Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Grammar never was my forte

I was just reading through some of my past blog posts and I realized that my grammar and spelling are terrible.


Pole in swahili.

I never was the best writer. I used to send my college essays to my dad so he can proof read them before I had to submit them. I remember a co-worker of mine spending a considerable amount of time correcting the mistakes on a report I had written. I don't know what it is. Maybe I am just a lazy typer or I neglect to look over my drafts before I make them final. Maybe my head goes too fast for my fingers.

Although, in my defence, my english is really suffering these days with all the swahili and broken english I listen to everyday. Today I was having lunch with some friends when I said, "You is going tomorrow?" Oh my. My family and friends laugh at me when we talk on Skype because I have a funny accent and get my words all mumbled up. I get frustrated when I can't find the right word in english or in swahili. If I am trying to speak swahili but I can't find the word I am looking for, I will replace it with the french word thinking that it's ok just as long as it is not the english word. Kenyans should know french right?

Whatever the reason may be, I am sorry for the frequent sloppy writing. Sometimes I can't even understand what I have written. Thanks for still reading.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Watoto Water Race

This past Saturday, we held the 2nd annual Watoto water race in Ilula. This was a race that was started by a past intern who has a passion for physical fitness and helping the needy. He had been training the kids to run. You know all those big marathons that happen in the West and it is always a Kenyan who wins? Well most of them come from this area as the high altitude climate is perfect for training. The kids had been training every morning for a few months so we had almost 85 kids participate. The younger kids did a 4km race and the older ones did a 10km race. I got to stand at one of the final corners and see them as they were on the last leg of the run. It was so exciting watching them dash around the corner. 

This is one of the youngest children in the children's home, Kelvin. Although small, he was able to keep up with the crowd.

Above is Alex, our star runner. He won the 10km race with a time of 36:18. He didn't know he had a talent for running until this intern came and started teaching them to run. Alex has a lot of potential. We had a few professional runners run with the kids and he was able to beat most of them. I believe, with the 
proper training, he will have a future in running. 

Valentine is my sponsor child. She too is a runner. The day before the race, some of the kids went for a district track meet. She did a 5000m race and came 2nd! It was so exciting watching this little girl beat about 25 girls to become 2nd. I was so proud of her. 

This is my 'mom' here in Kenya. I took this picture because, in the 5 years I have known her, I have NEVER seen her wear pants! Even her kids were shocked to see her in track pants. Although she didn't run, she dressed the part.

The kids have formed a choir called the Tumaini choir. Tumaini means 'hope' in swahili. They have their own CD with their own original songs. They are now about to start shooting a music video. This was the first time I got to see their snazzy t-shirts that someone in America made for them. They are really talented. I am already a big fan!

This is a funny story. Kenyan schools have started to ask for birth certificates for the children in order for them to take exams. So many the staff at the home had to go to the children's previous homes and try find their original birth certificates. What is funny is that many of the birth certificates said the kids had different names than what we have been calling them. Above is Naomi Moraa. I have watched her grow and have known her as Naomi for the past 5 years. However, we she got her birth certificate, she learned her name is actually Befrin Nekesa! We have no idea where we got Naomi Moraa from. They are two very different names. They are even from two different tribes. She learned that she is not Kisii, she is Luhya. It was too funny. Befrin Nekesa or Naomi Moraa, I love her to bits and pieces. 

The race was a huge success. We were able to raise around $700 just from the community which is amazing. I think they have about a third of what they need to get a borehole. The compound in needing a large borehole so they can have a cheap, unlimited supply of water. This will cut down a lot of costs and the money will be able to be allocated else where. If you feel compelled to help with this cause please click Here to learn how you can contribute! 

You've got mail

Before I went to Eldoret last Monday, I stopped at the big post office to send some letters that I have been meaning to send for a long time now. I really like receiving letters myself so I thought it would be special to write letters to people back home. I didn't realize the process was so long. I think from the time I bought the cards (which I had been looking for for weeks) and wrote in them, found addresses and got them to the post office, it took about 4 weeks. Once I got to the post office, they gave me the stamps to go put on all the letters. These are the old fashion stamps that you have to lick to get them to stick not like the ones that are already stickers back in Canada. So I sat down and started licking my stamps and plastering them on the envelopes. I then realize everyone else is staring at me. I figure out that no one else is licking the stamps. They are using the glue or water provided on the table. I stopped licking them and started to use the water to paste them on. It worked better and my tongue didn't taste like adhesive anymore.

The process was long and took a lot of work so if you don't get something in mail, please know I still love you and that I will be working on my communication through emails. 

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Do the people melt?

I had the most delightful night tonight. I was trying to call my mother but the connection wasn't good enough for Skype so I decided to head to one of the girls' rooms to show them some old photos of themselves. I have photos of them from 5 years ago when I came to Kenya for the first time and they were all small. I thought it would be fun for them to see themselves.

It sure was. We giggled like little school girls as we searched through the photos trying to recognize each other since we have changed so much. At one point, the power went out and so we all huddled around the computer. I loved having these girls, who are like little sisters to me, so close to me hugging my waist or resting their chins on my head. As I looked at them, my heart was in such delight. Love love love these girls.

Once we had finished looking at picture of them they wanted to see all my pictures, especially those of my parents and home back in Canada. So I showed them a whole bunch of photos I took of my family, friends and I right before I left for Kenya in January. I had some photos of the blueberry paulson (a local mountain pass) with the trees and roads covered in snow. They were all amazed at how the earth had a white blanket on it. Then one of the girls piped up and said,

"Do the people melt?" 

We all looked at each other for a second and then burst out into laughter. The girl, realizing what she had said, covered her face and started to giggle at herself. I had to explain to her that it was the snow that melted, not the people.

The night was a delight. It was a gift from God, that's for sure.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Nestea arrives in Kenya

Last year when my dad came to visit me, I requested for him to bring me two things: Reese's Peanut Butter cups and Nestea Ice tea. It was also close to easter so my mom packed an extra bag of mini eggs, an all time favourite of mine.

I was driving in Nairobi one day and, to my delight, there was a huge billboard advertising Nestea Ice Tea! I got all excited. The people in car thought I was crazy. They were wondering what all the excitement was about as I explained to them what it was. They looked at me like, "You are excited because a drink?" I guess they don't quite understand as they have never left the country and missed something that they are so used to. The best part is that it is so cheap. It is like 25cents for a package that makes around 6-7 glasses of ice tea. So I went searching in the supermarket for my fav drink and bought several packages. Since then I have been sharing with all my friends and they are slowly getting hooked. I think I am a good advertisment for Nestea. Life is more comfortable now that Nestea has arrived.

These days, Kenya is not lacking much that the West has. You can find almost any kind of chocolate bar you want even SMARTIES which are a Canadian chocolate. At time you can find things like El Paso Taco Seasoning, Lipton Chicken Noodle Soup, or Sidekicks. I get all excited when I find Doritos!!! They are rare to find but still available. Although usually by the time they get to Kenya, they are all crushed.

But Kenya is fast forwarding in the area of variety foods. Sodas now come in flavours such as Orange, Pinepple, Passion Fruit, Pear, Lemon, and Black Currant. Coffee shops are popping up everywhere and Kenyans  have add the words "Cappuccino" and "Cheesecake" to their vocabularies. Yes, I have found yummy cheesecake here!

Although there are still a few things I am waiting for. Things like chocolate chips, Old dutch chips, good cheese, flavoured coffee or better yet Starbucks!

But in the mean time, I will be sitting on the beach drinking a nice cold cup of Nestea Ice Tea!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Extreme Drought, Extreme Flood

93 people dead. The news last night spent the first half of the hour displaying images of extreme flooding across the country. They said that 93 people have died because of the flood. Considering most Kenyans can't swim, it is not so surprising. Entire villages have turned into lakes and big roads are now fast flowing rivers. You would think that rain would be a blessing especially for all the agriculture in Kenya but it's quite the opposite. The harsh rain is destroying the crops. Tomatoes do not ripen. They start rotting when they are still green. Roads are washed out so transporting food is hard which makes the cost of the available food sky rocket.

Whats really ironic is that this time last year, 10 million people were starving because of extreme drought. They whole country was yearning for rain. People were killing themselves before starvation could kill them. Again, the price of food sky rocketed. Chickens doubled in price. Maize (corn) stopped growing and dried up. It was a sad sight.

Two very different extremes happening in one year. Both leaving people stranded with empty bellies.

But what is even more sad is when people are dying of hunger when food is available. One of the children here in Ilula recently attended his sister's funeral. Cause of death:hunger. She was a young mother of 4 recently giving birth to twins. She wasn't eating enough. Her husband was a drunkard and neglected to take care of his family. The area they live in is not affected by the extreme floods. The crops are growing quite well and the food is plenty so why did this lady go hungry?? Eventually the pancreatic  acid started eating away at her liver. And her husband let it all happen. This is not an issue of weather. This is a social issue. And because of it, one of our kids is without his sister.

Pray for Kenya at this time and pray for this young boy to cope with the death of his sister.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Adventures in Nyanza

It's the land of fishing and tilapia, fireflies and chickens, bicycles and women carrying things on their heads. It's home of the Luo tribe. Obama's tribe. It's located next to the 2nd largest fresh water lake in the world, Lake Victoria. The lake boarders many countries in Africa. The nile river flows into it. It is the source of life and a huge economy for many Africans. 

Last week I was able to travel to this part of the country. I have never been to this part of the country before so I was a tourist. It was a great week of just enjoying and learning about this culture. It was nice not to have to worry about work or school and just hang out. 

We sat next to Lake Victoria and order fresh tilapia. It was delicious! I don't usually enjoy fish but I gobbled this one down.

This is where Obama's relatives are from so people in this area are Obama crazy. Every house you go into has some sort of Obama poster in it. I found this funny book in the supermarket there. I wonder if  Obama knows that people are dressing him and his wife here in Kenya.

We visited a small, rural church and they asked me to preach. Once they heard that I had just finished bible school, the made the assumption I was a pastor. I explained that I wasn't but that I was capable of sharing a few things with them. The man beside me is translating into luo. It was a small church in a mud building. It was interesting. I had to process through a lot of the things I saw. I could see the hearts of the people. They really craved to know and experience God but they were lacking education. I was told later that many of them can't read so they can't read their bibles. They rely on the pastors and unfortunately these pastors don't have a lot of bible training. I pray that these people will be guided to the right path and that their leaders would strengthen in their knowledge of Him!

This was the house we stayed in. It was very rural. It's made of mud and has no electricity. It has no water either so we would collect the rain water in the barrel. It was a delightful stay though. So peaceful, quiet, simple. 

We went visiting some more relatives who lived by the lake. It was so beautiful. You can see the lake in the background and some of the islands. It reminded me of Vancouver island but it was much hotter. 

We had an amazing time just relaxing, visiting, and eating delicious homemade food. One thing with the Luos is that they use the land they have to do everything. They build their houses from material on the land, the eat all the fresh food the land can produce, and they are very inventive in making tools from the land. Amazing! 

Sunday, May 2, 2010


15 weeks of hard work, a lot of learning and tons of fun has finally come to an end. Today we officially graduated! It was such a wonderful day. I enjoyed every minute of it. We sang songs of worship to our King who made this all possible. We celebrated with friends and family. We were sent off into the world more equipped for His work and ready to shine the light in us! 

This is my official transcript. If you look closely you can see that I am actually #1 academic student. I have a 3.97 GPA. I think this is the best I have ever performed academically. I was so happy! I got a nice gift certificate to a book store. 

I think the toughest part was having to say goodbye to all my classmates. It hasn't quite sunk in yet that I won't be seeing their shining faces everyday. Rahab is my best friend here. It's a good thing that we will be working together in Mombasa in a few weeks. 

The day was just wonderful. It was a celebration of us as conquerers of bible school. It was a send off for us to go into the world and preach the gospel to all nations. For me, the best part of the day was when a visitor from a top bible school in England awarded 3 of our boys a full scholarship to the school! These 3 boys are so thirsty to know God and I am so so excited for them. It's an opportunity of a lifetime. I don't think they ever thought that they would be able to leave Kenya let alone get a scholarship to further their studies outside the country. Tears welled up in my eyes seeing the joy and excitement on their faces. Pray that God would make a way for them to get there. Getting a visa to the UK is often difficult for Kenyan citizens but with God all things are possible. 

This season has ended and another is about to begin. I am taking the next few weeks to do some travelling visiting various friends and ministries that I have been involved with in the past. At the end of the month I plan to be in Mombasa and start working full time with the staff there. I am looking forward to what God has in store for me there. My heart is just booming for the youth in this country. I am ready to show them the extravagant love of Christ!