Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Leaving Mombasa

Since coming to Mombasa we have been able to do a lot of things and meet a lot of people in a short period of time. Some of the things we have done here is snorkeling, riding camels, and having a bonfire on the beach. We also have befriended two "beach boys" (not the band) and have had some very cool conversations about a variety of things, including God and life after death. Also, we were waiting for a Matatu yesterday and this huge pack of baboons, big and small, came out of a compound and walked down the street right past us. It was kind of scary and very cool all at the same time. Only in Africa. I love it here. Unfortunately, today is our last day in Mombasa and tomorrow we travel to Nairobi again. I was hoping to include some pictures before I go but I am having a very difficult time getting them to upload so I will have to wait until I get back to the Robe. Sorry peeps!

Monday, July 30, 2007

fun facts III

So I am in Mombasa and I am loving it. i realized that I have seen three oceans within the last year and i am not sure which one I like the most. So right now i am completely enjoying the Indian ocean... i have only been here for a day and half but it has already been an adventure and has allowed me to formulate enough for another fun facts blog. So here is the third addition comin' at ya...

1. I am not sure if Bob Marley is dead or not but if he isn't i know where he should retire. Mombasa fo sho. Rafiki has a very strong following here in the Momby (short for Mombasa). There are so many Bob Marley look alikes i am not sure who I should get an autograph from. So I guess I won't...

2. It turns out eating your lunch outside in Mombasa can be dangerous to your health. It may not seems like it at first. You may be sitting there quietly enjoying the ocean breeze and when you look up there may be a pack of wild baboons hurling towards you. Then you may find that your nice quite lunch may be quickly interrupted by screams coming from your own mouth as you hurriedly grab your food and run inside. You may then realize you are from Michigan and people may want to see this phenomena so you grab your camera and open the door to snap a picture. You may then realize that one baboon is very close so you slam your door shut. However, you smile to yourself because you are alive, you have a picture, and you just experienced something new. Crazy baboons.

3. If you are staying somewhere for $9 a night feel free to ask what the accommodations are like. Really, don't feel shy, just ask! You would hate to show up in a strange country in the middle of the night to a banda (shack thing) where the ceiling doesn't meet the walls, there is gecko poop all over your nicely made bed and pillow, the toilet is located outside, and you are living with a 12 legged flying bug type creature. I promise you would just hate that. However, if it does happen, feel free to make friends with people from Illinois who work for InterVarsity. They may just let you sleep on their couch. I like people from Illinois.

4. Sometimes you maybe lying on a white (I mean white) sandy beach minding your own business and you will find a camel who was once eating behind you quietly who decided he wanted some sun too. Unfortunately the camel probably has no concept of personal space. I would suggest you move your towel before he stretches out. But then again that's just a suggestion.

5. I have found the origin of the term "hakuna matata". It is the theme here Mombasa, not just Lion King.

Ok, there has been other crazy things that has happened here and I am looking forward to more but my time at the cafe is adding up so I must go! Hakuna matata!

Friday, July 27, 2007

I made it!

I made it to the Robe and along the way we saw a pack of zebras, some more baboons, and a huge pink mass in a lake that Quinn told me were pink flamingos. Seriously, I am not a big animal person but it is really cool to see these things out in the bush rather then at a zoo. Plus it just makes the eight hour trip go MUCH faster.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

No more "Teacha Katie"

Well, today was my last day teaching. It is a little bitter sweet for me. I am actually glad that I don't have to teach anymore (not really my thing) but I am definitely going to miss the children from the school, neighborhood kids, the view, and mostly the sweet Odoyo family. At the beginning of the trip I didn't think I would say this but... my time here in Kisumu was really too short. I feel like I have just gotten started and there is so much more to see and do. However, it was very obvious that we were here for a specific purpose and that purpose is accomplished. God has been very near during these past 6 weeks and I know that the remainder of the trip will be amazing as well. I will leave on Friday for Nairobi and then Saturday for Mombasa for some sight seeing. I will come back to Nairobi on the following Thursday to see some other ministries, visit some friends, and debrief. Don't worry, I have two more weeks left so I have plenty of more blogs coming at you!

Also, just so you can see them... here are some pictures of all the kids in my class. Couldn't you just eat them up :)?

Hello Mr. President

I met two children the other day. They were brothers. You'll never guess their names....ok, I'll just tell you. Georgebush and Billclinton. Yep, those were their first name. Vitalis was saying hi out of the car to Mr. Billclinton. I thought maybe he was just calling him that, but nope. It turns out his mom named both of them after our presidents. I didn't know if I should laugh our be honored that they thought so much of our president. I decided to laugh. My only regret is that I was unable to get a picture with them *sigh*.

Monday, July 23, 2007

New Life Ministries

We visited another orphanage on Saturday. The difference between the two was astounding. The orphanage was started by a British couple. They have opened several in Nairobi and one here in Kisumu. The orphanage holds approx 30 kids from 0-3 and then has another wing for about 10 kids. That wing in particular is for children who were not adopted by the time they reached age three. They are typically less likely to be adopted because they are HIV positive. The wing for the older children also houses a couple that are considered the resident house parents and they run like a family. The children are each others brother or sister and they see the house parents as their mom and dad.

This place was located in a very nice part of Kisumu and was immaculate. The workers were wonderful and it was obvious that they loved the children. However, again it was hard for me to see this building as the babies' home, even though it was a beautiful facility and filled with people who love these children. The reality of it still breaks my heart. Thankful most of these babies will be adopted into families by the time they reach the age of three. As well, most of the adoptions are domestic, which means Kenyan families are adopting these children.

The buildings each have an on site couple who are directors and are also considered parents. In addition the orphanage has a social worker on staff. These individuals, as well as the other direct care staff are Kenyans. Furthermore, I was told that the Kenyan government wants to begin using these orphanages as a standard for the country. After seeing the difference between the two I think this is obviously a very good goal however it may be a very long time before they are there.

The babies were very cute, one in particular touched my heart. He had a very bad cold and was having difficulty crying because of it. I picked him up and just soothed him. I am not someone who cries easily but I definitely was on the verge. Holding him in my arms, hearing him whimper, and knowing that at that moment I was the closest thing he had to a mom was one of the saddest things I have experienced. If I would have taken any child home it would have been him.


It is not just everyday I would eat a cracker called "Digestive" but let me tell you I have learned a very special lessons because of these little guys: Never judge a cracker by it's title. With a little bit of peanut butter and melted chocolate these high fiber treats are actually quite nice...

Friday, July 20, 2007

Fun Facts II

I have had a bunch of random thoughts that I wanted to blog about so I thought I would join them in one "fun fact" blog. Therefore welcome to the second addition of fun facts!

1. Turns out my arms may be hairy then I thought. You see the children and adults are fascinated by the hair on my mazungoo arms. Maybe it is because they don't have any but I feel compelled to explain that my hairy arms serve a purpose for me in Michigan. I mean it does get below freezing there and what would my poor little arms do with out all that hair?? I shudder to think....

2. In case you were wondering you really can go a whole week with out showering if you just have a little foot powder for your hair and some deodorant for your smelly pits. I haven't personally tested this theory yet but my side kick Quinn has and in case you were wondering I didn't catch a whiff of her once. I believe my new hypothesis may be that showering is over rated... who's with me?

3. I was proposed to the other day. It was a dream come true. I was in the car with Quinn and the Odoyo family. Vitalis was over buying us pop and a tasty little treat when nice drunk gentleman came over to make friends. He talked with us a little at first, asked Susie to buy him some cigarettes, I shook his hand, and then after a cordial greeting he made his offer. Though I didn't realize what it was at first. He turned to Susie and said "I like them both." I smiled at him so naively thinking that he must of realized what nice girls we were and wanted to be our friends. I like new friends. Susie graciously said to him that unfortunately he couldn't afford the cows needed in order to purchase us for his wives. It was then that I realized I had received my first marriage proposal. Now, I have to admit it wasn't how I had always pictured it to be but it was definitely something special.

4. The kids at the nursery school are so cute. I mean seriously, I could eat them up. But I won't. The thing I love the most is when they run up to me, grab my hand, and then spend the next five minutes having a conversation with me in Luo. Did they forget that I have only been speaking to them in English the last month? The best part though is I have learned that if you have well placed grunts and noises they will actually think you understand them. Kids are so cute. I could just eat them.

5. There is another form of transportation here that Quinn and I have taken. They are called Boda Boda's. They are just bicycles with a cushioned seat over the rear wheel but let me tell you, what an adventure! The first ride we had on them was actually really nice and relaxing. We rode quietly down the street with the wind blowing in our hair and the drivers got us safely to our destination with out any wrong turns... ahhhh, what a nice trip. However, I have quickly found that this nice little experience would not be typical for me. One word to describe our last several rides... "wow!" They weave in and out of traffic and often time they don't understand the concept of "pole pole" (which means slowly in Swahili). I am actually surprised that I still have both my legs. I think today we will just walk to our next destination...

Ok, I think I will leave you with these for now!

peace and stuff.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Lidia's Home

We visited a fellow teachers home yesterday. Actually, we visited her home, her sister-in-laws home, and her mother-in-laws home. It was a big ta-do that involved an immense amount of chi and bread with margarine. They are all in the same compound. She is 19 years old and has the cutest little boy named Gordon... he was so sweet! We had a really nice time, though I kind of wish I didn't take the camera because when it came out all other conversation ended. Now I know for next time. But for you all it worked out because I have some ok pictures for you:

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

A little bit more about prayer...

There were two more passages that God has brought to my attention regarding prayer and God's desire for our life, even as it relates to suffering. I wanted to share them with you. One is in Jeremiah 29, which Susie did a devotional on two nights ago, and the other is in 1st Peter, which is what Vitalis preached about on Sunday.

Jeremiah 29 talks in the beginning about how the people of Israel have been carried into exile for 70 years. Which, I am sure, felt like a very long time to them. Plus many of them would never see the fulfillment of God's promise to rescue them from captivity because they would die before it was fulfilled. In spite of all this God wanted them to be content, to settle down there, and even to pray for their captors. The whole time waiting on the Lord and trusting in His promises, even while ignoring those who would try tell them otherwise. God then says to the people:

10 This is what the LORD says: "When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back from captivity. [b] I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile."

Furthermore in I Peter it talks about suffering:

chapter 4
12Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. 13But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. 16However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name... 19So then, those who suffer according to God's will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.

chapter 5 goes on to say...
8Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

10And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.

I wanted to included these passages because the reality is being a Christian does not mean an easy life for me, at times I undergo various forms of "suffering". And even though I pray for deliverance I am not always experiencing physical relief right away, sometimes it may mean waiting 70 years. But in the midst of it I am not left alone, God is with me and He calls me to surrender it all to Him, through prayer, faith, and humility. And God promises to restore me and make me strong and that He holds for me a hope and future. Furthermore, He promises that His peace, that goes beyond all understanding, will guard my heart and my mind in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Sometimes when I am going through suffering, or when I see other people suffering, it is easy to forget who it is that promises me these things and just focus on the situation. I pray that God will help me keep my eyes, heart, and head focused on Him at all times.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Say hello to my little friend...

I just thought you all should meet my alarm clock. We have a love/hate relationship... he loves to crow loudly in the mornings and I hate it.

Friday, July 13, 2007


Before I came to Africa I had begun feeling like some of my long standing prayer requests were a little empty and routine. I knew God heard but was wondering what He was going to do and feeling a bit redundant. In reality I think I was forgetting how much God really cares. Since, I arrived in Africa I have been reading through the gospel of Luke. God has been using it to remind me over and over how He cares for me more then anyone can, how He really does hear me when I call, and how He longs to give me good things. As well, He has reminded me how empty prayer is without faith. Faith in who God is and in His promises. Faith that He is good, that He is powerful, that He is love, and that He cares deeply for us. This is one of the passages I read yesterday that reminded me of these things:

Luke 18

The Parable of the Persistent Widow

1Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2He said: "In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. 3And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, 'Grant me justice against my adversary.'

4"For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, 'Even though I don't fear God or care about men, 5yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won't eventually wear me out with her coming!' "

6And the Lord said, "Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?"

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Meet the Odoyo's

Seriously, I know some pretty cool families but they are definitely one of the coolest. The children, from oldest to youngest are Anne (yellow shirt), Sarah (the chick next to her), Stephen (red and white shirt), and Daniel (the other dude). Vitalis, the dad, is from Kenya and Susie is from Germany. *Side note: I asked her about my crazy thumbs and missing knuckle, turns out she has seen the thumbs in Germany... go figure!*

They are truly amazing people and completely live uncompromising lives before Christ. I am really glad that I get to spend my summer with them. Every evening we end the day by singing and praying together. Gotta love it. Plus Susie is a serious cook. I am thinking about asking her to move to Michigan, she keeps offering for us to take her sons with us when we leave, so I think maybe I could convince her to come with me instead. Megan, Jessica, what do you think? Are you up for a cook?

Here are some more pictures of my time here... (sorry nothing really note worthy has been happening. I have been teaching every morning and relaxing in the afternoon. Teaching continues to be a challenge for me but God has been beyond faithful and is giving me great ideas and patience. Praise Him! So if you are the praying sort, feel free to pray for me and the whole teaching thing. Thanks peeps.) Ok, with out further ado here are some pictures:

so I realize that I said I was going to add pictures but I am having a hard time... so instead I am just going to add a link. Christy, this girl from SIM came and took pictures of our ministry and sent us a link with the pictures. She pretty much is a professional and they are amazing pictures. Way to go Christy! here it is...


Sunday, July 08, 2007

Raise your hand if your Sure!

I was in a Sure commercial yesterday. Ok, it wasn't an actual commercial but it should have been.

Picture this...It is a cloudy day in Africa and a mini-bus driving from the outskirts of Kisumu to the city stops to pick up three innocent Mazungoo ladies. They climb up the stairs as the money collecter guy yells "The Mazungoo's are getting on!". The three sweet and amazingly nice girls cram into this overly crowded bus. The seats are all taken and the aisle way is full of people. However, everyone kindly makes a nice pocket for the Mazungoos to fit in the midst the other ripe passengers. In order to steady themselves everyone is reaching up to grab the bar overhead. One girl with long, wavy blonde hair looks longingly into the camera. The caption below her reads... "Raise your hand if you are Sure." Unfortunately, there were some people who shouldn't of been raising their hands.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Hippos and Tilapia

Today has been a good day. We woke up early after a torrential down pour in the evening to a pretty cloudy day. At first we were a little disappointed because we had planned on going to this place in Kisumu called Kaboko Bay and sit by the pool. However, our plans ended up changing some and for the better. Instead of sitting by the pool when we got to the bay we decided to take this little canoe boat out for a tour of some hippos. Our canoe was really cool, painted in fun worn out colors and the paddles where shaped as leaves. I kinda felt like a hobbit on our way to Mordor to drop off a some pretty little ring. We were just missing Gollum. Poor little Gollum, we didn't mean to leave you behind.

Our guides, who were very un-gollum like, were Morris and William. They were very friendly and sweet. They didn't try to bite my finger off at all. Plus, they not only took us to see hippos, which were fun, but they also took us to this little fishing village where we walked around. When I first got off the boat I was kind of nervous because I didn't think it was part of the tour and wondered where they were taking us. They started taking us through a small trail back into the island. We came out into this little fishing village. It was really neat and was a very fun experience.

On the way we picked up another tour guide named Thomas. Thomas was pretty nice too, however I think he was looking for a Mazungo wife. He first asked for my number, I kindly turned him down and then later on he held Quinn's hand. He is lucky I wasn't just playing hard to get, I might have taken offense! While in the town we went down to the little fish market place, it was kind of empty because people were out fishing, but there were some fantastic old boats lying around. As well, one boat came in with a HUGE River Nile Perch. It seriously looked like a small whale. I had no idea fish could get that big. I actually think it would have tried to eat me if given the chance. However, it had more important things to worry about, like trying to breathe, poor little guy.

On the way out we stopped at this little restaurant and ordered fresh tilapia. It was the best fish I have ever eaten. We bought a medium sized one that they brought out head, tail and all. Quinn, Kristy, the three tour guides, and I sat down with Fanta and a fish. We dug in with our hands and they encouraged us to eat the eyeballs. I kindly refused but did try out the fin, it was pretty tasty...

In general we moved away from normal touristy things and experienced some genuine Kenyan life, and also met some pretty cool people. It was a great day.

(sorry, but I don't have any pictures to upload. They were all taken on Quinn's camera but when I get back home or to Nairobi I will try and put some up)

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Poisonwood Bible

I just finished a book last night called Poisonwood Bible (thanks Lindsay, Chaya, and Michelle who gave me the book!). If you haven't read it then just talk to Oprah Winfrey... she would encourage you too. Turns out she has a book club and it is one of the books on there. Gooooo Oprah!

The book is about a missionary family that moves from Georgia to the Congo. It is a fictional story, however, sadly there are some missionaries, past and present, who have had similar agendas. The father, Nathan Price, didn't come to Africa because he loved the people, but rather because he loved to be right. He saw himself as better then everyone else and toted the flag of Christianity under oppression of fear and pride. Thankful, this isn't how all missionaries are. Some come to love people, to live with them, to get to know their hurts, their joys, their struggles, and in the midst of it share the truth, hope, forgivness, and love found in the person of Jesus Christ.

The story is told through the eyes of Nathan's four daughters and his wife. I really enjoyed the book for many reasons, but what I enjoyed most was being able to identify with the girl's experiences, both good and bad, regarding Africa. Africa really is a different world for me, filled with many new experiences. It is also filled with people that I have enjoyed being with. As, I am settling in more I am looking forward to exploring the countryside, visiting homes, and meeting the people who make Africa Africa.

I will include some more pictures next time!