Local Time in Korr, Kenya

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Exam Revision With Madame Claire

I'm a pretty hands-on teacher, so when exam time comes around, I'm all about the revision cards I've been developing for the past two years. I think there's about 120 of them in total, covering all the grammar topics I teach in Form One and Two. Fill in the blanks with the correct form of the verb, find the errors in the following paragraph, has this vocabulary word been used correctly in the sentence below... Pink, green, orange... Pick your poison!

Exam Revision

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sunday Lunch Crew

Every Sunday afternoon we have a group of 3-4 of our favourite Tirrim Primary School guys and a couple of tag-alongs over for lunch at our place. We're not awesome cooks, and the menu rarely varies, but we add a ton of oil for the boys and they're totally happy (real warriors drink animal fat mixed with blood - the Rendille really like their oil...) There's no schedule for Sunday afternoons; sometimes we watch movies, play card games, read, or get all crafty and color our initials, which we did a couple weeks ago. Today someone even read the dictionary for a while. We ladies love hanging out with these kids and getting to know them outside of the classroom - it's a special thing to begin to learn what makes them tick. And what better way to do that than over greasy spaghetti and felt pens...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Can I park my boat in your desert?

Don't even know the guy (a white guy living down country), but he asked Jim Propst if he could store his huge yacht on their compound for a while. This guy says he uses the boat up at Lake Turkana, but why he didn't just leave it at the lake is a mystery... Why store it 7 hours away in the desert in someone's yard?
The Rendille are really confused about this too. They keep asking whose truck it is.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Tirrim Cultural Day 2011

I remember what Alicia Ressmann used to say about Cultural
Day at the Tirrim Schools: “I’m like such a proud momma! I am sorry if the other guests can’t see, but I will stand up in front and take pictures of MY kids! Oh, hi kids. Smile at my camera in your face!” In honor of Alicia I have taken on the new role of super excited “Mom” at the annual cultural song and dance preformance held with all schools in the Tirrim Project. And those secondary students did me proud this year! They performed a traditional Turkana dance and a Samburu/Rendille one also. I was even impressed with the primary school kids who did a dance performed with a ram’s horn trumpet! 551 photos later, and here are some of my favorites.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Chex-Mix Missions

So, I’m currently reading a very interesting book, the Wild Goose Chase by Mark Batterson, about following the Holy Spirit’s guidance in your life. I’m on page 50 of 176, and as of now I would recommend it, but I’ve just come to a small piece of the author’s argument that I can
only be incredulous of after two years on the mission field.

In the passage I’ve just gone through, the author is talking about how the Lord sometimes calls us to a different physical location in order to change our perspective on his work and our calling, getting us out of dangerous comfort zones. He gives a clever little word formula akin to what I use in my English class (Helping Verb “Had” + Participle = Past Perfect Tense) saying, “a change of place + a change of
pace = a change of perspective.”

I agree with this.

But then he moves on to say this,

“If you’re in a spiritual slump, let me give you a prescription: go on a mission trip. There is no better or sure way of coming out of the cage of routine. It’s a cure-all.”

I don’t agree with this.

Missions is NOT ALL ABOUT YOU!

Of course, the Lord uses missions to drastically change our hearts and bring about his good will in our lives. I mean, honestly, God has
used my time in Rendille Land to vastly form “the Korr” of who I am in Him and I’m honored every day by the fact I was chosen to help in this ministry. There was always a significant plan for me, personally, in coming to Korr – this is what I was meant to do for this time. I was “allure[d]” and led “into the desert” for a chance at a more full understanding of redemption. Did God want this mission at this time for me? Absolutely. But that’s not the starting point in its entirety,
and that is definitely not where it all ends.

So, if we’re going to throw around equations for life and Jesus, then I think I’ve got one: God + Me + THE PEOPLE I’M MEANT TO BE SERVING
= Missions. Duh.

The sad thing is that I believe that there is a certain proportion of people out there, people who really do love Jesus, who just forget about the third factor. On accident? As a result of the American
Church? As a result of the incredibly “me first” mentality of Western society? I don’t know why, but it happens.

NGO’s have, unfortunately, had a monopoly on the business of throwing money at people without considering their real needs or the most
effective, efficient, and sustainable way of helping them. However, in the past couple of years in Kenya I’ve seen several short term missions in Africa (and large Christian charity organizations as well) where the people just show up, take a lot of pictures, hand out candy to children (or Tylenol), learn how to say “God bless you” in the local language, and then leave. And so, the short term missionaries go home with all these cool pictures and stories about the poor naked kids they saw and that one awesome lady who shared her testimony.

But what about those poor naked kids and that one awesome lady? What are they really left with? Hopefully they are truly left with an impression of the love of God, of course. I really do pray that if my students hear the name of Jesus just that one vital time and see Christianity as a verb (no English teacher joke intended), that the divine place inside them will suddenly make sense.

What if they don’t get this, though? Have any of their other needs really been served by you?

I think too many believers blithely sign up for missions trips hinking, “I want to be on the ‘Mountain Top’ with God, so that means I need to buy a $2500 plane ticket to a developing country. Yep, that’ll be a
good experience. New scenery, new people, new experiences, out of my comfort zone, learn way more about my faith…” Seeking the real life needs of the people; discipling high school students, feeding the starving, paying church worker’s salaries, or planning a focused ministry with a specific group of people seem to often be the parts of the equation that get filled in only after the “Me” part.

Missions begins, or should begin, with a calling; a prompting from the Holy Spirit to move into something. Believe me, I know the difference between just going on a missions trip and being called to missions.
I did trips to Mexico with my high school every year for four years and most of that had to do with my friends going/it was just what we did. Habit. I can’t say with conviction that I was “called” to Mexico. In fact, I don’t even remember really asking for God’s opinion on my choice to go. Now there’s a missionary-in-the-making for you! Missions shouldn’t begin with the thought, “My faith has stagnated. I’m moving to the Philippines.” It’s a temptation, to be sure, to think that God would work in bigger ways in your life if you could just move to a new or exotic place. Sometimes that is what it actually takes (“Go to a land I will show you…”), it’s true. But it would be a huge mistake to start planning your own party, then send God an invitation and tell him that you’d like to give the poor and oppressed the left over Chex-Mix.

So, I think it works like this: the Lord gives Believers specific skills that they might serve the Church. After receiving a calling, they should use those gifted skills to serve people who need what they’ve been entrusted with.

It is absolutely shameful to believe that mission work is the solution to a personal problem, unless, of course, that problem is that God has called you to missions and you are dragging your feet and trying to bury your dead.

I have a ton of thoughts on short term mission trips, and honestly, some of them are negative, but that’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about the basic components of missions. It’s not glamorous; I wear jean skirts. It’s doesn’t make you feel good all the time; I often cry and want to send my students to boot camp. It doesn’t make you feel more holy; I’ve often seen how nasty of a person I really am. If this all really was about only God and me, I would probably believe by this point that God was just playing some sick joke.

Then praise the Lord it’s not all about me! It’s about Him teaching Jonathan and Elias about forgiveness. It’s about Catherine knowing
she’s loved despite her huge mistakes in life. It’s about seeing Nick and Lynne laugh at my dumb jokes after their stressful day. It’s about dates with TSS girls and seeing the joy they derive from nail polish. It’s about conversations with Stephen about godly leadership. It’s about Moga realizing he had to do right by God and admit his cheating issue…

It’s about so many things to do with the people I’m serving that I honestly believe this is actually God’s party for the Rendille and TSS
students, and I just got super lucky in snagging an invitation. I also get a handful of Chex-Mix.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Ingo Ingurinit

This is my new "Ingo" (Auntie), Ingo Ingurinit. Last year while living at the Kuku House, Ingo Mary helped us out with laundry, dishes, and just generally cleaning up after us four girls. However, this year she's working down at Nick and Lynne's house so we hired one of my favourite mommas from church. Even though she's pretty traditional and has little experience working in a white ladies' house, she's such a joy to have around, especially on those days you can't face another round of dishes...

Friday, September 9, 2011

Megan and Emily Meet Korr

Canadians, eh! Here to help do teacher evaluations and curriculum assessment at the nomadic nursery schools. Megan (on the left) and Emily (on the right) are the "Canadian Goslings" I mentioned about a month ago, however these ladies are actually 24 and 23 respectively so we can't call them the Goslings anymore.

Megan has a great laugh and energy that makes me feel like an old person (no offense Grandmas and Grandpas) but is, of course, a favourite with the kids. Emily is the kind of person who makes you feel like you're super funny and interesting because she's so sweet. So, between Tamara and I and these ladies, we've got a pretty full house which I like.

There's also a new guy named Deven who's working at TSS with me as the Biology 1 and CRE 1 and 2 teacher. His nickname was chosen after I met him so I know for sure that "Geek Squad" describes him well as he showed up in Korr with enough gadgets to build a bridge out of toothpicks and a certain knack for all problems concerning the internet. He's kind and a very motivated science teacher so I think he'll do quite well in TSS.

Well, looks like I've got a great new team! I must admit that I miss the Korr Girls (Jamie, Alicia and Ruthie) something awful, but I really am excited to work with these people and learn what I can from them.

The New Oven

We're not very high tech these days now that we've moved back into "Kuku House" (the unofficial official Short Termer house.) As the pioneers in this set up, we four girls are lacking in a few things, which actually doesn't make our lives difficult, but just a little different.
Case in point, this is our oven.
Laura Propst gave us this old safari camp stove that sits just over a burner on our stove top. It's made completely of sheet metal, so this little bugger gets HOT! There's a thermometer that sits inside, but I'm not so sure it works. Really, I just turn on the burner, set the stove on top and then wait for stuff to bake.
Here's Megan and Emily's biscuits - the very first thing to be baked in the oven! Yum!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Yeesoo a 'doossamaache

Jesus heals.

In the third term of school in 2010 I ran into a whole bunch of nasty - bad attitudes from the kids, primarily. In fact, my experiences in the last bit of 2010 were enough to make me seriously reconsider my decision to return to Tirrim Secondary in 2011.

I'm glad I took a chance.

I'm starting to see that my return may, in fact, have the distinct purpose of being a time of healing because in the past 8 months God has really been fixing some serious wounds from last year. This past June I had a long talk with a boy called Jonathan who was one of my problem kids last year. He told me he realized that holding onto anger with circumstances and with me was eating a hole in his heart. He said he had decided to release his anger at me, and while he never really said he was sorry for the way he acted, I was so happy to see a proactive desire to set things right.

Then, just the other night my former student, Elias, showed up at my door.

It wasn't just me who had had issues with him last year, in fact I really was just on the fringe, but disciplining him fell to me and that's where the drama started. Long story short, he was expelled for failing to comply with his discipline and left behind him a sour taste in my mouth. Then suddenly he's on my doorstep telling me that he's realized he was very wrong for having such a terrible attitude, for saying such rude things, and for just generally carrying on the way he did. He said he had recently been to a sport camp where they had been talking about peacemaking (some boys had tried to start a fight on the soccer field), and he was suddenly convicted of how he had acted toward me and that he needed to do make peace. He was terrified out of his mind to come talk to me because, in Rendille culture, people generally don't let go of wrongs against them, and so coming to me was literally risking a beating (children are beaten for disrespecting elders.) It was quite brave what he did, really.

He adamantly offered me his apologies and asked for my forgiveness in return. It was very readily given. Not only am I happy to discard of bitterness, but it's a joy to see this once troubled boy growing up, recognizing his faults, taking responsibility for his actions and allowing God to soften his heart.

To be able to have conversations like this with my students and tell them that I really do love them despite their mistakes and that I believe God is changing their lives...

I'll take teenage angst any day.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

My Friend, Tana

The pretty girl in the middle is my dear friend Tana. I met her last April just as she was arriving in Kenya while we were both trying to survive the awkward and repetitive dinner table conversations of a missionary guest house. I only got to hang out with her a couple of days in Nairobi before I went back up to Korr, but then, as Tammy and I came down to the city again for our holiday, Tana invited us to stay with her! What a BLESSING this girl is. Not only am I saved from those terrible dinner table conversations, but I also get to hang out in a cute little home with an awesome lady. Fancy lunches on the porch (like the one seen in the picture above), shopping, coffee dates, day trips and such were all ways we enjoyed Tana's company.

As much as I dislike Nairobi, I have really enjoyed this trip almost entirely due to Tana's hospitality.

"Good on ya Tana!" (An ism from Tana herself.)

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

To Hell in a Land Rover

Ok, well I really didn't go to Hell, but I did go to Hell's Gate National Park near Lake Naivasha down country, and it was just as exciting as the name implies! I was invited to go camping with my girlfriend Michelle and some friends from up in Northern Kenya, the Middletons. I've never actually been camping in Kenya, as the western version of camping goes (with a tent, a gas cooker, a sleeping bag and a mat that doesn't actually do much against the rocks underneath), so this was a bit of an adventure!

We loaded up two Land Rovers with provisions and drove two hours out of Nairobi towards this park known for its major geothermal activity (steam vents, energy plants and hot springs.) Once in the park, we set up camp on a bluff above a long, narrow valley that hosts herds of zebras, buffalo, warthogs (pumbas!) and even giraffe couples. I mean, literally we were feet away from the edge of a cliff!
(View from our tent)

The activities of the following two days included rock climbing lessons with the Middletons which were terrifying and addicting all at the same time. I have clinical acrophobia (I diagnosed myself) which should immediately disqualify rock climbing from any activity I would try, however, everyone else was doing it, so... The guys roped three courses, easy, medium and hard, and in the end I successfully completed the easy and medium ones with, I admit, much groaning and screaming, "Now what?!" It feels good to say, "Yah, I've rock climbed in Kenya." but I've suffered from some pretty serious aching shoulder joints since then.

(Looking like a pro - ish.)

We also hiked the volcano (extinct now, but still steaming up a storm!) and the gorge, a narrow trail carved out of soft sandstone by the random comings and goings of floods. The gorge was beautiful - stunning, really, with its rippling stone walls and hot spring waterfalls. And it provides quite a rush realizing that a flash flood could come and wipe you out at any time since there's no way out of the gorge, except the "designated trail heads." Or maybe up - if I could tap into my new found climbing skills.(Love some sandstone)

(Michelle and I)

(Graffiti in the gorge - Evan must be desperate...)

The volcano, Hobley's Volcano, is, I believe, what must have inspired Jules Verne's Journey to the Center of the Earth. It's just other-worldly enough, with its steaming vents and crumbling terrain, to lend itself to science fiction, but also real enough to invite speculations of, "What if I climbed down into this cave? I wonder if it would be like that Planet Earth episode..." We didn't actually climb down into the cave, on account of the fact that that would have been supremely dangerous, but we did slip and slide around the cliffs and threw feather light pumice stones to each other. (Caleb Middleton ponders the volcano.)

Other notable events on our vacation included Caleb chasing a giraffe and Michelle and I running into a jackal on the way to the toilet one night. And so, finally getting out of Nairobi and traveling to the gate of Hell has been, ironically, quite good for my city weary soul.
(Caleb Klay vs. African wildlife)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Beads and Mommas

Finally! It's only been a year and a half, but my "irrtiyo" (multi-strand bead necklace) has been completed by Momma Nareyo! Technically all the beads were put together last year, but somehow they became a sort of "min chimbirr" (bird's nest), so I asked Momma to make them look nice - and did she ever! Thanks Momma!

(I'm also wearing my "rrimirrimo" which is the beaded headress - young, unmarried ladies put lots of sparklies on theirs, which is why mine is different from Momma's.)

Hi, I'm TaMARa (Not TAmara, as I initially believed)

This is my new roommate up in Korr, Tamara or "Tammy," as I prefer to call her, to avoid any mispronunciations! I'm so happy to finally have a friend to work with. I was the only young, single, white lady up in the area for about 6 months, and while I wasn't starting to go crazy by any means (or any crazier than usual), I was, perhaps, getting lost in my own head. When you work with teenagers in any context, and especially when those teenagers are from the bush of Kenya, you really do need someone alongside you to bring you back to reality or be on your team when your dealing with a cultural conflict. While her primary job in Korr is the assist in administration of the Tirrim Project, Tamara's been a great buddy for adventures out to "goobs" and a HUGE help with all my school work (typing up exams, grading papers...). She also has a great sense of humour, which is a necessity in our lives, and also loves obsessively reading quotes out of books aloud. I think we'll do great together.

Watch Swap

Well, the desert heat does more than damage my skin and cause me to move more slowly than I did during 6 am workouts for crew in college. Evidently the plastic they make sport watch bands out of is significantly susceptible to heat. My faithful watch band of the past year and a half has finally fatigued. For the past 2 months I've been using purple masking tape to hold bits together and even had Somo Chawle sew two broken pieces back together with something like 12 guage string, but...

So, while I've been in Nairobi one of my chores has been to get my watch band replaced. The shop I went to didn't have a pretty blue, plastic, sporty-looking band, but only had a black faux-leather thing. I asked if they had anything that looked more "youthful," or even one that matched the watch face, but nothing turned up. Even the cashier turned to where I was talking to the repairman and gave her two cents about how ugly the whole project was turning out. She then proceeded to show me her fashion watch, and suggested I buy one like hers. Well, the repair was only 500 shillings and a new sport watch was minimum 1500 shillings, so decision made.

Here's my newly repaired watch, mismatched and everything...

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Euthanizing Euphemisms

"Girls usually crave for soil and calcium" (Samuel Basele commenting on females' unique mineral cravings.)

"She will kick the bush." (Ibrahim Kenyatta euthanizing euphemisms.)

"The Lord has provide us with air naturally without buying from anywhere." (Fascinating observations from Bosco Kombe.)

"We haven't seen each other for a long, but in God's grease we are together now." (Greasy grace from Jonah)

"When you die the body will remain in the dust, but the soul will go to the owner (God.)" (Never thought of it in those words... Larau Obeyle.)

"He says in a silent voice" (Eleemo Moga practicing the writing of stage directions in a drama dialogue.)

"That old man standing at the door wants to marry you since his first wife died. He promised that he will bring development to your family by buying your parents a black shiny limousine." (Jeremiah's Ilbilich's modern take on the bride price.)

"Haven't you heard about a girl in California who has three [years] and was married by a man of eighty and they really had a good relationship, until he died." (Jeremiah... again...)

Friday, July 8, 2011

Lake Turkana

(A traditional fishing raft of the Turkana tribe)

(Turkana boys holding up the gutts of a fish their dad caught.)
"The best and most exciting part" (a bit of my students' phraseology for you) of my trip to Loiyangalani was watching my students' reactions when we came over the hill of jet-black volcanic rock and had our first glimpse of Lake Turkana in Northern Kenya. Their faces said, "So that's what a lake is," "Wait, I'm confused," and "Wow," all in one expression. You can imagine that, living in a desert, these kids rarely ever see a puddle let alone somthing as expansive and stunningly colored as the aptly nicknamed "Jade Sea."
We traveled 7 hours in the back of a pickup to reach the lake where we were reportedly having a junior class Geography field trip, although I'm pretty sure it was just a vacation with an educational sounding title. (Anytime you eat meat every night and have sodas at least once a day is not your average sack-lunch day trip to the museum.) On our way we did observe the Ndoto Mountain Range, the rain shadow of those mountains, sand dunes and various igneous stones, although the geographical fact I was most interested in; why the lake is such a lovely green color, was never actually answered.
Setting our mattresses and crates of soda up at the mission base in Loiyangalani, a town on the southern tip of Lake Turkana, we went out to explore the natural springs that create the oasis in which Loiyangalani is situated. What a relief! After 7 hours in a bumpy, dusty, non-air conditioned car, I was finally able to stick my feet into a refreshing, although admittedly warmish, stream. The network of springs creates about a 4 sqaure kilometer swath of date palms and grass which I delighted in, taking way too many pictures of nondescript green.
(Exploring the Loiyangalani oasis.)
One crazy man (who told me I needed to drink the spring water to clean out my "womb") and a bean stew later and I was a new woman. That night, while the kids sat around making 6 million phone calls with the newfound network, I lay out on a bench waiting for the occassional cool lake breeze and pointing out the "man-made satellites." It's ironic how much more the kids know about downloading music and movies onto their phones than me, but they have so little idea about what satellites are and how they enable all this 21st century technology stuff!
The next day we were up early for a quick porridge breakfast (it's made with a little rough corn flour, a little milk and lots of sugar) then to the lake for water sports! We first hopped into a Turkana fishing boat, complete with beautifully carved oars, half-dead fish flopping around my feet and a dozen naked Turkana children splashing around our hull. I was so happy to be back on the water after 3 years of missing early mornings in the Newport Channel with Chapman Crew.
(Paddling around again.)
(Ismail trying his hand at rowing.)
The students flailed their oars around in desperate attempts to actually catch water and made me gasp when they would suddenly decide
to switch seats, causing our boat to rock and me to fear for my camera! In addition to rowing ourselves around the lake, Principal organized a 7 minute "Crocodile Watch" in a motorboat. Whether or not this was an intelligent thing to do in an area with no saftey regulations was kind of beside the point because I was the only one who was worried, and was therefore dragged along with the crowd. Clearly I made it out alive and wasn't all that disappointed that we saw no crocodiles.
Fried catfish is a delightful mid-morning snack in my opinion! After our boating adventures we bought one of the freshly caught "mudfish," as their called in Turkana land, and had one of the local mommas fry it up for us. D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S.
(Despite Gabriel's face (at left), the kids also enjoyed the fried fish.)
In the afternoon we went down to a bay near Loiyangalani for some swimming. It sounds perfectly benign, like a nice end to a sight-seeing-filled and hot day, but you have to remember the crocodiles. As the kids stepped their toes into the deceptively placid waters, I started a prayer that lasted a solid 1 1/2 hours; "Lord I can't handle a crocodile attack." I admit that I eventually decided to join the kids, figuring that I should take advantage of the only swim I'll have this year. Also, I realized that sitting in a grounded fishing boat by myself made me look lame.
Despite a constant sense of extreme danger, I had my dip in the lake, fully clothed, and actually enjoyed it! Adrenaline can really spice up a plain old swim...
(My crocodile lookout from that grounded fishing boat)
(Look Madame! I'm a porpise!)


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Funniest Home Photos

Please watch the small boy running down the center of these three photos. His name is Juma Puma (well, the "Puma" is my nickname for him) and he is awesome at getting himself into trouble. For example...
Running off to join the big boys doing round-offs and cartwheels.
Roundhouse kick to the face.
Wipe-out. Bless his little heart.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Water Witching

I still say this is bologna, but since it can't be scientifically proven and I can't disprove it, I guess I'm stuck.
"Water Witching" or "Dowsing," to be a little less pagan, is the technique of using a "Y" shaped branch or two metal "L" shaped rods to detect underground water sources. There's nothing to say about how it actually works beyond that you're supposed to hold your sticks, wood or metal, in your hands at about chest level. When you walk over an area of land that covers an underground water source, the branch supposedly dips down or the metal rods cross each other to form an "X." That's it. No scientific explanation to speak of.
(My student Joel tries his hand at holding the witching sticks.)
The people I work with guess that somehow an electric current travels from the underground water, through a person's body, and then affects the metal rods, or, perhaps, that the water in the soil somehow attracts the water in a branch to itself. Heaven help anyone who tried this around the Puritans because they would have been hung real fast. This is about as close to real life magic as I've gotten.
I was the biggest scoffer when Jim and Laura Propst said that we were going to use these sticky things to go find a good site for a well. However, to prove their point, we did a couple of practice rounds directly over the site of an already existing well that clearly has water in it, and sure enough our metal rods crossed all over themselves when the person holding them stood above the well. I thought that surely everyone was messing with me until I also tried it and found that without moving my hands or thinking, "magical thoughts" the rods crossed even more adamantly in my hands in my hands than in anyone else's. How ironic.
Then, with my new found interest, we took our sticks out to the bush and walked around for a bit trying to locate the underground water that had somehow eluded professional surveyors. We actually did get a bit of activity a few hundred meters away from where the surveyors tried, and failed, to get a spout of water. If our project ever gets a little more money, perhaps we can try this bewitched site...
(Rendille children trying to figure out what in the world this white man is doing walking around, paying very close attention to two sticks in his hands.)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Springs of Life

Water is hard to find in the Kaisut Desert. Duh. There are "Water Diviners," though, who are, according to Rendille culture, so knowledgeable about the inner workings of their landscape, that they can supposedly identify with great accuracy the location of an underground river or water shed. We "wazungus" (white people) took our chances with a professional surveyor, who proved his worth! We've now got gushing bore holes just outside our home gate, one at the proposed site of the new secondary school (so now we have the water, but no buildings or funding...), and another at the proposed site of a Rendille hospital! (Again, now there's water for the hospital but no buildings or funding - a divine puzzle it seems.) Come to me all you who are thirsty! Ready, go!

Christmas in May

Momma Westwood went to town this year for "Christmas in May!" My fellow missionary's daughter came out for a visit with her new fiance (they actually got engaged underneath the most beautiful Korr sunset I've ever seen - the Lord knew what was up) and it was the perfect opportunity to get a package from California to Kenya safely. (One of my girlfriends once received a box in the post, and on the inside every single bag of candy had been opened and clearly sampled... Tacky) I got a replacement computer for my old Dell which a Nairobi repairman described as having "components burned past recognition." I've also just opened a new box of much needed vitamin supplements. As mentioned before, my student, Catherine, has recently had a baby boy who received a blanket with his name stitched into it. Somo Chawle, my adopted Rendille brother, received a really awesome adjustable book bag sewed from some classic soccer fabric. Here he is smelling it, or something, and looking quite excited to have the coolest book bag in school! Thanks Mom!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Catherine and Gideon

(Gideon with his new teddy bear. He'd rather be eating it than anything else!)
You may remember me telling about one of my students getting pregnant last year, and as a result, traveling home to give birth. Well, Catherine is now the ever-patient, healthy, and happy mother of a baby boy; Gideon! I don't know his weight, but he is HUGE! Especially by Rendille standards. He's brown (not very dark skinned), fussy, but getting less so, has soft hair (as many Rendille do), and we share the birthday of January 30th! I've been out a couple of times now to visit Catherine and the baby, so I've got plenty of photos for you to "ooo" and "awww" over!
Gidi (his nickname) and Auntie Claire!
Mommy is comfy!
Napping with the embroidered blanket Momma Westwood made for him.
Dancing with Auntie Emily (another Tirrim Secondary School student)


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Big Adventure in the City

Just some photos of the kids' time in Nairobi before the headed off to their Kenyan Students Christian Fellowship conference!

Isiolo is the town that acts as the major transport hub between Northern and Southern Kenya. It's got all the unfortunate social depravity that often comes along with a roadside town (No, I will not be your "angel" you creepy man.), but it also has some nice amenities like toilets that flush and cafes. For some of the students, it was their first time to eat at a restaraunt and I can tell they loved it because spoons weren't even placed down for a photo.

From Isiolo to Nairobi we rode in a "matatu," or taxi-van complete with a television that played cheesy Kenyan music videos. Most of the kids got car sick, though, so watching MTV Kenya wasn't really an option anymore. What a loss.

What trip to Nairobi would be complete without a trip to the Nairobi National Game Park Animals Orphanage! Juevenile lions, buffalo, ostriches, dikdiks, and even a couple crocodiles provided plenty of entertainment for the afternoon! (This is the kids pointing out their favourite young lioness and playing chicken with an unstable looking ostrich. First to get bit, loses.)

One of the Members of Parliament from the north invited our students to come and observe Parliament in session one day, which was quite the fieldtrip! Everyone put on their uniforms and I got funny looks because I wasn't wearing heels, but they kids were very keen at being in the middle of "government" happening. Although no cameras were allowed inside the building, here's the students eating their lunch in the parliament garden and in front of Kenya's coat of arms.