are unimaginably dirty with the mud and flowing water that mixes up all the trash, sewage, and other stuff on the ground.  Many of the dwellings are full of standing water and deep mud, it is really something.

Most of the time I doubt God if I am honest with myself.  However, I usually try to act as if He is real and actively involved in my life and the world around me.  Something in me knows He is in spite of the overwhelming evidence I’m surrounded by, that man is alone in this mess we’ve created here on earth.   I ache for the day when all is made right.  When people can live in honesty, sincerity, and the innocence I know we were designed for.  There is no end to the misery and struggle people live with all around me, only the temporary relief of alcohol or sleep for so many. 

Even so, children light up at a simple smile, wave, or acknowledgement.  They are so quick to smile back, laugh with me,  hold my hand and walk together…  mysteriously alive in the land of the dead and dying. 

No matter where I am in the world there is a constant hum in the background giving the same consistent message:  Take, get it for yourself, your pleasure is all that matters, it is your right to feel good, have lots of things, and consume the pleasures of this world.  If you don’t take, you will not be satisfied, you will miss out on the good things in life. 

Jesus said we should take everything we have and give it away to others and then take our time and serve others, not ourselves.  This is the way to fulfillment, happiness, and true reward.  He did not say this as an analogy or story representing some abstract truth either, but quite literally and clearly.  This scares me, a lot.  But it’s kind of like the fear you feel before bungee jumping, you’re body is scared and trying to convince you to stop, but your spirit knows you’re in for something sweet if you can push past it and step off the platform.  The ever present battle between the foolish, selfish, earthbound Ian and the spirit within me that knows the beauty, passion, and adventure I was made for.  What scares me even more is the idea that I could completely miss out on the life I was made for because I can’t push through that fear and listen to quiet whisper of God’s truth to my spirit.  So I chose to listen and act on what I know is true even when it makes no sense to me, or those around me. 

 The more I give, the more alive I feel.  Giving (sacrificing to meet someone else’s real need) has proven for me to be the only reliable means to near instant gratification except for substance abuse and other destructive behavior.  When I give up my time, money, pride, stuff, security, ambition, or safety to try and benefit another … the bigger the sacrifice the more “right” it seems to feel.  Sometimes the biggest (most painful) sacrifices I feel led to make are not doing what I want, when I want to, or sacrificing what others might think of me (allowing myself to look bad) if doing something to influence their opinion is not in the best interest of others.  I become increasingly aware that for me giving is the only path to meaningful accomplishment that I can control.  Maybe it’s not the giving actually because it is also linked to following a prompting of my spirit.  It’s those times when I know I should, not just whenever a need presents itself.  in fact most times when people ask I say no.  It’s the times when that small voice tells me “now..this is the moment”  and I usually don’t want to do it, but I have learned that those moments are where the greatest opportunity lies.  I’ve learned to trust that quiet voice and have yet to be let down, quite the opposite, it has created most of that which I consider good in my life so far.  It feels like my little secret sometimes because so few people around me actually practice giving that requires sacrifice and that therefore rewards them in profound ways, at least that I know of anyway.  Everyone knows about this concept but I fear that very few have the courage to really test it out in a way that could hurt if God doesn’t hold up His end of the deal. 

So, now that I read through what I wrote that day I suppose this itself is an example of what I was talking about.  I don’t really want to share this with anyone and feel uncomfortable putting my thoughts out there.  I fear I will sound self righteous, arrogant, and judgemental among other things.  However,  I know I’m not and I know I feel like I should post it, and so I will.  Thanks for reading…I’m off to put Lucy to bed.

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Baby Aurelio (I’m sure I’m spelling it wrong, but you get my gist) and Mama Aurelio, Joyce, have been visiting our home twice a day since last Saturday as the antibiotic for his pneumonia needs to be refrigerated.

We are happy to see Joyce and this sweet little boy so much!

Yesterday Mama  Aurelio  took her boy to the district hospital orthopedic clinic to schedule the cranial ultrasound…and came back having had it already!  I was thrilled to look at the report which indicates that structurally, everything seems to be there and intact.  What a relief.  There was concern that there might have been frontal lobe damage/deformity in  the brain as well as to that area of the skull.

Joyce seemed relieved.

I can’t blame her.  I’m relieved too.

Mama Aurelio still has a very long road to travel.  She is an orphan attempting to raise a baby in a slum on the income of her boyfriend who drives boda boda for a living.  It is not uncommon for her to wake up in the morning without food to eat.  Can any new mother imagine that??   I’m grumpy if someone isn’t helping to bring me the food right after I give birth, let alone there not being any.

We are seeing what we can do to support Joyce, but also to have appropriate boundaries as it was her decision to leave the Pregnancy Support Program at the Centre a few months ago…..knowing that she would be on her own.

Please pray for strength and good health for Joyce and baby Aurelio.  And for wisdom for us!

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So, my friend Eve asked if we would have to get a passport for the baby once it is born in order to come back to the US with her.

And yes we will. 

First, we’ll go to the US Embassy with the record of birth given to me by the hospital this sweet little pea is born at.   Ian and I will show our marriage certificate and material demonstrating that we are both US citizens (passports).  From there, the Embassy will issue a Certificate of Birth (DS-1350) and a Consular Report of Birth Abroad (FS-240).  The Consular Report of Birth Abroad document will give all of the details showing that this little girl has acquired US citizenship at birth because both Ian and I are American citizens, despite the fact that she is born in Kenya.  While she won’t have the typical type of birth certificate issued by the State that children born in the US have, these forms will serve for all legal purposes that a US Birth Certificate would serve for.

Does this mean that she will still be a “natural born citizen”?

Yes, For children born abroad, the principle which applies is jus sanguinis, or “rule of the blood,” rather than jus soli (rule of soil) and the rules can get a bit tricky. If a child is born to two parents who are both American citizens, the case is usually clear, and the parents need only apply for a United States passport on the child’s behalf to ensure that his or her citizenship is formally recognized.

So, we’ll  also apply for her passport, not only to recognize her citizenship, but to travel with her home to the US late summer.  What a world traveler to have a passport at just a month of age!  Some of you have asked if little baby May will have dual citizenship.   The answer is yes, although the US doesn’t really recognize dual citizenship, Kenya does.   She will be considered a citizen of both countries until she comes of age or pursues some avenue legally declaring her allegiance to one country and not the other.   

She can be an American or a waKenyan.  Whichever she decides.

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So, having seen this little baby with the dent in the head, I came home and did what any of you would have done.

I googled.

And, I didn’t really find much.   At that point, I was working under the assumption that this baby was born with a congenital defect that caused it to be missing a large chunk of the skull in the frontal lobe area.

Since the hospital had only done a physical examination, they had no idea what other conditions might be present.  At least the baby appeared stable and was nursing well.

I went back to the hospital (the impetus for my matatu adventure), checked on the mom, and the baby.  The nurses were concerned that the baby was not on 2nd line antibiotics.  I asked what the problem was, they said the mom (our former Centre girl) couldn’t afford the medication.   I asked for the prescription for the medication.

I went out and talked with Joyce and her boyfriend, both of them incredibly concerned over the mounting hospital bills and the fact that there was no possible way they could buy the medication for the baby.  I assured them that we would work it out and asked if they would be ok with the baby getting the antibiotics, they agreed, and off I went with Naomi from the Centre to get the antibiotics from town.

Since we had taken a matatu into town, we made our way the old fashioned way, on our own 2 feet.  We were successful with one of the medications at a  shop just across the street from the hospital (Thank God, my feet were swelling faster than a disposable diaper in a swimming pool), but the other required a further walk into Thika town.

We headed for a chemist (pharmacy) that I had visited before.  I’m in with the owner.  I had brought just enough money to cover 5 of 14  days of the prescription.  As we walked, I had some time for the enormity of this situation to sink in.

Here were 2 young parents of a new little baby, and what a desperate situation they were in.  Do you know how much the hospital bill cost that they were sweating over??  2500 shillings.  That’s about $35 dollars US.   A bed in the maternity ward of the District Hospital costs 200 bob (shillings) or $3 US per day.  Doesn’t that sound insane to any of us Americans?

When the doctor indicated that the cost of the antibiotics for the baby would cost about 600 bob per day, and that the baby would need the drugs for 14 days, I am so ashamed to say that I thought twice.  I thought to myself, for a few minutes, “Oh my, that is 8400 shillings”.  And folks that  is barely over a hundred dollars US.

How in the world could I hesitate for even a moment over a hundred dollars?  Ok, so we’re not rolling in dough over here, but a hundred dollars to possibly save a baby’s life?  And for that kind of decision to rest on me?  I felt humbled for ever questioning that I would spend this money on this baby, and a bit overwhelmed by the incredible amount of power (for lack of a better word) that has been given to me.  As we walked, I had that choking feeling in your throat that you get when you are trying REALLY hard not to cry.  I guess I have just never been so close to a situation where a baby’s life was held in such a balance….and yet that is how it is everyday here, for SO many  of these young women who find themselves pregnant and giving birth.

We arrived at the chemist.  My friend was there.  I told him what the meds were for.  He cut me an amazing discount and we discussed how it was hard NOT to help when it involved babies and children.  Adults were different.  I agreed.  Adults can be selfish, and annoying, and darn right criminal…but the babies?

We went back to the hospital, dropped off the medicine and left Joyce and the baby.

Fast forward 4 days when I got another call.  The hospital wanted to do a scan.  I traveled back to the hospital and met with the doctors.  They wanted to send the baby to a diagnostic centre to run a CT scan to check out the  baby’s brain.  Gulp.  “How much?”  I had to ask.  I’m the one paying. 

7,000 shillings (about $95).

Gulp, but this time, I just answered, “Whatever it takes.”

This hospital is a Level 5 hospital, so pretty sophisticated for a government hospital, but it doesn’t have a CT machine, so we would have to take the baby across town.  I asked the hospital to call ahead to see if we might get in this late in the day. 

And then we waited.  And went and bought diapers for the baby because although the parents had some clothes for him, they didn’t have diapers.  And then we had to buy an outfit (with a hat of course), and some socks, and a diaper cover.

And then back to the hospital where they inform me they have changed their mind again, and want to do a cranial ultrasound, which can be done in the hospital.

Ok.  So can we do that now?  Cause if the brain looks ok, then this mom and baby can go home!

So after much hemming and hawwing, us sitting around, them running around, they announce that the technician is gone for the day, so Joyce and the baby will have to remain ANOTHER day.

SIGH.  This is so Kenya.

Naomi and I drive home.  I feel good that the baby seems to be doing well, that it is receiving necessary meds, and that there might soon be an end in sight to this hospital  ordeal.

And wouldn’t you know it, I’m not even sitting on my butt on my sofa but 10 minutes and Naomi calls to say they are releasing Joyce and the baby from the hospital.

HUH??  Wasn’t I just  there?

And so it ended. 

Joyce, boyfriend, baby, boyfriends sister, boyfriends other sister, Naomi and I all drove home.  Past Karibu Centre, cause Joyce isn’t one of ours any more.  Right on to the slum

It was surreal to pull up like a taxi to drop someone off THERE.  In that kind of place.  But that is her reality, and this baby’s reality.  A slum without electricity or clean water.

Everyone piled out, and Naomi and I (and Ian cause we needed him to drive us through our road lake to the slum) drove home.

The end.

But not quite.

Joyce showed up the next day, to visit me.  With baby .

Here they are together:

Joyce with baby Aeralieo

 

Sweet baby boy

 

Such a sweet mellow baby.  The dent is his head is still there, covered always by a hat of some sort.  The good news is that the hospital agreed to do the cranial ultrasound outpatient, so Joyce will take him in this Monday for that.   And, there seems to be skull bone under the dent, so it is not missing entirely.   Hopefully we’ll get the scan done and some answers about the condition of his brain.  In the meantime, please pray for this mom and baby boy, he has pneumonia and we are working on getting him over that so he can be healthy despite everything else going on.

And so it goes here in Africa.  I feel like this is usual and  customary here, and  that life home in the US will never be viewed through the same lens again.

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One of the things I really enjoy about being here at Karibu Centre is taking the women in to the hospital when they are going into labor.

It works out this way because only Ian and I are able to drive the  Centre van, and often, it just seems better to have me walking into the maternity ward at the district hospital (who’s gonna bother this seriously pregnant woman?) than the one white guy in town.  The staff at the hospital are familiar with me and the other Kenyan Centre staff that go there regularly (the house mom for the pregnant girls & our social worker) and they rarely give us problems if it is outside of visiting hours, or if we want to do something (like walk right into the labor ward) that everyone else is prohibited from doing.

Anyhow, a little over a week ago, I went through the normal routine of  taking one of our girls in to the hospital.  And she had a beautiful baby boy, with no complications, on Good Friday.

There was however a wrinkle in the wonderful day.  Another girl gave birth that same day, a wonderful young mom who lived at our Centre for a while, and then voluntarily left to go live in the slum next door with her boyfriend.  After a lot of conversations with staff, this young woman had decided that she preferred her freedom and living with the boyfriend over some of the benefits that could be afforded by living here at the Centre (good nutrition, vocational training, medical care etc). 

This mom gave birth to a wonderful baby boy.   With a malformed head.

Staff came and reported this to me, and couldn’t really explain the difficulty, so when we went to pick up our mom and her little one, I asked the hospital staff if I might see the baby.

These are the instances when I experience white privilege.  I’m not proud of this privilege that is afforded to me….for no reason other than the color of my skin or my perceived socioeconomic status.  But, I’m not gonna lie either, I take advantage of this privilege when it allows me to help out these young women and children.

The baby was being kept in the nursery (our equivalent would be ICU), and the nurse wanted to know what relation I was to the baby.  I explained that this young mom used to stay at our Centre, that she was on her own now, and would need help to give this baby medical treatment if it needed it, and that help was me.  I was let right in.  Unfortunately, money talks.

What I saw broke my heart.  A beautiful baby boy, seemingly perfect in every way except for the 3 inch diameter dent around the frontal lobe of his head.  When I questioned the nurse, she was adamant that it was a congenital defect and not birth related trauma.  She had me feel the dent, and true to what she said, I could not feel any skull there.    I thanked her for letting me see the baby, and she let me know that they would keep him there for about 4 more days to see if there were any other complications…and to take a xray.

I went back in to see the young mom, who was sitting on her bed (with the 3 other women who shared it) with her boyfriend next to her.  She is fortunate, there are so many young mothers here facing pregnancy and birth alone, without the monetary or emotional support of the baby’s father or family around.  I gave her a hug, assured her we would figure it all out, and told her what a beautiful boy she had.

As I walked out of the ward, with the usual crowd of very pregnant Kenyan women watching me (ok, gawking really), I had to wonder why of all the 12 or so mothers’ we’ve taken to the hospital, and who have all had routine healthy deliveries……why  the one mom who left before delivering had this complication?  Ian and I thought it over and decided that maybe in his wisdom, God was protecting the Centre from any possible liability, while allowing me to help this woman personally.  But we also know that God does not engineer tragedy, that it is a tool of Satan, and that we can be assured that God helps us work through the evil things of this world to bring glory to Him in the end.

So, with a heart laden with joy over the new healthy boy  and mom the Centre was bringing home, and sadness over the mom we were leaving at the hospital I came home to contemplate what our further involvement might look like.

Part 2 tomorrow.

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….are the best, especially when it’s for your kids at a friend’s house.  Friends from church offered to take the kids this last Friday night and I jumped all over that. 

I got right on the web, and found a weekend special deal at http://www.safaripark-hotel.com/ , a much better deal than I would have found anywhere in town..and this hotel is just a short drive from our friends place where they work at a Children’s Centre run by the Rafiki Foundation. 

Anyhow, Ian and I had a wonderful time, not doing much at all, but enjoying alone time with each other.  We had a wonderful Italian dinner, browsed the 64 acres of lush gardens, a soak in a  bath tub (we don’t have one at our house), and sleeping in til 7:30! 

A wonderful time.  Thank you Doug and Carolyn! 

Our room was spacious and I loved all of the dark wood

 

the view from our patio out onto the Chinese fish pond

 

the landscaping of Safari Park Hotel, an oasis among the chaos of Thika Road

 

a statue without an explanation, but I'm guessing it's fair to say it has to do with fertility? We don't need any of that right about now.....but we thought it was photo worthy

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Not at the police station mind you, I think Ian’s had more than enough interaction with the police for all of us.

No, instead, I am finally getting around to taking my “booking slip” in the hospital today.

I should have done it 3 weeks ago.

But I have to take my wallet with me, and honestly, I haven’t wanted to part with my money quite yet.  That, and I’m really not sure if I can pay on my card or if I actually have to get that much cash.

I’m having this baby at Aga Khan Hospital.  (Huge sigh of relief for anyone who knows the hospital system here……even people from neighboring countries come over to have services done at Aga Khan).

My doctor told me I needed to pay a deposit of ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND shillings with my booking.  I don’t care what the conversion rate is 100,000 is a lot of anything!  It actually translates to something like $1300.  That isn’t horrible when all said and done I hope to have this baby for 5 grand, but sheesh, who wants to walk around with that kind of dough?  I’ve done it a few times, and it’s really an uncomfortable feeling.  You’re looking over your shoulder every 30 seconds like there’s a neon sign on your head blinking “MONEY!, MONEY!” and everyone is gonna jump you.

At least my pregnant belly might distract them all.

I’ll let you know if they’ll let me put this “deposit” on my gymboree VISA.  I think I’ve used that card a sum total of 5 times, but this would definitely get me closer to a reward gift card! 

I dreamt last night that the US government was no longer requiring pregnant Americans to travel to Nairobi to have babies OR to have insurance.  I think my subconscious fears of not getting to Nairobi on time to have the baby, and of paying this deposit are starting to surface.

Update:  So, my “booking” went great, except my Gymboree VISA was declined (of course I called the company before I came to Kenya to make sure it would always be ready and available to use, especially in an emergency…which this is not….but it wasn’t “available” either).  But, the nice male booking clerk offered to just let me make a deposit of 50,000 shillings, so out came the debit card and it is done.  He assured me that I could pay the balance of my bill when I was there for the baby.  So kind of him!

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I’m guessing that at times it might be hard to imagine what life over here is like.

At least that’s my guess since I really had very little idea of what to expect before we come over.  I thought I was pretty prepared with my expectations as I’d taken work and witness mission trips in high school and college to less developed countries.

What I wasn’t prepared for (now I think, duh!) was how different everyday life can be from a 1 – 2 week visit to one of these developing countries.

It’s the everyday mundane things we might take for granted in the States that often take up my afternoon….that and work stuff.  So, I thought hey, I’d share what a typical Sunday might look like here in Kenya.

We wake up here daily, without an alarm (which never would happen for me in the States), promptly at 6:30am  every day because the sun rises and sets at the same time, every day of the year when you live this close to the equator.  And, if the sun weren’t enough to rouse me, I have a 3 year old who is happy to stand by my net enclosed bed to alert me that the sun is out and I need to get up.  NOW!  If I am lucky enough to beg off a few minutes, she is promptly back to remind me that my few minutes are more than over…..

On Sunday, we hang around and eat some breakfast until about 8:20 when Ian leaves to take the Centre girls to church in the van.   On some days this can be quite an experience, especially if the dirt road to the Centre from the main road is flooded in about 2 feet of water (as it is now) .  Thank goodness the Centre van has a snorkle on it.  Plenty of gripping on the roof handle still occurs as we plow through the water, along with Centre girls saying all sorts of exclamations in Swahili.  Ian usually arrives home by 8:45 when we need to leave to make the hour trip into Nairobi so we can attend church ourselves.

Church.  Thank goodness it’s only  1 1/2 hours long.  American-style.  Out by 11:30.

When they travel a very short 5 minutes to eat at the mall food court (really people, there aren’t any other choices, and the food court is the highlight of our week).  Usually we are accompanied by friends from church.  1 hour.  Customer service just doesn’t equate to quick or fast food in Kenya.

Leave food court & drive to what is in my opinion, the good  grocery shopping store.  Really, you all know what it’s like to shop in a store with a horrible layout and poor stock.  It’s not even worth the effort.  This drive takes 30 minutes.

Grocery shopping.  1-2 hours.  Check out can last 30 minutes (usual) or longer.  I think that 10 key instruction would revolutionize Kenya…sometimes I just want to hop on over that belt and whip some UPC codes out for those guys.   I’ll take a slow checker or broken scanner though any day over having all of the groceries scanned and packed, and then having the computer (yes they do use a computer system) turn off.   That happened 2 weeks in a row, with cranky kids (and me) in tow and that was enough to ensure that now I carefully investigate the checker technique and speed of each line before lining my cart up.

By the time we leave the grocery store (and this is speedy by most standards because I have a list and Ian and I divy it up) it is either 2 or 3 pm.

We then cram in the car  (generally 3 adults and 2 toddlers in a 5 person sedan)and prepare for the hour or  more drive back to our beloved home of Thika.  This generally involves the following statement, “Kids, go to sleep right this minute or you’ll have to take a nap when we get home.”   Amazingly enough, this is all it usually takes to have them conked out in less than 5 minutes…..because who really needs a 3 year old asking about 20 times where the camel was that she was too slow to see out the side window?

We arrive home by 3:30 or 4pm usually, unload the groceries and put them into the fridge/pantry.  Today I put them into a warm fridge because the power was out again.  Thankfully it came on within the  hour.  It is not unusual for us to have power outages 3-4 times per week for as little as 30 minutes, but also up to an entire day.  You never know.  Thankfully, I’ve relaxed a lot about food in general, and it seems like a lot less gets thrown out here than would at home.  The food police or Terry Goldman are going to need to come and help me when I get back to Portland because I’m sure that I’ll be allowing way too many unsanitary food practices to go on.

Then, I usually end up doing laundry (like all of you at home), but in my  dual drum washer that requires manual filling/emptying and transferring to the spin tub.  Now don’t get me wrong, I love this baby…..it has reduced laundry to a 2 hour chore instead of all day.  Then (like today) I might take a bucket of water out to my front concrete porch to wash off all of the mud that was brought in by the nightly/morning rain.  If you leave it, it gets tracked into the house like no ones business.  Such was the case today, so I washed the concrete floors in the dining/living room and the kitchen too.

By the time that was done, it was 5:30….and dinnertime.

Dinner prep, dinner, dinner clean-up.

Kid clean-up, Bed prep, kids to bed.

Now it’s 8:30, and I am getting ready for me time.

So, I guess that there are many things here in Kenya that are the same as life in Portland, just without the speed and modern conveniences we are accustomed to.  The slowness rather than being invigorating tends to drain the body of energy…..and we have never found ourselves staying up til 11pm like we might at home.  Perhaps it is the heat, or the need to shut the house up from the darn Malaria mosquitos at dusk, the darkness by 7pm, or the inability to go out on the town at night because of safety concerns…..but, I’ll be heading to bed within the hour.

At home I’d “melt” by 10pm and need to be in bed.  In Africa, I feel melted by 8pm.

So with that said, goodnight all, it’s 30 minutes past melting hour.

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Seems like any time is a good time for a goat BBQ around here.  Warning, this is not a veggie friendly post (or a veggie friendly county for that matter) so reader beware.   Easter is here and it seems the appropriate thing is to roast a goat, so I felt obliged to have it here at the centre this time.  On monday I brought two home to have for a big cellebration with all of the staff and a few friends of the centre.  Here are some pics of the day’s happenings that started at 6am and lasted until 4pm.   Now I know we have tried to keep this blog entirely personal and use the facebook page exclusively for the centre but on this occasion the fine line between the two seemed to dissappear, or at least I couldn’t find it when writing today. 

Me and Tito posing with the goats. Yes I'm wearing a new goatee just for the occasion.

Taking a little taste. I told you Tito eats everything, even the horns (not really, the old men make shot glasses out of the horns).

6:00am and everyone is way too excited to get this paty started.

How many people does it take to skin a goat? Apparently eight of us, I admittedly was not much help.

Esther Lilian and Lucy making Chapati.

Lucy hard at work.

Sausage making station.

Making Sausage.

Our new House Mother, Esther, chopping cabbages.

Our new Masai gaurd putting his goat herder skills to use the first day on the job.

All the food spread out for self service.

Enjoying the feast!

Anne and her namesake, Michelle. None of the girls like her first name so they used her middle name. Fair enough.

Me and the village elder's kid, Nicole.

The whole group posing for a outside picture. My secret technique to get them all out of the building and heading home. After about 7 hours, our family was ready to be done.

That my friends was our Easter celebration.  Now we can actually relax a little over the next few days.  Whew!    

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