Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Saying see Ya Later Aligator To Moses

Home SWEET Home

Well, just to let you know, we did finally make it all the way back to AZ! But not without a couple of trials.

First on our way to the airport in Nairobi we were pulled over at one of the nightly "police check points". The two officers made a huge fuss, opening the doors to our van and ordering JoJo and Greer (one of our team gals) out of the van of 12 people. They were yelling at us in a quite agitated way "why aren't you wearing your seat belts?". It took us sometime to even understand this question (we didn't realize it had belts!). Then we all started putting our belts on and they yelled at us for doing that. This continued for several minutes with them opening the doors, shutting the doors, yelling things we could not understand. To be honest it did become a tad freaky. They announced that they were arresting JoJo and Greer. Then they put Greer back into the van and shut the door to only minutes later reopen the van and ask her why she got back in because she was under arrest. Long story short, they eventually put her back in the van and took JoJo back behind the van. After several tense minutes JoJo jumped back into the van and told David to drive away. Turns out the police just wanted a bribe! 200 Kenya Shillings, about $2.50 us Dollars!!!

Second, we had a pretty tight connection in NY and our plane was not early as expected, but 20 minutes late. Guess what, we missed our flight to PHX. So we went to the USAir counter to discover that the next available flight out was in 2 days! No kidding! There were NO flights to PHX for the rest of the day, all completely booked, all airlines. Turns out there was lots of cancelled flights for weather the day before. We were finally able to get seats on SW out of LaGuardia Friday morning. So we took a taxi to a hotel close to that airport, ordered room service (including NY cheesecake) took a shower and proceeded to pass out!!! Up at 3:45 am (you can tell by the photo!) to catch the shuttle to the airport, then after a brief stop in Chicago we went onto PHX where our lovely men were waiting for us with flowers.

It has been great to be reunited with Dave and Johnny. Jayna wanted Chipotle for our first meal so went there for an early lunch and ran into our office crew.

Monday, July 27, 2009

5 Star? Accommodations

Many people ask us what the accommodations are like, so here are a few photos that show you. This is my bed with my hanging flashlight for nighttime reading, picture of Dave and I taped to the wall. We slept 3 gals to a room this trip as we had a smaller team. We have 2 toilets and 2 showers for the ladies guest house. They cannot usually be run at the same time so we have to plan showers. It's typical to get a shower maybe every other day, if we are very fortunate! We went several days without showers at one point as we ran out of water and the electricity goes out on us as well so that means no HOT water (and cold is very cold!). We do look forward to a nice long hot bath when we get home! LOTS of bubble bath!

VBS Kenya Style

One of the things we are doing as a team while in Kenya is vacation Bible School for the younger kids. (The older kids get an overnight camp when our August team arrives).

Jayna and Micah served as our spokes people for the VBS. I helped them create banners to hang in their dining hall. They had tons of fun with the paint as you can see...

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Kenyan Hat Lady

Mama Kathy: "Granny Crackers" (Dave's Mom) sent many hats for us to bring to Mama Zipporah. Mama loves hats almost as much as Granny does and she has been so blessed by the hats from her. She has worn one of her hats EVERYDAY since we have arrived. I am just sad that there were many beautiful ones that we could not bring in our suitcases as they would just be crushed.
She has especially loved the Christian Dior hat that we brought. It probably has some value to it, it still has the original tags with the serial number of the hat inside. Mama got MANY compliments on it when she wore it to an important meeting last week.

Hi Ho Hi Ho, It's Off To Work We Go!

Mama Kathy: One reason we come to Kenya is to help the orphange do projects that they just don't typically have the time and rources to do. Last year when we were here, it rained most of the time (hasn't rained once this year!). So last year we got to experience what it was like to live with constant mud with 150 children! It gave us the idea of making a sidewalk for the kids from the house all the way up to the toilets and the school. That's one thing we are doing this year. Fortunately for me I have had VERY little involvement in that project. It seems that they have done about 5 miles of cement work (Kenyan style of course). However, the day the team left for safari, the work crew was still going strong and ran out of water! So I helped class 8 haul water in buckets from the house and barn UP the hill (through the 4 feet of snow, LOL) to the school so they could finish the school patio they were pouring. We hauled water until close to dark. This also lead to an outage of water in our guest house for several days. Yes, we did not have running water for showers or other American necessities. The kids really never complain, they know they just have to go with the flow and do watever they need to do, whether they like it or not.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Can you hear me now?

From Mama Kathy: No actually, he can't hear me or anything else for that matter. A cute little guy has taken to my heart this trip. His name is Moses and he is deaf. He is somewhere around 3 1/2 years old they guess. He was abandoned by his mother. I avoided him last year. I didn't know how to act around him and it honestly just seemed too difficult. He just grunted and cried and would hit you for attention.

But this year, I realized that I needed to show him the same love I show everyone else. So I started by just smiling at him when he looked at me. Then if he wasn't looking I would tap him and smile. It became a game. Then he started trying to get me to hold him. So I did. I then started trying to communicate with him by making up my own sign languauge to show what I was saying. I have discovered that he is quite loving and very bright. He catches on quickly to what I am trying to tell him. Now he trusts me and is even quicker to understand.

At first the other kids laughed at me when I talked to him, telling me he couldn't hear. But I showed them that he does understand if you are patient enough to talk to him instead of just forcing him to...say wipe his nose. Once I showed him that it was good to wipe his runny nose he in turn showed another kid to wipe his nose!!

So, just pry for little Moses. We hope to help him get the training he needs and is ready for. Huruma has another deaf boy who attends a deaf school. But Moses apparently would be able to hear some very high pitched sounds and voices with a hearing aid. Greer who is staying longer is also attached to this guy so she will work with him and be his advocate.