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.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

911, What's Your Emergency?

I woke up yesterday morning with the weirdest feeling. I'd gone to sleep with my mosquito net just draped over me - coming in contact with my face - since our room seems to be infested with mosquitoes. So, I woke up and my face felt... just weird. I don't really know how to explain it. It felt cold if I didn't touch it, and hot when I touched it. The best way I can describe it is that it felt like I had plumping lip gloss all over my face. The strangest feeling ever. At first it hurt, but then I got used to it and it didn't really hurt, just felt weird. Once it was starting to go away, it seemed to feel normal when I was indoors, but as soon as I went outside it went back to being weird. It's better now that my moquito net is up instead of draped over me. Just one more really weird medical issue you can add to my list! Please pray that I stop getting sick. I've been feeling sick every other day at least while we've been here. Or something's been wrong with me. I'd really like to enjoy this the best I can so I'd really appreciate that! :)

Spiders in the Night

Hey guys! Sorry we haven't written in a while. But boy do I have a story for you!! So just about ten minutes ago my roommates Heather and Amy were watching The Notebook and I was on facebook. I'm sitting up in my bed and look high up on the wall and see a HUGE spider just sitting up there. Almost everyone else was asleep, so I held in a scream by gasping loudly... and choking on that gasp. They were both like, "What? What?" So I pointed, too scared to talk and then we're all like, "OH MY GOSH!!! KILL IT! WHAT DO WE DO? I CAN'T DO IT! CAN YOU DO IT? NO!! I CAN'T REACH THAT! I HATE SPIDERS!" It was pretty histerical. They both gave it a try, but decided there was no point in trying when it started to crawl. So we knew Greer was still awake and they went to get her so we could kill it. Greer comes in and goes, "Oh, wow. That is pretty big." So she almost did it, but she got scared too. Alissa walked by our door and saw in then silent-screamed and ran back to her room. Then Heather and Amy went to get Micha since we know he loves torturing bugs. While they were gone, Greer and I watched it run to the other side of the wall, then it started running DOWN... TOWARD THE FLOOR! We were both screaming, somewhat quietly. And she's standing there going, "Shut up, Jayna! Shut up, shut up! Shut up!" That was classic. Then the other girls came back with Travis who says, "Oh, come on guys. That's just a wolf spider." But when he tried hitting it it ran up and SO, SO, SO, SO, SO fast across the wall. Thank God, he got it. But it was pretty epic watching that thing!

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Best Day

The team left on Thursday morning for Safari. So that means Mom and I have Huruma to ourselves! I was sick on Wednesday and since we didn't have the team, we thought it'd be fun if we went into town and grabbed lunch (on Thursday). We both really wanted to go to Junction and eat at this restaurant called Java House, but it was 40 mintues away and Mom didn't feel comfortable driving that far in Kenya (and I don't blame her!) So we settled for Karen which was only 20 minutes away. Lisa rented a car for all of us CornerStone'rs to use while we are here. So we got the keys and headed for the car. For whatever reason, the alarm started going off. We tried turning it off, but all the directions there were (not very many, might I add) in Chinese characters and the key didn't have a remote or anything! We stood outside the guest house for at least 10 minutes trying to shut the thing up! When it didn't work, we decided to just start driving and pray that it would miraculously turn off. Well, we drove, but it sure didn't turn off! All the people that were walking on the bumpy dirt road would turn and stare at us. Probably thinking something about how we're "stupid Mzungu" (white tribe-people). We got quite a few dirty looks, and some people just laughed, like we were doing. That thing was driving us crazy! BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP *pause for about 7 seconds* BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP... It went on and on. I started singing "The Best Day" by Taylor Swift after five minutes of the alarm.

We reached Karen, and drove around the town once then through the parking lot. We couldn't find a parking spot and our car was blaring, so Mom finally goes, "let's just pull into the gas station and maybe someone will be able to help us." Thank God, someone was able to help! There was a guy that showed Mom how the key just slides up and there's a remote to turn off the alarm. We were so grateful that Mom decided to ask for directions to Junction so we could eat at Java House! (There was no parking spots available).

Cheese burger, fries, and a chocolate milkshake. Mmm :) Java House was DELICIOUS! After we ate, we went into the little mall that was right next door and did a little shopping and got some groceries. We even made it all the way home without causing any accidents! Since the directions for the radio were in Chinese, we made our own radio by singing Mamma Mia! and Taylor Swift songs! :) After we got home we made ourselves Spaghetti for dinner!

I didn't know if you knew, so I'm takin' this chance to say... That I had the best day with you today!

Caring for HIV+ Kids

From Mama Kathy:

We are close to several kids who are HIV+. One of the kids that I am close to is Milicent. Milicent is not a person that you would naturally be drawn to by her apperance but she is in such need of love you are drawn by that. She has been at the home for quite a few years with her 4 siblings. Their parents died of TB. She is 19 and in class 5 (5th grade). (She is in one of the pictures below, in the multi colored scarf I brought for her.) One of the marvelous things about the home is that Mama believes STRONGLY in education for ALL kids. So when a child arrives, they get placed into the grade where they belong by ability no matter their age and are allowed to stay as long as they are attending school and working hard at it.

Milicent is HIV+ from her parents (like all the kids). She is experiencing an allergic type reaction to her medication. It is very painful and she is scared, and so are the other kids as the same can happen to them. So she asked if I would go with her to the clinic. I was glad she asked because I was going to go anyway! So on Wednesday I piled into the home's bus with 18 HIV kids and 7 of us adults.

They travel every month to the clinic in Kibera the largest slum in Nairobi with somehing like 4 million people living within 2 square miles! It is a sight to behold I assure you. We drove through the outskirts of the slum to basically an alley to the clinic. All the kids carrying their "containers" (ice cream containers) with their meds inside. The clinic itself was quite a contrast to the surroundings, very clean and neat and pleasant with animals painted on the walls like any pediatrician's office. The staff was very loving and efficient (also uncommon here, the efficient part). It took almost 3 hours for them all to be checked individually and given meds for the next month including specially formulated "oats".

Dispite what they go through they are surprisingly joyful. They sang songs in the 45 minute car ride there and slept on the way back. We were able to have a special treat of lunch at a restaurant in town on the way back, YUM, chicken and chips (french fires)! Some had to bring the rest of the chicken back in a bag to finish later. It was wonderful to get to be there with them to love them like a mother would at a doctor visit. Mary the nurse is really great with them and a very kind lady. I thank God that they have her caring for them everyday.


Just thought I'd add some photos that you might enjoy...

Knitting Class

Huruma is a rather large compound, 6 acres of beautiful land! The view is quite stunning. The orphans have one of the best views in the world out of their second story library. I tell them American's value such a view, and they don't understand. Due to the size of Huruma, it's easy to be doing different things from everyone on the team. One of my personal favorites of course is hanging out in the beautifully painted dining hall (ha, if you recall, I helped to paint it last year) having knitting class.

The kids love learning, some already know how. I bring as much yarn and needles as I am able, then teach the kids. Many of them want to try it so they share. Then just like back home, some take to it and others don't. I had another team mate help me with this year, Katie.

I also brought an advanced project for the ones who were really good so they will be learning new techniques. I love spreading the craft and they love making something out of string! We ran out of needles and we still had some yarn so Katie helped them fashion needles out of broom twigs! Seriously! And that was for several boys, they wanted to learn so bad. One boy has been working hard and has made a beautiful scarf. I will get his photo and post it.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Hoedown Throwdown

On Tuesday night, Lisa and I took a few of the kids out to a movie. We took Hannah, Silvia, Zippy, Jen, Regina, Ben, Dennis, and Jimmy to go see the Hannah Montana movie. It was a lot of fun! On the way there we were all singing (Hannah fell asleep) to David Archuleta, Fantasia, and others. They all really liked the movie and are counting on me to teach them the Hoedown Throwdown (once I'm feeling better)! During the end credits I actually stood up in the theatre and did it for them! :P Thankfully we were the only ones there! Lisa, Zippy, and I were all singing along during the whole movie!! :)For some of them it was their first time out, so that was really cool to be a part of. We're having so much fun and the rest of the team just left for the safari. We're so excited we get Huruma all to ourselves! :)

Monday, July 6, 2009


We had three flights to get to Kenya. 5 hours from Phoenix to New York, 12 hours from New York to Dubai, and 5 hours again from Dubai to Narobi. On the last flight, Mom and I were in front of the other poeple coming with us (Lisa, Caroline, Heather, Alissa, and Greer). So we steped up to the counter and handed the lady our boarding passes. She put them through the scanner and was staring at the computer, then typed something. She didn't say anything and had a sort of blank expression on her face so, of course, our first thought was "Dangit! We've gone all this way with no problems and now..." but then she pulls out two new boarding passes. "You've been upgraded to Business Class," is exactly what she said - word for word. We were shocked! We were originally going to try and get Business Class for all of our flights, but that didn't really work out that well. We sat in our seats on the plane wondering why on earth we would be the ones to get it! But, it was nice! Mom slept so well she was even snoring... and so was the guy next to me. That was fun. :P

Saturday, July 4, 2009

So You Think You Can Dance?

WE MADE IT!!! After our... 35 hour long journey we are finally in Kenya and, better yet, at Huruma!! It was so good to see everyone when we got out of the cars. We missed them all so much, and the feeling was mutual. I, personally, felt like a celebrity when i arrived. I got out of the van and there were SO many kids that wanted to say hi and give me a hug. and... I SAW HANNAH!!! We sat and just talked for a while after we saw each other. That was good :) she's gotten so much more talkative. Wow. I missed them all so much it feels so great to be here! I couldn't stop smiling on the way home from the airport. I rode home with just me and Lisa from AZ, the others were all kids at the home. So it was so much fun talking and laughing with them... and keeping me from getting car sick on the bumpy one hour trip from the airport! :) We went to fellowship (which is like a youth group for junior high and high school age kids.) and they had a dance night! I was so scared to dance at first when they all wanted me to... But I eventually gave in and went up to the "dance floor." Silvia and Anne taught me some moves! :) They are AMAZING dancers! Everytime a song came on they immediately knew exactly what to do and were constantly on the same page with each other. They'd switch into a new move after a while, and were always switching at the same time into the same thing. I don't know if they had some sort of secret language or were whispering in Kiswahaili so we didn't know what they were saying, but however they did it it was impressive! We all had so much fun... Even those not dancing! Mom sat and watched with Millicent and she said she had a lot of fun just watching all of us who danced. Anne does this little bootie shake thing that I tried... Yeah. Definitely NOT happening. It was still a lot of fun... and Greer, Alissa, Heather, and I showed them the hand jive (from Grease!) and the Macaraina... however you spell that. We even adjusted them so they fit with the beat. We felt a little out of place dancing with them, though. Seeing how well they do it and how naturally it just comes to them!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Old Flames in Dubai

So. As I write this Mom and I are sitting in the Dubai airport. And we found a Starbucks. I got excited.... I need to not get my hopes up too soon. THEY DON'T HAVE PASSION TEA HERE!!!!! >:( so I settled for a mocha frappiccino... my old flame. :) Our flights are going pretty well so far, so that's always good. We had a 5 hour flight from Phoenix to New York, then 12 hours from New York to Dubai - where we are right now. Our flight leaves in about an hour, and that's another 5 hour flight. Should be fun. I have been up since 10 AM on Wednesday morning and it is now 9:20 AM on Friday in Dubai. I have gotten about a total of 6 hours of sleep... maybe. But the excitement of seeing all the kids in just hours is keeping me awake. :) that's really all that's going on in our lives right now... nothing too exciting ;). Keep praying and we hope to hear from all of you soon!!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Packing Party at our house!

Should I stay or should I go?

10 1/2 hours and counting! We are very excited to be returning to Huruma Children's Home. Many people comment on safety and/or fear for us etc... so I wanted to give you our perspective on that. Last year when we were packing to leave Huruma, Jayna and I both knew for sure that we were to return in July 2009. That has not changed and has only grown stronger.

As Christians, we believe the Bible is God's inerrant word. In it, it teaches that God has life and death in His hands, that He knows the number of our days and that we can not hide from Him. So it really doesn't matter if we are in Phoenix, Salem Ohio or Ngong Hills Kenya, God knows where we are. That makes the decision very simple. The only question we have to answer is; has God called us to go? And the answer to that is simply yes.

Last year I got such a good picture of heaven when we were leaving. We loved the people so much and realized it was possible that we would never see them again (it is after all 10,000 miles away!). But I realized that any them that are followers of Jesus we are promised that we will be reunited in heaven. I always think of that when someone I know dies, but had never really applied it to those still alive. That even if I don't see them on earth again, I will meet up with them in heaven.

So take comfort in knowing that Jayna and I are believers in Jesus. And that one day, whenever our days are up, we will be present with The Lord in heaven, waiting for you to join us! If you are a believer we will see you soon by heaven's clock. If not, you can still join us. Jesus says that the person who just calls Him Lord will not enter heaven, but the one who truely believes He is Lord will enter heaven. It's again very simple, you must acknowledge you are a sinner (is there really any doubt about that?) and can not get to heaven on your own (can't do anything to earn God's grace), accept that Jesus God's perfect Son died in your place (that's what God required, perfect blood), and ask Him to be YOUR Savior.

It's so simple it's hard as American's to believe. But that is what the scriptures teach. If you are not sure, just ask Him to show you. He gets it.

We'll post again as soon as we can!
Mama Kathy

Sunday, June 28, 2009


Friday morning. I had my birthday party the night before and some people slept over. We woke up (early, might I add) and no one was home. I called Mom and it turns out our flights had been CANCELED. Great, right? So I waited for hours until she finally let me know that she and Lisa had re-booked our flights. So there's good news and bad news. Good news: we got our flights booked and will get to be with the kids longer! Bad news: this means we won't see Dad or Johnny for even LONGER... we'll be gone for 33 days now. So, I guess everything worked out. Should be fun getting to be with all the kids for a whole month though!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

200 Pounds

Well, we're getting ready! We still have 22 days until we are scheduled to take off for Kenya, but we've already started packing! We are pulling out our clothes and gifts we're taking. For some reason we just can't stop buying things for the kids! Everytime I see something pink I want to get it for Hannah! We probably should limit ourselves, though, since (between the two of us) we'll have about 200 pounds of luggage with us! We'll have four bags each, with a 50 pound limit for two of them, the other two being carry-ons. Luckily we won't have very far to carry them - just the Delta desk in Phoenix and the curb in Nairobi! The kids have been sending us a few letters, letting us know how they're doing and how excited everyone is for the team to come. :)