I had a post on facebook a while back about Eli’s self portrait drawing done at school.  It’s a pretty accurate drawing, except for the skin color.  When I asked him why he made himself black, he corrected me saying, “Mom!  I’m not black, I’m dark brown!”  If only he had seen his class picture that I had just received finally from the school.  A sea of light, medium, dark brown AND black……and a smidge of quite white.  Him.  Love that boy.

like the official class photo we received

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Ameena is now [gulp] 10 1/2 weeks old (I think?).

She had her 8 week doctor’s appointment last week at 9 weeks.

We had the usual developmental checklist.  All fine.

She’s gained plenty of weight…..getting pretty close to doubling her birth weight, which isn’t nearly as hard when you start out so light (6 1/2 pounds).

I told the doctor she had a problem with me taking dairy.  He noted it.

I told the doctor she seemed to have mild torticollis (I only know what it is because Eli had it at birth because he was a shoulder dystocia baby!).  He noted it.  We discussed simple exercises, positioning of Ameena etc.

OK, all of this background to say that I have found the PERFECT stimulus capable of getting Ameena to turn to her non-favored side.  I have tried toys, and cooing at her, the kids, blah, blah, blah, all to no avail.

Until……

TELEVISION.   She is mesmerized by it.  Even a boring movie about Leo Tolstoy.

Mind all of you, this is my third child, I’m not gonna wig out about a little television use like I might have with my 1st “perfectly” reared child.  This is serious medical therapy.  So hush.

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A favorite

I have many favorites here in Africa. 

One of them is the way mother’s carry their babes here. 

Mom’s use colorful cloths of many kinds to tie their babies onto their backs.  It is colorful, cheap and easy.  It’s also a great way for babies to have wonderful physical contact with their mom starting at a very young age (a few months). 

Here, Winnie is using a traditional kanga to hold Jeremy.  To use the fabric, a mom leans over balancing the baby on her back, then she pulls the fabric tight over the baby making sure it covers the bum, 

 

 

but not the legs, and then she pulls it tight and knots it close to her breastbone.  

If going out, the mother usually takes a Kenyan baby blanket and ties it around the baby and herself to provide extra protection from “the cold”. 

Each kanga has a different saying on it in Swahili.  It might be something like, “We have loved, but this is how it must be” or “Don’t be jealous, God is the giver of our bread” or other sayings you might find wise women using or expressing. 

I’m working on my kanga use.  I’m not comfortable with having Ameena on my back yet, so I tie on the kanga and then “stuff” her in the front.  “Stuff” was the word used by a momma in the market when she saw my method.  She so DID not approve of my method, but then again, oh well!

P.s.   And now, here Ameena is……on my back in a kanga!!  Not bad!

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Most of you who knew me back home know that I love a good deal.

Garage sales make me happy.  Especially when you score the ones where the people just want to get rid of things…for crazy prices.

We’ve collected a LOT of things while here in Kenya.   Some of it basic household items, some of it frivolous, some of it brought with us from home and too worn to bother taking back.

Usually when local Kenyans hear that a mazungu is going home they are sad, and say, “You can’t leave.”  When you assure them that you are & that the ticket has already been purchased, quite often the next phrase might be, “Oh, well then, what are you planning to do with ____________.”   And fill in the blank.

Since we know that this will happen & that we have a great many things we don’t want to take home (extra tea bags, used writing pens, worn out kids clothes etc, etc) I have decided to hold my own garage sale.

Today Ian printed up some fake money.  Ten dollar bills.  Each staff member will be given one hundred dollars.  I’m going to have everything set out & priced the day ahead so they can “pre-sale”.  This was at staff request, “Can I see ahead of time what you have so that I might go home and think carefully about what I need?”

Hmmm.  Good idea!

We’re having the shopping right after the going away party we’re half hosting for ourselves.  Again, why should the staff use their hard earned money for tea and biscuits when we can use a little of our own money to have a sweet catered lunch?  Right, good food it is.  And, what better way to make sure that the party ends of time then to have the carrot of shopping hanging out in front of everyone???

And lest you think that the men won’t like shopping.  I’ve got those night guards asking for my kerosene lamp, my patio chairs, and some of my pirated action DVD’s.

Oh, I simply can’t wait for this fun!  It’s gonna provide some sweet people watching and a nice sociological experiment.  Who buys for themselves, who buys for their kids, who gives up some of their own money so their friend can buy something that costs more than $100?

Can’t wait to show you pictures and tell you how it all goes down & what the HOT selling item turns out to be.  Rest assured it will be something random like Megan found when she cleaned out her room & gave out things to the girls.  An almost empty bottle of nail polish remover almost caused a riot!

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From the moment Ian and I committed to coming to Kenya we knew that we’d be short-term missionary-type folk, staying until summer 2010, which is now upon us.

There were SOOO many pieces that were brought together in this crazy adventure puzzle that it was IMPOSSIBLE for me and Ian to deny that coming to Kenya was something we were supposed to do.  We’d toyed with the idea of overseas missions when we were first married, but then grad school, and work, and kids came along and that was that.  And when the inklings of Kenya started to come up, believe you me, I worked pretty hard to find EVERY excuse on why it wouldn’t work for our family:

We had a great house & house payment.  🙂

I loved my job.

Ian loved his job & it provided well for our family & he wanted to advance.

We had kids aged 2 & 3 years.

I was pregnant.

We had dogs.

We liked seeing our family.

We were “settled”.

I got diagnosed with CANCER a week before we we’re scheduled to fly out. 

I didn’t want to be a “missionary” and “preach it” to people in the traditional sense.

We loved our amazing group of friends.

It was too much  work to figure out how to pack everything up to move to a foreign county.

But, you know what?  God has some amazing ways of working through the excuses, if you stop for a moment and let him.  Why do we think decisions or changes like this in our lives will be easy?  Imagine the disciples as Jesus called them to follow him.  They had jobs.  They had families.  They were going into the unknown & uncomfortable.  I can’t imagine that the prospect of leaving the comfortable seemed appealing and lucrative to any of them.

Our society has done us a great disservice in convincing us that we deserve to be comfortable and secure all of the time.  In being so, we miss out on the amazing adventure and blessings that can await us.  I wish that I could relay to all of  you what an incredible experience this has been…..to convince each and every one of you that you too could do this.  Do you really have any excuses better than the ones listed above?  Do you know that we have experienced death, disease, sabotage, physical attack, hatred, fear and all of the other weapons that Satan uses to discourage…..and in the face of those things we have had the wonder to experience birth, joy, mercy, compassion, protection, awareness, beauty, friendship, and stewardship?

In August 2008, on Ian’s birthday & the day that we found out we would miscarry what would have been our 3rd baby, Orphans Overseas unknowingly called to talk about this position with us.  Remember how I had come up with every excuse of why we couldn’t come here?   Being pregnant was my ticket to not “having” to listen to our calling.   And God, in his wisdom, knowing that I need blows to the head to listen, timed that loss with an open door….all on the same day.

So, we committed then to coming here to Thika until summer 2010 (NOW!) with the goal of getting Karibu Centre and it’s programs up and running.  And, today I can say that we have been more than successful despite huge obstacles here.  I can also say that if God had given me another  “blow to the head” saying that we needed to stay longer, that we would have listened to that too.  But, he hasn’t, and we feel confident in our original plan to return home and make way for the next phase of Karibu Centre.  I can not wait to watch how things progress here and to see the ways this amazing program will continue to impact everyone involved.  I am also excited for those who will follow us and how they will be forever changed simply by being willing to leave the comfortable and come here to partner with the staff, residents, children and community.  I am also so grateful we took the chance, followed our hearts, and now will carry this experience deep within us for the rest of our lives. 

We’re on our countdown to comin’ home & I can’t wait to share with you over the next 2 weeks some of our favorite things about this experience.

17 Days until we hop on that plane!  Please pray for this transition for our family and for Karibu Centre, we have grown to love the people we live among and leaving will be tough!

 

 

 

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