Hello Faithful Readers!
Thank you for reading this blog for the past 6-7 years. I have so enjoyed journalling my life in this space. But I am moving up! I have made a nice little blog in a new corner of the internet and moved all the content from this blog over there.
You can now find me at www.movingwithcompassion.com. I hope to start blogging more frequently now as we plan to move back to Kenya!
Wednesday, February 10, 2016
I got an email while we were in Kenya from a friend asking if we would like to set up a table for the Culture Festival they were hosting on Family Day (Feb 8th). My first reaction was 'No' merely cause it was only one week after returning home and I knew that jet lag would be kicking our behinds. After explaining this to my friend, she then replied, "Well, it doesn't have to be specifically Kenya. You are welcome to promote your soccer organization." Ding ding ding!! We decided to suck it up and pull it together to put up a table.
I literally grabbed everything in my house that was somewhat Kenya (even packages of Ugali and Java House coffee), we set up the computer to play some footage of the tournaments, and I printed very amateur photos with a link to my blog on it to hand out. The festival itself was a fundraiser for refugees so we were unable to collect donations but we were able to talk to lots of people about the Rehma project.
I have to admit, it was a pretty awesome day. Castlegar is a VERY white (mainly Russian) community. Only recently have more cultures started to move it. We were surprised to meet a few other Africans (mostly from Nigeria here studying). There was food and singing and dancing and crafts from all over the world. Pretty neat for our little white community.
Kelvin was explaining all the artifacts and Kenya 'things' we had put on the table. Everyone thought our stuff was so cool and authenitc. I giggled when one lady asked what we use the big gourd for assuming it was some cool cultural tradition. I had to explain that it was actually just a decoration from our wedding. Ha!
What a cute kid and her popcorn!
Grandma is too excited to watch the cultural performances happening.
Here we are, jet lagged and all! Thanks everyone for checking out the Rehma project!
Saturday, February 6, 2016
Thank you so much for your interest in getting involved with the Rehma Project. It takes a community to empower another community. You are making a difference in the lives of so many.
There are a few ways you can get involved:
The Rehma Project cannot run without donors like you. If you would like to contribute to empowering the youth in Kongowea, you can do so by:
-> visit http://multinationmissions.org and click "Donate" heading
-> Go to online giving and follow the instructions
-> Make sure to specify under the "REMARK" section that the donation is for "Nikole and Kelvin Opiyo Rehma Project"
-> You can send checks to: MMF, PO Box 2401, STN A, Abbotsford, BC, V2T 4X3, Canada.
-> Make sure to make the checks out to Multi-Nation Missions Foundation with a note saying it is for "Nikole and Kelvin Opiyo Rehma Project"
-> If you would like to make reccurring monthly donations, please contact email@example.com and we will direct you on how to do that
* All donations are tax-deductible
Are you good at connecting with people? Promoting a good cause? Networking? Inspiring others to take action? If so, we would be honoured to have you raise awareness of the Rehma Project. If this is something that interests you, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Rehma Tournaments this January were a HUGE success. They had 28 teams play 58 games over the course of two months. That adds up to a lot of young boys and a lot of soccer played! Here are a few pictures just highlighting some of the many awesome moments.
Our girls were SO loved by everyone in Kongowea. It was so amazing. We have realized though that Mercy is not quite an athletic little girl. She tends to pick up balls and just gives them to us instead of playing with them. She is a performer though- put on any music (especially her fav "let it go") and watch her shine.
This is Moses, our awesome photographer.
Sonny, the guy with the dreads, did some great videography for us. We will share it once we have the final product.
Because of these tournaments, the coaches of all the teams decided to come together and make an official association. They have made Kelvin and I honorary members of the Nyali Youth Football Association!!! They made us our own t-shirts and all.
Lots of soccer was played...
What is a soccer final without a local band??
The signature 'before the game' shot of the two final teams
The soccer was intense!
Tranel, one of our good friends who also grew up in the community, gave Amina lots of snuggles
Look at that action!
This kid ended up being awarded best player
And there were flares...
This is coach Dula. He is one of two men who completely run this tournament. His heart for his community, the youth, and soccer is amazing. We honour this man.
The guy in the cap is Selah. He works alongside Coach Dula. He too is an incredible man.
The crowd that gathered to watch the prize giving.
I was AMAZED to see SO MANY women at the pitch. I have sat at that pitch many times and I can count on one hand how many women I have seen watching. But these games were packed with ladies in the crowd! Part of our prizes included the winning teams being able to gift a school scholarship to a girl in the community.
This guy *swoon*
Kenyans LOVE their trophies
This is the signature "hand-shaking and prize handing over" shot. We have about a million just like this. Thought we would show you just one so you get the jist.
THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! To all those who supported these tournaments. They were a huge victory for this community and it's people.
Monday, December 7, 2015
Hello Everyone! Welcome to my blog! For those who have been reading for years, welcome back to my blog! Yes, I know it has been a looooooong time since I last posted here (almost three years ago!) however with our plans to return to Kenya in the near future and the awesome stuff that is still happening in Kongowea, I thought it was about time to revive the blog! Please bear with me as I work on updating all the info in the pages, change the layout, etc. For now, feel free to catch up on some old posts, comment, add to Bloglovin', and enjoy reading!
Kelvin has been busy organizing the Back2School Tournaments for January 2016!
Last year, during our trip to Kenya, we held a large tournament for youth on our old stomping grounds, uwanja wa mbuzi. It was a huge success! Over a hundred up-and-coming soccer players were able to participate. Because of your generosity, we were able to really shower these precious young people with soccer balls, trophies, jerseys, socks, cleats, gift certificates, and even school sponsorships. We also worked with some awesome and dedicated local leaders to rally teams and coaches together in a soccer mentorship program.
This year, Kelvin is planning TWO tournaments for over 200 youth in the community.
The purpose of the tournaments is:
- To encourage local youth to stay focused on soccer keeping them away from destructive behaviours
- To build up local leaders and encourage them to be mentors for the youth
- To continue to show our support and investment in the community since we are planning to return permanently in the near future
In the meantime, check out some photos from last year's tournament.
It is customary that the guests of honour (which included Mercy) shake hands of all the players in the final game.
Look at all those game faces! They were ready to rumble!
Just a few of the many participants
Sweet Rachael had the honour of handing out gift certificates to the local supermarket. We ended up raising more money than we had needed so we decided to give each kid a gift certificate to spend on food, school supplies, house hold items, etc. It was perfect timing as it was Christmas day and kids were able to bring home something to their families!
Some more awesome prizes (check out the NELSON jersey). Kelvin's mom (in the orange) was also a beloved guest of honour. We are so grateful for the support of our families!
The man in the middle is Selah, a leader in the community who has a big heart for the youth. We are so grateful he works with us!
Mercy checking out all the swag!
Selah speaking to the youth. He is always impressed that we never do these tournaments for our own personal gain (as many local politicians do). Selah never fails to mention that Kelvin loves his community and his God - that is the reason we do these tournaments.
All lined up for the big final!
Mercy - a local celeb
She got her first tooth in Kenya!
Of course there must be drummers!! A soccer game is not the same with out the local noise makers!
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
We are here!!! Well, we've been here almost 3 weeks now. Whoops, let the blog slip a little bit. But we are indeed in Canada!
Slowly we are adjusting. We have both experienced culture shock. It is freezing cold here in Castlegar. The sun likes to pop out one day and then, bam, snow dumps the next day. We are amazed at how fast and efficient everything is here. You can get so much done in one day just because everything is so easy. Canadians are terribly kind and generous and we are feeling that big time. Kelvin wonders where all the people are. I think he is getting a bit lonely. He can't walk down the street and meet people the way he used to in Kenya. There are just no people here (compared to where we came from). Kelvin has been to two hockey games and is already more of an expert in the sport than I am.
Slowly, we are getting our feet on the ground and creating a little life for ourselves. It won't be easy but we are up for the challenge. We are still on the hunt for jobs and have tried out a nice little church. We are looking for some new friends that we can call 'ours' not just 'nikole's'. Kelvin will be starting college in September. He is really looking forward to that. We are missing Kenya alot. Well, maybe I am missing it more than Kelvin at this point. We are missing our friends and youth. We really had a great group of friend and community over there. Now, it feels like we are starting from scratch.
Kelvin and I both agreed that, for now, this blog will shut down. It will remain on the web but I will not be posting on it for a while. It was a great tool to keep you all informed with how we are doing in Kenya and it helped us promote and gain support for our project. For now, we have decided that we should focus on sharing our personal life with the friends and family around us. In saying that, if you would like to connect at some point, I would love to do coffee or dinner or a skype date! Please just shoot me an email!
So my love, welcome to Canada, my home country. I pray that our time here is meaningful and fruitful. I pray that we can find purpose and joy in our everyday tasks and that our hearts would grow deeper and deeper in love with each other and our God.
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Our time in Kenya is up! In a couple hours, we will be headed to the airport and saying bye to this beloved country for a while.
In my last post, I talked about my uncertainties, fears, anxieties, etc. Now that all we own is packed into four suitcases, the goodbyes have been said, and loose ends are tied, I can actually say that God is pulling us through this transition just fine. He is working everything out and my confidence in HIM is growing and growing every second.
We will be arriving in Vancouver in the late evening on the 28th. Mom will be there, tears soaking her cheeks, to welcome us home. Then we will head to Kelowna to spend the night with my brother, Marky, before we drive the final leg to be welcomed to our 'new digs' by my father.
There is still much that is unknown to us concerning work, school, church, family, etc. But we are so confident that this IS God's plan for us this time and He will sort everything out for us.
I had my last meeting with my ladies this past weekend. I am SO AMAZED at how our youth have pulled together to continue and expand what we have started. I will write a post about it when we reach home.
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Transitions used to be a way of life for me. I moved from one city to another, one job to another, one continent to another, one church to another, one set of friends to another, with very little fret. I actually remember in college saying to ladies in a bible study, "Transitioning is not always fun but I get so excited seeing how God pushes me through it." Hmm, I just don't have that same zeal this time. This transition is filled with a little more anxiety, uncertainty, frustration, and fear.
Today I had a little cry. Not unlike me at all. I am just tired and frustrated and anxious to leave yet a little bit scared of what is waiting for us on the other side.
We were asked today if we were excited to get to Canada. Our answer was, "We are really just excited to leave Kenya." There has just been a lot going on in our lives and all around us that has been tough and overwhelming and, to be honest, we just want to escape. Then there is the added stress of everyday living in Kenya like the fact that our water is not pumping and our house is ridiculously dirty and my phone just decided to die on me for no reason. Plus, the political climate in Mombasa is getting more and more intense as the days go by and I am not as comfortable moving about like I used to do because you just never know when something might happen especially when large crowds of zealous Kenyans (plus money, power, and pride) are involved.
We are moving out of our apartment in two days and moving in with friends for the rest of the week. I am really excited to just get rid of all our stuff and live out of our suitcases for a while. It's hard organizing and getting rid of an entire household. My feelings have wavered from being totally embarrassed that, at our age, we have so little possessions to being really content (and almost proud of ourselves) that we haven't collected so much stuff that we will be desperate to get rid of in 30 years. I am thankful that we have a 'treasures stored up in heaven' mindset at such an early age. But then again I'm a little self-concious to say that all my clothes fill half a suit case.
And then my stomach is not enjoying this transition. About 5 years ago, when I moved to Kenya the first time, I developed some bad tummy issues. After seeing the doctor and doing some tests, she asked me, 'Is there any big event happening in your life right now?' I bashfully told her that I was moving to Africa and then it all clicked. It was all anxiety related to the big transition. I am finding my stomach has also detected that a big event is happening in my life right now and has decided to fire back.
I wish I could tell you had some big spiritual revelation of some sort about this transition but I don't. I know the facts: God loves me, God is with me, this is God's will for us right now, and we will be ok.
Friday, February 15, 2013
When I got all my wedding photos back, I of course chose the prettiest ones that accurately showed off the blissful, lovely celebration that our wedding was and posted them on Facebook and printed them off for an album. But what about the not so pretty ones? the ones that caught us off guard or tell a different story about the day? As I was looking through a friend's wedding photos the other day, we laughed and giggled at every photo that wasn't 'picture perfect'. I decided to go through my own wedding photos again and show you some of the 'behind all the lovey dovey stuff' photos. So Enjoy...
My wedding day breakfast: cheese curls that taste mildly like cheetos. Oh so flattering stuffing my entire hand in my mouth.
For those who know my mom well, this slight pout she has is her, "I am about to cry but am trying to hold it in" face. I think this was the point where she said, "I can't believe I am going my little girl's hair for her wedding."
Time for the hair spray...
Doh! Missed my hair and got my face.
MOH! Maid of Honour with everything in check and lots of enthusiasm to share. Making sure my bag is full of emergency first aid items.
My dad and bro 'getting ready' for the wedding.
Typical ring bearer who refuses to walk down the aisle last minute. This usually crazy, rambunctious boy turned into this quite and shy young man as we tried to push him towards the alter.
MOH in all her glory.
We tried to keep the ceremony short but Kayla just couldn't seem to keep her eyes open. Love you Kayla!
Itchy nose. yuck yuck.
Although this picture looks really sweet as if I am whispering loving words into my new husband's ear, that's not it at all. I was telling him that I wanted him to get rid of his cousins who were crowding the aisle trying to take video and pictures. We made it very clear that no one is to do that and yet they were still standing there!
I was hating the wind. It was messing up my hair big time!
We had this crazy lady start talking to us as we were taking photos. She just kept congratulating us and telling us how beautiful we were. She was mchizi for sure. So Kelvin is trying to get rid of her and another friend had to block her from coming too close to us.
"Where is my food? I'm starving. Yet my new husband is fist pumping the air."
Luo women are known for being 'blessed' in their 'behinds' so when their Luo music came on, there was a lot of large booty's making their way around the dance floor.
This woman was particularly 'blessed'. We have a ton of dancing photos. Maybe one day I will post all the crazy dance styles our photographer caught us doing.
Not too sure what Kelvin is doing. He is 'feeling' my mom's speech I guess.
Get yourselves together. Put your tongue back in your mouth, Dad!
Kelvin is looking mighty unsure of this whole marriage thing.
Hope you enjoyed some not so flattering moments from our wedding! If you have any funny photos of your wedding, I wanna see them!!!