Trip Report – July 2016


Life in Kenya can be hard no matter who you are, but especially so for the working poor.  I frequently get asked “Why help those people over there–when there are so many struggling families right here in the US?”  I’ve given many answers over the years, but I suppose the answer I always come back […]

Why it Matters

He is the perfect example of everything we hope to achieve at Ameena Project. The doors of opportunity and hope have been opened for young Kennedy because all of you believed he deserved it and put your time, talents, and resources to work for his sake. Kennedy was one of our first students and finished […]

A couple short videos from Ian’s trip – November 2014

Meeting Day with the Community and Parents [youtube][/youtube]   Some Shots from Class Time and the New School Site [youtube][/youtube]    

2014 Fall Newsletter

In case you missed it you can click HERE to read it.  You can also sign up on the bottom of the home page to receive it direct to your email.

The Spirit of the Weekend.

This weekend ultra-endurance athlete Christian Isakson put on three events to raise funds and awareness about Ameena Project.  It was a whirlwind at times and was truly humbling to watch him pour himself into each individual event and each person who attended.  Ameena Project people were there in the background and left deeply grateful for […]

Invite to see Chris Lieto & Christian Isakson

Changes for 2014 – What You Need to Know

Last month the board of directors got together and reviewed 2013 goals, operations, and financial policies.  Our monthly recurring contributions have remained quite consistent and continue to be several hundred dollars per month below our actual operating costs.  However, our overall base of support has grown as people share the Ameena Project story and so […]

School Wish List

2014 Kenyan School list! We leave 2/21/14.  Please post a comment under the list of what you want to help with!!! Someone from Ameena Project can pick up the item from you, or you can have it shipped or dropped @12190 SW Butner Rd, Portland OR, 97225! This was such a success in the past […]

January Newsletter

          Lining up for cake at the second anniversary celebration of Ameena Centre January 2014 Newsletter Kiang’ombe community members and guests at the anniversary party pose outside of Ameena Centre; Guests enjoy cake – a rare treat in Kiang’ombe.  Year in Review 2013 was full of adventure and advancement for Ameena Project. […]

November Update

    Giving thanks: AP graduates headed to primary school! As we transition into the holiday season here in the U.S., the Kenyan school year is coming to an end and our oldest Ameena Project children are taking their entrance exams for primary school. Their families are hopeful that they are accepted but uncertain if […]

November Promotion.

Check out this amazing local business with a big, big heart. Buy some scrubs today and help us help kids in Kiang’ombe. Please pass it on to friends in the scrub wearing business, this won’t last long and we want to get the most out of this great opportunity.         Help us […]


“Success is the sum of small things repeated day in and day out” – Robet Collier.   This month Ameena Project celebrates a full two years since teachers Mercy and Hillary approached Ian and Anne about starting a new school.  While in some ways the time seems to have flown by, and so much has been […]

Recent Events

As many of you know, Anne and I visited our program in Kiang’ombe in late January.  Our objectives for the trip were to do more in depth community needs assessment, review program operations, and complete annual planning for the coming year.  We spent a lot of time with our staff,  with the kids,  and in […]

Expressions of Love – Salem Concert

Come learn more about WHAT we do and WHY we do it.   Learn more and follow our progress on HERE!       .

School Readiness

In Kenya, the school year starts in January and over the entire year of 2012 we worked hard with our older students to prepare them for success in the local school system. We fed their bodies, minds, and spirits creating dramatic changes in all of them.  16 children completed our Early Childhood Development program and […]

Note from Anne – 23/1/2013

Since arriving in Kiang’ombe I have been pacing the school grounds back and forth, looking out of the gate, waiting for the day when we would visit in the community with the village elder. I’ve felt a bit like a caged animal, not used to having to have an escort to make my way around. […]

One Happy Ending

Yesterday while visiting homes in Kiang’ombe we came across a house that at first appeared vacant.  A quiet cry drew us in and alone inside we found a woman in bed nearly unable to sit up for the pain she was in.  When asked what was wrong she initially said she was sick but shortly […]

Suffering and the Overcoming of it.

Following the recent events in Oregon at Clackamas Mall, and then in Connecticut, with so many innocent lives being stolen, I have been experiencing a suffocating sense of sadness and heartache deep in my soul. In a quiet moment of reflection I realized that these feelings were all too familiar. I sat and thought on […]

November Update, 2012

Dear Friends,     As 2012 comes to an end we wanted to send out a letter to share more details about the work being done through Ameena  Project.  Since it’s inception in September 2011, progress has been brisk! Initially, we partnered with a fiscal sponsor and shortly after acquired our own non-profit status! We were […]

Spotlight # 2 – Meet the Prins

One of the coolest parts of Ameena Project is this concept of Collateral Impact – those secondary positive affects that result from doing something good and doing it together with other people.  Over and over now, we have been shocked and humbled by the creativity and generosity of others.  Not only are we focused on meeting […]

Dress Yourself – Feed a Child!

We are grateful to have support from friends and organizations who get what we do and why it is so important.  NW Scrubs  is a business with owners who truly understand and live out the philosophy that drives us at Ameena Project – “To whom much is given much is required”.  They are an amazing […]

Evening in the Country Report

  For those of you who were not able to make it out to the event and for those who attended and wanted to know how we did, this post is for you.  We were all so happy with how the event went and couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome.  We want to extend great […]

FREE Concert this Saturday

Don’t miss this fun- filled, family friendly, FREE concert to benefit Ameena Project. Saturday, August 11 from 6:00 to 9:00 PM at the Blair’s beautiful country property 23002 NE 83rd Street Vancouver, WA 98682.  Don’t hesitate to call for directions 360-980-2413 It will be a wonderful evening of good food, great music, and education about […]

Why it matters, in one minute.

They were desperately needy, hungry, with little hope for a future.  Now thanks to all of you, there’s been an outbreak of joy in Kiang’ombe:   [youtube][/youtube]

Evening of Music in the Country

Just over a week away to this amazing free concert and charity event. Please let us know if you plan to attend. It will be a wonderful evening of good food, great music, and education about the lives of children in East Africa and what we are doing to make a difference. Here’s a link […]

Bracelet Bunch Bake sale

 Read about these wonderful girls on Oregon Live In total, the girls were able to raise $225…we are thrilled with their success!

Pinching Pennies

The feeding program at Kiang’ombe is central to the broader community development work we’re doing there.  We provide two nutrition packed meals a day to every child in the program and however hard it is to believe, if they don’t get it from us, they just don’t eat.  Monday mornings are really hectic because the […]

Wambui – Megan’s Report

On my recent trip to our project in Kiang’ombe, I met a little girl named Wambui.   I wondered why she was in our program because at 7 years old, she’s much older than the other children and seemed like a bright kid who could be attending a local primary school. For the teachers though, […]

Collateral Impact

We had a wonderful evening debriefing with Megan Steele Friday night and it was so great to hear her report on the Kiang’ombe feeding / preschool program.  In short, things are going remarkably well and the children and community are deeply grateful for the huge impact they are seeing.  Megan is putting together some inspiring […]

On the Mend

After two weeks in East Africa Megan Steele ended up catching something and has been so sick we’ve hardly heard from her.   Looks like she is doing a little better now because she posted some pics on FB and I was so excited to see them that I stole a few to share here.  I […]

Spotlight #1

At Ameena Project we strive to be volunteer run and sustained.  At times, this makes it more difficult to get things done, but, we have also found that allowing others to gift with their talents and finances is a blessing to us and them!   Today we want to take a moment to introduce you […]

Today we announce that Ameena Project is now officially our own independent 501c3 non-profit organization. Because of our amazing volunteers, what usually takes a year and about $1000 was completed in 4 months for FREE. 6 months ago we sat down to discuss this project for the first time. Today we have a fully operating […]

Giving up a latte (or two).

I wanted to take the time to update the faithful supporters of Ameena Project, and also those of you new to our work. Megan Steele, one of the Ameena Project co-founders has finished with her visit of the school project in Kiang’ombe, and is on her way home from Burundi, where she was on a […]

You got your shop on!

Wow!  We are overwhelmed and so thankful for your response to the Kenyan Teachers’ Wish List! We still have a few remaining items that haven’t been purchased: 2 packs large plastic stringing beads (about $7 at Michae~taken by Rosie 10 bottles washable paint~taken by Rosie 6 Books of various themes (family, colors, shapes, time etc) […]

A Kenyan Teachers’ Wishlist!

In anticipation of our travel to Kenya, we would love to have interested supporters help us to purchase these wish list items for the Kiang’ombe classroom.  Below you will find a basic list of the essentials the teachers would like to have to round out their materials.  Most of these items are too expensive to  […]

Calling all thrifters!

At times it feels like the core group of 4 involved in starting Ameena Project live and breathe it.  Because of this, at times, we forget to let the rest of you know all of the things we ponder over, discuss and experience in our times together.  We also are working hard to slow down […]

Two weeks after opening … brief update.

After two short weeks, our Kiang’ombe school is full to capacity and things are going better than we had ever expected.  Mercy and Hillary held a parent meeting on Monday to both check in on how everyone feels things are going and to continue to educate the community on the program and how they can […]

It’s aLIVE!

With much anticipation and after hundreds of volunteer hours, I am so pleased and honored to announce that the website for Ameena Project is up and running! We encourage you to tour this site!  You’ll find a lot more detail about Ameena Project including background information, our mission and some of the core values […]

Are we really doing this?

Ian here, sometimes I get a bit of inspiration and hop on here to share my thoughts.  Today I was woken up way too early by a text message from teacher Mercy and have spent the morning working with her to finalize a few things.  Why?  Because she has been frantically working to get everything […]

Giving thanks for toilets

I sit here a week after Thanksgiving, and am giving thanks for so much. Family, friends, face book acquaintances, people I  have never met. I have to admit, that since sitting down to seriously start Ameena Project at the end of August that I have had some serious moments of DOUBT and FEAR and ANXIETY. […]

Ameena thoughts

Ian laughs every time he sees the picture of this little girl.  We wondered tonight what she might have been thinking when this picture was taken.  Do you think she was thinking, “Go away, I don’t want your help”?  I can’t imagine that she was.  I imagine that she was wondering what this white person […]

The nitty gritty of Ameena Project

It started the moment we arrived home from Kenya.  The usual calls from friends, former employees and acquaintances in Kenya. “Can you help with school fees?  A new business?  Food for my family?  Building a  house on land that was gifted to me?” And in our relative abundance, we have given, knowing all along that […]

Ameena & Aurellio. One month & a world apart.

Ameena & Kenyan friend Aurellio in our Kenyan home Ameena Project was born out of the heart-wrenching, true-life experience of seeing how 2 children, born just days or  months apart, both in Kenya, can have such a different outlook for life. The stark reality is that Aurellio will struggle to make it past his 5th […]

Introducing……Kenya Part 2!

It hasn’t escaped our notice that our blog title has read: “Our journey to Kenya and back” and that the title has seemed awkward since we have been back home here in the United States.  Ian and I have discussed if I should change the title, but there has been something in me (and him) […]

A memory of someone

In the winter (like February maybe?) before our family left for Kenya my wonderful girlfriend Natalie invited me to a women’s retreat. I have to say that I generally find all sorts of reasonable excuses for why I can’t go to these kinds of things.  They just generally aren’t (or weren’t) my speed.  Too much […]


Today we celebrate one wonderful year of having Ameena in our lives.   What a full year this last one has been.  Being pregnant while living in Africa was interesting.  I felt healthy, but had more physical symptoms than with any of my other children.  Crazy high blood sugar that I monitored much less than I […]

Life is short

In the past month I have been so reminded of this fact. My dear sister’s husband came down with a horrid illness that led to hospitalization, then acute rehab, and now home.  He has a long road of recovery & we are all praying  that he recovers all of his language and brain function.  Life […]

This is what I think about, sometimes.

This is what I think about (inside my head, not generally out loud like other people I know *cough, cough* LUCY). Patterns, and pretty fabrics and the endless combination possibilites. Here is one of  the two patterns I’m going to work on next: I’m gonna make the dress on the left, but not with a flared sleeve. […]

Dear Karibu.

“We are stitched together, and what love has tethered, I can never undo” Dear Karibu Centre family, When you call me crying, you make me cry.  When you call and need answers, and neither you nor I have them, I hate telling you so. When you call and say you’re expecting a baby, I […]

2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health: The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow. Crunchy numbers The average container ship can carry about 4,500 containers. This blog was viewed about 15,000 times in 2010. If each view were a shipping […]

In the thick of it!

Today is December 8th, and I find myself in the thick of the Christmas crazy hustle and bustle. I listened to a wonderful segment on the radio about scheduling in “the ordinary” during the holiday season, just so you can have enough time at home….to get all the ordinary done.  Laundry, cleaning, feeding, email, bills, […]

The Problem: hundreds of children in dire need of food and education

Moms struggle to earn even $2 a day and often cannot feed or educate their children

The Solution: a school to provide nourishment, education and hope

You can help

How can it compare?

You might notice that the number of blogs posted since our return to the States the first part of  August has been 3.  That’s about one per month.  That’s pretty pathetic. I guess it’s just really hard to compare our life here with our life in Kenya….it all seems so mundane and usual and NOT […]

Take a Look

Here’s what we’ve been working for in Kenya.  Watching this video makes me realize how grateful I am to have played a part in all of this.  In spite of all the seemingly negative or difficult parts of the last two years of our life, I’ve never had single a moment of regret.  So thankful […]


In our hunt to find the cheapest yet safest flight home from Kenya we happened upon a stay over in Dubai. We as in Erika Lee mentioned it, it sounded like  a fabulous idea that saved thousands even with a 2 night hotel stay over, we booked it! I didn’t know much about Dubai except […]

Leaving Kenya

  After the big goodbye party, and my “garage sale” and cleaning the house thoroughly, the day of our departure finally arrived.  The whole week before Ian was pestered by staff about the necessity of them giving us a “push” to the airport.  We TRIED to let them know that it really wasn’t NECCESSARY for everyone […]

Mama Eli’s Duka aka “my Kenyan garage sale”

 So months before our departure from Kenya I told Ian that I had hatched a fabulous plan that would allow us to fairly distribute all of the things we had accumulated that would not be returning to the US in our alloted 8 suitcases. That’s right.  No shipping things home.  I’m about reducing and recycling […]

Farewell continued

A farewell at the Centre usually means a tea party planned by the staff.  In the past this involved light food:  boiled eggs, biscuits, queen cakes and chai.  Ian and I decided about a month before leaving that we would like to throw the staff and residents a nice lunch for our farewell….with good food… […]


Goodbyes are a big deal in Kenya. Through out the 15 months that we were in Kenya our family was able to learn about the importance of a proper farewell to Kenyans. Of course we’re talking about a going away aka tea party. Of course there will be presents. Of course a ridiculous amount of photographs will […]

A how to lesson

I’ve posted in the past about my love of kangas & how Kenyans use them to tie babies on their backs.  Because some of you asked to see what it looked like to balance the baby on the back, I took a few pictures about a week before we were due to come back home […]

I am not lost

Habari ya siku mingi!  Do you remember me posting in the past of the Kenyan saying, “You’ve been lost” when you haven’t visited someone for a long time? Well, I know that I haven’t visited my blog much in the last few weeks, but rest assured, I am not lost from it. Life has been […]

Self Portrait

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 […]


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). […]

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 […]

My grand idea

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 […]

Comin’ home

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 […]

The morgue

If you’re a facebooker and follow the Karibu Centre posts or see my status updates then you will know that on Monday we got the devastating news that one of our vulnerable pregnant moms had a nonviable baby. She was 40 weeks when she got the diagnosis, a day away from her estimated due date.  She had felt the […]

Ticket please

We’ve lived here in Kenya now for almost 14 months. I’ve been to the different markets here in Thika plenty.  So much so that the locals all know me and I’m old news.  Gone are the days when everyone would turn and stare, call Mazungu, or try to charge me insane prices for items. But then […]


  Ian has always had a special relationship with his hair.  He won’t admit it though.  When I met him in college he had long straight hair that went past his shoulders.  I used to watch him mess with it during chapel.  He’d pull it back into a ponytail and flip it up and down […]

You know you’ve become a Kenyan when…

  It’s 70 degrees or more outside, you have no AC in the house and you sleep like this:       Good thing we’re going home in the height of the summer heat, otherwise, these two kids would be forced to dress 3 layers deep!

That place

Yesterday Eli asked us, “Do you think when we get back to Oregon we can go to that place that has hamburgers and toys?” Uh, you mean McDonald’s? Wow, 4 full years of indoctrination from television, weekly visits with grandma/grandpa (ok, I take him too)  and almost daily drive-bys have taken a full year to […]

This shouldn’t happen in 2010

Ian informed me last night that my last 4 blogs have been about the baby and that people might get bored. I don’t know  if you have realized, but our blog is generally pretty lighthearted.  We’ve tried to keep it about our personal experience, and still, there is so much that we witness and experience here […]

Stolen from Erika’s blog cuz I’m lazy & have a newborn….

Wow, I can’t  believe I was actually able to copy and paste her entire blog!  Could this be a trend?  She might not appreciate that, but darn, she’s such a good writer!  Erika actually left for the airport 2 hours ago, as today is Monday and already I am missing our plotting and planning for […]

America’s in the house!

My wonderful friend Erika arrived this last Monday for a week long stay to visit and help out with the new baby. We fondly refer to her as “America” because Eli and Lucy would say SOOOO often when they were smaller, “Um, Erika….” followed by a million different questions or requests.  So now, she pretty […]

The windows have been left open

It’s been 2 1/2 weeks since baby Ameena joined our family and we became a home  of 5 (although technically a family of  6 with Carla, our grown foster daughter who is now on her own). Eli and Lucy both adore their little sister and haven’t displayed a shred of jealously, or meanness , or anger……towards […]

Uh, if you get any more awesome…

Africa is a long way away from the States, and if you’ve looked at plane fare costs, you know it’s no small feat to undertake a trip here. That’s why we’ve been SOOO incredibly thankful for those of you who have made the sacrifice financially and have emotionally and physically undertaken the trek to visit us […]

A week (or more) in review

It’s been a while since an update &  I know some of you were going to start leaving comments that this blog was on it’s way to blahg.   Baby Ameena is now 2 weeks and 2 days new.  She  is a sweet baby who generally only fusses when she is hungry (quite often) and for a good 3 hours […]

A teaser:

Ok, you can say it’s mean, but at  least I am getting something on here! To say that my body is not my own these last 2 days is an understatement.  I’m pretty sure most of you know what I’m talking about.  Donna Gray, you would simply DIE if you saw how tight and almost […]

Re-visiting some projects….

It’s been a long  time since I’ve talked about this family. Mostly because there hasn’t been anything to say, until now. Last September, I wrote about the boy who stole my heart:  Since September, and the failed attempt to get acceptance for Halake into the special school in Kasarani, we had another failed attempt at […]

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 […]

I don’t know what to call this post.

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 […]

Baby Aurelio

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 […]

Baby Paperwork…..

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 […]

Perspective continued.

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 […]

To put it all in perspective….

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 […]


….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 , a much better deal than I would have found anywhere […]

Book me

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, […]

An afternoon….

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 […]

That Time of Year Again!

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 […]

Anne Ate One of These Today!!!

 Or at least half of one!  Because she found the other half in her salad with fresh goo coming out the severed end.

Seriously Stressful

Anne has been insisting that I write my weekend experiences before I forget the little details because she thinks it would be a good read.  I’ve been reluctant because 1. I’m still recovering, 2.  It will be challenging to write it out in an appropriate way for all audiences, and 3. I have to be […]

Blog grabbing

Here in Kenya, if you use the term “land grabbing” pretty much anyone knows what you mean.  It’s the process of people taking land that isn’t theirs to sell.  They might represent themselves as real estate agents and sell you a land deed or title (that later turns out to be false), or it could […]


A moment of true love. Lucy was invited to attend school all week, all day with Eli as this is the last week before a 3 week  break between terms.  No mention of me paying the insane private school fees the school charges… I jumped on it. Eli has been REALLY genuinely excited to have […]

Fun stuff

My dear friend Eve sent this baby onesie in a package to us a little over a week ago. I love it!

The bag

I’ve been hunting on etsy for the perfect diaper bag. I had the same bag for both Eli and Lucy and sold it at  a resale event in Portland before coming to Africa.  I think my line of reasoning went somewhere along the lines of “if I have another baby, it won’t be in Africa, and having […]

A bit dry

As I sit here getting ready to write my absolutely average thoughts….a mosquito buzzes my ear and I wave my hands in the air and jump up like a possessed woman being tasered.  Really, is there anything worse than that sound of a mosquito in your ear?  Perhaps the thought that it might HARBOR malaria […]

a day in the life of my active child

Last week Ian was able to tag along on a climbing trip up Mt. Kenya. This is one of those things he has hoped to do while we are here, so we both agreed that it wasn’t an opportunity he should pass up.  It meant that he would be gone for a total of 4 […]

Baby Love

I love babies.  Mine and other peoples.  Ian’s brother and his wife had their 3rd child, a baby girl, born this weekend.  In honor of that, here is a picture their baby girl, Aliyah (you might need to click on it to see it larger, I copied it from his facebook page), and a few of my […]

I’ve been demoted

Eli’s newest deal is to threaten me with things like, “You won’t be my mom any more.”  ” I won’t love you, if you don’t…” and so on.  I don’t generally respond to his threats except to shrug my shoulders and say something like, “That’s too bad”. Tonight, he again said that I was no […]

Me time

So, I like to knit.  It’s me time.  It’s time when I can generally veg out, relax, and physically can’t be doing something for one of the kids or another adult because my hands are full and my brain has been turned off, or at least it’s in full knitting mode. Sometime in the summer, […]

Baby bump

Some of you at home have been asking me to send you pictures of the bump known as little Miss May. So, at 30 weeks, this is what she’s looking like.  Perspective and clothing can make a big difference in the “bump” looking small or huge in my opinion…the last shot making her look huge, […]

DeJa Vu

Today Ian and I had a conversation that I am almost positive we had before Eli was born. It has to do with the baby’s sleeping arrangements. Before Eli was born, I had THE most difficult time justifying why we needed a cradle (borrowed) for him.  Ian was empathic that we could just use a […]

My little watchdogs

Eli, who is  4 years old (5 in May) is a very perceptive boy.  He takes note of a lot that goes on around him, and of what is said. He is apparently very aware of my gestational diabetes, because while eating some candy yesterday, he informed me, “This is very bad for you huh […]

Shine, shine, shine.

I’m reading many posts on facebook about people enjoying the sunny weather in Portland…and it got me to thinking a bit about the weather here.  I always have wanted to live in a warm climated area, so I could wear summer clothes year round and have a tan…’s my chance. For the most part,we have beautiful weather […]


An interesting observation made in the 10 months our family has now lived in Kenya is that Kenyans generally stick to a diet consisting of a few favorite foods. One of these foods is Ugali.  Pronounced oo-ga-ly. Tito, the Centre security guard, says he can’t live without Ugali.  I think that is the sentiment expressed […]

Baby pics!

Yesterday, since I was already in Nairobi for another errand, I decided to go ahead with my drop-in ultrasound that my OB/GYN had written orders for a few weeks ago. Looks like baby girl May is growing along just fine, with no worries to report.  She is right on track for 28 weeks, 5 days […]

3AM blogs are just wrong….

Well, I tried to chat up my friend, Erika Lee, on facebook since it is about 4:30pm in Portland, Oregon and 3:30 am here in Thika, Kenya….but she must have more pressing matters on her hands like kid pick up from the bus stop, and homework, and diabetes snack time etc. etc.!  So, you get a […]

I *heart* eggnog

It was one sad fact of being pregnant with gestational diabetes….not being able to have eggnog….but one good fact about being in Kenya….because it wasn’t available!! Until now. My brother must have heard my wish for an eggnog product because his Christmas package just arrived here in Kenya (it was sent off 12/12/09 btw)….and included […]

Awesome volunteer award!

We had a retired school teacher come to visit Karibu Centre from Portland, Oregon.  This was Connie’s 5th trip to Kenya.  She’s becoming quite the pro….pretty able to handle the smells, and sights, and people.  But she still needs that Starbucks coffee fix in the morning!  Some things take awhile to take out of the […]


I sent Lucy to the bathroom after lunch to wash her hands and face. She came out saying, “Mom, is there blood on my face?” Before looking at her, I thought to myself, oh, she must see the residue of the strawberries she ate for lunch. Nope. Her upper lip was bleeding, and despite a […]

Whole new meaning

to the phrase gift bags. Because things cost so much to ship and to receive here by the mail system, we are often fortunate to have people bring things for us in their allowed baggage when they fly to visit in Kenya. Such was the case when Ian’s parents visited (3 of their 4 bags […]

Until later

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.    Erika and Rhett both grew up in Hawaii, so much of what we see everyday in Kenya that […]


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.  […]

Kid fun

Eli and Lucy had a wonderful time while our friends the Lees visited.  Here is a picture tour of their time: a 2nd visit to the airport to pick up Rhett and Erika’s bags that finally arrived!

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, […]

The Best Laid Plans

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 […]

Tour Guide: Day 2 & 3

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??), […]

Tour Guide Experiment: Day One

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 […]

Friends fast approaching!

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 […]

Passing time

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 […]

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 […]

Christmas: The unusual (Part 2)

So, part 2 of Christmas was our (ok solely Ian’s) acceptance of an invitation to a local family’s house for dinner.  This family lives in the Umoja slum right next to Karibu Centre.  The family is quite nice, and we had them for dinner once after the dad, Anthony, invited himself over.  Hey, at least he’s a […]

Christmas: the usual, part 1

Ok, this blog is all messed up because the pictures won’t post like I want them to….but it’s just gonna have to do!  We woke up on Christmas to a very traditional time.  Stockings filled by Santa, a yummy breakfast made by dad, and presents under the tree.  Now, the stockings might have been stickered […]


It’s interesting to live in a foreign culture simply to experience all of the expectations and unique traditions that come along with the holidays. Kenya is a warm climate place (ever read that book “Foreign to Familiar”?) and relationships are of premier importance.  At no time is this more apparent than at Christmas.  We are asked […]

Baby News

Ever since being about 9 weeks pregnant, and having a second ultrasound that showed that there was actually a baby in there, and that we were not in the middle of our 3rd miscarriage in a row, I have waited for this day. I briefly considered being amazing like some of my friends and waiting […]

Self image

I’m starting to think that Kenyan’s have a very  different idea on how to help children develop positive self image, well actually, a different idea on interacting with children in general. My first clue to this was the large Kenyan man working in the toy store that grabbed Lucy’s arm and said in a not […]

Meet me at the manger

That was the title of Eli’s school Christmas concert. I was pleasantly surprised by the content of the concert which very much had a “Christ”mas theme!   I was surprised because a great deal of the families that attend Eli’s school are either Hindu or Jain….so I expected some random meld of various world religions. Anyhow, […]

Thankful for Thanksgiving!

I’m a little behind in posts, but catching up.  *Smile*  We were so thankful to have Ian’s parents here in Kenya over the Thanksgiving Holiday.  It made being so far from home on a holiday much more bearable.   And, Ian’s mom makes some great Candied Yams (or were they sweet potatoes??), which we were happy […]

Baby takes a trip

Our good friends the Prins’s gifted Lucy with a Corelle (I think I’m spelling that right, but Nat, you can correct me since I don’t want to go into Lucy’s room while she’s asleep clutching it, to sneak a peak at the baby’s belly) doll.  I specifically remember Nat saying that these were the BEST dolls ever, […]

Indian Ocean here we come!

Part 2 of our family vacation was a 5 night trip to the beach.  We used a missionary specific travel agent in planning our trip and got a pretty good deal on an all-inclusive family resort (I’ve never been to an all-inclusive before).  The morning after returning from our safari we set out early for […]

And the ‘fari continues….

So we did this all more than a week ago, but it is Africa, and we were t.v. and computer free for essentially 2 weeks.  It was a nice break…..learning to just be still and smelling the dampened earth, exhaust free air, plumeria on the warm evening air.  I could go on and on.  Have I […]

Our evening game drive in photos


We’re going on a “fari” to see Dinosaurs!

Or at least that was Lucy’s version of our trip. Since arriving in Kenya in May, the extent of our exploring has been limited to day trips within driving distance of Nairobi. We have been looking forward to Ian’s parents visit because it means we have a wonderful reason to take some time off from […]

Big weekend…

Big weekend. Megan comes back to Kenya from her adventure in the US Ian’s parents arrive for a visit from Portland: And, this wonderful loaf in the oven that we are expecting turns 15 weeks new!  It is a relief to be over so much of the tiredness and nausea that I have had so […]

Lucky Day

Anne and I play dumb games with each other all the time.   Take little bets, try to predict things, or guess things in advance just to entertain ourselves.  Since coming here we’ve taken to guessing what causes traffic jams, that we get stuck in pretty much whenever we go out.  Goes like this:  after about ten […]

Love at first sight

I don’t think I’ve ever really felt it, until now. This arrived at our house this week as a total surprise:                     It belonged to another ex-pat  who went back to the States in June and I had almost given up on the fact that it […]

Soup in summer is strange

I love soup.  That is one of my favorite things about fall in the northwest…cooking warm or spicy foods to warm you up after being out in the wind and rain of Portland. It’s never really like that here in Kenya.  It pretty much feels like summer year-round, so now, even though it is strange, we […]

A Kenyan Halloween

  I’ve never been real keen on the idea of Halloween….except that I love the whole costume and candy part. Around the first part of October, we received an email from the Embassy warden, who is basically an American in our area of Kenya assigned to keep other ex-pat Americans up-to-speed on security announcements and […]

Speeding Ticket

That was the subject line of the email we received from Ian’s mom yesterday. Seems like they think Ian was doing 50mph in a 35mph zone in downtown Beaverton last week. Funny, though not really since I SOLD that car to an insurance fellow about a YEAR ago!! It was a photo radar zone, so it […]

“You’ve been lost”

That’s the phrase a Kenyan will say to us if they haven’t seen us in a while.  It’s kind of cute.  I usually hear it from Godfrey, the guard at the gate to the Del Monte plantation that surrounds Eli’s school if I’ve been using a different road to get to the school and haven’t […]

Our mini vaca

  Our night away into Nairobi for our anniversary was fabulous. As I said before, we began our evening with dinner at Cafe des Arts.   They have a wonderful patio dining area that is covered by a large tent cover.  It is a lovely place to relax and enjoy good food:         […]

12 years

This weekend, Ian and I will celebrate being married 12 years! When we first met, my freshman year of college (his sophomore), I had a boyfriend and he had partying and skiiing. Ian was the bad boy on campus with long (past his shoulders) hair and I was the good girl with permed hair and […]

And another baby.

Ok, I guess that was a little mean to post the last blog about a baby and not mention any news of our own. You know, we just lost this last baby the last week of July.  That is only 2 months ago.  That was our second loss in just under a year.  It was […]

A baby.

This week we welcomed the 2nd baby born to a vulnerable mother at Karibu Centre.  Baby Ian.  This baby was born to an 11-year old (no, that was not a type-o) girl who was supposedly 5 months pregnant. After 3 days of backache not alleviated by tylenol, we took her to the doctor. The Kenyan […]

Kenyan toys

Joseph and Bernard (the cook’s sons) spend a lot of time at our house.  They enjoy exploring Eli and Lucy’s toys and movie media. The other day though, they each arrived with something that peeked the interest of both Eli and Lucy. Home made cars:                     […]

Sunday lunch

We joined a small group from church. For you non-churchies…that is just a way of saying being assigned a group of friends that you meet with to socialize, and support, and study with. We’re trying to expand our social circle a little…’s a big adjustment to go from many close, close friends in Portland to […]

The Portland Crew

So it’s been a little over a week now since our volunteer training crew from Portland has left.  It seems like forever and a day since they were here; so much goes on in each and every day at the Centre that we are just worked and worn out by the evening. Our crew consisted […]

Thika Rotary Club

We were invited to a party. We found out when we arrived that it was to benefit the Rotary Club of Thika.  And that it cost money.  Ooops.  Thankfully, I had the exact amount of the entrance fee (to cover the awesome dinner) in my wallet. Here are some pics of the festivities:     […]

Eli did have a 1st day of school

It was just almost a month ago now. Guess I’m a little behind. He loves school.  I love his uniform.  Easy and simple, no struggles over what to wear in the morning.                       Yes, I see there are spots, I think he spilled yogurt and […]

The boy who stole my heart

As word gets out about our program, we get a lot of people inquiring on if we might be able to help them in some way. John, the village elder from Gachagi came one day and asked if he might take me to visit a family.  I agreed. He took me to visit Halaki, and […]

Crazy week!

Well, it has been a crazy week. Getting the guest apartment  ready.  We have named it the ‘tree house”.  For the flame trees.  I think it’s a catchy name, and we’ve always named all of the houses we live in…usually by the address, but scenery works too.  Megan has done a great job of taking […]

That’s just the British

Ok, so a while ago our friend Andy Stoughton started harassing us about spelling center, CENTRE.  He imformed us that he was going to start spelling dude (one of the words both our families use much to frequently) some crazy way as a means of payback for all of the words we are spelling oddly. […]

Mental Health Confessions

Anyone who knows me well knows I can get a little obsessed with things.  It usually last about a month or so until I’ve read, researched, and experimented with that specific activity or topic way more than I’d like to admit.   My sweet wife chooses to call it my intense personality, I’m sure it’s been called […]


This morning I was greeted by our resident assistant, Naomi, and one of the centre girls at 7:30am on my front porch.  They reminded me that today was a graduation ceremony at the vocational training program a few of our girls attend.  All the girls had been up since 5am getting ready and they wanted […]

Kid Honesty

Lucy will be 3 in a about 2 weeks. She’s at the stage where everything she thinks comes out of her mouth (I guess some people never get out of that stage). Today her winner comments both had to do with Esther our househelp. The first, announced to the whole family when Esther come out […]

Safety First!

Have you ever been pulled over for not wearing your seat belt? I have. There’s a long back story…but the short story involves me driving Ian’s 94 White Ford Escort to Idaho with the automatic door belt stuck in the forward position. Since I couldn’t drive 8 hours with it like that, I unclipped it […]

Wrong Target

So, it looks like the stork that was stalking me had the wrong target. The “real” stork made a real visit to Karibu Centre this last week though. We welcomed our the first baby to one of our vulnerable young pregnant women this week, and what a week it was. On Monday morning we were […]

Stalked by a stork

Eli likes to hang out at the main gate where he practices playing “guard” with Tito our security man.  One morning last week, he was over there particularly early, like by 7:45 or so.  I don’t generally have a problem with him being over there…it allows him free time outside, he keeps Tito company, and […]


We still enjoy the many packages we receive in the mail. Most of them are from family (thanks to both moms) and friends (Anna Goodworth again!). We were surprised this last week however with a package from Jannie Bahrs a woman I have never met, or spoken to!  She happens to be a sponsor of […]

Our man in blue

We got to chat with a wonderful civil servant Saturday (on Ian’s birthday). On the drive home from Nairobi we were stopped by the police at a police check-point.  Generally only buses, mutatus and trucks are stopped so they can pay a bribe. Our man in blue did not state a reason for stopping us.  Just asked the […]

Happy Birthday Ian!

Today (8/22) we celebrate Ian’s birthday! He’s a big whopping 35 years old.  He is an amazing husband, father, friend and leader!  I am so proud of everything he has directed here in Africa.  He really knows how to get things done! Here’s what he looked like when we were first married, I think this […]

Until now, diapers seemed normal

You know how in the states you just assume that any kid who is NOT potty trained is pretty much in diapers or some type of equivalent?   Silly me for assuming that such would be the case here! I guess in the program planning here we (or at least I) didn’t consider that there would […]

History lesson

I wasn’t ever very good with history. My brother was.  He was a history major in college.  Blech is what I thought about that.  That seemed like torture to me, but then again, I picked chemistry as my major.  Who woulda thought with where I am today? Anyhow, I’m not one of those people who […]

Coping mechanisms

We try to make believe like we live in a 1st world country here. But we don’t. It’s a 3rd world country, and at times, that is quite apparent. I thought tonight as I was doing the dishes, “Wow, I’m not even bothered by that cricket coming out of the cupboard” and was  even less […]

You can buy me with mail

I truly can’t believe the way you all spoil us with mail. I love it.  It is really one of my favorite things.  The kids too. So, thank you’s go out to these recent package senders: Bonita May (mother-in-law with a flair for getting as much as she can into a flat rate box) Carol […]

Rent our House!

Ok, so here is a shameless plug for someone to rent our cute Portland house. We had a great renter….who just needs to go back to his own house so it doesn’t get foreclosed on.  Long story, and it’s his. Soooo. Who wants to rent our house? I can feel all of you just jumping […]

Shopping for friends

Ok, now I know some of you will relate to this. You know the feeling.  It happened to me in junior high, again in college, then when I was new to Portland and went to my first care group meeting, and now here in Africa.   Standing in a sea of people and wondering:  Where are […]

Nothing like another Dr. visit…

Phew. This should be it for a few weeks.  Who knew that I’d visit the hospital here 3 times in 2 weeks? I had  a follow-up ultrasound for the miscarriage today and everything is healing fun (ah, Erika, you are right, that should say “fine”)!  I’ll see the doctor in a bit over a month […]

Not for the Vegan at heart

I guess living in Africa has really emphasized how hygienic and sterile things are in the states. Especially when it comes to our food. I love those wonderful 2 and 5 pound bags of boneless, skinless, (smell-less), flash frozen chicken.  They are fabulous….one of my favorites actually. I missed the last slaughtering of chickens here […]

4 year old Paparazzi

Ever since Joseph (the neighbor boy who adopted our family) took the camera and snapped a few pictures in the house, Eli and Lucy have been angling for chances to snatch it themselves. I can be a little ADD so sometimes it takes the bright flash of the camera before I realize that it’s been […]

Grab Bag Blog

Just like a grab bag, you never know what you might get. This week we have been wonderfully solicited for money 4 yes, FOUR times.   The 4 needs were:  a split open head (ok, when you get in a fight with a rock you should be prepared to pay your own medical bill); a college […]

From our encouraging Sunday

On Sunday we had a wonderful visit to the International Church…and as I had posted on Facebook, we all agreed:  A GREAT DAY I think we all felt that our souls had been feed. One of the songs that really spoke to me was the following by Matt Redman.  It spoke to me when I […]

Doctor Update

Sorry that I wasn’t able to write yesterday when we returned home from the doctor and Nairobi.  We have been fighting random power outages for about a week. So I had an appt. with a wonderful ob/gyn yesterday.  She was everything I had prayed she would be:  knowledgeable, empathetic, encouraging…. But she did confirm that […]

The doctor again?

So, I guess I didn’t blog about it last week.  The visit with the dermatologist went well.  Odd, but well.  It was like hanging out in an old college professors office, but one from the 80’s, with about that much dust, and that old of books lining the entire span of the wall. For some […]

Ahhh, and then there’s laundry.

A mother’s job never changes. No matter where you are:  home, on vacation, recovering from the flu or a C-section, in a foreign country.  There is always the issue (yes, it can be an issue) of LAUNDRY. I remember my dear friend Erika talking about her new LG washing machine she recently was ABLE (it […]

Lake Naivasha

So, if you’re savy, you’ll have found Megan Steele’s blog that she is writing while here in Kenya and you can have twice the reading pleasure!  On days that I seem just too worn out to get anything onto the blog…it is nice…because she has often written one! Anyhow, this is about a week late, […]

A new addition

It is fun to meet the families of Centre employees. We get to see some more than others as some workers are from more remote parts of Kenya and have housing provided for them on site. One employee has 2 young boys here with her. The youngest boy, who is aboout 8 (although his ten […]

Ahh, the doctor’s office

I don’t really mind the doctors office. At least I never did before. I’m a little nervous about tomorrow though. I have an appointment with a dermatologist to check over my leg where I had the melanoma removed 2 DAYSbefore we left for Africa. I guess it’s the whole idea of going to someone with […]

Freakin’ Hilarious

Honestly, this is the funniest thing I have seen in a while. A little background, we have had the front wall at the Centre repaired, so there was a large pile of cement around, and now that the job is completed, just a bit of cement dust on the ground. Kids here are used to […]

What is wrong with this picture?

Not Eli’s cheesy grin, or Lucy’s monkey face. Not the lack of carseats…temporarily removed Erika, we ARE using them. Look deeper.

You’re never too old for….

Plastacin. That’s the name that has been given to the Playdoh the staff worked on making from scratch at the Centre. We’re working hard to keep costs down and to maximize materials for the kids. Megan got the project started, and she quickly had the attention of all of the Centre teaching staff who were […]

Mission: Denied.

Last week Ian got to leave mid day for a meeting in Nairobi and then hopefully to pick up Megan from the airport. Since her plane was delayed, so was  he, and he just hadto spend the night in Nairobi at the home of friends.   He called me that night to check in on me […]

And this would be?

So on Friday after the program let out I took Megan in to the Makongeni market with me to do a little veggie shopping. She had been to the market previously with Ian, but on an off day…one with very few vendors and a crazy man screaming at them that they didn’t belong here in […]

Free gift with purchase

Or perhaps better titled, “Things That are Not Safe for Children: Part 3” Ian picked up some diapers for Lucy the other evening at the store as she has still is holding out from being a “big girl”.  She is something.  This girl bargains.  She tells me, “When all the diapers are gone, then I’ll […]

Karibu Megan!

In about October or November last year we found out that a fellow Portlander, Megan Steele, would be joining us here in Kenya. We met for dinner a few times in December and beyond, got to know one another (and our kids), and all made our predictions about our actual VISA approval dates and departure […]


There are things daily that frustrate us. Computers, waylaid plans, people who don’t do what we expect or want, whinning kids. I was just reminded of what is truly important though…..not by anything an particular, but just one of those moments, probably the whispering of the Holy Spirit. What is important: Our loved ones, particularly […]

One stop shopping

This is a short post, but I had to share my horror or perhaps laughter??? My house help Esther asked if we could stop on the way to her house at the dentist so she could get some medicine for her son who just had a tooth extracted. I waited in the car while she ran […]

HP Computer: 2 Ian and Anne: 0

If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, you’ll remember that we had to buy a new laptop in March, and then immediately had problems with it.  If you can’t remember, here’s a refresher: We”ve been doing pretty well with the computer after the HP chick in India stripped and completely reinstalled the operating […]

We’ve Got Mail!

One of my small pleasures in life has always been checking the mail. I don’t know what it is. It doesn’t really matter what the mail is, even bills are a thrill to receive. Ian has learned this about me and happily leaves the mail for me to collect every day. I even love catching […]

WWF isn’t real???

This last week Ian had an interesting conversation with a Kenyan man who will renamed nameless in order to protect the innocent (quite literally). The conversation started out with a discussion of movies and the man asking Ian, “Why do they all hurt each other like that?” “What do you mean, hurt each other?” Ian […]

Watch out Hollywood

  This week a volunteer arrrived from Holland and she was sent with a plastic bag of random goodies to give out to children.  She brought the bag to us for use by the children at the Centre. Eli and Lucy decided to preview the contents and do a little modeling for us.  Eli’s looking […]

No Words Needed.

It's becoming a serious obsession. Thanks Erin!

Skinny Pigs

We’re pretty into pets in our family.  I hate to admit it, but we’ve had a lot over the years.  I also realize that we aren’t the best “long-term” pet keepers.  Some might even say we’re fickle in our pet tastes.  We’ve had: cats, dogs, rats, sheep, chickens and fish. This week we became the proud […]

Gangsta Guns

Ian and I were invited to a party celebrating the birthday of a NGO (Non-governmental Organization) Director this last weekend.  Our first evening out...without the kids.   We were both excited for the break.  We love our kids and all, but sometimes you need adult conversation that isn't interrupted every 30 seconds or so. We arrived [...]

Sticks and Stones or Rather Teeth?

I’m a bit behind in interesting posts. It seems that we have to search a little harder these days to find novel and interesting things to tell you about….and then things will just hit us and we’ll have some good material. Ian and I decided to brave our way to Nairobi during the day this […]

Where’s the Beef?

On our new BBQ that is.   Mmm.   We purchased our first steaks while living here in Africa, and decided that they simply had to be grilled out (that’s the Stoughton term for Barbequing). Only problem is: we don’t have a BBQ. Ian’s never been one to let that slow him down. We’ve taken stock of […]

Ahah and random musings

I knew it. I knew that there had to be some knitting needles somewhere in this town. Today I found them, in the Moi Market in Thika.  Try googling that, I wonder if it will come up?  Who knew?  They were in a completely logical place… entire road (or aisle as they are called still) […]

Random Bus Decorations

Today I looked up and saw a bus with the most random collection of decorations I’ve seen yet.  The whole thing is painted  bright red and yellow.  On the back it says the following:  “Mexico City” then below that “Red Hot Cake” then below that a huge picture of Osama Bin Laden, then on the huge […]

Purl me

I love to knit.  Knit and purl, and slip one over.  In the big process of packing up our house for Kenya, Ian inadvertantly packed my knitting….just in the wrong place:  a huge box and NOT my suitcase.  I thought about digging it out until I saw the box it was in the bottom of.  […]

Sniff, sniff

In talking with my twin brother Andy and his wife Kori last night , Ian and I realized that we have not done a post of the “smells” of Kenya. There are some things here that after a week or two, you just start to take it for granted and you forget how unique or […]

Carts and other ways of getting things around.

So today we took a little trip into Nairobo to explore some more. We found some new spots and drove some new roads, it feels goo to be getting somewhat independent in the big city. We drove by Kibera, the largest slum in Africa: 1 + million people living in one square mile, right in […]

Make me pretty: Take 2

The kids have always been enthralled with my makeup bag. At home in Portland, I would pacify their interest and desire to be made-up by occasionally putting on a little nude eye shadow on each of the kids. They would then run to the mirror or each other an exclaim, “Oh, don’t my eyes look […]

Driving School

Today I had the wonderful joy of doing a little retail therapy. I so look forward to the weekend because I know it means we’ll make the drive into Nairobi and explore a little. Today I got to do it with a girlfriend, Armida, who knows her way around (that’s always a shopping plus). The […]

We have INTERNET!!!!

So, skype now works fairly well, we can actually look on-line without it taking forever, and hopefully these posts will have just gotten a whole lot easier.  Here’s the trial run with the new Net@Home setup.   Today was a great day, I was busy from 5:30am to 8:00pm with work here at Karibu Center. We had […]

Lucy Boo-cy

That is Eli’s name for Lucy when he is teasing her. It drives her crazy. He knows it does, so of course she gets called that even more. Until I step in to referee. Then he just tries to whisper it. Anyhow, Lucy is quite the character. Surprising people here with her boldness and toughness. […]

Nyama Choma

I really wish I had some pictures for this post but I don’t, so I’ll have to do my best description with words alone. Yesterday I was out running errands for the center:  buying sugar, salt, 50kg of beans, and 50gk of Maize to make Githeri (a simple complete meal they love) for the center […]

Ghostly Pale?

I know my mother-in-law reads this. Perhaps she will remember a year and a half ago when she and my father in law came over to our house in Portland to watch the kids while Ian and I attended a Women of Vision auction. I was excited. It was my first “auction” as an adult…and […]

The weekend update

On Friday, after some absence from the Mother of the Year contest, I earned my way to a submission. Eli and Lucy used to share a room at our home in Portland. We, or I, made the change to separate rooms for them out of desparation….too many naptimes were becoming screamtimes, on their part and […]


From what I can see, the Matatu is by far and away the most widely used mode of motorized transportation here in Kenya.  For Kenyan’s that is.  They are small vans a little bigger that the standard suburban minivan and a lot smaller that a full sized passenger van.  They are driven by notoriously dangerous […]

Fourteen Falls

Well, I started this post 5 days ago, and then the internet went out.  So sorry, the blog has been blah.  So, yes Eve Stoughton, it was temporarily the Blag.  Hopefully not for long. We like to just get in the car and drive.  We have attempted twice now to reach Ol Danyo National Park…which […]

Our Bet for a SURVIVOR contestant

Patrick is one of the groundsman for the Karibu Centre.  You might remember him from pictures Ian posted from his “road construction” project.  Patrick is the smaller man with a beautiful smile.  He is pretty quiet, laughs easily, and is a hard worker. This week, in the afternoon when the kids were sleeping I heard […]


Sometimes we see or experience strange things here that just make us laugh out loud. Laughter is generally welcome in this house, except when I am trying to make a really serious point and no one seems to be listening. Anyhow, this week the kids have had several days off from school so they helped […]

Playgyms rock….so does soda

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. […]

An exciting evening for the kids.

    Eli’s on the edge of he seat for… 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.  […]

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 […]

Makongeni Market

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 […]

Imani Bazaar, Weekend Exploring, and Back to Work

                                                                                  Meanwhile…..the girls were at the fingernail painting booth.   Wow and way out here […]

Thursday Afternoon

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 […]

Where we were a year ago….

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 […]

Warning lights are helpful…if you understand them.

  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. […]

Chicken Proof Doors Only Work When Closed.

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.                    On a […]

New favorite

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 […]

First day of school

So as you can see Eli and Lucy had their first day at school and it was a big success.   Teacher Sarah and Teacher Judy loved them, they had a great time, and we got some time to try and figure some stuff out in Thika without having to worry about the kids, which was […]

Pretend Play

Kids are such a reflection of what is going on in your family….the stresses and the joys. When we lived in Portland, play centered around pretending to be animals…like our dogs Toby and Sherman, or grandmother’s dog Tukker. Right before we left, we had a lot of pretend play centered around traveling. Lots of “packing” […]

Out and about.

So today we went out around town.   It took WAY too long to accomplish what we did.  We registered the kids for school….exciting for us and them.  We went to the post office and mailed a package to the home office…lets see how long that takes,  its the second one so far…haven’t heard if anything […]


a great photo of Lucy and Aunt Sarah before we left


That is our weekend in pictures.  We have had a wonderful time getting out and exploring in our new car.  We drove down Garissa Road, which is the main road in front of our place…and arrived at Fourteen Falls Lodge.  Turns out that the facility is still being built, so there wasn’t much for service […]

Cows, Kids, and Road Construction

  OK so we’ve been eating mostly African foods and yesterday morning we decided to make good old pancakes and eggs.  It was a nice meal.  Two little helpers seemed  to enjoy it as well.               So we borrowed this cow and now it need to be milked.  It […]

Only in Africa


Huge Breath of Fresh Air

So today we visited the Imani School which is here in our community and it was VERY encouraging.  We’re ready to send both kids for half days ASAP.  The School was beautiful by Kenyan standards and very welcoming.  Both kids could attend for 1/2 days and we even think they might be able to pick […]

Eli finally goot his new trunk.  It would have cost 900 bob (slang for shilling) at the Mzungu price but Heron got it for 450 ($5.60).  That’s a pretty cheap trunk.  Unfortunately it’s really noisy when they climb in it, it’s been relegated to their room, permanently. Anne;s new favorite pet.  Lets say shes having some […]

Same or Different?

Yesterday was the start of a new week here in Kenya. I decided that my mom’s picture of us camping indoors is a good visual of what is happening here. There are so many aspects of our current day to day living that are similiar to camping. And I am referring to tent/backpack camping not […]

More things that are not child proof

OK, so we have these sweet secutiry gates on the doors to keep people out, they double as nice kiddie gates to keep kids in….or so we thought.  This latch is way up at the top of the door and today we caught the two of them working together.  MISSION……………     Accomplished!!!

A run to town

Before, when we lived in the States, I could run to the grocery store and back in about 15 minutes.  I didn’t really have to plan much for meals cause if I didn’t have what I needed, I could just pop out and get it real quick.  Same goes for if i didn’t feel like […]

Around the House

  Lucy in the beautiful evening sun.  No shoes (sorry grandma) but at least she has her purse.   Many things are very different.  This is our kitchen window.           Some things are still the same.  A good bath time is still as fun as ever.            This […]

One Week – Settling in and Making Friends

Anne and the kiddos resting inthe shade after our little walk off the compound.          Eli has been cooped up and whenever we get out he climbs, runs, throws something,  or just plain spazes out.  We Went for a little walk today and the kids made some new friends.       […]

Hopefully some pictures

        our front porch    yesterday morning’s bugs that came through the shut door              tucking the kids into bed, their beds were handmade by Salvation Army’s students at Variety Village              driving into Thika, note the roadside furniture for sale on […]


What can I say??? This is Ian jumping on to our (Anne’s) blog while she’s learning to make Ugali in the kitchen.  Ugali is that staple food here and it is a thick corn meal past that’s eaten with everything.  This internet connection is so intermittent and slow here that I can’t really post photos now, […]

Our new town & home

I’m having a little bit of trouble with the internet connection this evening, but will hopefully get a few pictures on here of our new town and home in Thika, Kenya. We traveled from Nairobi yesterday up the Nairobi-Thika Highway a bit over an hour (severe traffic because of any accident) to arrive in our […]

Things that are not “child-safe”

Today Ian and I needed to be ready to leave our temporary apartment at 7:15am to head to immigration to finish the application process for our work permits.  This is the process that was begun at the end of October 2008.  There was no worry about being late, as again, not only were Ian, Eli […]

Our 2nd full day

We woke up today around 5:30 am.  The birds start in on their chorus around 6 am here.  Whole family up by 6:30.  I think getting up 3 hours before church is a record for us. Yesterday, as we were leaving the mall in Nairobi where we were able to purchase internet access and phones […]

We’re off…and here finally.

So, as promised, we’ll update as soon as possible.  Since we’re sitting here in PDX and there is definitely wi-fi, I decided to get started on turning my blag back to a good ‘ol fashioned blog again. We made it to the airport, and through security without any hassle.   Our gate is the first one out […]

When the going gets crazy..the crazy get going?

About 6 weeks ago I wrote out a week by week to-do list for Ian and I so that we could spread out the work of all of the big and little details that would need to be taken care of before our move to Africa TOMORROW. This was a good thing to do, I […]

Cute ‘lil thing

We’ve finally succumbed and have become a 2 computer family…that is 2  computers completely owned by us.  We decided to look into a netbook for me…cute, little and just the right price for  looking on the internet and blogging.  What else does one really do anyhow??  At least, “What else does Anne really do anyhow?” Here’s […]


That’s my new made up word for blah blog. I’m in a writers funk. I’ve got plenty to write about…but I’ve temporarily misplaced the camera, and our recent adventures just wouldn’t be much fun to write about without pictures. 

Pretty please….

For the second middle of the night in a week I have been awokened but that voice from the other room half crying half yelling, “Mooooommmmeeee, I threw up.”   I tried to explain to the neighbor across the street who doesn’t have kids yet (or maybe never after talks like this) that some pukes are […]

Voodoo and other fun

My twin brother Andy, his wife Kori, and our mom all came to visit us over Spring Break.  We scheduled in a few chores:  updating our computer with awesome software, pawning off some of the things in our house so they wouldn’t have to be packed, and visiting an antique store for Andy & Kori […]

Random funnies

We use a lot of OUST spray in this house.  Right now I have the citrus version that is a disinfectant and a sanitizer. Sometimes I read labels, just for fun.  On cereal boxes, pretty much anything.  It’s a strange habit, I know. Today, I read the OUST label.  On the back it has this […]

In retrospect

Today is 3/29/2009.  I sat in church this morning and the last song in the set was Blessed Be Your Name.  We don’t sing this song a great deal at our church, I can recall that we have sung it exactly 2 other times since Sunday, August 24, 2008. Now before you go thinking I have a […]


Well, not sold, sold….but we have sold someone on how cute our house is…and have found a renter! What a blessing to find a responsible, credit worthy, tenant worthy person in under a week! What a blessing too to have wonderful friends who have stepped up to help us with our home while we are in […]

Laser me….or not.

Well, I went to my consultation visit with Will Vision and Laser Centers.  The appointment took 2 hours! They did the basic eye exams, as well as checked eye pressure, and took an ultrasound scan of my eye to get it’s individual fingerprint and to map the corneal surface.  Amazing technology. He must be doing […]

Laser me!

Today I have my consultation appointment with Will Vision and Laser Centers to have Lasik surgery done: I’ve needed vision correction since junior high school or perhaps it was high school.  For the longest time I just didn’t wear glasses because I didn’t like how they looked, but my vision has gotten bad enough that […]

So many things, so little time

We’re getting into prep mode for leaving the country in hopefully a little over a months time.  There are so many things to wrap up and take care of.  Here is a sampling from our to do list: 1)  Find property manager & renter for house 2)  Pack up entire house & store 3) Get […]


This is a note I wrote today, so I wouldn’t forget how it happened: It’s about 10:15 on Tuesday, March 10th.  Ian just called to tell me to check his email.  I knew what that meant without even looking.   It is true.  Our work permits have come through.  I looked at the time on […]

The big money question….

Pretty much every day someone asks “Hey, any news about Kenya?”  Generally, this is followed by an apology of sorts on their part for asking, because they assume that I get asked that a lot.  Which is true.  I do.  But I’m never bothered by it. It is truly amazing that through it all, although […]

Sometimes technology isn’t all that

I’m sitting here typing on my work laptop.  It’s really a great computer.  Quick, trustworthy, basic.  It’s now 6 years old, and I’ve never had a problem with it. We had our home laptop for 3 1/2 years.  We loved it too.  Very little problems, except a battery that had to be replaced pretty often […]


We traveled to Idaho to spend Christmas at my brother’s newly remodeled (read totally gutted and redone) farm house. Here are Eli and Lucy on their way to the gate: Then we arrived, had some yummy home-made split pea soup made by my s-i-l Kori, and hung up the stockings.  Kori looked like this pretty […]

Argggh, bills and technology or notI

When I went to part-time work outside the home instead of full-time, we agreed in our house that I would take care of the bills.  Seemed like an ok agreement. I’ve done pretty well..not too many overdrafts or late payments because I’ve been lazy or didn’t have a stamp to mail in the payment (before […]

Really, not sick??

We went to the doctor today after having Eli sick and lethargic for 6 days.  They ran tests. Nothing. I told him to stop fussing and eat his dinner, even the doctor said there was nothing wrong. This is what happened when he came fussing out of bed: While he was sitting with the computer […]

“Look Spidey”

As can only be said by a 2 year old looking like this: Umm, we don’t watch Spiderman yet.   I’m crediting this to the influence of cousin Alek who is always fully decked out as Spiderman or Batman.

This is how dogs drink momma

Some days are normal.  Some days are just plain crazy. Yesterday was crazy. Eli and Lucy spend a lot of time lately playing “doggy” and all of the activities that go along with pretend doggy.  Like napping, eating, drinking, hiding. I found the “doggies” in the kitchen drinking:   When Ian saw the pictures he […]


Here are some photos from my fabulous weekend away to a women’s retreat last weekend.  My favorite part was that the speaker was a 41 year old woman who has a 2 year old and twin 15 month olds–all naturally conceived after being infertile for 8 years.  She was a good sport about the altered state […]

Funny day….

We have wonderful friends…adults and kids alike.  One of our “friend” families is the Stoughtons…home to Ashley (stb 6), Abby (3) and baby Charlie (almost 2 months) or “baby Chai” as Lucy calls him.  We were thrilled to convince them to move in 4 houses down from us.  That’s another story for another day. Ashley […]


Just wanted to say that I haven’t forgotten to make some posts from the holidays….just haven’t downloaded any photos yet, and a holiday blog without photos just isn’t really worth it. So, it’ll come soon.

Hanging skin

We’ve had a busy Holiday season.  Visits with family from Idaho, Virginia, Germany and soon Montana.    Visits from the “Arctic Blast”   And visits to see the kids’ great-grandma in her new home just down the street.    She didn’t fair so well after leaving the hospital and moving back to her independent living […]


We’re riding on Southwest airlines to Boise today.  We hope.  A few good things still about Southwest:  You still don’t have to pay for your first checked bag.  At some “other” airlines you pay $15-$25 to check. Free beverage and snack packet (ok, so it might be mini, but it’s a packet!)…no meals, so of […]

Best Friend in the World!

Eli and Lucy haven’t always gotten along. At times, like most siblings they can look like they are competing in WWF or smackdown. Thankfully, during our last week of being fairly snowbound they have entered a new phase in their relationship! This morning when Lucy came out of her room, Eli ran up and screamed, […]

Kids say funny things…

We had another busy weekend.  Ian’s grandmother who will turn 94 in February had a stroke on Friday and was in the hospital recovering so we decided to make a visit. As we were checking in at the front, Eli says, “Did great-grandma have a baby?” What a funny mental picture that created.  I guess […]

Chocolate and dogs

Today was a busy day.  I was awakened to the sound of packing tape being pulled out of the tape holder and crumpled.  But that is not the story.  This is what I saw when I walked into the kitchen: Yes, this is Eli’s advent calender  in the trash can.  You can see it wouldn’t […]


Just reminded tonight how blessed I am to have good friends to share the many ups and downs and all of the crazy comical moments in between with!  Thank you to each and every one of you for the impact you have made in my life as a woman, a mother, a wife and a […]


Today at an outdoor shopping mall I was walking a short distance behind a 3-4 year old girl, and 2 women (I’m guessing her mom and her aunt) who were chatting away.  ALL of a sudden, the little girl bends down and grabs at a huge gob of fresh blue gum stuck to the sidewalk […]

It’s fun to let your hair down

Our fun and also awesome friend Terry Goldman can dish out teasing and take a fair amount too.  He turned us on to this fun website where you can insert a picture of yourself into hairstyles from the 50’s through the 90’s.  Ian and I tried it out and came up with these.  Ian thought […]

“Make it pretty”

“Make it pretty” is the comment I have heard from Lucy for quite a while now when it is time to fix her hair.  Lately, Eli has become interested in this task, and the activity of making Lucy’s hair pretty captures the attention of both children for up to 30 minutes.  Who knew he would take […]


We had a meeting this last week to talk about the transition before we leave for Africa…how to manage once Ian’s sweet county job ends the 1st of December, details of what him working for Orphans Overseas here in the States will look like, and speculation over when our adjusted departure date might be. Our […]

A reminder is always good…

So, I’ve been reading the book, “The Shack” and just finished it this afternoon.  While there were many good thoughts, I was reminded about these thoughts that I have pondered and agreed with over the years: We are created in God’s image…which means to be in relationship with others.  We constantly are trying to turn […]

The Waiting Game

So, we’ve begun this new adventure in our life–moving our family to Africa–but we don’t have a set departure date, and that makes us feel like we are living in limbo. A few years ago, during my graduate school days, I took a course on the process of change.  It discussed how we as a […]